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COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL 4 WELLINGTON ON PATROL SEASPRITE AT ITS BEST
SUPPORT MISSION TO SUB-ANTARCTIC ISLANDS
Contents 04 COVID-19
24 Reservist at sea
06 Operation Endurance
26 Zodiac Capability
14 HMNZS WELLINGTON on patrol
28 Seasprite at its best
16 Polar Pavlovas
32 Military Police
22 Fijians down under
35 Windfoil Champion
“ The level of professionalism in New Zealand, the mariner skills – these are world-class people.” ~ LTCDR Jonathan Bannister, Executive Officer, HMNZS CANTERBURY
06 Navy Today is the official magazine of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Established to inform, inspire and entertain serving and former members of the RNZN, their families, friends and the wider Navy Community. Published by: Defence Public Affairs HQ NZ Defence Force Wellington, New Zealand
Editor: Andrew Bonallack Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Design and Layout: Defence Public Affairs
Printed by: Bluestar Private Bag 39996, Wellington Distribution: Email: email@example.com
16 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. Stories published in Navy Today cannot be published elsewhere without permission. Copy deadline is the 15th of the month for the following issue. Subject to change. Views expressed in Navy Today are not necessarily those of the RNZN or the NZDF. Defence Careers: Phone: 0800 1FORCE (0800 136 723) www.defencecareers.mil.nz Changing Address? To join or leave our mailing list, please contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cover: A yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) on the shores of Enderby Island, part of the Auckland Islands group. Photographer: CPL Dillon Anderson
Yours Aye Chief of the Navy
Well, COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions and OPERATION PROTECT have pretty much been the focus for me and many of us in the Navy and this will not likely change during April. That said, I note HMNZS CANTERBURY and her Ship’s Company continued their activities in support of the Department of Conservation in both the SubAntarctic islands and also up to Raoul Island to repatriate some fellow Kiwis. BZ CANTERBURY, I know the mission saw you away from your families at a critical time. However, your efforts and professionalism were hugely appreciated by other government agencies and the families of those who returned to the mainland. Again, my sincere thanks to the families of our sailors deployed at this time. I am intensely aware that your sacrifice enables our sailors to serve the nation and further the national interest.
“ For those of you who are staying home, your contribution is vital to stamping out COVID-19. Your job is to stay healthy, mentally and physically, and be ready if required.”
Regarding OP PROTECT, the NZDF response to the COVID-19 challenge, a few things keep coming to the forefront. Firstly, we should be very confident that as both a nation and as a Defence Force, we will come through this crisis. Through our training and preparation, and the professionalism of our people, the NZDF does very well in circumstances such as this. We in the Navy are flexible, adaptable, calm and deliberate in ever-changing circumstances; the nature of our everyday business on the ocean requires it of us. Secondly, communication is absolutely critical. Although modern means of communication, in particular the internet and social media, should make communication easier, the sharing of information, downward, upward and across, requires consistent and deliberate effort from all parties, especially in the Working From Home environment. There is an awful lot of information coming at us at the moment. A number of government agencies, and Parliament itself, are pushing out messages on a daily basis, both written and televised. I encourage all resident in New Zealand to put an effort into remaining abreast of the central messages. For those of us in the Navy, there are also daily updates being provided to Commanding Officers and unit
commanders. I require all in a ‘blue suit’ to actively keep yourself aware of what is going on regards OP PROTECT and your part in it. If you are not getting the information you need, ask your 1-Up. Thirdly, be prepared. By that I mean be prepared to quickly react to what is a very dynamic situation. You and your unit may well have no tasking in the morning, but by the end of that same day be deployed to the other end of the country to assist another government agency delivering support to New Zealand. Or you might be sailing tomorrow to provide support to our Pacific partners. I do not know what taskings are coming, but I know we will be tasked at short notice, in areas we do not traditionally work, in the coming weeks. Lastly, I think of the need for patience, understanding and respect. We all need to comply with government direction. Everything that is being done is to save lives and enable Aotearoa to emerge from this crisis in as good a shape as possible. But we are all having to work things through together… there is no ‘perfect playbook’ for what is happening. So be patient. Be understanding of the frustration some feel and act out – and be kind in your guidance and assistance to them. In essence, be respectful of each other in this tough and trying time. Our core values stand us in good stead in this regard. For those of you who are staying home, your contribution is vital to stamping out COVID-19. Your job is to stay healthy, mentally and physically, and be ready if required. So for now, stay in your bubble, ‘stay home, save lives’. Take care of yourselves, take care of your family, take care of your community.
Rear Admiral David Proctor Chief of Navy Navy Today #242 | 3
COVID-19: FACING THE CHALLENGE The world is facing an unprecedented challenge with the rapid spread of the virus COVID-19. Those challenges extend to us in the military, however, it is a situation we are adapting to and we have contingencies in place in order for our operational outputs to continue unimpeded.
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We train for emergencies and our people are putting that training into practice. All of our bases are implementing procedures to keep their personnel as safe as possible. They have emphasised the need for personal responsibility including self-isolation, social distancing and stringent hygiene measures. We are also continuing to engage and actively support other Government agencies as the situation develops. So far, the Defence Force has deployed a number of planners and other specialist staff to aid in the response.Â This number has built up over recent weeks and will continue to unfold. These personnel have been deployed to multi-agency centres helping manage the response, and to specific Government agencies.
As a standing force, available at Government direction, the NZDF has available a number of capabilities when required. These range from aircraft and vehicles, through to trained personnel who could assist other Government agencies where needed. As a relatively small military, the NZDF maintains high states of readiness. Deployment of Defence Force capabilities for specific tasks to assist with the COVID-19 situation is at the request of the civil authorities, and we are supporting as required. We have taken steps to look after the health and safety of our personnel. In doing so we have been able to aid civil authorities when required as well as maintaining our other commitments.
We are continuing to communicate the most up-to-date health advice to all staff and providing advice on healthy ways of working remotely. Like the rest of New Zealand, our staff are following Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade guidelines to avoid all nonessential travel. In addition to being, and remaining, prepared, the NZDF continues to provide capabilities for standing commitments – for example the Explosive Ordnance Disposal capability and Search and Rescue.
“ The Defence Force is committed to serving and aiding New Zealand through the rapidly developing situation around COVID-19.”
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OPERATION ENDURANCE It’s not just about getting to hard-to-reach places, it’s sustaining the logistics that go with it. Navy Today editor Andrew Bonallack joins HMNZS CANTERBURY for Operation Endurance 20, the Navy’s Sub-Antarctic Island support mission for the Department of Conservation and MetService.
