A group of soldiers received a tearful welcome when they returned home to New Zealand after serving six months in Afghanistan this evening.
Around 90 New Zealand Defence Force personnel from the 20th rotation to Afghanistan flew into Christchurch where they were greeted with huge applause from a crowd of their families and colleagues.
The Chief of the Army, Major General Timothy James Keating, also welcomed the troops.
ONE News reporter Joy Reid said families quickly embraced their loved ones when they arrived. She said there were speeches.
Reid said the welcome home was tinged with sadness as the group, who had been working with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team, returned home without five of their comrades.
Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone , both aged 26, were killed by insurgents in Bamiyan Province on August 4 after a fierce three-minute gunfight in a village near Do Abe.
Two weeks later Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Private Richard Harris, 21, and Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31 , died when their Humvee was hit by a bomb in Bamiyan Province.
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman visited New Zealand troops in Afghanistan earlier this month and said it was important for him to personally speak to those stationed in Afghanistan following the deaths.
"It was fitting to personally express the Government's condolences for the tragic loss of five soldiers that the departing rotation Crib 20 suffered and to thank the group for the ongoing professionalism it continued to display," Coleman said at the time.
The 140-strong PRT will pull out of Afghanistan in April next year, after the Government brought the date forward from 2014 in line with other nations.