Navy Today - Royal New Zealand Navy

investment will have delivered a huge range of new or refurbished working, living and training .... The app is available for both android and apple and includes.
2MB Sizes 7 Downloads 457 Views
issue 207 February 2017




T e Ta u a M o a n a – wa r r i o r s o f t h e s e a1



DIRECTORY Published to inform, inspire and entertain serving and former members of the RNZN, their families and friends and the wider Navy community. Navy Today is the official magazine of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Published by Defence Public Affairs, Wellington. Navy Today is now in its twenty first year of publication. Views expressed in Navy Today are not necessarily those of the RNZN or the NZDF.


Contributions are welcomed, including stories, photographs and letters. Please submit stories and letters by email in Microsoft Word or the body of an email. Articles up to 500 words welcomed, longer if required by the subject. Please consult the editor about long articles. Digital photos submitted by email also welcomed, at least 500kb preferred.

COPY DEADLINES FOR NT 5PM AS FOLLOWS: NT 208 March issue NT 209 April issue NT 210 May issue Subject to change.

15 February 15 March 15 April

EDITOR: Andrew Bonallack Defence Public Affairs HQ NZ Defence Force Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand E: [email protected]



DESIGN & LAYOUT: Defence Public Affairs





PRINT: As part of a Government multi-agency initiative the NZDF has changed to a single provider for all of its Print Services. This magazine is now printed by Blue Star. Feedback to [email protected] on the quality of this publication is welcomed.

INQUIRIES TO: Defence Public Affairs E: [email protected] Defence Careers: P: 0800 1FORCE (0800 136 723)

CHANGING ADDRESS? To join or leave our mailing list, please contact: E: [email protected]

issue 207 February 2017
















T e Ta u a M o a n a – wa r r i o r s o f T h e s e a1

cover image: At sea during Navy shakedown week. HMNZS Te Kaha fires 5 inch gun. Photo: LAC DILLON ANDERSON




Rear Admiral John Martin, ONZM

yours aye Happy New Year I hope you have had a great break surrounded by family and friends. While summer took its time to arrive, I hope you had the chance to enjoy the sun, beach and outdoors. The events of 2016 demonstrated to New Zealanders the value of their Navy. The celebrations of our 75th anniversary culminating in the International Naval Review, our contributions to disaster relief, both in Fiji and then in Kaikoura, and our continued work with partner agencies to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. All demonstrate our Navy’s value to the public and government of New Zealand. They have placed their trust in us and are proud of the work we do advancing New Zealand’s interests from the sea. We have returned to work and to a year that is full of promise and opportunity. Already we have been busy; the fleet has shaken down and is ready for operations. For them it will be a busy year – we are preparing to deploy 25 per cent of our fleet for operational missions in excess of six months. Additionally, TE MANA will head to Canada for an eight-month refit to her combat systems. At the same time we have a very busy programme of operational taskings in the South West Pacific and our Exclusive Economic Zone. In these missions we are supporting government agencies to achieve their goals and signalling that we are serious when we say that we advance New Zealand’s interests from the sea. The sea is where we go to work and our business is advancing New Zealand’s interests from the sea. It requires us to develop our expertise as a Navy in the maritime environment in order to succeed. Through the myriad of exercises that we will do this year, we will strengthen our partnerships within New Zealand, with Australia and our other friends and allies in the region. Operationally, we will work to prevail in an increasingly congested and contested environment. We should not expect our job to be easy.

opportunity to reach out to others; it provides the platform from which to demonstrate our willingness to develop understanding and international maritime team work. You can do this – the events of 2016 that culminated in the International Naval Review demonstrated your unique abilities and demonstrated the skills you have to quickly adapt to win in difficult circumstances. This reinforces our reputation as a professional Navy and our ability to work with our partners. At the same time that we are working at sea, we will also be working to balance how to meet the operational demands of a government with an expanding appetite for the services we provide while rebuilding an organisation capable of providing future naval options to the country. Both require the careful balancing of resources, very often with the same people, acting to deliver change in a time frame that creates stress and requires the careful management of expectations. Specifically, the ongoing development of our combat and constabulary capability (ships, aircraft, mine counter-measures teams and the like), the development of teams that can command coalition maritime operations within, say, a combined maritime force construct, and preparing forces that can deploy as a task group for large international exercises stretch us when our fleet is fully operational. But the task will be more exciting as we build, integrate and generate new capability – in our case a 20 per cent turnover of the fleet within the next five years which brings with it an increase in size, sophistication and complexity of the fleet. This year I personally want to focus my energy on three areas that I am passionate about. Firstly, I will continue to invest in our leadership. I need to guide and mentor our future leaders at the senior level, and to enable Navy to lead and shape the debate around naval capability, seaworthiness and force generation. Secondly, I will work to lay the foundations for the “Navy-afternext”*. We need to start the transformation that will allow us to adopt and master new technologies that will be delivered in 2030. This means reviewing the nature of work, career structures, and competencies and so on. We also need to look at new ways of accomplishing our tasks. Finally, I have heard your feedback from the Census16 survey that many of you have more understanding of the NZDF missions than that of the Navy. I want to work to ensure that everyone in the Navy can trace their role back to our mission. This will mean that we paddle our waka in unison – all concentrating on the same goal on the horizon.

There are many whose interests are at odds to our own. By conducting operations in demanding situations and exercising to generate more experience and readiness, we signal New Zealand’s intent to support a global rules-based order and demonstrate our commitment to regional security and international law. Perhaps more importantly, our work from the sea offers the

2017 is shaping up to be a great year – busy – yes, but full of opportunity and promise. Go well!

* ‘Navy-after-next’ refers to the Navy from the year 2030 on.

Chief of Navy YOURS AYE


OUR SAILOR OF THE YEAR When Navy Today asked Acting Petty Officer Writer Jo Stewart what her roles are in the Navy, there was a pause. “The list is huge,” she said. Now added to the list are the duties and responsibilities that come with being named Sailor of the Year. A/POWTR Stewart, from Papakura, received the honour during the End of Year Fleet Awards Ceremony in December, taking over from Leading Chef Alexis Gray. The award, now in its 18th year, applies to junior rates and is made to only the most outstanding and deserving candidates who demonstrate the Navy’s core values of Courage, Comradeship and Commitment. Warrant Officer of the Navy Steve Bourke, who presented the award to A/POWTR Stewart, described her as totally focused in every role she had embarked on, and an excellent operational administrator. “At all times professional, proactive – a highly committed and motivated sailor, who has always exceeded expectations.” A/POWTR Stewart has received three Commanding Officers commendations and has been Sailor of the Quarter twice. “She is a true advocate of the core values of the New Zealand Navy – the essence of the ideal modern sailor.” In her nine years in the Navy, she has had 21 jobs and served in five ships. Her latest is HMNZS CANTERBURY, where she handles the administration on board, acts as the captain’s secretary, is a RHIB coxswain, a member of the emergency medical team, team leader for duty watches, and the senior rates mess treasurer. A/POWTR Stewart, 31, says she has been like this since school, where she was a Board of Trustee student representative, tackled the Young Enterprise scheme, and did a 5th form subject during 4th form. “I do a lot of everything. I’ve been like this since school, I just can’t help myself. I just fill in for anyone, anywhere, going here, there, everywhere. My mum tells me to slow down, but I love it. I like change.” She channelled her schooling around a career in the Navy and joined in 2004. She was devastated when she was medically discharged after five weeks with a stress fracture. “I thought the world was over. I’m back to being on the farm.” But she decided to go for it again, rejoining in 2007 and never looking back.

Above: Sailor of the Year 2016 A/POWTR Jo Stewart with Chief of Navy RADM John Martin and WON Steve Bourke.

my parents,” she said. She congratulated the other six nominees. “Obviously everyone was all equally good, and deserved recognition.” She said the future was about embracing anything that comes her way, and would like to mentor young sailors. “I didn’t expect to become a firefighter, or driving a ship. This is a career that opens your eyes to so many possibilities.” The Sailor of the Year receives a Chief of Navy commendation, an overseas study tour and support packages.

2016 End of the Year Fleet Awards The Commander W.J.L Smith Trophy Best Overall Supporting Force Element No. 6 Squadron The RNZN Seamanship Award Outstanding effort to promote and enhance good seamanship practices The Supply Chain Group The Chatham Rose Bowl and RNZN Efficiency Pennant Best all-round result HMNZS TE KAHA Monowai Trophy Highest level of Operational Excellence HMNZS CANTERBURY The Naval Support Command Efficiency Trophy Consistently utilised effective processes, to enable the department to operate at a high standard of efficiency The Junior Rates Fleet Mess Committee The Naval Support Command Customer Service Trophy Consistently utilised Customer-focused processes, in order to provide a high standard of Customer Service HMNZS PHILOMEL Base Operations Unit The Murano Naval Reserve Division of the Year Trophy Demonstrated the most organisational efficiency throughout the year

She was on CANTERBURY when it was deployed to Kaikoura in November after the 7.8 earthquake. “We were told, pack up and leave, we’re sailing tonight. It was extremely long day, but so many thankful and humble people. I was the go-to person for them.”


She said she was “overwhelmed” and “absolutely thrilled” to be awarded Sailor of the Year. “I was shocked, had a few tears, called




RNZN SAFETY AWARD Recognising superior efforts in promoting and pursuing safety excellence


All ships, all crews – get out there and show us you can do it.

January’s “fleet shakedown” following Christmas leave involved the Navy’s force elements – plus two Seasprite helicopters – departing together for the Hauraki Gulf for four days, working to make sure the core mariner skills were polished for the New Year.

Above: HMNZS TE KAHA fires her main gun. Below: TE KAHA’s .50 cal machinegun delivers a punch to a killer tomato. Crew confer during a fire control exercise.

It was an exercise not seen in at least two decades. Fleet Warfare Officer Lieutenant Commander Andy Mahoney, Maritime Operational Evaluation Team, says the long-term focus is of operational excellence. “We are deploying all our force elements at sea, operating together. They will run their normal routines, whilst conducting a series of evaluations including ship handling, damage control, boarding operations, man overboard, aviation, underway replenishment and gunnery.” He says this is different from a ship work-up. “That’s working up a ship for a specific task or operation . This is a shakedown, for activities common across the fleet, including tasking and operations that any of them could be called upon to do. It’s a baseline assurance to the MCC and CN that the ships are ready to proceed with the year’s programme.” The irony that it will put MOET through their paces isn’t lost on him. “We’re certainly having a shakedown as well.” Top of page: HMNZS TE MANA heads out of Auckland, followed by HMNZS OTAGO.



A DIFFERENT TIME Captain Fleet Operational Readiness (CFOR), Captain Dave McEwan, says the Navy used to do something like this in the late eighties. “You’d go out, under the umbrella of AUCKEX (Auckland Exercises) to kick-start the year. There was more emphasis on preparing the fleet, core mariner skills. We’d shoot a lot of stuff, then typically all the ships would go to Waitangi.” Back then, with 250-odd crew on a Leanderclass frigate, it was easy to provide a 100-person guard. “We’d take the tanker, two frigates, MONOWAI, a number of small boats, and occupy the Bay of Islands – it was a wonderful occasion.” Then the deployments would go from there, and eight months later ships would come home, having been to Australia and South East Asia. “Back then you had two Leanders out there doing the work, one in a year-long refit, and another dedicated to a training role.” It was a very different time with eight-month deployments, he said. “Everyone got qualified, everyone stayed with their ship. By the time you got home, everyone was absolutely polished. The ship’s company was tight, you really knew what you were doing. You had some people join a ship, and not leave it for five years. A real strength of unity, and team spirit was very strong. And when you were home, you were home.” But long deployments were hard on families, meaning today five to six months is now usual. “By and large, I think we have got that right.”