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It’s 52 degrees south in latitude. The waters and weather of the SubAntarctic Islands seem determined to confound the best intentions of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the command aims of HMNZS CANTERBURY, tracking a short circuit about five kilometres east of Campbell Island’s largest inlet, Perseverance Harbour. There’s Plan A, which looks wonderful on paper. Plan B is waiting in the wings. “Flexible” is the byword for either. But we’re delayed again. Campbell Island, normally a spectacular and formidable view of cliffs and mountains, can’t be seen. Fog has dropped visibility to 500 metres. We’re due to enter Perseverance Harbour at 0930. Everyone, apart from those on watchkeeping shifts, has been up since “wakey wakey” was piped at 0650, and many get up earlier for breakfast. Below decks, Department of Conservation staff are checking the clothing, bags and boots of Navy personnel, their own staff and MetService staff. They shake the items over a white tray, looking for seeds, and will later scrub and spray the boots of anyone returning. The SubAntarctic Islands are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the staff are keen
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not to introduce any problem species. Elsewhere, boat crews are fitting up in full immersion suits, getting ready to be launched in a seaboat. The RNZAF maintainers and helicopter flight crews have completed their checks, and the Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter is now on the flight deck. Everyone is ready for the ship to do something that has never been done before. At the far end of the Perseverance Harbour is Beeman Base, a villagelike collection of Department of Conservation and MetService huts, sitting above an aging wharf. ProntoTwo-One, the army signaller based in one of the musty rooms, reports to Crusader (CANTERBURY) that conditions are ideal. There’s no fog there. Around him, DoC staff who aren’t otherwise involved in their wildlife research are readying fish bins full of rubbish or equipment that needs to come off the island. The fog starts to burn off. The Ship’s command team confirms the successful repair of a fault with the bow thruster – something we’ll need in the harbour – and we point the ship towards the entrance. The winds are unusually light, so much so that Southern Royal Albatrosses perched
on the light swell, find it difficult to get enough air under their wings to take off. We enter the harbour. Driving rain, so typical of Campbell Island, slaps into the bridge windows. The light winds, channelling down the enormous valley, become squalls and the seas become streaked with white. Visibility drops, and you can feel the spirits fall on the bridge. “Can’t see us launching in this”, says someone quietly on the bridge wing. And then, in the next 100 metres, it calms down, as if it never happened. “Two minutes to launch”. The starboard seaboat is readied. We’re going to launch her on the move, just before the last turn towards Beeman Base. It has to be timed to perfection, with the ship holding 8 to 12 knots launch speed. That means only two minutes of a steady course before the ship runs out of room. “Check clear port, check clear starboard.” “Starboard clear!” “Port clear!” “Permission to launch starboard when steady!” “Approved, launch when steady,” says the Officer of the Watch. “Aye sir. Away starboard seaboat.”
“Navigator, officer of the watch, launching now.” The entire manoeuvre, lowering the seaboat into the water and the smooth turn of the ship to port, is beautiful to watch. It’s what the Navy is good at. One bridge sailor says under her breath, “good mahi from the crew”. But long practice and routine is one thing. We’re about to try something new – anchoring in Perseverance Harbour.
The harbour is deep, within a kilometre of Beeman Base. To a layperson that sounds ideal but it’s anything but. A deep harbour means more anchor cable has to go out, says Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Bannister, the ships Executive Officer. Both he and the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Martin Walker, are providing a “Command Presence” on the bridge for the younger Bridge Watchkeepers and Navigator. “We’ve got a safety swing circle of the length of the ship, plus 200 yards, and we
don’t have much room. A 20-metre depth would be perfect, but it’s 30 to 40 metres.” Winds, funnelled down the long scalloped valleys, can gust to 75 knots or more. With changeable winds, against CANTERBURY's 500 square metres of surface area on the side, the danger is the ship swinging its stern aground. And if the anchor drags, there’s very little time to recover.
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CDR Walker was last in Perseverance Harbour in December 2019, and has done a lot of thinking since then. He is going to mitigate the risk by putting out about 200 metres of anchor, but using the bow thruster to keep CANTERBURY pointing into the changeable wind. More importantly, he keeps the ship’s engines active, with the variable pitch screws constantly turning, albeit at zero pitch. It means at a moment’s notice, he can move the ship under power. The anchor cable rattles out. “Seven shackles on deck!” is called, indicating the length of cable, a little over 200 metres. CANTERBURY settles into the wind, and while the shoreline looks disconcertingly close, we’re holding. We’re ready to go. CANTERBURY’s subsequent tempo of seaboats, helicopter transits and zodiacs – the latter from the stern ramp – is an enormous contrast to the previous days. There are tonnes of gear to bring back to the ship, mainly DoC materials from the November/ December mission, but also debris and rubbish from huts that are long past their use-by date. The seaboats and zodiacs race back and forth, bringing back materials, but the Seasprite is the main mover, a long strop hanging from its underside as it’s waved towards slings full of gear. Army personnel, members of the Ship's Amphibious Load Team (SALT), connect the strop to the baskets, and two minutes later the helicopter is hovering over the flight deck, delicately dropping the load for the SALT to unpack and distribute to the cargo hold.
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There’s time, between loads, to take in the scenery in between occasional squalls of rain. Blue sky is a rarity, and the long scooping volcanic hills are almost an alien metallic green mixed with grey. Tussock and grasses surrendering to rock at peaks over 500 metres high. Campbell Island has formidable sea cliffs unlike anything seen in mainland New Zealand, and in some places the ground rises 500 metres from the sea in the space of 500 metres horizontally. It’s a big day for everyone and fatigue management of the personnel is key. A steward brings down a large pot of hot soup and ladles it into cups, ready for the boat crews. Sailors who are free form lines, passing fish bins back and forth at the stern ramp and in the seaboat alcoves. The flight crew – pilot, observer and loadmaster – seems indefatigable, enjoying the ease of the short hops. They can do seven transits, or “taps”, before they need to refuel. Two days ago, CANTERBURY’s procedure was to undertake helicopter transits while the ship was 12km out at sea. It meant long flight times, sometimes achieving only 15 knots ground speed against high winds, and landing on a pitching and rolling
deck each time. It also meant fuelling every second run. Even so, there are natural hurdles on shore, with sea lions reluctantly giving ground to the noise and activity. Unseen in the tussock, Hoiho (Yellow-Eyed Penguins) give a coughing growl if someone wanders too close. At 1900 we head out to sea, with a moment’s silence in the ship as the anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks is noted. Apart from this sombre moment the ship’s company are delighted with the day. The helicopter achieved 20 taps in six hours; the last time, when the ship was at sea, was only six taps in six hours, and obviously no boat runs were possible. “It’s like a war-fighting scenario,” says LTCDR Bannister. “The devil is in the details. If you have all your details sorted, all your ducks in a row, you can speed up the ‘warfare’ and if a target presents itself, you go for it. But if you don’t have all the detail and organisation sorted, then you have to slow or pause the tempo, and regroup. Here, we increased the tempo, ‘striking’ again and again, only in this instance the ‘strikes’ are the loads we have to pick up.”
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Nothing about operating in the SubAntarctic is easy, he says. “There’s no land masses in the way to slow down the constant line of low pressure systems. All naval manoeuvres we normally take for granted are conducted on the edge. We’re anchoring in a harbour where winds can go from 15 knots to 75 knots in a heartbeat, and the navigation record books contain stories of others who nearly got it very wrong. It’s an environment where simple errors can cost us. Everyone has to be on top of their game.” LTCDR Bannister spent 19 years in the Royal Navy before coming to New Zealand. “We are smaller than other navies, but that’s the only difference. The level of professionalism in New Zealand, the mariner skills – these are world-class people. The concept of Lead Self, you see that all through the Navy, as people make decisions.” The day’s success repeated again on following days. Department of Conservation expedition leader Dale Chittenden, seeing the DoC containers filling up in the hold, practically has a skip in his step after the first anchoring day – a “game-changing” moment for their mission, he says. “Our programme of works for the Sub-Antarctic Islands is normally quite ambitious,” he says. “Then we get there, things start happening, and we come out about halfway complete. The weather is a governing factor for everything. “CDR Walker, taking CANTERBURY into Perseverance Harbour, that was a game-changer. We achieved our programme because of that. The efficiencies were unbelievable. We know this is a real advancement for the future, to have a ship in the harbour to operate from.
