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MANAWANUI TURNS ONE POLICING IN THE SINAI NAVY MARAE'S 20TH BIRTHDAY
DIRECT ROUTE TO LOADMASTER
Contents 05 MANAWANUI turns one
16 PARRAMATTA exchanges
09 Man O’ War passage
20 Navy Marae’s 20th birthday
24 BCT talent
13 Policing in the Sinai
28 Wren’s 100th birthday
15 OPVs turn 10
“Being able to drive the ship alongside other navies throughout Asia was an unbelievable experience.”
~ SLT Jordan Appleton, RNZN, in HMAS PARRAMATTA
16 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
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13 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: email@example.com
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Cover: AHLM Turnbull in front of a Seasprite helicopter at RNZAF Base Auckland. Photographer: CPL Maria Eves
Yours Aye Chief of the Navy
While COVID-19 remains a contemporary topic of high interest for us all, there are a number of other equally important goings on in our Navy that I would like to highlight.
“In this issue of Navy Today, you will read a rich tapestry of sailor profiles and stories, both from the present and the past. I trust you find them as interesting as I do.”
June will see a number of significant activities and events occurring within the fleet. HMNZS OTAGO and her ship’s company will invest considerable mahi in her Work Up and preparation to deploy into the Pacific in support of our partners. HMNZS MANAWANUI will come out of dry dock, celebrate her first birthday, and by the month’s end be well down track in her preparations to deploy to Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) next month. HMNZS HAWEA will be busy supporting specialist professional training as well as delivering operational support to other agencies in resource and border protection. And of course, I expect a very shiny and impressive AOTEAROA to arrive in New Zealand having completed her delivery voyage from Korea where she was constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries; this is the same company who built our recently retired tanker HMNZS ENDEAVOUR. I have no doubt, once commissioned and introduced into service, that HMNZS AOTEAROA will serve the nation equally as well as her tanker/oiler predecessors. She is an impressive ship in size, technology and capability. I am envious of those sailors who will have the privilege of serving onboard her. Also related to the fleet, but more from a people perspective, in early June approximately 150 Ship’s Company of HMNZS TE KAHA (and a few from HMNZS TE MANA) flew to Victoria, Canada, to join their ship in preparation for her return to New Zealand by the end of 2020. Bringing a ship back to life after a lengthy period of upgrade will be exciting I am sure, but it will also see the TE KAHA team working long and hard to maximise the benefits of her new capabilities and the investment our government has made. I know we are all looking forward to the return of the frigates to New Zealand and their operational service.
As you look further into this issue of Navy Today, you will read a rich tapestry of sailor profiles and stories, both from the present and the past. I trust you find them as interesting as I do. Nancy ‘Pat’ Moore’s story is heart-warming and sets a high benchmark for ‘a life well lived’. I congratulate Pat on her milestone. The BCT profiles remind me of the diversity of our backgrounds and the strength this brings to our Navy, the different reasons we join and commit to serve, and the awesome potential of the future leaders of the RNZN. The strength and reputation of the Royal New Zealand Navy is founded on the quality of our sailors. Reading the stories and profiles, I am humbled to serve alongside such great New Zealanders. In closing, I wish to share an event that occurred last month. As a result of a tragic road accident, Casey Richard Hewitt, much loved son of Jackie Leef and Rob Hewitt, passed from our world. Why do I note this? Because albeit never having served in the RNZN, Casey is Iwi Hēramana. He grew up running around Te Taua Moana Marae, undoubtedly getting into mischief with other tamariki, while Rob was investing so much effort as Marae Coordinator in the early days of our marae. Casey returning to rest in Te Taua Moana Marae while journeying north to his home is another positive marker of the RNZN’s bi-cultural journey. To Jackie, Rob and whānau, I pass on the sincere condolences of your Iwi Hēramana whānau. Moe mai rā, takoto mai rā – rest in peace, Casey. He hēramana ahau. Yours Aye
Rear Admiral David Proctor Chief of Navy
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Jameson Welcomes Command y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
It’s only two months, but it’s a heady time to take command of HMNZS OTAGO. Commander Fiona Jameson, in her first Commanding Officer’s role, took the ship from Lieutenant Commander Ben Martin last month, as the latter went on personal leave. She assumed command as OTAGO and her Ship’s Company prepared to work up for this year’s Western Pacific fishery operations. It is also CDR Jameson’s first posting on a Protector-class Offshore Patrol Vessel. Her background has often involved frigates, starting with the Leander class HMNZS WELLINGTON and CANTERBURY before Pacific, Asia and Gulf deployments as Officer of the Watch and Navigating in HMNZS TE MANA. CDR Jameson conducted her Warfare Officer time on the Royal Navy’s Type 22 and Type 23s and experienced deployments to the Falkland Islands.