Above: Crews assembled for a fleet parade following fleet shakedown.

difficulties and work together as a team, proving their seaworthiness and operational capability as a unit, leading up to the deployments and operations TAUPO will be participating in throughout the year.

Above: LMT(L) Steven Williams demonstrates TAUPO’s bridge controls to a young member of the public during their Ship Open To Visitors day.



nshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS TAUPO was thrown into the “deep end” as she emerged from the summer leave period, sailing straight into the Fleet Shakedown week in the Hauraki Gulf. The Shakedown was designed to “dust off the cobwebs” by getting the Fleet to sea for a series of progressively challenging serials, including Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres (OOWMANS), Damage Control (DC) Exercises, Engineering Casualty Control Exercises (ECCDs), Boarding Exercises, and Gunnery (to name a few). The exercises, following a crawl, walk, run pattern pushed the crew of TAUPO to overcome



On completion of the Shakedown week, TAUPO entered Auckland harbour and berthed at Captain Cook Wharf to support the Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations. The crew got a much-needed break on Saturday, but were hard at work on Sunday and Monday with a Ship Open to Visitors (SOTV) day, seeing over 3000 people through on the first day, and over 3000 on the second. The SOTV was a great way for the public to meet some of the crew and learn a lot about what the ship does, where we go, and the important roles TAUPO has around New Zealand’s coast. TAUPO gained a great deal of experience during the Shakedown week and is now poised to continue operations for the remainder of 2017.

“Shakedown week was a great experience with loads of things to see, such as the awe-inspiring sight of the Royal New Zealand Navy together at sea.” – AMT(P) Jonathon Holder, HMNZS TAUPO

HMNZS CANTERBURY fires a salute at midday on Waitangi Day.

WAITANGI DAY The Navy – and Waitangi organisers – know how to value their day when the sun is shining.


cross three brilliant days in the Bay of Islands the Navy were intensely involved in celebrating New Zealand’s national day, including a virtual mini-tour by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band. HMNZS WELLINGTON opened to the public at Opua while HMNZS CANTERBURY lay at anchor near Waitangi, firing her saluting guns for the midday 21-gun salute.

Above: WOHST Bernie Reihana, with the Maori Culture Group, greets Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy during a function in HMNZS WELLINGTON. Below: The Royal New Zealand Navy Band in action on Waitangi Day morning.



Below: CPODR Rangi Ehu with the culture group during a function on board HMNZS WELLINGTON at Opua.

Above: The Governor General is greeted at Te Tii Marae on Saturday morning.

But it was the closing Beat Retreat ceremony at the Treaty Grounds on Waitangi Day itself – the first time in five years – that appeared to earn the biggest favour with the public. The sunset service, a repeat of the formal ceremony on Sunday evening, met with applause and cheers from families. The Navy hosted Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett from her arrival at Kerikeri airport on Sunday, with Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin escorting her to a waiting Seasprite helicopter for a ride to CANTERBURY. Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, having attended an early Saturday morning powhiri at Te Tii Marae, was a guest on board HMNZS WELLINGTON later that day. WELLINGTON, tied up at Opua, held a ship’s open day on Friday with 200 schoolchildren visiting, and opened again to the public on Sunday. In a notable visual contrast, the fourth largest cruise liner in the world, the 169,000-tonne MS OVATION OF THE SEAS, was in the Bay of Islands, making CANTERBURY “look like a rowing boat”, remarked one naval officer. On board WELLINGTON, RADM Martin told guests about the Navy’s long-standing relationship with Waitangi, starting with the



presence of a Navy band from HMS OPAL at the 50th anniversary observance. At the 150th anniversary, in 1990, the RNZN was presented a charter from Te Tai Tokerau, giving the Navy the right to march with bayonets fixed and swords drawn through the lands of the Tai Tokerau, especially the Treaty Grounds.

2016 WORKPLACE SAFETY: THE YEAR IN REFLECTION By Fleet Operational Safety Officer (FOSO), WOCSS(U) James Harper

In order to continue our quest for a safe working environment for our personnel into 2017 and beyond we must reflect on the lessons learnt, and safety issues, both good and bad of 2016. Such reflection and analysis will guide us to a better safety situation for all, and importantly helping to prevent reoccurrences of accidents and incidences. So let’s now take a look at the busy year that was 2016.

Safety Trends There were four main safety trends identified during the year, they were; RADHAZ Issues, small boat work, electrical hazards (tag out, shocks), and lifting equipment (out of certification of slings and strops). A lot of work has been put in to addressing these issues by Seaworthiness staff, Captain Fleet Operational Readiness staff, Technical Seaworthiness Authority, NAVOSH, and of course our sailors at sea and ashore. One of the main contributing factors to these incidents is the human factor, particularly failure to follow well-established procedures and systems. Although some of these safety trends are seeing a reduction in incidents due to the action plans being put in place, they remain extant and I would ask you all to be mindful and pay greater attention to these areas of concern.

Safety Reporting 2016 saw an increase in reporting of 78% over year 2015 figures Now the good news, Chief of Navy demanded an increase in accident, incident, and near miss reporting, and you all delivered. 2016 saw an increase in reporting of 78 percent over year 2015 figures, well done team. Reporting is very important, not from an accounting standpoint, but more so for safety improvement. From these reports we can identify trends, such as those mentioned above and put action plans in place to prevent harm to our people and equipment. Without both we cannot fight, and more importantly in these times of peace we all get to go home to our whanau without harm, both physical and mental.

Navy Safety Award 2016 The Navy safety award for 2016 was deservedly awarded to LT Matt Turner, RN, of HMNZS CANTERBURY on 15 Dec 16. LT Turner proactively sought to improve and promote safety, and safety standards on board. His diligent work as the ships SHEMS Officer lifted CANTERBURY to a higher standard of safety awareness and reporting, well done. Safety improvement is a continuous journey and one that all personnel must take an active part in, regardless of rank. We are all responsible for each other’s safety and therefore equally responsible when it goes wrong. Please remember our Safe Sailor Action, if you have a safety concern raise it to your Command, you could save a life. Could I ask you all to continue the good work in safety that has been achieved thus far, and let’s make 2017 an even safer year, as we continue the important and challenging work of protecting New Zealand’s interests at sea.



he Navy are leading the way in voluntary reporting of safety events, says Safety Director Susan D’Ath-Weston.

“We are seeing a steady increase in the reporting of low risk safety events and this reflects an improving positive safety culture across Defence,” she says. Monthly data on safety events over the 12 months to December 2016 showed a stepped increase with Navy leading the way with a concerted initiative to increase voluntary reporting on their ships and bases each month. The data gathered creates an effective Safety Management System (SMS), she says. “A key indicator of an improving SMS is an increase in reporting rates. We are seeing a steady increase in the reporting of low-risk safety events and this reflects an improving positive safety culture across Defence. When our people tell us about hazards, safety problems, the little things every day, we actually have an opportunity to put the pieces together and prevent these issues coming together to produce harm.” “We encourage reporting of safety issues no matter how small, because a culture of reporting each event is important in making NZDF a safer organisation,” she says.




By Andrew Bonallack


eather is always on the Commanding Officer’s mind with a voyage that crosses the Antarctic circle.

“Days could be beautiful, sunny, then two hours later, dark, overcast, snowing, fog, temperature down to minus seven,” says LTCDR Kaio. “Halfway through a boarding, it started to snow. It’s a pretty challenging environment, it changes very, very quickly. You are on your guard all the time.”

“My side of things is living and breathing weather,” says Lieutenant Commander Matt Kaio, speaking to Navy Today after he brought HMNZS WELLINGTON home from a successful southern ocean deployment over December. In fact, he admits WELLINGTON had it good, with ice a long way south this summer – so much so that the OPV reached 68 degrees 3 minutes latitude South, about 89 nautical miles (165km) beyond the Antarctic Circle. The RNZN’s regular Southern Ocean patrols, under Operation CASTLE, come from New Zealand’s obligation as a member of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Fishing vessels licensed to operate in the CCAMLR area are subject to stringent rules. As part of a multiagency effort led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it is the Navy’s job to get Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) compliance officers into the CCAMLR area, enabling them to board and carry out compliance checks on licensed fishing vessels and to monitor for Illegal, Unreported or Unregulated (IUU) fishing. WELLINGTON had some significant advantages on this mission, the seventh so far for OPVs. New weather sensors, installed prior to WELLINGTON’s mission to Kaikoura last year, were better than



anything used before, making forecasts possible. “Days could be beautiful, sunny, then two hours later, dark, overcast, snowing, fog, temperature down to minus seven,” says LTCDR Kaio. “Halfway through a boarding, it started to snow. It's a pretty challenging environment, it changes very, very quickly. You are on your guard all the time.”

Top: WELLINGTON crewmembers stretch their legs on Stewart Island, after their Ross Sea patrol.

By MID Matthew Pfahlert


n the 27 November, HMNZS WELLINGTON departed Dunedin, destination the Southern Ocean. It was a journey that felt like it had begun months before, with a RNZN Ice training course for all watchkeepers. Cold weather survival training and cold weather medical training for the whole ship, plus a four-week workup courtesy of MOET, all had to be completed before we finally got the approval to head south. Immediately upon exiting Dunedin Harbour, we conducted a Man Overboard exercise, followed by a simulated hit of an iceberg, with an abandon ship drill completing the afternoon activities. From there it was a three-day steam south towards the first vessel of interest.

Clockwise from top: Extra lookouts on the bridge, constantly looking for ice. HMNZS WELLINGTON is dwarfed by an immense ice shelf. A vessel of interest is boarded. Heavy going for the RHIB crew in icy seas. The bow of WELLINGTON cuts through the Southern Ocean.

WELLINGTON crossed the Antarctic Circle on the evening of 30 November, and only a few hours later sighted our first iceberg, much to the excitement of all the Ship’s Company. The further south we travelled, the later the sunset and the earlier the sunrise, until we were so far south, it never got dark at all. The two to three hours between sunset and rise, combined with the sun being just under the horizon, played with our body clocks. There is nothing quite like coming off the first or middle watch, leaving the bridge and the sky being bright, with the sun up, and trying to go back to sleep. The weather was kind to WELLINGTON, treating us to calm seas, and that, combined with the edge of the ice shelf being well further south than would be normal for that time of year, gave WELLINGTON excellent conditions to board 10 vessels over four days, a new record number of boardings for OP CASTLE. We also drove the ship right up to the edge of the ice shelf for a closer look, and a few photo opportunities, before shaping a course to Stewart Island for some much appreciated time ashore to stretch legs as well as our Christmas dinner and secret Santa while at anchor. We had a weekend run ashore in Wellington where the weather pulled out all the stops, before returning to Auckland on 21 December. It had been the first time operating in ice conditions for all but two of our watchkeeping officers, dodging icebergs, bergy bits and the occasional whale or orca. Overall we had a great four weeks of operations, some cool photos, and a few more dits to spin.



At this time of year at this latitude, the sun barely sets, and the crew made the most of the days, between December 1 and December 6. “We did 10 boardings. The highest amount of boardings ever done, the previous was eight. MPI were over the moon on the amount of boardings we did.” The crew encountered Korean, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Australian and New Zealand vessels, fishing for Antarctic toothfish. Another new advantage was getting to trial a Remote Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for the first time. The ScanEagle RPAS is designed to augment the ship’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability. A four-person team from Australian company Insitu Pacific Ltd would launch the drone from WELLINGTON’s flight deck, retrieving it hours later with the use of a vertical arrester wire.