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“I totally take my hat off to the Navy team here. I felt like I was part of the team, working with the Navy in a way that was evolving and working to the conditions we faced. Our best laid plans were flexible, some plans were done on the run, and it ended up being quite effective for this trip. It’s the best I’ve seen of a seamless working relationship.” CDR Walker says they didn’t anchor the last time. “I guess that was about getting used to the area, and understanding the challenges of operating in the southern ocean.” He had done his research, studying the issue of Perseverance Harbour, and came to some conclusions. “Being a Commanding Officer is about managing the risk to an acceptable level. It’s a confined space, and not a lot of room to react, but we have learnt a lot of lessons over the years. It was
definitely a game-changer and I am chuffed to have made the difference for this mission, because it is so much harder to do out at sea.” He describes the first anchoring day, and the tempo that followed, as an amphibious operation. “It’s quite a thing to coordinate, it’s a big juggling act. But I was thinking how cool it was how much we were achieving, and the good training we were getting out of it. Even things like anchoring, with the young sailors doing something they’ve never done before, and that extends throughout the whole ship. The seaboats, the aviation teams, the movement of stores. It’s all part of the whole effect CANTERBURY can deliver.” Over five days at Campbell Island, the Seasprite undertakes 62 flights, transporting nearly 13 tonnes of material over a total of 17 hours
flying time. How much tonnage was transported by boat is not known. While all this is going on, there are Department of Conservation researchers, living and sleeping on the island, with their own targets and deadlines. One task is recording sounds of birds at night, to see what species of seabirds – particularly the ones who burrow in nests – have returned to the island following the complete elimination of pests in 2001. Settlers eked out a rough living on Campbell Island from 1895, but they left in the 1930s and the island was formally protected as a reserve in 1954. Cattle were removed by 1984, sheep by 1992, and a pest eradication scheme eliminated the rats. The island’s feral cat population, never high to begin with, died out naturally. Albatross breeds, including the Southern Royal Albatross, are of high interest to DoC. The scientists are keen to see how the populations are faring, and get an idea of their life span. Here the Seasprite comes in handy, providing a photographic flyover of the albatross colony on the island’s northern headlands for later counting and study.
It’s a conservation success story that has yet to happen for the Auckland Islands, a day’s journey away and the final call for CANTERBURY on her way back to New Zealand. Early on in the mission, CANTERBURY dropped off a seven-person DoC team for a week-long stay, and now it’s time to pick them up. Anchoring in Port Ross, it’s an opportunity for MetService to reach their automatic weather station on Enderby Island. Lately, the weather station had been malfunctioning, only sending out pressure readings rather than the full range. The station sends out automatic data regularly every day, contributing to the world’s understanding of global weather patterns, and New Zealand wants to play its part. The contrast is the Auckland Islands have pests, all in the sights of the Department of Conservation’s Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island
project. Project coordinator Veronika Frank is looking at the feasibility, timing and daunting cost of removing the mice, cats and pigs from over 600 square kilometres of archipelago, also a legacy of 19th and early 20th century attempts at farming. “It’s a big price tag,” says Mrs Franks. “We got funding approval for a feasibility plan. Every time we visit, working with the Navy, we get more practised at this.” A final rain squall signals the end of nearly two weeks of operations and the Air Force maintainers start folding up the rotors of the Seasprite. An Auckland Island cormorant (shag) decides to explore the flight deck, and settles happily on the helicopter’s wheel. However, CANTERBURY has to go. It’s up to Flight Lieutenant Cam Day to have the final farewell, ungraciously (but gently) easing the large bird over the rail and into the air.
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WELLINGTON ensures fisheries compliance HMNZS WELLINGTON stamped her mark on fisheries regulation in New Zealand territory with a month-long patrol with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
The operation began in February with the embarkation of a team of MPI Compliance Officers near Napier. From there WELLINGTON began her transit to the Chatham Islands for the first phase. Ship’s Company and MPI inspected numerous commercial rock lobster pots, in preparation for the scheduled season closure. In addition, boarding operations were conducted on Chatham Island commercial fishing vessels. The day-long transit back to New Zealand was met with high seas and heavy weather, but the Ship’s Company were rewarded with a weekend port visit in Nelson and excursions to Abel Tasman National Park.
Above: MPI personnel practising ladder drills to embark and disembark not only WELLINGTON but also vessels of interest.
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Fresh and revitalised, WELLINGTON departed from Nelson and moved into phase two, also aimed at compliance under the Fisheries Act 1996, but this time focussed on long-liners. Proceeding through Cook Strait, WELLINGTON took station on the South Island’s West Coast, near
Greymouth. Unperturbed by the often unpredictable seas of the West Coast, WELLINGTON and MPI teams successfully boarded numerous commercial surface long-liners and inspected for compliance before proceeding back through Cook Strait and along the Wairarapa coastline into Hawke’s Bay. To break up the routine, WELLINGTON scheduled a forenoon of gunnery with the 25mm main gun and .50cal machine guns. This essential practice keeps our basic warfighting skills honed and ensures we remain a ready operational platform. While in transit between operational boarding areas, WELLINGTON responded to a vessel in distress near the Hen and Chicken Islands, launching her seaboat and remaining in the area late into the night providing support. WELLINGTON escorted a cold and shaken boat skipper back to harbour safely. The late night assistance would not dissuade WELLINGTON from her key tasking
HMNZS WELLINGTON ON PATROL
“It strikes me that wherever WELLINGTON goes, and whatever she does, the Ship’s Company not only do a great job but they have a great time doing it.” ~ LTCDR Tim Hall, Commanding Officer
Clockwise: HMNZS WELLINGTON’s .50cal weapon ready and loaded for a live firing exercise to hone the ship’s warfare and gunnery skills.
of inspections, with the following day commencing with multiple compliance inspection boarding of surface longliners undertaken with diligence. The final stages of the operation saw WELLINGTON sail overnight towards the shelter of Great Barrier Island, due to the imminent arrival of a large low pressure system with accompanying heavy seas, before returning home after a successful operation in all aspects. Lieutenant Commander Tim Hall, Commanding Officer, said his team works hard and he appreciates their efforts not going unnoticed by other government agencies. “It strikes me that wherever WELLINGTON goes, and whatever she does, the Ship’s Company not only do a great job but they have a great time doing it. Every guest we have on board, such as the MPI fisheries teams, all make comments to me like, ‘Tim you have a really great crew.’ The comments are always about the Ship’s Company; that the team are welcoming, friendly, and
ASCS Reyne Hepi is promoted to Leading Seamanship Combat Specialist. LSCS Hepi is a RHIB coxn and ensures the Boarding Teams safely embark and disembark vessels. LTCDR Tim Hall celebrates his birthday in his day cabin.
are full of pride in their ship. I always tell them, ‘I know! And thank you very much for saying so; we work hard on it and we appreciate that you noticed.’”