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She has been Executive Officer for HMNZS TE MANA and more recently HMNZS CANTERBURY, before being promoted to Commander last year and becoming the Director of the Sea Power and Warfare. She had barely got her feet under the desk for that, but she happily acknowledges that every day at sea is a good day no matter the weather. “This is a fantastic professional opportunity,” she says. “You always aspire to be in command, and work-up is a great opportunity for everyone to challenge themselves and grow as individuals and a team.” OTAGO’s work-up this month will see her working alongside the Maritime Operations Evaluation Team (MOET), with four staff who have held Command. “It’s a really great opportunity to learn from them. I’ll need to trust and empower my people to advise me on how an OPV works, and then apply my experience to help them challenge themselves and grow during the training.” It was a time when her family, including husband Lieutenant Commander Andrew Jameson, were expecting her to be home this year. So the entire family, including their daughters Freya
and Amy, came to the Change of Command ceremony. “For the kids, it brings it to life, showing them why mum is going away.” The work-up will focus on readying OTAGO as a ship able to conduct a full spectrum of operations in the Pacific, should the government require it. That includes aviation operations and boarding ships, but the Ship’s Company will be put through an involved role-playing scenario of being deployed to a Pacific Island nation with security or stability challenges, failing infrastructure – potentially needing some sort of aid – and/or New Zealand nationals needing evacuation. COVID-19 will play a part in the training. “That another aspect that’s unique to this work-up. We’ll be looking at how we can conduct a search of a foreign ship, or provide assistance at sea where there might be a risk of exposure to COVID-19. So that’s a challenge, to protect ourselves while delivering the effect for New Zealand. “My goal is to provide a light touch to support the Ship’s Company, maximise the training opportunity and hand the Ship back to Ben after his period of leave, so personally and professionally it’s a fantastic chance to support a shipmate.”
MANAWANUI TURNS ONE
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y Andrew Bonallack B Editor
It might only seem like a moment ago when the Navy’s newest vessel, HMNZS MANAWANUI, was commissioned. In fact it’s been a year – an almost non-stop year, says Lieutenant Commander Andy Mahoney, who couldn’t resist organising a drone image of his Ship’s Company forming the number ‘1’ on the flight deck this month. It was a light moment in a hard year of steadily building, installing and learning the Dive and Hydrographic vessel’s operational capabilities, while preparing for a trip to Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC in August. In May sailors at Devonport were treated to the sight of MANAWANUI literally berthing sideways at the wharf, thanks to her dynamic positioning system. But her subsequent dry
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docking, under control of the dock master, was done the old fashioned way, with ropes and a tug, and a touch of bow thruster to keep her line. The work included continuation of upgrades to her communications and computer networks, and fitting of RHIB and Swimmer of the Watch systems, but the primary reason for entering the dock was painting the hull in biofouling paint. MANAWANUI also needed some preparatory deck installation for ammunition magazines, including hull penetrations for pipework. It’s better to be in a drydock when you’re putting holes in the side of your ship, says LTCDR Mahoney. The ship has now got two J3 RHIBs and a fast rescue boat on the port side. One day, the ship will get a unique Littoral Maritime Craft, but that’s further down the to-do list. After her stint in dry dock, the ship went to sea this month for several weeks, undertaking seamanship and crane trials to include MANAWANUI’s first ever transfer of goods between the ship and a barge, using her 100-tonne crane.
MANAWANUI TURNS ONE
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“It’s been a hard year,” says LTCDR Mahoney. “I addressed the Ship’s Company and in reviewing the last 12 months, we’ve not been idle. We’ve continued with maintenance and modifications through COVID-19.” A team of divers operated from the ship – though not from the ship’s moon pool, as it is not yet operational. “There’s been lots of training courses in operating the bridge navigation systems and positioning systems. We passed a Maritime Operations Evaluation Team Sea Check assessment in March. It’s been a year of learning and finding our way.” The trip to Hawaii in July and August, for the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise, is incredibly exciting, he says. “It’s a very different RIMPAC, because it will be operating in a COVID-19 environment. We won’t set foot on dry land until we return. But it will still be very rewarding. We will be conducting task group operations, in support of some of the warfare exercises. We’ll play the part of a high value, mission-essential asset. And then there’s the highlight of the Photo Exercise.” At the conclusion of RIMPAC, the world’s largest maritime exercise, the nations’ ships form up for an aerial picture.
