The Royal New Zealand Navy’s latest and largest-ever ship HMNZS Aotearoa has made its first go to to its ceremonial residence port in New Plymouth immediately.
The $450 million provide ship got here into service final 12 months and at 173m lengthy it might probably carry 10.5 million litres of gasoline – or sufficient to ‘prime up’ a frigate nearly 14 occasions.
It steamed into Port Taranaki this morning.
The journey out to Aotearoa didn’t have an auspicious starting with Ready Seaman Leon Cooper issuing a relatively chilling security briefing to a the crew of journalists heading out to HMNZS Aotearoa on a ridged hulled inflatable (RHIB).
“Within the occasion of an emergency if anyone goes over the facet and you’re the person who goes over, keep. Please stay the place you might be. We are going to manoeuvre the boat to come back and choose you up. Do not attempt to swim to us,” he mentioned.
New Plymouth was ‘residence’ to the HMNZS Aotearoa’s predecessor the HMNZS Endeavour, one other provide ship which was decommissioned in 2017.
Cooper mentioned he thought it was nice for the crew to have the ability to convey the ship to Taranaki.
“And ship Aotearoa to her residence port, and I imply we have solely bought one sailor onboard from down right here however for him it is very particular to come back again and see his household and mates.”
The 20-minute journey out to Aotearoa was a bone-rattling one, with guests then hauled onboard by way of a hoist.
Commanding Officer Captain Simon Rooke gave a rundown on Aotearoa‘s capabilities.
“So she’s a ship designed to assist different ships at sea, however has some elevated capabilities together with the truth that we are able to go into the ice in addition to refuelling ships underneath manner and carry a signifcant quantity of containerised and palleted cargo as effectively.
“It is designed to assist ours or our allies’ ships at sea when it comes to a activity group – in order that’s a bunch of naval ships – we’d be the logistics hub on the centre of that activity group.”
Rooke was happy at how the ship was bedding in.
“She’s simply an extremely good sea-keeping ship. We have finished replenishing actions – that is passing gasoline from on ship to a different whereas we’re underneath manner – we have finished that over in Australia and it went very well and I believe all people is worked up about doing extra of that.
“But additionally the truth that we are able to go all the way down to McMurdo and Scott Base in the summertime time.”
The Aotearoa, which has a core crew of about 60, may also accommodate an NH90 helicopter and has room for twenty-four transport containers on its deck.
The 26,000-tonne vessel additionally has freshwater technology plant, which may produce 100,000 litres of consuming water a day.
Junior ranking Steven Wereta is the crew member from Taranaki – a proud Ngāti Ruanui iwi member who was seeking to displaying his mates across the province.
“Simply to have the ability to present my ship’s firm how superior Taranaki is and the way lovely every location is. Going to every city, each place has its little spot however I am nonetheless biased although – I really like Hawera,” he mentioned.
“Hawera is truthfully so superb and having the ability to go residence for Anzac Day is an actual privilege.”
He joined the Navy at 17 and mentioned he had no regrets.
“I have been very blessed and really fortunate. That is my first ship. I joined it in June when the ship first got here in and it has been an incredible expertise thus far and I am simply so blessed to be on right here.”
On Friday, crew from HMNZS Aotearoa will participate in a Constitution Parade via New Plymouth.
Lieutenant Commander David Longhurst defined its significance.
“So when a ship is affiliated with a metropolis … the Constitution on the ship, which mainly permits the ship to name on the town, conduct a parade with a band taking part in and bayonets fastened. It is mainly displaying assist for the town and the town’s assist for the ship.”
A bunch of New Plymouth children midway via the recruitment course of had been additionally onboard, and 17-year-old Esther Cocker mentioned additionally they loved the RHIB expertise.
“Yeah we bought out right here on one of many RHIBs. It was fairly enjoyable. It is actually quick, it is actually cool and also you catch a little bit of air on the best way out as effectively. I believed it was like horse driving.”
HMNZS Aotearoa can be formally welcomed at a pōwhiri from Ngāti Te Whiti at Puke Ariki.
On Saturday the ship will host an open day the place hundreds of locals are anticipated to go to the vessel, whereas on Anzac Day crew members will disperse to attend Daybreak Companies round Taranaki.