ACSS Tuta'i William closed up on WELLINGTON’s high-powered camera to monitor a vessel and the Boarding Team as they make an approach.
He said the patrols validate WELLINGTON’s reputation as a key asset to the Royal New Zealand Navy, working cohesively in an interagency task with MPI to successfully monitor compliance of the fishing fleet within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, through boarding operations and consequently generating a crucial deterrent for future fisheries offending.
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Pavlovas near the pole
LT Seamus Shaw, with LTCDR Tim Johns, recounts his time on United States Coast Guard Cutter POLAR STAR, the icebreaker responsible for maintaining the channel to McMurdo and Scott Base.
Above: USCGC POLAR STAR alongside at McMurdo Base, Antarctica.
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We joined the USCGC POLAR STAR in Sydney on 18 December. The ship had berthed for eight hours just to refuel and we quickly learned that the previous port visit had been cut from three days to just 30 hours, so the crew were definitely keen for the next port visit. We were shown our five-berth cabin and stowed our gear before having a quick look around the ship and meeting the Executive Officer, Commander Woityra. We were free to wander around to begin familiarisation of the ship before it sailed that evening. The next day we were given a formal introduction to the rest of the Ship’s Company that we hadn’t been able to meet already and were given ships caps. It didn’t take long for the ship to get to Hobart and many took the opportunity to stretch their legs in the warm weather before heading down to Antarctica. We took on several crew, including a civilian ice analyst prior to departing Hobart, and in total we numbered around 150 personnel on board. On Christmas Eve LTCDR Johns and I headed to the galley to make the traditional Kiwi dessert, the Pavlova. Neither of us had made it before and despite not having exactly all the right ingredients or know-how, we managed to cook a couple of decent ones. We decorated it the next day prior to the evening feast and although the crew were initially hesitant, we claimed it was our national dish and that certainly encouraged a few to try it.
We first sighted the ice on 28 December and on 2 January we were going through the ice sheet and stopped to conduct the crossing of the Antarctic line. With the ability to step down on the ice it was a bit more elaborate than our own ceremony but had a similar format. The XO made sure safety was paramount throughout the evolution and that everyone was informed that it was a completely voluntary activity. There was still lots of fun had by everyone, and regardless of what people chose to do we all got a red version of the Coast Guard hat to signal that we had crossed the line. After that was all completed we were granted ice liberty and were able to go out onto the ice shelf. LTCDR Johns and I got involved in many aspects of ship’s life. He spent much time in the machinery spaces getting into their maintenance routines while I spent time in the galley helping out where I could. We attended their equivalent of the OOD board and were able to throw in a few questions as well. The ice analyst was able to provide satellite imagery of the pack ice we were to break through. This proved invaluable as we were able to steer a course through the thinner parts of the ice to reach McMurdo. We continued through the ice sheet at a slow rate, roughly two miles per day but eventually made it through
to McMurdo station. During this time the ship was under water restrictions. There was no issue making water, but the ship was unable to discharge waste water. Fortunately we were aware this would happen and packed a few extra sets of clothing to make sure we could wear clean clothes until we were able to use the laundry again. Over the next few days we cut another track through to the open sea, creating a wedge in the ice and breaking up the ice around McMurdo to create a turning basin. With the two passages created we then cut across them to divide the wedge into chunks that could be blown out to the open sea by the wind. During the weather brief each morning we would see satellite images of our progress. On 15 January we saw a 166km2 piece of fast ice break off from Ross Island and begin to tighten our wedge. Fortunately the winds were with us and by the 16th it also had floated out to sea, creating a large area of open water. Our first vessel to be escorted arrived, the cargo ship Ocean Giant. Due to the efforts of the POLAR STAR and the favourable winds the ship was able to proceed into McMurdo without escort. We then went back out into the channel to continue with clearing the channel. The Ocean Giant proceeded to offload cargo while we waited for the tanker Maersk Peary. Once the tanker arrived we were able to come
alongside McMurdo for a few days. LTCDR Johns and I were able to visit Scott Base and see our fellow Kiwis. At the end of our McMurdo port visit we embarked six members of the Antarctic Treaty Team and took them to the nearby Chinese and Italian Antarctic bases to ensure their compliance with the treaty. Upon completion we returned to McMurdo to drop off the inspectors and were then released to make our way to Wellington for some much-needed rest and relaxation for the crew. The weather on the way back wasn’t as friendly as when we went down and we quickly learned how the ship earned its nickname of the ‘Polar Roller’. Overall it was a great experience that I am glad we took part in. The crew were very welcoming and provided a great second family to enjoy the holidays with. We saw lots of wildlife including sunbathing seals, curious penguins and some orca. We were able to visit a part of the world that not many get to experience and interact with a branch of the US armed forces with which we haven’t had much previous contact, but certainly will in the future, with AOTEAROA coming into service.
“ The ice analyst was able to provide satellite imagery of the pack ice we were to break through. This proved invaluable as we were able to steer a course through the thinner parts of the ice to reach McMurdo.”
Above: LTCDR Tim Johns with their Christmas pavlova efforts.
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Our People 1. LTCDR Colin Marshall, HMNZS CANTERBURY Operations Officer, gives advice to a midshipman on how to use his 12 gauge shotgun, during a recreational clay bird shoot from the flight deck. 2. AWT Fynn Martin works on the 25mm Typhoon gun in HMNZS CANTERBURY. 3. ENS Timothy Whitteker-Hobson receives his Platform Endorsement Certificate for HMNZS CANTERBURY, from Commanding Officer CDR Martin Walker.
4. Newly promoted ACH Nadia Mwila reads the Able Rate pledge. 5. Matthew Kruger celebrates after being promoted to LCSS by CDR Martin Walker. 6. POMT(P) Matthew Bowyer supervises a Toxic Gas exercise. 7. LT Michael Linehan, navigator, lines up the Pelorus. 8. ACH Sonia Smith helps prepare the evening meal. 9. AMT(L) Shaun Harden empties out his bag in front of Department of Conservation expedition leader Dale Chittenden, as part of quarantine procedures for setting foot on Campbell Island.
10. ENS Hamish Hahunga receives his Platform Endorsement Certificate for HMNZS CANTERBURY, from Commanding Officer CDR Martin Walker. 11. SLT Charlotte Carew communicates with the boat crews. 12. CDRE Mat Williams, Maritime Component Commander, congratulates HMNZS CANTERBURY’s Ship’s Company for a successful Operation Endurance. 13. ACH Hope Thomsen, promoted by HMNZS CANTERBURY’s Commanding Officer CDR Martin Walker, reads the Able Rate pledge to Ship’s Company.
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Navy’s non-stop mission to Raoul y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
As the nation prepared for COVID-19 lockdown, HMNZS CANTERBURY opted for a nonstop mission to the Kermadec Islands last month to evacuate six Department of Conservation workers.
