The last contingent of Defence Force personnel serving in Timor Leste has arrived home.
Fifty-three New Zealand troops flew into Christchurch airport last night, and were greeted by a crowd of friends and family.
The end of their six-month tour of duty not only marks the end of a 13- year Army commitment, but also a challenging relationship that spans back to the seventies.
Back then, the Timorese were in a bloody fight to re-gain the independence of their country and in amongst it were the Balibo Five, four journalists and a Kiwi news cameraman Gary Cunningham, who were targeted and murdered by Indonesian special forces to allegedly stop them releasing information on an invasion.
After international intervention a referendum was held in 1999 and half a million Timorese turned out and voted overwhelmingly for independence.
Since then more than 1300 New Zealand Army personnel have served in Timor Leste, helping to establish what is now a secure country in its own right.
Members of the United Nations Security Council are confident the ending of the UN mission in Timor Leste will have a limited impact on the country's economy.
Head of the UN in Timor Leste, Finn Reske-Nielsen, says there will be around 900 job losses, but he says for the past two years a programme has been in place to help those workers.
Five New Zealand personnel will also remain in the country to mentor the Timorese military.