“This was the first time the RNZN had launched a fixed-wing aircraft since WWII. He says his crew were there to focus on the job and board ships, but part of being in the southern ocean is appreciating the environment. This included whales, and the novelty of snow and icebergs, with perhaps only half a dozen having previous southern ocean experience. “You have ice lookouts when you go below 60 degrees South, and if you saw one you could name them. It was actually LSCS Robinson who saw the first iceberg. He named it Alexander the Great, after his son. They are so slow-moving, we could use them as points of reference.”The mission capped off an “amazing year” for WELLINGTON, as they included a visit to Stewart Island, Milford Sound and a good-will visit to primary schools in Kaikoura on the way back to Auckland. “We have been here, there, everywhere, north to the equator, south to the Antarctic circle. That’s 168 days at sea, 218 days away from Auckland. We’ve gone a long way, but it’s a good ship’s company. I’m blessed with a good team.”

From top of page: Toothfish hang ready for processing in a fishing ship. The ScanEagle Remote Piloted Aircraft System is launched from the flight deck of WELLINGTON. Snow and ice settle on the RHIB crew during a boarding.



THE SAILORS’ SAILOR By Andrew Bonallack


17-year-old Kapiti teenager, small for his age and struggling for direction in life, has gone on to become our latest Warrant Officer of the Navy.

WO Wayne Dyke, who joined the Navy in 1986, took over the threeyear role from WON Steve Bourke on 20 February. The Warrant Officer of the Navy works closely with the Chief of Navy to bring the ratings’ perspective to the decisions of the chain of command.

WO Dyke says as a teenager living at Paraparaumu Beach, he thought about joining the police force but was not big enough to qualify. His stepbrother was in the Army, but a recruiter noticed Dyke’s leanings towards the ocean and suggested the Navy. “I’ve been in the Navy for 30 years, and never intended to stay as long as I did. But by the time I was big enough and broad enough to join the police force, I was having too much fun.” During Basic Common Training he says he grew six inches, thanks to a daily regime of three big meals and exercise, and set himself a goal of five years’ service. “By the time four years had rolled around, I had had my 21st in a foreign port…the camaraderie on the ships…that was it.” He has had a varied career, with highlights being the Command Warrant Officer during counter-piracy deployments on HMNZS TE MANA, peace talks in Bougainville and missions to East Timor. He was also part of the weapons inspection team in Iraq before the second Gulf War. It is an irony in that, during his work in Strategy Management and Human Resource Management Information Systems in Wellington, that he was tasked with mapping out the structure of the Warrant Officer of the Navy role. As the WON, he wants to support and recognise the talent on offer in young sailors. He says he finds their enthusiasm and energy invigorating. “As an organisation we have become a lot more aware of how talented our young sailors are, and how many skills they have.

Above: Warrant Officer Wayne Dyke, who was sworn in as the new Warrant Officer of the Navy in a Change of Watch ceremony this month.

It’s really exciting time to be a young sailor in the Navy, I’m envious of the journey they are about to embark on.” He wants to provide bilateral training opportunities offshore, where young sailors are given opportunities to build networks. “As they move up the ranks, that will strengthen, so when they end up in roles like Command Warrant Officers, they’ve got a big network they can call on.” He wants to evolve the Sailor of the Year programme, which has been running for 18 years. “We haven’t been giving them enough preparation, so we need to extend the programme and allow for some training – and a whole lot more support.” The programme would also be extended to the Sailor of the Year finalists – “all worthy candidates”. As a veteran, he is quick to tell youngsters of the advances made in the RNZN during his time of service.“I work with a dynamic command team, and it’s a safe and open environment, where people are encouraged to speak up.” “The other thing I would like to achieve during my tenure is reinvigorating the mana of the Chief Petty Officer rank. There’s been a lot of focus on Warrant Officers, and WO development. I think we have done that well, but potentially at the expense of the CPO. They are the Chiefs, the top professionals, highly respected. I want to reinvigorate that.” He would like to see more community involvement, having noticed an appetite among sailors for volunteer charity work during overseas deployments. WO Dyke is a plasma donor every two weeks. His advice to others, which he has taken on himself, is grabbing opportunities when they come. “Never turn down an opportunity, even if you feel it may take you out of your comfort zone. It will give you more training. You never know what opportunities it will lead to – it often will be bigger and better things.”



‘Oscar’s girls’ complete epic fundraising ride By Andrew Bonallack


here’s obviously something about three-year-old Oscar Cakebread that kept three Navy women on the road for 25 nights. His cuteness factor made him an instant hit, but it was his fundraising struggle that made them pause. Oscar, from Wellington, has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. It causes severe muscle stiffness – spasticity – which has a big impact on his mobility and ability to sleep. It is like having cramp in the legs, but having that feeling all the time. His family needed to take Oscar to England for surgery in September, costing about $100,000, and they posted an appeal on Givealittle. Meanwhile, HMNZS ENDEAVOUR sailors ACWS Sarah Freeman, LMED Caitlin Williams and HMNZS TAUPO crew member AMED Lauren Meyer were planning to bike from Cape Reinga to Bluff during their Christmas break. They wanted to fundraise, and went searching for a cause. “We knew we wanted a person, rather than a charity, because you can see where the money goes,” LMED Williams said. In April they found Oscar on Givealittle. “He’s pretty cute, and he hadn’t raised much money, so we chose him.” Oscar’s parents, Anna Williamson and Chris Cakebread, were delighted and amazed that someone they had never met would do this, LMED Williams said. Training for the ride was minimal, she said. “Sarah and I, we were both at sea a lot, and hadn’t been able to do much training. People thought we were crazy, saying to us: ‘Are you sure about this?’ “But we are all pretty strong personalities. Once we had set our minds to it, we were going to do it.” AMED Meyer bought her bike only weeks before the trip and had not done a training ride. “I wasn’t stressed out. I’m training for PTI selection. So she’ll be right. And she was right.” ACWS Freeman said they often got a dubious look from others, but it did not bother them. “We’re very headstrong girls. Even if it was hard, we would still do it. We knew the basics. We knew how to change a tyre out, and fix the really basic things. And even if we didn’t know how to fix something, we adapted it.” The trio started at Cape Reinga on December 11 and finished at Bluff on January 3. They took turns driving a support van, while riding four to six hours a day, and kept their supporters updated on Facebook. A highlight of the trip was meeting Oscar in Wellington, preceded by a Military Police escort through the Akatarawa Ranges. “He’s so cheeky, so bubbly,” LMED Williams said. “He called us ‘his girls’.”



Above: ACWS Sarah Freeman (left), LMED Caitlin Williams and AMED Lauren Meyer in their Navy riding gear.





Franz Josef Haast

From Cape Reinga to the Bluff

Wanaka Queenstown



“… we had been a whole year building up to it, and knowing we had raised over $7000 was pretty rewarding.”

Cape Reinga Mangonui


AMED Meyer said it felt like they had known the family forever. “It made it seem quite real.” Wellsford Auckland


Mangakino Taupo



Nelson St Arnaud


The Haast to Wanaka leg, 140km, was probably their favourite part because of the “incredible” scenery. But there were hard sessions as well. LMED Williams described one morning when they looked at each other, groaning. “Christmas Day, Sarah and I were so tired. It was St Arnaud to Reefton and I said, ‘I don’t want to cycle today’. But we had to.” The three riders were amazed at the generosity of New Zealanders, after they had emailed hotels and backpacker hostels, explaining their cause. “We only had to pay for accommodation for one night,” LMED Williams said. “We were put up in people’s homes, backpackers, everyone gave it to us for free. We only had to pitch the tent one night, and the campsite was free.” Experiencing that generosity was “very humbling, very cool”, AMED Meyer said. The trio had already raised $4000 before the trip, thanks to a charity function in the junior rates mess and auctioning a pair of rugby boots belonging to All Black Beauden Barrett. “It was a stand-out moment, meeting Oscar,” ACWS Freeman said. “But finishing, getting to Bluff, knowing we had done it… we had been a whole year building up to it, and knowing we had raised over $7000 was pretty rewarding.” The money raised will be used to buy a specialised treadmill for Oscar.

OSCAR’S BIG DAY OUT Oscar was reunited with LMED Williams, AMED Meyer and ACWS Freeman during a special visit to Devonport Naval Base on January 20.


arents Anna Williamson and Chris Cakebread, along with their daughters Lily, 10, and Amelie, 8, joined three-year-old Oscar for a tour of HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, a ride on a RHIB, lunch in the galley and a demonstration from the Dive Clearance Group. ENDEAVOUR’s Commanding Officer, Commander Martin Doolan, met Oscar, who clutched a sailor-costumed teddy bear and proudly wore a ship’s cap while sitting in the Captain’s chair and “driving” the ship. Oscar’s next visit was to the PHILOMEL Boats Squadron, where he had to relinquish his ENDEAVOUR hat for a Gecko helmet and lifejacket, as the family got a ride on a RHIB. A slight chop meant a slow ride around the variety of ships berthed, then the RHIB sailors decided the family could take a bit of spray and bounce on the harbour, resulting in delighted squeals from the children.



Oscar's Big Day Out Continued... The CO of the Littoral Warfare Unit, Commander Matt Wray, and Diver Lieutenant Wesley Moir made sure Oscar’s visit to the Dive Clearance Group would be memorable. The children were allowed to handle demolition props and mock weapons, then watch as Able Diver Arana Te Patu suited up and descended into a training tank. Oscar, held up to the viewing window, watched in fascination as a half-submerged ADR Te Patu attempted to play scissors, paper, stone with him. Despite being informed of Oscar’s visit only a few days previously, LT Moir had an engraved plaque with a mounted diver’s knife ready for Oscar, as well as a Navy Diver’s hat with OSCAR embroidered on the back. Oscar’s obvious stamina might seem like a normal, thriving threeyear-old, but his parents said it was a complete contrast to the subdued and disabled youngster who struggled to walk and lived with near-constant pain. Now, thanks to surgery in England, he glows and giggles with the joy of discovery, moving rapidly towards an exciting world. Mr Cakebread said it was almost like he didn’t have a character before. “People don’t realise how it affects the whole family. He could be up 20 times a night. Now, he’s just come out of himself, and he’s a horrendously cheeky character.” Ms Williamson said the family was humbled by the fundraising offer from ACWS Freeman, LMED Williams and AMED Meyer, following the family’s appeal on Givealittle. “We were sitting down one night and there was this message from them. They said they were doing



Above: Oscar, 3, with his sisters Lily, 10 (left) and Amelie, 8. Below: Chris Cakebread checks on Oscar as they return from their ride on a RHIB.

this ride and wanted to make it meaningful. We were absolutely blown away – it was so unbelievable.” She said there had been lots of emails since, but when they met the riders in Wellington in December it was like they were part of the family. “We felt like we had known them forever.” She said the family had a wonderful day in Devonport. “Oscar’s been saying: ‘I went on the big boat with my girls. And I got a hat.’ He absolutely loved the day.”

Dog therapy at work By Andrew Bonallack


etting a tummy rub has a whole different way of lifting your day.