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CANTERBURY, which docked in Lyttelton for the weekend of 21–22 March on her return from Operation Endurance, made the decision to roll non-stop to the Kermadec Islands for Operation Havre, rather than a restock and crew leave stop at Devonport Naval Base. Operation Havre is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s biannual resupply and maintenance mission to Raoul Island, supporting GNS Science, MetService and Department of Conservation (DoC) work at the manned sub-tropical island 1,000 km north of Auckland. As CANTERBURY approached Auckland, the ship’s SH-2G(I) Seasprite flew to Whenuapai to collect five persons from GNS Science, DoC and MetService, needed for essential maintenance at Raoul Island. The ship also launched a seaboat as it passed Whangaparaoa Peninsula, collecting some additional Navy personnel from Gulf Harbour ferry terminal.
Deputy Supply Officer Lieutenant Brett Fitzgerald says the decision to keep moving was made on the way to Auckland. “It was, let’s just keep going. We had everything on board, enough food to go through to Raoul Island. We just needed some extra Navy personnel, and the government workers.” He says the ship’s command team had stayed abreast of the COVID-19 news during their two-weeks in the Sub-Antarctic Islands, but most of the crew had been out of touch. “As we travelled up New Zealand, we were watching the news every day. Everything was changing all the time.”
perform vital work to ensure that the weather and tsunami alert equipment, an important part of the warning system for New Zealand, remains operational during the shutdown.” In an email to Defence Minister Ron Mark, Conservation minister Eugenie Sage thanked the New Zealand Defence Force for the “speedy and effective” evacuation of DoC staff. “Their families will be relieved to have them home. The fact that CANTERBURY undertook this mission, as well as having very recently done another voyage to the Auckland and Campbell Islands to assist DoC… is very much appreciated. Many, many thanks.”
Operation Havre was scaled back to retrieving the DoC workers, who had been on Raoul Island for six months, and undertaking some final maintenance on the island’s tsunami gauges and weather station. Their departure means Raoul Island is now closed down for the first time in the history of the Department of Conservation. “Vibrant blue water, smooth seas, warm temperatures.” The weather helped with keeping morale up, as people pondered the national emergency in New Zealand. “We had physical training (PT) in the sun, and we did clay bird shooting on the flight deck.”
Commander Martin Walker, Commanding Officer, says it was very rewarding to be able to assist their government colleagues. “Tasks like the emergency evacuation of Raoul Island are perfectly aligned with CANTERBURY’s capabilities to be able to transfer people and equipment to or from isolated areas using our boats, landing craft or embarked helicopter. To be able to help our colleagues get back to their families in these uncertain times was particularly important to me and my Ship’s Company and to be able to put our training to use in a real life situation was fantastic. It was also great that we could assist MetService and GNS to
DoC Director-General Lou Sanson was effusive in his praise of CANTERBURY to CDR Walker. “We want to thank you and the crew of CANTERBURY for the extraordinary work you have done against the background of the COVID crisis, in particular your decision to not allow the ship’s complement off the ship before going to Raoul to prevent any possible transfer of COVID.” CANTERBURY returned on 29 March, but as the duty ship, she and her ship’s company are at eight hours’ notice to depart at the direction of the New Zealand government, says LT Fitzgerald. “We’ve got the ship cleaned up and ready, replaced parts we needed. We’re stocked up with stores and food for 35 to 40 days’ endurance. Everyone has been ordered home, but we’re not on leave. We’re ready to go.”
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Fijians down under y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
From the tropics to the Southern Ocean. It’s a hefty change of environment for four Republic of Fiji Navy sailors, who embarked on HMNZS CANTERBURY for a four-week voyage to and from the SubAntarctic Islands. The four sailors, Leading Seaman (Chef) Tevita Ratubuli, Petty Officer Seaman Mesake Druma, Able Seaman Vereniki Tabuyalewa and Leading Seaman Jolame Bera, are among 14 Fijian ratings participating in a three-month attachment to the Royal New Zealand Navy this year. This attachment is the first of its kind in 20 years. While their colleagues were engaged in leadership, seamanship and marine engineering courses in Devonport, the four sea-going sailors bought a few extra items of warm clothing and headed south.
Above: From left, Republic of Fiji Navy sailors LS Tevita Ratubuli, POS Mesake Druma, AS Vereniki Tabuyalewa and LS Jolame Bera.
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The four largely embedded themselves with the Seaman Combat Specialists, learning ship handling, launching of RHIBs and line handling. However, LS Ratubuli says he got some good food ideas from CANTERBURY’s galley.
He says the others were a bit jealous about their sea time. “They wanted to swap with us,” he says. He remembers when CANTERBURY came to Fiji to help after the country was devastated by Cyclone Winston in 2015. “When I saw CANTERBURY, I wished I could see on it. We could see the ship, but couldn’t come on for a tour, and we were busy with our own work. Now I’m here on board, living the dream.” He joined the Fijian Navy in 2011, because it was work that involved rescuing people, his own and others, during search and rescue missions. “I’m really liking being in CANTERBURY. I’ve been sailing for seven years now, and this is a bit like a cruise ship.” He says he is learning cooking techniques, especially pastries, puddings and desserts.
FIJIANS DOWN UNDER
POS Druma, who is in charge of the four, says Fijian Navy sailors sign up for three-year ‘reengagement’ periods. They can leave the Navy after a threeyear period, but he likes his work. “This job gives you lots of values, outside of work. In the Navy, we go to other places.” Like LS Ratubuli, he cites helping those at sea as one of the reasons he joined. The cold is a challenge, he says. “We’re from a tropical climate. It’s the first time for us to feel weather this cold. We’ve got warm gears and they are getting us through, so far.” LS Bera agrees. “It’s very cold, but they told us it would be.” ABS Tabuyalewa joined the Navy in 2013 to see the world, which he got in spades as a team member of the victorious Fijian Defence Rugby team at the Defence World Cup in Japan last year. “I’m starting to
adapt to this weather, but this is very cold for us – I didn’t even know New Zealand could be this cold!” He says he liked the Royal New Zealand Navy’s attitude that safety is a priority in everything they do. “I’m really enjoying myself,” he says. “The crew are so friendly, and being in the junior rates mess is easy, they show you what to do. This is a great experience, sailing in a big ship like this.”
Clockwise from left: the Fijians return HMNZS CANTERBURY's haka before departing the ship. LTCDR Jonathan Bannister arrives to check on the tidiness of the Fijian cabin during rounds. A fist pump as the Fijians get to experience Campbell Island.
HMNZS CANTERBURY’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Bannister, says the Fijian sailors quickly settled into life on board. “We even had a few Fijian dishes served up on board, including ‘Tuna Three Ways’. No world of a lie, they kept their cabin immaculate and were the best performing cabin during rounds.”
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Reservist takes on Watchkeeping role y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
Last month, as a Navy reservist, Nethaniel Hunter enjoyed the heights of 04 deck – the bridge – as HMNZS CANTERBURY completed her mission to the SubAntarctic islands.
He came away from his Navy contracts liking what he saw. “I thought it would be a cool idea to join the Navy. I liked the idea of a job where the end output was helping people, and making a difference.” But he also loved commercial diving. “So I decided to join the reserves, with the idea of joining the regular forces later on.”
Ordinary Maritime Trade Operator Hunter, 20, joined HMNZS TOROA reserve unit in Dunedin in 2018. Born and raised in Dunedin, he qualified as a commercial diver after finishing at King’s College a year before. His first commercial job was at Devonport Naval Base with a team of four, scraping the underside of CANTERBURY while she was docked at Calliope Wharf. “You can really lose your sense of reference with CANTERBURY, because it’s flat bottomed. If you got into trouble, you could run the length of the ship, finding your way out. So you need a weld line that runs sideways.” He also dived in the Calliope dry dock to monitor the clearances between a vessel and the chocks as the water level dropped. “How it works is, when you’re checking the distances, they can drop weights on the deck to ensure the ship has the right amount of base. The chocks have to be in the right place, sitting on strengthened plates.”
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HMNZS TOROA is awesome, says OMTO Hunter. “There’s a lot of ex-regular force sailors and officers who have a lot of experience. We have weekly parade nights and as part of my trade we have exercises throughout the year, where we get together with other reserve units and have joint exercises.” In CANTERBURY, his branch doesn’t have a position, but as a diver he found kinship with the Seaman Combat Specialists, watching and learning what the seaboat teams did. He had to do bridge watch duty, sometimes at 0300. “It’s great that I can come here, get some sea time, and take something away from this.” He’s done the Recruiting Ambassador Programme for the Navy, but he says he would recommend any work in the maritime sector. “You don’t realise how broad the opportunities are in the maritime industry. Navy is just one employer in an industry that has a lot of options. I definitely get excited about it.”
SLT EMILY MULDER
On watch, On duty y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
Ask Sub Lieutenant Emily Mulder how much sleep she gets a day and she’d have to think about it. It’s a complicated answer.
SLT Mulder, 23, from Palmerston North, is a GLX warfare officer and one of three bridge watchkeepers in HMNZS CANTERBURY, a role that became especially intense during Operation Endurance in the SubAntarctic Islands. With no means to anchor overnight, CANTERBURY maintained a steady circuit of 20-minute back-and-forth tracks near Campbell Island, awaiting morning light and renewal of operations. It’s a busy time for all watchkeepers. “For watchkeepers, a typical watch routine is one tour of watch, then eight hours between the next watch,” she says. First watch is from 2000 to midnight, middle watch runs from midnight to 0400, morning watch from 0400 to 0800, forenoon watch from 0800 to noon, and an afternoon watch is from noon to 1600. The last watch is the “dogwatch”, from 1600 to 2000. “Each shift is different,” she says. “If you do forenoon first, you’ve probably had a good seven hours’ sleep. If you did first watch, you’d wake up for watch in the morning. With a morning watch, you can have one hour on watch, then shower and breakfast and get back to work. You have to find your own routine.” In their spare time, warfare officers have task books to complete, and some will be divisional officers, managing the welfare of a team.
She is enjoying the work in CANTERBURY. “Once you get into this routine, it becomes your everyday life. You learn not to take things for granted, like you would at home. Like getting an all-night sleep, or having a normal work routine.” She joined the Navy in 2017, inspired by the work of HMNZS CANTERBURY during the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. “It was the video online of what this ship did in Kaikoura. It showed what it was up to, and how much it helped, and the whole dynamics of it. I had gone to university and not enjoyed it. I wanted something to provide stability and structure, and then seeing what the Navy does – I guess I thought it would be cool to help people out.” Her longest deployment was in HMNZS OTAGO for four months, for Western Pacific fisheries patrols and APEC security. “That was huge. A lot of that was development and learning how to deal with the lifestyle. You start as midshipman, two years to Ensign and three years to Sub Lieutenant.” Her advice to those considering a Navy career is to go for it. “It’s a step out of your comfort zone, but it’s not about your physical ability. It can teach you really good life skills, even if you don’t stay in it as a career, rather than going to university just because you think you need to.”
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Zodiac adds to the fleet y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
They’re among the most straightforward of boats, and perhaps a little lacking in high-speed glamour. But HMNZS CANTERBURY’s four zodiacs – Pike, Sword, Black Betty and Spiderbait – proved their worth during Operation Endurance last month.
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Opposite page: Sailors unload a zodiac at CANTERBURY’s stern ramp. Left: CPOSCS Mat Betty (left) and his team on the stern ramp of CANTERBURY in Perseverance Harbour, waiting to receive a zodiac.
The four army zodiacs are not permanently with CANTERBURY, but are part of the capability shared among an Integrated Defence Force. They lend themselves naturally to CANTERBURY's capability for transferring materials and personnel to and from the SubAntarctic Island bases. It meant, at CANTERBURY’s highest tempo of logistics in Perseverance Harbour at Campbell Island, the Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter was dropping underslung loads on the flight deck, the seaboat was jetting back and forth to Beeman base, and the zodiacs were running from the ship’s lowered stern ramp to shore with more goods. The only issue was timing to avoid the helicopter approach – five tonnes of downwash can really ruin your day. Chief Petty Officer Seaman Combat Specialist Mat Betty, who lent his name to one of the zodiacs, says the four 4.7m zodiacs are classed as Category A boats, as opposed to the ship’s J3 Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), which are Category B and helm-driven. “They are
definitely becoming more valuable,” he says. “There may be occasions where there are those remote spots that we can’t get into with our J3 RHIBs or our landing craft. Areas like the Pacific Islands, for example, where we have to get in and out of a reef.” The zodiacs have a 40 horsepower outboard motor and are capable of 20 knots with a coxswain and bowman embarked. “It’s the start of power boating, essentially. Surf lifesavers use them, and they’re teenagers. I held the Navy’s first CAT-A course as the powerboat instructor.” Today, Basic Branch Trainees in Seaman Combat Specialist, Diving and Hydrographic trades now receive zodiac CAT-A training. “Pretty much from one year, coming through the gate, we’ll have them driving these vessels. It made sense to get them started on it. They learn valuable seamanship skills in becoming a CAT-A coxswain.” He pushed for the course as a means of growing coxswain skills in the Navy. “We want to have
sustainable RHIB coxswains, as well as zodiacs. It’ll make our lives easier, and the sailors love it. It’s making them understand: you are the Commanding Officer of this small craft.” Despite its smaller size, a zodiac can carry more weight than a RHIB – 1250kg, as opposed to 740kg. “Zodiacs are buoyant and sit very flat on the surface, with low freeboard. You may get a little bit wet, but they are very handy for transporting cargo from CANTERBURY to shore.” CPOSCS Betty is due to post off CANTERBURY, to a new role with the Maritime Operations Evaluation Team (MOET). “I’ve been the ‘buffer’ for five years, on and off, and I’ve loved it. On a ship this size you’re handling force protection, boarding, safety, gunnery, small arms, all the boats, seamanship and ceremonial duties. It’s a pretty wide scope and you have to be a jack of all trades. Everyone comes to you for ‘whole ship’ stuff.”
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Seasprite tackles the Sub-Antarctic
Landing a Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter on a two-metre spot on HMNZS CANTERBURY’s flight deck is challenging enough, but at least Flight Lieutenant Cam Day knows the ground is solid.