That’s probably the point of view of Carly, an eight-yearold female black Labrador frequently seen on Defence business in Auckland and Wellington. But it’s what those pats and cuddles do for Defence staff that makes the easy-going dog so welcome in the workplace. Commander Sandra Walker, part of the Directorate of Future Force Development, fosters Carly, a dog belonging to the New Zealand Epilepsy Assist Dog Trust. Carly has been trained as a companion for those with severe epilepsy, and could be with one person for life. However, in a unique situation, Carly’s owner stopped having seizures. It meant Carly could be placed with another person on the waiting list, but none of them were suitable for her. A trained dog needs to be busy and active, so a busy and active foster person was needed. CDR Walker, a shore-based dog-lover and frequent user of planes, trains and buses, was an ideal match, and took Carly on in August. “It’s like escorting a VIP,” she says. Under the Dog Control Act, a dog for the disabled is allowed just about anywhere, as long as she carries her identification. “Doors open for you, we’re the first in every line, and everyone is pleased to see her.” The dog goes everywhere with CDR Walker, 24/7 – “bath, toilets, waits for me outside the shower”. CDR Walker used to have a dog, but had been at sea for years. “I kept off-loading it on my parents, and found that was unfair. But now, working in Headquarters, it’s the ideal thing. She has to be with me.” At the Freyberg Building in Wellington, Carly enjoys her snoozes beside CDR Walker, but will readily offer a tummy to those looking for an excuse to smooch with a pooch. “It’s so positive for a work environment,” CDR Walker says. “Human behaviour changes, people soften. She sits under my desk, and at morning tea and lunchtimes we go down for a walk. People bond with her quite strongly. It was interesting that after the earthquake a wellness survey was taken and a lot of people mentioned the dog.” On the streets of Wellington, the curious combination of a naval officer walking a dog for the disabled prompts a lot of conversation. CDR Walker says she is effectively an ambassador for the trust. “I get to talk a lot about epilepsy – and a lot about dogs.” She describes Carly as a happy-go-lucky dog who likes to do things in her own time. “She’s so self-disciplined, so focused on her job. Until she gets to the beach, then she reverts to a fun-loving Labrador.” That self-discipline is important, because Carly has to make decisions without commands, including “blocking” – keeping a person away from a kerb – and staying with a person when a seizure occurs.

Above: CDR Sandra Walker with Carly outside NZDF Headquarters in Wellington.


rust dog trainer Paula Denby-Gibbs says the ability of a dog to “read” their human is what makes them so valuable to those who have seizures. “Dogs develop quite a strong bond with their owners,” she says. “They watch them so acutely, and that provides them with that miniscule information that the person is about to have a seizure. We don’t know what it is, these subtle nuances that they pick up on. But they are very good studies of humans, and over time they will notice.” A dog will communicate to its human that a seizure is coming in a way their owner will recognise, in much the same way a pet dog will try to tell its owner something is wrong. “If a person has a seizure the dog’s job is to stay with their owner for three minutes, then they try to get help.” Mrs Denby-Gibbs says they welcome volunteers as dog fosterers. Carly and CDR Walker have been a special case in creating awareness of how good dogs are as therapy in the workplace. “That’s a whole new ballgame for us.” And CDR Walker was perfect as a fosterer, with her travel and work, “in covering the spectrum of activities an epileptic client might engage in”, she says. Find out more at

CDR Walker says this is not like having a pet. “It’s very different. It’s a life-enhancing experience, and it gives you an interesting insight to what they offer to disabled people.” Carly could be reassigned at any time, she says. “They are keen for me to have another dog. Unless I go overseas, I could keep doing it. It has such an amazing impact on the workplace. And it’s helping the community. It’s a very good thing. I’ve had no prior training – you can just be anyone.”








06 1. Pupils at Kaikoura Primary School pull HMNZS WELLINGTON’s LCWS Te Aumihi Woodhead into the fun during the crew’s school visit in December. 2. Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy Band entertain the crowd during the Auckland Anniversary Seeport Open Weekend. 3. OET Conrad Kutia, Gisborne, holds his godson Mathius Tufuga after his graduation from BCT 16/02 in December. 4. OSCS Kirstie Parsons pipes aboard guests on HMNZS TE MANA during Auckland Anniversary. 5. CDR Owen Rodger (left) receives the Commander WJL Smith Cup from Maritime Component Commander Commodore Jim Gilmour during the 2016 Fleet Awards, for being the Best Overall Supporting Force Element. 6. CANTERBURY’s navigating officer James Williams is promoted from SLT to LT during Fleet Shakedown Week, with CANTERBURY’s CO CDR Simon Rooke (left) and CFOR CAPT Dave McEwan doing the honours.








12 7. OET Mareko Ah Toon holds the Spencer Tewsley Cup as the best all round Basic Common Trainee, as he stands with his family at the BCT 16/02 graduations. 8. TS TAMATOA Leading Cadet Brittany Maddock, beside TS TAUPO Leading Cadet Daniel Flower, holds onto her hat in a Wellington gale during the Operation Neptune closing service at Pukeahu National War Memorial. 9. ASA Iosefatu Siulai holds one of the NZDF White Ribbon torches among his crewmates on HMNZS TE MANA. 10. CPOSCS Rawiri Barriball during the fleet parade following the Navy Shakedown in January. 11. The Adam and Eve Show, with presenters Adam Percival and Eve Palmer, tackled some Damage Control and fire exercises with the Sea Safety Training Squadron and HMNZS OTAGO in January. 12. OSA Wiripo Manuera during fire drills aboard HMNZS WELLINGTON.



NH90s Ship-bound By Rebecca Quilliam

No. 3 Squadron’s NH90s have been stood up to operate on to ships at home and internationally after work on HMNZS CANTERBURY late last year. This important development has vastly increased the countries they can travel to when they are needed for disaster response.


o. 3 Squadron Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Scott McKenzie, said the capability broadened the nature of the NH90s’ role within the New Zealand Defence Force.

“We are able to transfer personnel and stores from ship to shore or reverse and we can also refuel on the ship,” WGCDR McKenzie said. “So that gives us a greater range and a greater capability, especially for HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) or earthquake response.” The NH90s would be able to perform the tasks regardless of whether the ship was moving, he said.



“I think it’s a fantastic capability that can operate all around New Zealand and further afield, such as the Southwest Pacific and beyond.” The people who were involved in developing the capability – from maintenance, supply, air crew – had done an enormous amount of work, he said. “We’ve also worked with the Australian Navy and No. 6 Squadron during the process. So we’ve had great support. It’s been a big team effort on the back of an intense period with earthquake recovery operations.” HMNZS CANTERBURY Commanding Officer Commander Simon Rooke said from a Navy point of view it significantly enhanced the capability that the CANTERBURY could deliver on behalf of the whole of the Defence Force. “Having the NH90s now being to operate from the ship opens up so many more capabilities for us, and for the Navy it’s just a further extension of our jointery, given that we’ve had Air Force personnel within our naval flights for 50 years with the Wasps and now the Seasprites.” Until now the NH90s could be shipped, but they could operate only from the shore, CDR Rooke said.

Top: Air Force personnel practise as the NH90 trains with CANTERBURY. Below: Touchdown, and personnel move to secure the helicopter.

“Now we have integrated the NH90 capability, if we’re in a remote location they can come with us to that location and then they lodge ashore. More importantly, they can pick up fuel and transfer cargo and people.”

In the future the NH90s would also be able to operate from the HMNZS ENDEAVOUR replacement ship and the littoral off-shore support ship, CDR Rooke said. “It’s a great result for all of us and it came about after a great amount of hard work by a number of different parts of the organisation.” The embarked capability will be developed further later this year, in conjunction with Exercise SOUTHERN KATIPO on the South Island’s West Coast.



A CENTURY OF SERVICE By Andrew Bonallack

You probably won’t find another triple-act like the Hannah brothers today.


etween them, Mark, Dean and Wayne Hannah have notched up more than a century of combined continuous service for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The three, who hail from Otaki, share similarities in how they joined the Navy, including a disinclination towards higher education and the encouragement of a strong-willed mother. The eldest brother, Chief Petty Officer Wayne Hannah, now 38 years in, joined on 20 September, 1978. He saw a mate with a Navy T-shirt and rather liked it. His parents wrote a letter to the recruiters. “The recruiter wrote back and said, ‘You sound young and keen, would you like to join?’ I was 16, I didn’t know much. I was taken down to the train station in Levin. When I got up there, you did as you were told and away you went.” Youngest brother Warrant Officer Dean Hannah was the second to join, in February 1985, and has served 32 years. He says he felt fifth form was as far as he wanted to go in school.

Above: From left, brothers Mark, Wayne and Dean Hannah have a combined continuous service of more than a century for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Warrant Officer Mark Hannah, the middle child and 31 years in the Navy, had been applying on and off since he was 16, but only got in six months after Dean. “I didn’t have School C – I didn’t like school. I wanted to leave but the rules [at home] were you had to have a job.” In 1985 he was knocked back again on his application. He was 22 and had nearly given up. His mother called Commodore Auckland, CDRE Lincoln Tempero. “The First Lieutenant said, ‘If you want an appointment, there’s an 8am slot tomorrow’. My mother hung up the phone and said, ‘Get in the car’.”

“I always wanted to be in the military,” he says, but the Army recruiter told him he was 23 days shy of the right age.

The pair drove all night, knocking on CDRE Tempero’s door the next morning. He arranged for a medical and they discovered there had been an error in the medicals over the years, causing the knock-backs.

“I saw the Navy recruiter – there was a 15.5 joining age – and they said, ‘You are good to go’.

“I passed and he said, ‘You can enrol in February’ [1986]. My mum said, ‘There’s an intake starting on Monday. I want him on it.’”

“I went to the Levin RSA, did the exam with my mum sitting there. The letter came, I said to mum, ‘Look at this, I’m in’. I went to Auckland on the train, never looked back. It was the best thing I ever did.”

The three brothers say they have done all the “standard stuff” with the Navy, including serving together. Wayne, who started in Stores, and Mark (Communications) are now recruiters. “This may sound funny, but my aim was always to end up in

HOLDING A LONG NOTE By Andrew Bonallack


etty Officer Musician Jo Spiers says she would tell any musically inclined youngster what a great career the Navy offers. POMUS Spiers has been a trumpeter in the Royal New Zealand Navy Band for 30 years, which in October earned her a clasp to her Long Service Good Conduct Medal. In fact, she joined in 1978 but took time away from the band when her son was born. She was the second female to join the Left: Petty Officer Musician Joanna Spiers has earned her first clasp to her Long Service Good Conduct Medal.



recruiting,” says Mark, who manages the Recruiting Ambassador Programme. “I remember looking at the guy who recruited me and thought, ‘I want his job’. I wanted to be in a position to help other people.” Every day you are reminded why the NZDF is so good, because of what it offers young men and women, he says. “There’s nothing like a recruit coming to you and saying, ‘Thanks, I’m having a blast’.” Another high point is making warrant officer, he says. “First,” he adds with a smile. Wayne cuts in: “I’m the first and best looking.” Dean wades in with: “I’m the smartest.” Dean, a marine engineer and qualified electrical inspector, says a particular high point was serving in Afghanistan and restoring a base’s electrical system from disaster to top notch. “I was doing 19-hour days and one of the biggest kicks was when someone said, ‘The Navy don’t have any place here’, and a young medic said, ‘If it wasn’t for the Navy you wouldn’t have any power’. That shut them up.” His current posting is on the Anzac frigates’ Platform Systems Upgrade phase 2, which he describes as “most trying at times but very satisfying”. Wayne says the professionalism of the Navy appeals to him. “I’ve been on a lot of ships, helped build the Anzac frigates. Sailors in those days, their lives evolved around a real work-hard, play-hard scenario. But whenever crap happened the lads would switch to professional mode, get on with it. That’s why you do it. If I had to do it again, no regrets.” But it is hard on families, he says. “The job came first. When I came back [from a tour], there was this four-month-old baby. The families are the unsung heroes.” Mark agrees. “My son was born the day I was deployed for five months, so you miss a lot. But the support services are better these days, policy changes have improved for young sailors now. Those people who reminisce about the 80s, those days are gone. You grasp the changes, see where they take you.” Wayne has never thought about leaving. “I’ve loved it, every step of the way.” He thinks the other two have crept up “by stealth” in the ranks. At one time, Wayne was a CPO and Dean was a leading

band – the first had joined that same year. Unlike other branches of the Navy, the band is unusual in that members – up to 32 full-time musicians – are not split up or reassigned to different postings. “We’re together all the time. Your job is to create music,” POMUS Spiers says. However, the band does “split” depending on the need, she says. There might be a need for a rock band, a jazz band, a Dixie band, or a brass quartet or wind quintet. “The band is extremely versatile – whatever ensemble is needed, for whatever venue,” she says. The “bread and butter” for the band is ceremonial. “Recently, the Prime Minister of Fiji came to New Zealand, so we go to Government House and do his welcome.” As a trumpet player, bugling is an inevitable extra duty for POMUS Spiers on Anzac Day and Armistice Day, plus general bugling requirements. “There’s a lot of bugling,” she says.