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Compare that to a very careful and lengthy touchdown at Beeman Base, Campbell Island, where curved sheets of iron have been placed in the approximate positions of the wheel base, hopefully aligned with the prevailing wind. In the end, FLTLT Day opts to simply touch down, keeping power on while his pickups board the helicopter. Even so, the wheels have half sunk into the deep peat soil – what observer Lieutenant Commander Terry Rawhiti describes as “like landing in marshmallows”. Grumpy sea lions, dotted around the low-lying tundra, have steered clear. FLTLT Day’s presence in a Seasprite is not the norm for No. 6 Squadron, which is made up of Navy Pilots, Observers and Helicopter Loadmasters. Every helicopter pilot, Air Force and Navy, trains through RNZAF No. 3 Squadron at Ohakea, but he saw an opportunity when a Navy pilot requested an extended posting with No. 3. It was a basic swap, and with plenty of junior Air Force pilots it was something of a win-win for everyone.
“I was stoked to get a position with No. 6 Squadron,” he says. “I joined in 2014 and did my Wings course in Australia, flying 18 months with the Royal Australian Air Force. This was before the Texans were up and running. We came back to New Zealand and onto Helicopter Basic Conversion, with the A109. I finished that and was posted here.” FLTLT Day is from Invercargill and has always wanted to fly. His dad was a civilian pilot and owned a sky diving company. “He always said, if you want to be a pilot, the best training is in the military.” The big turning point for him was a RNZAF Iroquois helicopter visit to his high school. “There was this whop, whop of the blades. The roof panels were shaking and dust was coming down. I thought, what the heck was that noise? The ‘Huey’ landed. Those guys looked awesome and I had never seen a machine like that. I was set on choppers right there.” He travelled the world first, heavily into ski racing, but started to think seriously about a career. “There were a lot of ski athletes out there with broken bodies, including some injuries myself, so I thought it’s now or never. I applied in 2013 and got in.”
SEASPRITE AT ITS BEST
He’s done two years at No. 6 Squadron so far, including travelling with HMNZS TE MANA for a south-east Asia deployment. He plans on doing another two at least. In fact, he has yet to operate the RNZAF’s mainstay, the NH90, but he’s enjoying the Navy Seasprite. “The variety of missions we do with them is awesome, with Southern Ocean missions like this only a small part.” He's right about the variety. The Operation Endurance mission is a big contrast to the combat-capable helicopter's usual warfare role, which usually sees the Seasprite and its team on surveillance patrols around New Zealand or – based from a frigate or Offshore Patrol Vessel – across the Pacific. For Endurance, the job is to retrieve material left behind in November, when the mission was called off early due to CANTERBURY developing an engine fault, as well as delivering fresh supplies. Most of the material is being bundled up for underslung loads at the main series of DoC and MetService huts at Beeman base, at the end of the long Perseverance Harbour. The harbour is not friendly to vessels as large as CANTERBURY, and initially the Commanding Officer preferred to drive the ship back and forth at sea near the harbour entrance, and conduct flight operations from there. “That’s hard work for us,” says FLTLT Day. “That’s an eight-mile trip, and with the strong winds blowing, there might be only 15 knots of ground speed when flying with a load. It might be one or two trips, and the helicopter has to refuel. On top of that the flight deck team are dealing with four metre plus Southern Ocean swells, making working on the deck with the loads a very difficult ordeal” There is also material to collect on the outlying Sorensen and Mowbray Huts, the former a six-hour tramp from Beeman, but a short hop by Seasprite. It all changes when CANTERBURY’s Commanding Officer perfects an anchoring technique in Perseverance Harbour. Suddenly flight times are down to six minutes, and a steady rhythm of short hops runs through the day. The concentration of multiple taps is intense, but it’s about working as a team. “We have pretty robust procedures and checks in place. There’s three people in the aircraft, sharing the load. The pilot’s hands and feet doing the
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flying, the observer doing the radio calls and monitoring the instruments, the loadmaster handling the cargo and directing the helicopter around the loads. We work together, all three of us, with an equal role to play.” The teamwork isn’t just limited to the helicopter either. A team of Air Force Maintainers work tirelessly after hours keeping the Seasprite flying, as well as manning the flight deck while it is airborne. The Ship’s Amphibious Load Team (SALT), made up by Army, work furiously building and handling the numerous loads required. The many Navy trades on board make sure the whole ship can support aviation in such a hostile environment, and all have a unique role to play. “It really is a unique opportunity for Army, Navy and Air Force to work together to achieve a common goal.”
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The weather has all the challenges that come with being over 50 degrees South in latitude. The cold wears you down over the day. But generally the conditions are better than the November trip. “The weather and sea are the biggest challenges. Last time we were here, a wave slapped the top of the flight deck – that’s 27 feet up. We can get 40 to 60 knot winds, but the Seasprite is built for these maritime operations.” Campbell and Auckland Islands are not much higher than 600 metres in places. “It’s not hugely mountainous
terrain, but the air flow can get really confused around the massive sea cliffs. The winds can double in strength in 10 minutes and visibility can drop to less than a mile. This is why we practise with Exercise Bluebird in the South Island, to learn about flying in a brutal environment and rapidly changing weather.” And he gets to see sights few others see. “It’s beautiful down here. Sometimes you can get Southern Royal Albatross, flying in formation with you.”
Brothers on Board
Brothers on Board HMNZS CANTERBURY was home to four sets of Navy and Army brothers for several months. At one point CANTERBURY had Army brothers Jason and Shane Pore, members of the Ship’s Amphibious Load Team (SALT); Weapon Technicians Alex and Joe Kirk; marine technicians Jacob and Ben Griffin and chef and steward Kiwi and Vegas Tipoki. And as far as the Tipoki brothers from Wairoa are concerned, it’s a great way of beating homesickness. Able Chef Kiwi Tipoki and Able Steward Vegas Tipoki featured in Navy Today October 2017, owing to the rare circumstance of two brothers undertaking Basic Common Training (BCT) together. They’ve both been in CANTERBURY since the start of 2018.
ACH Tipoki says they have practically done everything together, including their Basic Branch Training in Waiouru for chefs and stewards after they graduated from BCT. “It’s been two years today,” he told Navy Today last month. “It’s been really good. We’ve always been close. It’s stopped us getting homesick, that’s the way I think about it.” He has had time away from CANTERBURY, working in an Inshore Patrol Vessel as a chef, before returning. ASTD Tipoki has been in CANTERBURY continuously. “Both of us, we’ve trained together, branch course together, we’ve got the same cabin on the ship, and now we are both on the same course at Waiouru – I’m doing my chef intermediates, and he’s doing steward intermediates. What are the odds, eh?” Leading Weapons Technican Alex Kirk shared the Weapon Technicians' office in CANTERBURY with his younger brother, Able Weapons Technician Joe Kirk.
LWT Kirk says the Weapons Technician idea was actually his brother’s, but he joined first. “I thought about joining the army, but didn’t want to dig trenches. The idea of travel appealed. You choose to become a WT at the end of your Electronic Technician branch training. I thought being a WT sounded more fun. You can see what you’re working with, as opposed to something magical like electronics.” He told his brother about the adventures, but he knew he was always going to join. He says it was a little strange being together. “It was cool in some ways but weird in other ways. It was just the two of us here in this office. But being a WT, compared to other trades, is a lot of fun. You have normal work hours, and everyone likes guns.” Joe has since left the Navy to move to Australia.
Above: ASTD Vegas Tipoki (left) and ACH Kiwi Tipoki.
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Dealing with the aftermath
y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
Petty Officer Military Police Tarnia SamuelArmstrong understands that people make mistakes. It’s her job to deal with the aftermath.