Above: CPOME Dean Hannah in Afghanistan.

seaman on HMNZS CANTERBURY together. Dean used to wonder about leaving during some “hard-yakker” years. “But I would have had to answer to mum. Then, when you get promoted, things get easier. And the people around you make a difference.” Mark says it was such a fight to get in, he was determined to make the best of it. “I got sent to some ‘horrible’ postings, which turned out to be really good. The perception of ‘bad postings’ is not there, it’s what you make of it. People told me I had big shoes to fill, and I always said, ‘I’ve got my own shoes’.” The three have reflected on their determined mother. “Mum was the lynchpin,” Mark says. “She passed away in 2009. At her funeral we all walked out and said, ‘It’s safe to leave [the Navy] now’. She always said, ‘If any of you try to leave the Navy...’” Like most mothers, they want to know their children are secure, he says. “With life in the NZDF, you’ve got somewhere to stay, someone to feed you. She was our biggest fan. She was always standing on the wharf in Wellington, quite proud of us being in the service.”

Highlights for POMUS Spiers were the Navy’s 50th anniversary in 1991, which involved a six-week tour of New Zealand, and being part of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2000, which was held in Wellington for the first time. “I’ve had two trips to Gallipoli, and we’ve been on a few trips to Korea. The first time was in 2000, for the 50th anniversary of the Korean War.” Being a musician is one of the best jobs you can have, she says. “You get time to practise your craft, and you get to play in all different types of ensembles. Most musicians do music because that’s what they love to do, and we get paid to do it. And being in the military, it’s good for discipline.” She has talked to youngsters about being a Navy musician, and some have ended up joining. “I would tell any young person, anybody, it’s a great job.”





ormer Petty Officer Stoker Murray Rowe calls out to his son, Kerry, to find his Japanese bayonet. “I’ve got it Dad,” says Kerry, handing it to the Navy Today editor. Mr Rowe turns to the editor. “Have you pulled it out of the sheath? It’s still in good nick? It’s still shiny?” Mr Rowe can’t see his war souvenir any more, having gone blind. But there’s nothing wrong with his memory. His story starts with his service number, NZD 1920, which he has never forgotten because it’s the year he was born. And as he settles back in his chair, the detail of his time aboard New Zealand’s famous cruisers HMS / HMNZS ACHILLES and LEANDER comes just as readily. Born in Waikato to sharemilker parents, there were four boys in the family and “something’s got to give”, Mr Rowe says. War broke out and they were all military age. “I opted for the Navy. My football mates all plumped for the Air Force, and I nearly did too. Those four blokes, they went to Bomber Command, gunners on the Lancasters, and all were killed within 12 months.” In stark contrast, Mr Rowe’s introduction to war was a pleasant one. HMS ACHILLES had its heroic return from the famous Battle of the River Plate and six months into his service Mr Rowe, 19, was posted on board for a cruise around New Zealand. “We were feted,” he says. “All they could see was HMS ACHILLES on your cap.” In Nelson a man pressed five pounds into the young seaman’s hand, declaring: “You’ve saved the world!” Mr Rowe protested he was only six months in, but the man was past hearing. “We had thousands aboard. ‘Oh my God,’ I thought, ‘this is a great war, a good start to my war.’” But soon came the “nitty gritty”. While in Australia a large section of the ship’s company sailed on a troopship to India, to connect with ACHILLES’ sister ship LEANDER in Bombay. The war was still good – people seemed to work only half a day in India, he says. “We’d come back to barracks, have a lovely swim, lovely food, clothes were just chucked out – the coolies cleaned it all up. I thought, ‘This war is getting better’. We hadn’t run into the bullets yet.” Things got real when LEANDER embarked into the Indian Ocean three weeks later. “The captain said, ‘We’re in for the long haul, so I’m glad you’ve enjoyed Bombay. You’ve got to pay for that.’” LEANDER was on the hunt for armed merchant ships. One day, while deep in the engine room, the clanger went off, signalling “Full Speed”. A ship’s mast had been spotted. The LEANDER stayed at full speed through the night and by morning



slowed to investigate a merchant ship. Mr Rowe was worried about the LEANDER being “sucked in” as they came to within 500 yards. “Which was criminal. We lost the SYDNEY – she got sucked right in like that, by an armed raider. And here we were, bloody near going alongside.” The gunnels on the mystery ship dropped and there was a six-inch gun staring at LEANDER. “Boom, boom! One went over us, one missed. Of course, we had guns trained on her. We fired, blew the bridge off, oh, a mess we made, at 500 yards. They were all jumping over the side, and they lowered a couple of boats. Some swam to LEANDER, that’s how close we were. Next minute, there was a terrible explosion. A fire had got into the magazine of the six-inch, and it blew the ship up like paper. She went down nose-first, her swastika fluttering as she went under.” He said the intensity of the fight, in the middle of nowhere, was eerie. “We’re mid-ocean, thousands of miles from anywhere, and there’s this scrap going on and people being killed.” Many of the German sailors were dead or dying, and those who died were buried at sunset. “They were seamen just as we were. Jesus, they were only kids, young German kids, snowy-haired little buggers. They were just doing their job.” The survivors were placed under Royal Marines guard. “We used to hand them cigarettes and a nice big sandwich – the Marines turned their eyes the other way.” Left: A WWII Japanese bayonet, presented to all members of HMNZS ACHILLES while in Tokyo Bay. Below: A painting in Murray Rowe’s living room of HMNZS LEANDER weathering an attack.

The LEANDER made use of its Walrus flying boat, the “Pussers Duck”, most days for reconnaissance. “Sighted German warship” was the signal one morning. “Well, well, we clapped on full speed. We dumped all our paint, everything flammable went over the side. All our shoring timber, the mess deck tables were all broken down, lashed against the bulkhead. We were after this bugger, right or wrong.” Three hours later, the signal came – sorry, a mistake, it’s the CUMBERLAND. “All our paint, everything had gone…” After months in the Indian Ocean, LEANDER called into Aden. Sailors slept on the upper decks, “lovely white decks”, but that was about to end. Mr Rowe was aghast when seamen scrubbed oil fuel into the decks, turning the surface dark. HMS FIJI had been sunk on 22 May, 1941, and it was thought her white decks had made her more visible. ACHILLES was off to the Mediterranean to replace her. LEANDER operated with an “ack ack” ship, HMS PHOEBE. One day, while sailors were lying on deck enjoying the sun, the red flag went up. “In those days we had no radar. Yellow flag meant aircraft in the air. Green meant they were heading in our direction. Red flag, action stations.” Mr Rowe’s action station was A Boiler Room. The first bomb was off the bow, then the second in the sea opposite where he was. The sound of the shrapnel was “like hitting a kerosene tin. We waited for the next one. You could hear them go, whoomph, whoomph. Where is the next one going to land? It was a scary moment. Down below, it’s scary down there.”

duties until we get back to New Zealand. I want to see you on the top of my bridge with a big hat on every day. You’ve had a bad run, and I’m going to try to get you better before we get back.’” He arrived back in Auckland on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, at 11am, Captain Phipps walked a fully dressed Leading Stoker Rowe over to PHILOMEL base – “unheard of, a captain walking with a stoker”, Mr Rowe says – to see the duty paymaster. Down the corridor, Mr Rowe could hear the big strides of a furious paymaster, preparing to wring the neck of the stoker who was disturbing his Christmas morning. The sight of a captain brought him up short with a salute. “Captain Phipps said: ‘Three weeks’ leave, pay and travel warrant.’ He was a great man.”

Above: German sailors row to HMS LEANDER

Mr Rowe returned to the Pacific on ACHILLES, which was stationed between the aircraft carriers and aircraft returning from a mission against the Japanese. “We used to watch them take off in the morning, and count them coming back at night.” If a plane was too badly damaged to land, the pilots would signal a “thumbs down” to ACHILLES and ditch their plane near them. “Many of the planes would come back, hell of a mess, wheels hanging down. The pilots would ditch, crash! All the bits would fly up. We used to watch for this white escape thing to come up. Nine out 10 times, it did. But there were times when nothing came up.” Sometimes the takeoff would be unsuccessful, if the carrier’s bow dipped. The carrier would simply go over the top of the plane. “I saw some sad sights there. We watched it all day, every day.”

As bad as that was, Mr Rowe hated an action after their armed merchant ship is sunk. stations posting in the magazine. “Handling Mr Rowe was on ACHILLES in Tokyo Bay the cordite, putting it on a conveyor belt. They are about a metre and for the Japanese surrender, and was excited by the opportunities a half long, quite light, but very, very volatile.” ashore. Japanese bases and workshops were abandoned, and tools and equipment were up for grabs. Mr Rowe pushed his Operating out of Alexandria, in Egypt, had its perils from enemy luck, sneaking back a short-length Japanese sniper’s rifle and bombers. “I always went ashore with two of my mates, Des from ammunition, stuffed down his socks and bell bottoms. But when a Hamilton and Pat, a classmate from Rotorua. But we had been sitting up all night at action stations, and I said, ‘They’ll be over again search of the ship was ordered for trophy weapons, he hid the bolt from the rifle and tried to pass it off as a harmless souvenir. The tonight’. They said, ‘No, they won’t’. But there was a hell of a big raid Marines were unimpressed, and over the side it went. that night. Those two boys are still there. I was fearing for them, but they were gone.” In 1942 Mr Rowe returned to New Zealand for duties in the Pacific Islands, on minesweeper trawler HMNZS MATAI. It nearly came to an end on the second night at sea, when an American ship collided broadside with MATAI, nearly rolling her over. Mr Rowe picked up a young stoker on his first trip, yelling: “Up top, we’ve been torpedoed!” Mr Rowe remembers everyone in the engine room trying to flee up one ladder. “I could ‘feel’ the water coming in any minute.” MATAI lost 20 feet of the bow, plus its gun, but was holed above the waterline. It was refitted in the Russell Islands, part of the Solomon Islands group. But the islands were renowned for mosquitos, and Mr Rowe contracted malaria. “I was in Guadalcanal for two weeks. Geez, I was a mess.” He can barely remember being put back on MATAI, but things got worse and he went to hospital for another two weeks. Back on MATAI, skin yellow from malaria tablets and still shaky, Captain Phipps called for him. “’Rowe,’ he said, ‘you are excused all

However, he does have a war souvenir. “When we were lying in Tokyo Bay, they presented the ship’s company with a bayonet. It was ex-Okinawa, from prisoners of war. Officers got swords, we all got bayonets.” Now a Petty Officer, Mr Rowe served on corvette HMNZS ARBUTUS when she was paid off after the war and was being returned to England. “Built like a saucer – vomited all the way to England.” But a highlight was going to see the 1948 Olympic Games in Wembley with two other stokers who sneaked ashore – he still has the programme and his ticket. They got to Wembley, but there was nowhere to stay. “We got under a hedge and got wrapped up with our greatcoats.” He finished on HMNZS BELLONA in 1952, having done 12 years. He worked for Tasman Empire Airways, operating a crash boat in front of the enormous aircraft to ensure there was nothing in its path. He then retrained to get his “steam ticket”, working for Forest Products, then United Empire Box, and settled in Panmure, Auckland.



As a boilerman for years, he would often call management with the words “boiler room to bridge”. He remained mightily unimpressed with unions telling him to shut his boilers in support of his “brothers” on strike. “No one in a chair in town tells me to shut my boilers.” He took orders from management. “I know what they [unions] do. They get agitated, shut things down, go over to the hotel and get drunk.” Reflecting on his service, Mr Rowe says: “I’m no hero. I did the job I was required to do. There were thousands of blokes like me.” He had no interest in serving longer than his 12 years, or participating in the Korean conflict. “I wasn’t frightened to go back up there. That would have been soft compared to what I had seen.”

Top of page: A youthful Murray Rowe. Note the requirement of the hat bow over the eye. Above: Murray Vincent Rowe, 96, Nelson.

In 2013 Mr Rowe and Alice, who had retired to Nelson, celebrated 70 years of marriage. He has 21 greatgrandchildren and one great-greatgrandchild. Alice has since died, and Mr Rowe lives close to family in Nelson, still in his own home, surrounded by beautiful gardens he can no longer see. “We were married 72 years. We used to stand here and say, ‘We will make the 75’.”


SLT Theron beside the “Our Ocean” sign at the summit.



n September I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Sir Peter Blake Trust to attend the Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit in Washington DC. The Leadership Summit was a youth-focused event for 150 students from around the world. It was run in parallel with the third annual Our Ocean Conference hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry. The Our Ocean Conference focused on key issues affecting the health of the ocean, including sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, climate-related impacts and protected marine areas. High-profile Ocean Champions like Dr Sylvia Earle and Philippe Cousteau raised awareness of the critical role the ocean plays in sustaining life. The ocean produces half of the oxygen we breathe, absorbs carbon dioxide to limit global temperature rises and supports the livelihood of at least 10 per cent of the world’s population through fishing and aquaculture. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing, global warming and marine pollution are putting pressure on the ocean’s ability to regenerate itself.

into practice by using the sun, planets and stars to navigate across the Pacific Ocean and Coral Sea. What makes this special is that the RNZN is one of a very few Navies in the world to still teach and regularly practise this age-old method of navigation. We still use this method because if we lose GPS in the middle of the ocean, we can still navigate our way home. Bleary-eyed, having only just graduated from sixteen weeks of course the day prior, OOW(A) 16/2 hopped into the shuttle and left OTS. Several coffees and a plane journey later, we arrived in Brisbane and embarked on board MV PACIFIC DAWN, a P&O cruise ship.

Above: Students of the OOW(A) course get ready to find out about astro navigation.

By Ensign Alicia Upjohn


nduring an airport shuttle at 6am is a whole lot easier when your destination is a luxury liner.

On Saturday 5 November, eleven Officer of the Watch (Advanced) (OOW(A)) students and two instructors awoke early to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to conduct Astro Navigation. The purpose of this trip was to transfer celestial navigation theory



After settling in and having an exquisite lunch in the Plantation Buffet, we dusted the cobwebs off our sextants to take our first index error check. This is a process that involves moving the reflected image of the sun above and below the actual sun so that the two tips are just touching. The difference between the two should equal zero, but if not it indicates that there is an error on our sextants that needs to be applied to the sights. At 1830 that night, it was Evening Civil Twilight (ECT), approximately half an hour after sunset when the stars begin appearing in the sky, yet light enough to see the horizon. Very few of us had ever taken a star sight before. This process involves bringing the reflected image of a particular celestial body down to the horizon and measuring its

Without intervention it is forecast that by 2050 there will be more plastic waste than fish in the ocean! Key speakers at the event, including US President Barack Obama, Prince Charles, former First Lady Laura Bush, the Prince of Monaco (Albert II) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, all shared the view that our oceans are in trouble and action need to be taken. Fortunately world leaders are committed to protecting the ocean with foreign and environmental ministers, scientists, philanthropists, heads of civil society and heads of companies from more than 90 countries attending the conference and pledging action. Countries and NGOs announced more than 136 new initiatives on marine protection and conservation valued at over US$5.24 billion at the conference. Initiatives ranged from declaring marine protected areas to banning plastic bags and included an announcement from New Zealand on high seas fisheries patrols of the South Pacific Longline Tuna Fishery in 2017. A global goal has been set to declare at least 10 per cent of the ocean as marine protected areas by 2020, to regenerate ocean ecosystems. These areas will need policing to prevent illegal fishing, and I anticipate the military, in particular the Navy, playing an important role. A significant amount of funding was committed to new technology and monitoring methods to ensure that countries are capable of detecting illegal fishing. While in Washington DC, I also had the opportunity to visit the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. We spent a bit of time on a USNA patrol boat and observed some of the practical work that oceanography students get to carry out at the Academy. The sheer size of the Academy was mind-boggling with 4000 Midshipmen calling it home and a dozen patrol boats allocated for their training.

Top of page: US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Our Ocean, One Future leadership summit.

Attending the conference raised my awareness of the need for ocean conservation and the scale of the effort being made to rectify the issue. It was very encouraging to see how serious the world is taking

this problem, that there is hope for turning it around and that we as a Navy could be at the forefront of this endeavour to ensure the future of our Oceans.

altitude and the exact time the angle of the star was taken to the nearest second. Most of us found it a real challenge, especially those facing into a 20-30 knot wind blowing our sextants around while we were trying to take the sights. Two hours later we finally finished plotting the few stars we had with many of our fixes placing us on the mainland of Australia.

two fully qualified OOW’s on the bridge at any one time.

Above: SLT Pauline Theron poses with Sir Peter Blake “red socks” with Otago University oceanography student Mitchell Chandler and environmentalists Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau.

Over the next few days we were taking at least four to five stars each within our pairs and our fixes were slowly creeping closer and closer to track. Our plotting reduced from over two hours to just over one hour.

The next morning, we woke at 0400. We had to be on the upper decks at least 30 minutes prior to Morning Civil Twilight (MCT), approximately half an hour before sunrise. We were slightly more successful as we were getting an extra one or two stars within our pairs. Our fixes, once plotted, placed us within 10nm of the planned navigation track, plus it was on the ocean this time – things were improving!

The only flaw to celestial navigation is that you are at the mercy of the weather. Upon leaving Port Vila, the sky became overcast and we were struggling to even get one star sight. Fortunately the clouds burnt off very soon after sunrise the next day so we could take our sun sights. By 11 November we were taking five stars each within 20 minutes, and plotting them and planning the next day’s stars all within an hour. Many of us getting within only a few cables of track. The training and environment had worked well for us all.

The rest of the day involved taking numerous sun sights. This is when you bring the sun to the horizon through your sextant and measure the altitude. It is the exact same process as taking star sights but is a lot easier as the horizon is very easy to see and the sun is much larger than the stars. We were also lucky enough to get a tour of the bridge of the ship by the Captain. It was such a good experience seeing the bridge equipment of a civilian ship, some of which was exactly the same that we use in the RNZN, yet other items were completely different. Additionally P&O require that they always have

On Saturday 12 November, our astronavigation voyage came to an end. Overall the experience was invaluable and we all ended up loving it. The amount we improved and learnt throughout the week was exponential. It was a rollercoaster that switched from frustration and disappointment when things didn’t work, to total elation when things all fell into place, and I think we can all say we finished on a high. We’ve gained a newfound appreciation of the stars and actually putting into practice what they did back in the days of Abel Tasman and Captain James Cook.



WORKING GUESTS ABOARD Two Whitianga students who spent a week aboard their hometown Navy ship are convinced a Navy career is for them.

Above: Connor Brookes and Rhiannon Dowling with HMNZS MANAWANUI CO, LTCDR Muzz Kennett. Below: Rhiannon, as the ship’s “medic” heads out to assess the condition of the man overboard.


ear 12 Mercury Bay Area School students Connor Brookes and Rhiannon Dowling experienced a working week aboard HMNZS MANAWANUI, the Navy’s dive ship. Appropriately, MANAWANUI’s home port is Whitianga, and her captain, Lieutenant Commander Muzz Kennett, owns a bach there. Connor and Rhiannon reported to MANAWANUI at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland on a Monday. They were issued with a khaki uniform and overalls, introduced to their “minders” (senior crew who had the responsibility to make sure they were looked after) and attended a safety briefing in the ship’s dining hall. Their experience was timed with a “Captain’s Sea Week”, says LTCDR Kennett. “We were going to spend the week at sea and I had the freedom to invite guests to spend the week with us.” With Connor and Rhiannon, there were a total of 30 people on board the ship. “We’re normally a crew of 24, but four crew members were in the process of being replaced and the week at sea was a good opportunity for the old crew to hand over to the new crew,” says LTCDR Kennett. During Monday and Tuesday, after the MANAWANUI had sailed from Auckland, Connor and Rhiannon participated in a number of training exercises. “LTCDR Kennett and the crew involved us as much as possible in their training,” says Rhiannon. “For instance, on Monday two man overboard scenarios were done. In the first, one of the crew jumped in the water with a rope attached to him and swam out to a mannequin that was thrown overboard. Connor and I both helped to pull the crew member and the mannequin in to the ship. “In the second scenario, the mannequin was too far away from the ship for a crew member to jump in the water and rescue it, so the Zodiac [boat] on board had to be launched. I was told to get in the Zodiac as I was the medic and had to assess the mannequin’s “status” once it had been rescued.”



LTCDR Kennett said that Rhiannon did a pretty good job. “Normally we get a report from the medic on the Zodiac that the patient is conscious, but cold. This time the report came in that the patient was conscious, cold and had a broken leg.” Connor was asked to be the casualty in a toxic gas leak scenario that was simulated on Tuesday. “I had to make as if I was conscious, but incoherent,” he says. “When I was found, a breathing mask was placed on me and when the crew was certain the gas leak had been contained, I was pulled through safety hatches to an area where it was safe for the medic to assess my condition.” Also on Tuesday, both Connor and Rhiannon were given the opportunity to shoot the ship’s .50 calibre mounted machine gun and Steyr rifles. “This was the real deal,” Connor said. “A big red balloon was inflated and floated on the water. The crew called the balloon the “killer tomato”. We got the opportunity to shoot at the balloon with live ammunition. It was pretty cool.”

Rhiannon says she was hesitant at first to shoot the machine gun, but once she got the hang of it, she became “a little bit trigger happy. The crew said I did better than you,” she says to Connor, prompting LTCDR Kennett to rescue him, pointing out the ship was further from the killer tomato when it was his turn. He says that the killer tomato is a balloon-like device that slowly deflates when shot. “We get a lot of opportunity to shoot at it before it’s flat. Once the balloon is totally deflated, we simply sail closer and bring it back on board.” Connor and Rhiannon were shown how to pull the ship’s weapons apart, clean them and put everything together again. Life in the Navy is not always what you expect, says Rhiannon. “My minder was the Officer of the Watch during the late afternoon shift. I was with her on the bridge and was told not only to look out for ships and other hazards, but also for birds above fish work-ups. Once I spotted a work-up, the Zodiac was launched and the crew caught enough snapper for dinner that night and some to be smoked for our Christmas dinner on Wednesday too.” Early on Tuesday evening, the MANAWANUI anchored in Port Abercrombie at Great Barrier Island and the ship’s anchor system was explained to Connor and Rhiannon. “Because the Manawanui is a dive ship, four anchors are needed to keep the ship in position above a dive target,” says Rhiannon. Connor says they ate really well. “The food on board was excellent. The chef really knows what he’s doing. Freshly caught fish and crayfish was more than one evening on the menu. Wednesday was a general maintenance day for the crew and Rhiannon and I was assigned to help with preparation for that evening’s Christmas dinner. I peeled potatoes and kumara, while Rhiannon made heaps of little pavlovas. Dinner was amazing – ham, turkey, fresh seafood, the works. The Executive Officer played Santa after dinner and we all received secret Santa gifts. Everyone was in really good spirits.”

Clockwise from top left: Connor and Rhiannon have a turn firing MANAWANUI’s .50cal mounted machine gun. Rhiannon keeps a direction visible for Oscar, the “man overboard”. Connor sends a flag aloft.