Posted to HMNZS CANTERBURY during Operation Endurance, she can be found training as a Flight Deck Officer, assisting with the evaluation of Damage Control exercises, helping fit boat crews into immersion suits or – her actual day job – policing and conducting investigations on behalf of HMNZS CANTERBURY’s Commanding Officer and the New Zealand Defence Force. All of which contrasts with the last time she posted to CANTERBURY, as a chef. She grew up in Glen Innes, part of a close Cook Island family, and came to the Navy in 2010 after finishing high school. One of her sisters was close friends with a Navy recruiter and she was intrigued by the possibilities. “The opportunity to travel the world for free was a big plus. And I love to eat, so I joined the Navy as a chef.” She spent three years as a chef, mostly at sea. “It’s something you work really hard at, and you get a real appreciation of your downtime. You are judged every day as a chef with the meals you present on the slide. Physical labour in the galley, you’re on your feet and on the move all day. But I loved it. It’s the people that make it.”
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She is particularly proud of achieving her City of London and Guilds chef diploma, a qualification that is recognised world-wide. But she had wanted to be a police officer when she was young. “I applied to Police College, as well as applying for the Navy, and the Navy got back to me first.” She undertook the Joint Military Police Basic Course in Trentham for 3.5 months, as the only Navy person on the course, and was one of four who passed out of six. She was promoted to Leading Naval Police – at that stage the all-service title of Military Police hadn’t been enacted – and was posted to HMNZS TE KAHA for seven months. “The Commanding Officer can request a MP for a deployment. For example, I’ve been the LMP for HMNZS OTAGO, for Operation Calypso to the Western Pacific. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be in the Cook Islands four times in my naval career, giving me an opportunity to be with my Dad.”
“ We are there to explain the process, make sure they are fully aware of their rights. I want to be sure they have an understanding of everything, including how their actions or poor judgement may affect them, their career, their family and the service.” As Military Police, her job is to conduct MP investigations and police. She’s approachable, and people can come to her at any time. “The ship’s Executive Officer is the enforcer of discipline, and I’m the one who is there to maintain order and regularity. He will discipline people on a ship, and I’m the one who will investigate.” She will present an overview of the investigation highlighting only facts, which will be displayed in either a Final Report or Caption Summary for the Commanding Officer, who will then determine the outcome and whether he needs to proceed with a summary trial – or potentially a court martial.
Above: POMP Tarnia Samuel-Armstrong helps sailors and government workers fit into their immersion suits.
Behaviour not in keeping with the core values and standards of the New Zealand Defence Force can happen. “People are under pressure because of the requirements to be achieved on deployments at sea. After a lengthy time at sea, the Ship’s Company arrive in port and proceed on leave ashore. They want to be free and relax, it’s only human. They are all adults but when alcohol is involved, that’s when people lose their judgement, forget their values, and that’s when mistakes are made. It's inevitable, people are human and are
going to make mistakes, but that’s when it’s my job. It’s the aftermath I deal with.” She was one of 12 MPs involved in an NZDF investigation that resulted in the recent court martial of two sailors for supplying and procuring illegal drugs on Devonport Naval Base. “When I’m tasked to conduct any investigation or policing task, I’m quite empathetic. I have a lot of compassion. When I’m doing this job, there’s no black or white answer, it’s always grey. We deal with sailors, soldiers, airmen – doesn’t matter who, we are there to do a job. We are there to explain the process, make sure they are fully aware of their rights. I want to be sure they have an understanding of everything, including how their actions or poor judgement may affect them, their career, their family and the service”. It is not her place to judge, she says, and she never does. “There’s always a reason for what people do. A mistake was made, and we will deal with it now. But tomorrow is a new day.”
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Blue water Navy staying green Sailors aboard HMNZS Wellington aren’t shirking their environmental responsibilities. The ship (and all ships in the RNZN) separate cardboard/paper for recycling, as well as wet rubbish (food/compostable) from the dry rubbish. All waste is brought back to land for disposal. But they are looking to do more – with the aluminium, plastics and glass.
“ If a warship can do it, there’s no excuses.” ~ LT Emily Keat, Executive Officer
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“Our sailors care about the environment and understand that making simple changes like separating rubbish can create a positive culture towards all things environmentally friendly,” says Executive Officer Lieutenant Emily Keat (pictured). “We have also created this idea that if a warship can do it, there’s no excuses”. LT Keat says they are looking into more options for dealing with waste in a sustainable manner, which can be applied at sea.
Meanwhile, back on land, the Defence Force is taking a wider look at a pathway to a more sustainable Defence Estate – to realise its Tuku Iho vision. Tuku Iho means “to pass on what you’ve received in at least as good as, if not better than, what you receive it in”. As part of that, volunteers have dived through all the rubbish bins at each of the New Zealand Defence Force camps and bases to determine what is being thrown out and how much. This has helped inform how that waste might best be diverted from landfill. At Devonport Naval Base they found unused medical supplies, dehumidifiers, a heater, furniture, toner cartridges that could have been returned and at least half a tonne of concrete, rubble and steel. There was also household waste, food waste that could have gone to the Big Hanna composter, ski boots and at least a dozen sporting trophies. Defence Estate and Infrastructure Environmental Sustainability Manager Fiona Thomson says one of the first goals is to reduce the amount of waste to landfill by ensuring the installation of well-labelled recycling bins on each NZDF site by the end of the year – a task she has underway for all sites.
“Dealing properly with waste, or ‘putting the right thing in the right bin’, is one of the ‘easy wins’ which everyone can act on,” says Fiona. NZDF spends at least $2.2 million dealing with at least 5,000 tonnes of waste each year – most of it going to landfill. The audit found across the Defence sites, more than half of our landfill waste (53 percent) could have been recycled. As part of the Defence Waste Management Framework, which was adopted late last year, the aim is to reduce waste to landfill by 53 percent by 2021 and reduce waste generation by weight by 50 percent by 2024. One ongoing, long-term goal is to reduce food waste by 50 percent. People are also being encouraged to come up with their own ideas to improve NZDF sustainability, as LT Keat and her team are doing. Environmental Sustainability Groups are being set up and supported at each Defence site and everyone is encouraged to join, Fiona says.
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WINDFOIL CHAMPION Ordinary Marine Technician Max Van der Zalm won the Youth Division of the 2020 New Zealand Windfoil Championships in Manly, Whangaparaoa over the weekend of 13 to 15 March. Max’s Fourth place overall contributed to him also winning the Open Men’s Division of the 2019/2020 New Zealand Windfoiling Racing Series. Windfoiling is a modern hydro foiling version of windsurfing, and a new sport that will feature in the 2024 Olympic Games. New Zealand has had a deep involvement with Olympic Windsurfing over the last 40 years with Bruce Kendall, Barabara Kendall, Aaron Macintosh and Tom Ashley winning multiple Olympic Medals. Max’s other windsurfing achievements include 14th place at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and multiple Youth National Championship Titles in RS:X Windsurfing, BIC Techno Windsurfing, and Slalom Windsurfing. The RNZN is proud to have well rounded young athletes amongst our ranks, especially athletes in water and sailing based sports. Bravo Zulu Max! Photo: Georgia Schofield
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