Thursday was a general relaxation day. “Giving my crew the day off was my way of showing them my appreciation for their hard work and their loyalty to the New Zealand Navy,” LTCDR Kennett says. Connor and two of the crew members went for a hike on Great Barrier Island and Rhiannon accompanied a few of the crew on the Zodiac when they went diving for crayfish and kina. Some of the crew also took a dip in the ocean. “It was funny, as there was always someone with a Steyr rifle in hand on the lookout for sharks while people were swimming,” says Rhiannon. After the anchors were lifted on Thursday evening, the MANAWANUI sailed through the narrow Man-O-War Passage between Great Barrier Island and the neighbouring Kaikoura Island as training for a new officer on board. When Connor and Rhiannon woke up on Friday morning, Auckland was in sight. After berthing they both helped with a fresh water wash of the ship and a general on-board clean up. Then it was time to say goodbye. “I was quite emotional,” Rhiannon says. “I’ve just had the time of my life and it was really sad to leave.” When asked Connor and Rhiannon if the experience motivated them to join the Navy, they both said 100 per cent. They both plan to start talking to the Navy recruitment officers early next year. “Hearing how excited Connor and Rhiannon are about a career in the Royal New Zealand Navy, made it a thoroughly worthwhile investment taking them out to sea,” says LTCDR Kennett. “They are both two outstanding young people. They were always willing to help, always looking for something to do. My crew and I really enjoyed having them on board. We will all be really pleased when we see them for the first time in their Navy uniforms.”

Above: Rhiannon sits with Santa in the mess at Christmas.

Originally published in the Mercury Bay Informer, by Stephen Bosman






rom my desk in the early hours of the morning I saw this article online during a night watch. The words “Test”, “Physical”, “Mental” and “Determination” got my attention. I thought it sounded like me so I put myself forward as a volunteer for the Aumangea programme in July 2016. Coming from a naval background, I didn’t know what to expect at all. I found out pretty quickly that this wasn’t just a normal “Army” course. Every other volunteer was just as blind as I was. Throughout the programme we never knew what would happen next or when a task has finished, we were always left on edge throughout the entire five weeks. We had no idea when our next portion of food would be given, and hunger kicked in pretty quick. A lot of the challenges were equally as difficult to each of us. We were all in the same boat, cold, tired and hungry in the central North Island during the middle of winter. The programme has a way of equalising every volunteer, regardless of rank, strength or fitness level. There was at least once where each one of us hit physical and mental barriers and needed to search for that last bit of grit and push forward. Being able to see someone on the verge of breaking, pushing through and overcoming whatever the barrier was, is pretty inspiring. Sticking to it made us stronger, prouder and richer people at the end of it. There are no words to describe the sense of self-pride and self-achievement that we all earned. When you do return to your unit, no task will compare in difficulty to what you have already overcome. During those five weeks I made life-long memories and was inspired by a lot of different people. I marched out a stronger, richer person than I ever thought I’d be. So to all the sailors who are keen for a challenge, this course is for you. It’s designed for all services and you will be taught everything that you need to get through the programme. The best advice I can give to anyone willing to complete Aumangea is to open your ears and take in as much as you can. Find your reason to stay and finish, remember it during the darkest moments. You’ll be surprised at what your body can do. That feeling of self-pride and self-achievement I felt is something I believe everybody should feel at least once in their life. Aumangea is where I felt it. Above: NZDF personnel during the Aumangea course. ACWS Luke Hiki is at bottom right.

What is Aumangea? The Aumangea (“be strong”) programme is designed to challenge NZDF participants to build resilience by persevering through psychologically and physically demanding conditions – ultimately with the objective to win. It instils in the individual confidence, resilience, strength, and determination to strive forward. For further information on the programme email [email protected] 30

n the winter of last year I walked away from the Aumangea programme six kilograms lighter and one kilogram heavier from strapping tape holding my feet together. I left with a better understanding of what it meant to starve, freeze and endure. My confidence was at an all-time high. And then they said, “Hey, want to come back and do it all again?” The Aumangea 2.0 programme is continuation training from the original five-week course. The focus shifts from lead self to lead team and delves into factors such as fear, arousal control, and problem solving, all things that will affect your decision-making and leadership ability. I’m sure you can imagine the apprehension as we touched on fear, as we knew all too well from the initial programme that each lesson taught had not been learnt until it was trialled. And we weren’t wrong. From jumping off high structures to being enclosed in a compartment filling with water, we learnt quickly how to control our fears and take charge of the situation. By that stage it was only day two and I could have summed up the programme in four words: “Adventure training on steroids”. The programme took a turn when we were handed a card telling us to get from Auckland to Christchurch within 44 hours. No money, no breaking the law and of course “we were to enjoy ourselves”. Such challenges forced us to revert to the “Three C, I” - Courage, commitment, comradeship and Integrity. There was never a moment where we didn’t ask ourselves the important questions. “How committed were we to the objective? Did we have the courage to ask for help? How far would we go for the person standing next to us? How far were we willing to twist the truth to get what we needed?” The programme is designed to make you ask yourself these questions. We were no longer in a class environment with teacher and student. Suddenly we were our own teacher and our own student. It was think fast or fail, and often we learnt the hard way before we succeeded. Obviously I don’t want to give away too much (as is the tradition of Aumangea) but I will encourage you to smash the initial programme, learn about your limits and then take up the opportunity to participate in the continuation programme. You will learn to step up, take charge and lead a team in demanding situations as well as fight the instinct to give up. Aumanga has certainly been one of the best decisions of my life. I have walked away from a wet, cold, hungry month with an attitude of ready for anything.

Below: ACWS Sarah Freeman at a powhiri at Te Taua Moana marae for participants in the Aumangea 2.0 programme.


AFTER 35 YEARS OF INCREDIBLE SERVICE By Charlene Smart, Senior Communications Advisor (South), Defence Public Affairs


aking a difference in the lives of young soldiers, sailors and airmen has been a privilege for Leading Driver (LDRV) Ruiha Lucy Taurima, who has retired from the Royal New Zealand Navy after more than 35 years of loyal service. LDRV Taurima, who retired in November, was the last serving member of the Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service (WRNZNS) and the last LDRV in the Navy. The driver trade of the Navy was disestablished in 1988. She is also the longest-serving female of the Services Corrective Establishment (SCE) at Burnham Military Camp, where she has been posted for the past 17 years. She joined the WREN Motor Transport section in August 1977, just a few months before WRNZNS amalgamated with the RNZN, allowing women to serve at sea. “When I joined the Navy I spent my time driving VIPs, vans, buses, heavy trucks, delivering stores to the ships, the wider Auckland region and the base. We had a certain truck that we called a trooper – it was a 40-seater and that is what I enjoyed driving most of all,” LDRV Taurima says. Training in the 1970s was completed with the Royal New Zealand Air Force and both services did their heavy trade course together. LDRV Taurima and a colleague worked together to create a training package so that Navy could do its own driver training on the naval base. After 16 years in Auckland, LDRV Taurima jumped at the chance of a posting to Burnham to work at the SCE. Being part of the transport division meant that she never really got the chance to be on the parade ground, she says. “The closest I ever got to drill was driving VIPs on to the parade ground – as a driver you see it all from behind the wheel. So when I got to Burnham, and on to an Army camp, I had to do a bit of learning. “After arriving in Burnham it took me a while to get used to the basic military drill. I came in every morning for six months, even on my days off, to learn the drill and pick it up. Learning all of that was sort of scary but also exciting.” She says she will miss everything about working for the New Zealand Defence Force, including the knowledge gained and the changes experienced. “I will miss the friendships and the environment of Defence. Burnham has a real close-knit family feel and everybody looks after and out for one another.

LDRV RUIHA LUCY TAURIMA Above: The Navy’s last Driver, LDRV Ruiha Taurima, is retiring after 35 years.

“My main role at the SCE is about helping get the young ones back on track and getting them to see that they can be whoever they want to be. They have so much to look forward to, even if they can’t see it at the time.

“The way I look at my role is that if you can help just one person, then you have made a difference. I know you can’t help them all but even just knowing you have helped one means that you have made a positive difference in some way.” She has been on only one deployment in her time with the NZDF, to London in 1997 with the NZDF Kapa Haka group, and says this was one of her biggest highlights. She has also been kaikaranga (Maori caller) on several occasions for events at Burnham and has been heavily involved in NZDF and Burnham Kapa Haka groups. “I was able to be kaikaranga for Burnham School’s 70th anniversary, as well as for Anzac Day. It is an honour to be given that role and to do it for the camp was amazing – it is one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed upon you,” she says. During the late 1970s, 1980s and in 1990 LDRV Taurima played for the Navy interservice softball team. She said this was a really enjoyable time for her, because then it wasn’t easy to get into interservice sport teams. Now she is planning on slowing down and starting a new journey following her 35 years of service. “I have loved Burnham, I have loved being down in the South Island – it has been the best choice I have made. Being able to represent the RNZN down here has been a great honour and privilege, especially working with the other services,” she says. “I can’t say that I have ever regretted my military career, but finishing it off down here is great – it was like I was meant to be at SCE.”



GUNNERY AND SEAMAN COMBAT SPECIALISTS’ REUNION 2016 By Jack Donnelly BEM, Retired WO Gunnery Instructor

In 1941, 76 years ago, the Gunnery Branch of the Royal New Zealand Navy was born.


he gunnery pioneers of our branch were Hank Cowen, Vic Fifield, Dick Fordyce and John Barnes, while the Gunners Mate who was credited with setting up the Gunnery school was John Spiddell.

They were Gunners Mates who had served on HMS and HMNZS ACHILLES and LEANDER, men of principle and integrity who shaped, guided and laid the foundations of our branch. In 2004 the Gunnery Branch as we knew it was no longer, replaced in name by Seaman Combat Specialists (SCS). They have forged their own destiny as our Navy has evolved, and they have achieved so much. Where once gunners stood, computers now stand. The SCS operate in a highly computerised, technical and multi-skilled environment, and as Gunnery veterans we acknowledge and support them. The difference between our generations can never be compared and nor should it. However, the values that both generations share are the skills and ability to instruct, motivate and lead our sailors in any situation by being creative, innovative and visionary. The kaupapa (theme) of our reunion was: to bring both generations of Gunners and SCS together; to celebrate our patron saint on St Barbara’s day (4 December); to celebrate our Navy’s 75th birthday; and to pass on to the younger generation our unique traditions, customs and good habits that were passed on to us by our Gunnery kaumatua.

The highlight of the formal dinner was the cutting of our birthday cake, carried out by the oldest gunner, Brian Thomson, and the youngest, Seaman Combat Specialist Edward Edwards. The menu consisted of seafood and a hangi, which was followed by speeches, “dits” laughter and celebration well into the night. On the final day, Sunday, 4 December, we as gunners carried out our traditional march to the church service. In pairs (file) we marched, with both generations side by side. During the service Chaplain Peter Olds RNZN gave an inspiring sermon on how he saw the strengths of the Gunnery and SCS branches. He likened them to a ship that was moored by four anchors, so that it was immoveable and secure. The anchors represented: tradition (our branch was built on historical, proud traditions and customs); training (our forte was in the simplicity and direct approach of instructing all sailors from all branches); pride (the immense pride that we have in ourselves, our branch, dress, bearing and position); and loyalty (you only have to observe how gunners and SCS ratings work together for one another, care and rely on each one of their mates). The final event of our reunion was the poroporoake (farewell), a meal together, a final chat, brief speeches and then the moment where we say “haere ra”. As sailors we have lived a life of farewells but it never seems to get any easier. Who knows when we will meet again, which is why reunions are such an important part of the matelot’s life.

“I am a gunner, I am a sailor, and am proud to have served.”

The SCS ratings ran the reunion events and programme to great effect. A formal powhiri, the opportunity to “meet and greet”, and visits to Whangaparaoa Tamaki Leadership Centre, the Bill Morley Seamanship Training Aids Facility, HMNZS TE MANA and the RNZN Museum made for an interesting and informative time and let us appreciate just how far our Navy has come since our day. At Whangaparaoa a ceremony was held to plant a tree and plaque. When you plant a tree you plant hope, and our hope is for the SCS to continue to teach our sailors with the commitment and professionalism of those who have gone before them. The plaque next to the tree reads “As a tree is trained so shall it grow”, mirroring the teaching of the Gunnery way to sailors by using the four principles of demonstration, explanation, imitation, and practice. The most important and poignant moment of any reunion is to remember those who have “crossed the bar” and those who cannot be with us. We recited the Sailors’ Ode, followed by the Ode of Remembrance, then had a “toast” and finally three hearty cheers for them all.



Left: The cutting of the cake with the oldest Gunner, Brian Thomson, and the youngest, ASCS Edward Edwards. Above: “Ko Tatou Kainga” ... “We are home”. Bill Morley and Tom Hollis (front) at Te Taua Moana marae.

Warrant Officer Andy Robertson takes aim in preparation for the World Masters Games in April.


THE TARGET AT WORLD MASTERS GAMES Archery is 10 per cent physical and 90 per cent mental, and Warrant Officer Andy Robertson is relying on his mental strength to help him when he competes in one of the world’s largest sporting events.


he World Masters Games in Auckland in April will feature 28 sports and an expected 25,000 athletes. One of those aiming for gold is WOMT(P) Robertson.

Above: September’s training going well.

WOMT(P) Robertson, who joined the Royal Navy in 1987, took up archery in 2007 and competed for two years before coming to New Zealand. After a seven-year hiatus the Nelson-based sailor took up the bow again upon being posted to Headquarters Joint Forces in Trentham.

Then he tackled the South Island Masters Games in Timaru.

He lives at the camp during the week, taking advantage of the local archery club’s facilities just across the road from Trentham Military Camp. The Army also helped by providing him with an indoor area to train in, which was invaluable last winter.

Changing the way you shoot two weeks before a competition is not ideal, but the pay-off was huge, he says. He won two gold medals and achieved personal bests in scoring.

An advertisement in April last year prompted him to enter the Masters. “A year out from the games, I thought with continued training and taking part in New Zealand competitions I would be in a good position to take part, even place well, so in went the entry form.” Knowing that mental training is a large part of doing well in the sport, WOMT(P) Robertson contacted a former New Zealand triathlete and Army psychologist and says his mental strength is growing all the time. However, practice also plays a big part. Training consists of shooting about 400 arrows a week and gym work, as well as competitions. He finished ninth in the Matchplay at the New Zealand Indoor National Championships soon after a stint away at RIMPAC 2016 in Hawaii.

“A coaching weekend was organised for people in the Wellington area,” he says. “We were lucky enough to have the top New Zealand archery coach come, and after a bit of ‘tweeking’ of my technique a new shot process was formed.”

WOMT(P) Robertson has now increased his practise to 500 arrows a week, with gym work and more mental training. At the National Outdoor Championships in January he achieved a personal best, followed by a third place at the Wellington Anniversary quad 720 shoot in Whanganui (72 arrows from 70 metres, done four times). He topped this with two silver medals at the New Zealand Masters Championships on Waitangi weekend, and another personal best. “For anyone wanting to try out this sport, the best way is to contact your local club and take part in a beginner’s course,” he says. He would like any archers in the Navy to contact him with a view to forming a Navy archery team “and even send a challenge to the Army and Air Force in the future”.



Leading the biggest regeneration of our Defence estate T

General manager for Estate Regeneration, Phil Gurnsey

here’s a lot of activity happening in the Defence Property space these days. In August 2016 Cabinet approved an estimated $1.7 billion for capital investment in the Defence estate. This funding represents the biggest ever regeneration of our camps and bases. By 2030, this significant investment will have delivered a huge range of new or refurbished working, living and training facilities, which will build an estate that is better able to support current and future operational outputs. At the forefront of this work is the General Manager for Estate Regeneration, Phil Gurnsey.

Defence Public Affairs asked Phil some questions about his work and what it means for Defence

Q&A Q: What is your current role in DPG? A: I’m overseeing the activities of the Defence Property Group. I’m the General Manager for Estate Regeneration, responsible for estate strategy and policy, overseeing long-term investment in defence infrastructure, and tenure management. I’m supported in this role by John MacLachlan, Direct Planning and Policy. Until the appointment of the Head of Estate and Infrastructure I’m also acting General Manager Defence Property Group. In this role I’m supported by the Director Facilities Management, Tom Williams. Q: How long have you worked for Defence and where were you before here? A: I’ve been at NZDF since July 2015, prior to which I was a Technical Director for planning at Beca. I’ve had over 25 years in working in the machinery of central and local government. Q: What makes you get up and go to work each day? A: I am motivated by improving outcomes for people, whether it be supporting my family, in managing staff, programmes and projects, or just making the difference between success and failure. At the end of the day, I honestly try and make the world a bit better than when I woke up. Q: In your previous role as General Manager Estate Regeneration you helped drive the funding approval by Cabinet – what did this involve? A: The 2016 Defence White Paper outlined the Government’s requirements for a business case outlining future capital and operating investment in the Defence Estate. My role was to oversee the development of a better business case to meet Treasury and Cabinet’s specifications. In doing so I engaged with commercial financial and technical advisers and ran workshops with key stakeholders to deliver the Estate Regeneration Programme Plan.



Q: Are you pleased with how this went? A: I was really pleased to be part of the process of delivering the Plan. I believe we achieved significant buy-in across NZDF and Government to the investment objectives and ultimately to the infrastructure pipeline contained in the plan. In December 2016 the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Finance approved the initiation of three years’ worth of capital projects. As a result we see marked change in the way we plan and deliver the new capital investment. A real highlight was commentary from Infrastructure NZ CEO, Stephen Selwood who said “This is textbook asset management and must be commended”. Q: What will the Estate Regeneration Programme mean for Defence? A: Following up on the strategic White Paper released last year, the regeneration plan provides estimates of capital allocations by area, giving clear guidelines for local as well as national contractors about what is required in the short-medium term. The Programme provides clarity for planning and clear linkages with new capability and other dependencies such as Communications and Information Technology. The Programme also signals a new way of operating. Acknowledging weak asset management in the past, NZDF will adopt an integrated approach to renewing assets across its 81,000 hectare estate, including outsourcing and alternate delivery models. Q: Are any projects already underway? A: The Programme signals delivery of a number of projects. Many are well underway including the Water Reticulation Upgrades at RNZAF Ohakea and RNZAF Woodbourne, QMAR Combined HQ at Linton and Wharf Fuel Lines at Devonport Naval Base and the soon-to-be-opened Aviation Medical Unit at RNZAF Auckland. Q: How long will the Estate Regeneration Programme take overall? A: The Programme is set out to 2030, but the majority of capital effort takes place from 2020 to 2025.

New addition to Force Fit app The Defence Recruiting Organisation has released an exciting update to our Force Fit app. A new “8 week Accelerator Challenge” has been added. It is designed to help recruitment candidates prepare for the rigours of initial training. The new challenge is the next step in candidates’ fitness journeys after they have completed the original “6 Week Activator Challenge” to prepare them to pass the entry level fitness test. The app has proved popular with over 50,000 downloads with some people using the app every day. Military Physical Training Instructors developed the programme which takes candidates through strength, stability and endurance exercises specifically designed for military fitness. Getting Force Fit will help candidates perform better at initial training and mitigate the risk of injury – especially lower limb overuse injuries. The 10th International Lessons Learned Conference (10ILLC) Queenstown, 15 – 18 May. The aim is to share lessons and best practices, innovative approaches to critical thinking, influence and adaptive change. If you are interested in presenting on one of the focus areas to an international audience, submit an abstract on the registration forms or consult the 10ILLC coordinators. Registration closes on 15 March 2017. 10ILLC details can be found on the 10ILLC webpage: Or email: [email protected] RNZN Electrical, Radio Electrical & Weapons Electrical Reunion 16-19 June at Tauranga RSA. Those wishing to attend please contact Maurice Mitchell, PO Box 9352 Newmarket, Auckland 1149 or email [email protected] Ex RNZN Artificer Apprentices Assn All ex RNZN and RN Artificer Apprentices and their partners are invited to register their interest in attending a reunion lunch to be held during March/April in Auckland. Details of venue, date and costs will be advised dependant on interest received. For further details please contact Chris Cooper [email protected] Long Time No Sea Reunion The committee invites all ex RNZN and serving members, including partners, to attend and continue the tradition born in Alice Springs 2005. All enquiries to be directed to Ken Johnston (Secretary) ken. [email protected] and/or Kel Kershaw (Chairman) kelvin. [email protected] Do You Have a Date? A book is being compiled of when things happened in the RNZN as a 75th Anniversary project. It will record such events as when we wore khaki uniform, when wartime HMS Cap ribbons were phased out, when beds replaced hammocks in HMNZS PHILOMEL, and the various incarnations of HMNZS TASMAN and much much more. Perhaps you have a memory of a particular event in a ship in which you were serving. Like when OTAGO’s kapa haka party performed at a San Diego Padre's baseball game; or when ENDEAVOUR played the USN at rugby in the snow at Scott Base. Please send details of your date in the history of the RNZN to RNZN. [email protected] for consideration for inclusion. Mau Rakau Nominations for the Mau Rakau wananga (Level 1, 2 and 3) are now open to all male NZDF personnel for 2017. This is an opportunity to learn the Taiaha art style of Te Kore enabling the mana of Ng–ati T–umatauenga, Te Taaua Moana, Te Taaua a Rangi and Te Ope Kaatua to be maintained during ceremonial occasions. For more information contact Marae Educator Mr Steve Bethell (0276686419).

The app is available for both Android and Apple and includes instructional videos for every exercise. Users will complete a beep test every fortnight to determine their exercise level for the next two weeks. Along with using the app, candidates can attend Free Force Fit Group Training Sessions. These sessions are run by civilian personal trainers/fitness instructors or military PTIs and are available in the main regions (check for details). The training sessions help candidates maintain their motivation, ensure their technique is correct and keep their training intensity level high. They can also meet other candidates who are preparing to join. Find out more and find links to download the app at:


E NO. 8?

Dear Sir,

as it used to be, mory is not as precise As an “old fart” my me 7 and 1962, I sometime between 195 but 50-plus years ago, st of England, and ght, off the south coa lived on the Isle of Wi IOW Rugby Club. played rugby for the o dry dock at NZS TARANAKI put int HM d rio pe s thi n thi Wi going to take upgrade. As this was East Cowes for a major home and only of the crew were sent several months, most Kiwis they, ed on the island. Being a skeleton crew remain a result, we d our rugby club. As almost to a man, joine son in our little the most successful sea enjoyed undoubtedly “hick” club’s history! Officer called stood out was a Petty One player that really s really wasted his real name). He wa “Bull” (never ever heard he could have ned the Army instead in the Navy; had he joi ut the expense of Armoured Unit, witho formed his very own we Poms, in our slightly browner hue, a tank. As a person of dsight I think to be Maori, but in hin ignorance, assumed him atever, he was the moan or Tongan. Wh he was more likely Sa the greater part of ever had, often with we rer sco try st he hig ffectively grasping along behind him, ine the opposition flying various limbs. towns of roduced the southern Single-handedly he int e-step”. For acies of the “Maori sid England to the intric ls were arranging while the club officia er, aft s son sea l era sev nts would say: sons, potential oppone fixtures upcoming sea i at No. 8”. still have that huge Kiw “we won’t play if you R C Blair Nelson

ourNOTICES people