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It’s a chance for MANAWANUI to demonstrate it can deploy away from New Zealand and integrate with partner navies, he says. It’s also an opportunity to see how she handles in warmer climes, as the former construction survey ship is originally from Norway. “All 66 bunks will be filled, because we’re taking a number of extra junior officers and sailors. I have a core crew who understand the ship, but we’re getting to that stage where we need to think about relief crew, and growing some redundancy and depth. We have every trade and department on offer, but we are so different to the other ships – for engineers in particular. So it’s good for them to come on board and learn something new.” It will be 50 days at sea, and there’s plenty more hard work to do. “But of course, it is a very comfortable ship, and we will maximise every opportunity,” he says.
Man O’ War Passage Described as a ‘tight squeeze’ by Hauraki Gulf yachties, Man O’ War passage is an interesting nautical challenge at Great Barrier Island. Ensign Kate Williams outlines the step-by-step process in transiting the passage with Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS OTAGO.
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Man O’ War Passage
The passage, between Great Barrier Island and Kaikoura Island, is the ultimate test of confined waters pilotage in the Hauraki Gulf. It’s deep, but only 40 metres wide at its closest points, and HMNZS OTAGO has a beam of 14 metres. Accompanying us in this task was Fleet Navigating Officer (FNO) Commander John Butcher, who with his wealth of knowledge and experience provided guidance to both the Officer of the Watch and the Commanding Officer in the feasibility, planning and execution phases. The day before, Navigator Lieutenant Jerry Kemp piloted the entry into Smokehouse Bay where the ship remained at anchor overnight. That afternoon FNO, LT Kemp and myself embarked in a RHIB for a reconnaissance mission through the passage to get a feel for the restricted waters and identify dangers for the
ship the following morning. After returning to the ship and having a filling BBQ dinner, courtesy of OTAGO wardroom, a long night of pilotage planning followed.
critical that the ship passed directly in the centre as they were leaving only 15 yards each side of safe water before being pushed up hard against the rocks.
I presented the final plan to FNO and the Commanding Officer the next morning, and we discussed in depth how we were going to pass through and the specifics of wheel and engine orders at critical parts of the pilotage. At 0900 the ship weighed anchor and the ship made preparations. Reduced Special Sea Dutymen (RSSD) and Cable Party remained closed up, joined by other members of Ship’s Company on the upper deck observing.
As we passed through the tightest part, the Commanding Officer called the OOW over to the bridge wing to look out the window. Directly beneath were rocks and the view out both windows was steep cliff. As the stern of the ship cleared the nearest dangers of the cliffs, the ship increased speed to complete the rest of the pilotage.
As we approached the lead up leg, the ship became very quiet, apart from the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and the Commanding Officer giving minor wheel orders to ensure the ship passed directly in the middle. It was
There was a lot of relief and pride at the accomplishment – after the tension and adrenaline had died down. On reflection, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the satisfaction of completing a successful evolution like this significantly outweighed the stresses of planning and preparation. Above: Chart NZ 5223 Great Barrier Island (Aotea Island).
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Direct route to Loadmaster
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y Suzi Phillips B Senior Communications Advisor
An outdoor job with a great view from the office was what attracted Bay of Plenty student, Tyson Turnbull, into training for a career as a helicopter loadmaster with the Navy. Able Helicopter Loadmaster Turnbull is the Navy’s first-ever direct entry into the Loadmaster trade, thanks to a policy change to attract candidates. Previously, sailors had to qualify in another role and trade change later. It was while at Whakatane High School that he considered a future with the New Zealand Defence Force and the Navy in particular. Now, just over two years on, he is well on his way to becoming a qualified helicopter loadmaster for No. 6 Squadron, flying in the Seasprite SH-2G(I). “I didn’t want a permanent desk job,” says AHLM Turnbull. “I wanted a job where I could get out and do stuff and be involved out in the community. “When I watched a recruiting video on the Defence careers website, hanging out the door of a helicopter looked like a good office view to me. I looked through all the roles and trades available with the Navy and this appealed the most.” At high school, AHLM Turnbull took physics to NCEA Level 3, as well as maths, calculus and statistics, English and history. “Those subjects were a definite advantage when considering a career as a loadmaster,” he says. He applied after high school and had a gap year while awaiting the outcome of his application, working locally as a bartender in Whakatane. He started his basic common training at Devonport Naval Base in February 2018.
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“The course lasted for 18 weeks and it got pretty gruelling at times, but it all worked out in the end, as they promised – they break you down and build you back up.” After his basic training he spent several months at Devonport, including on leadership courses and a month on HMNZS CANTERBURY, living on board the ship. From there he went to RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai and started his aircrew training with prerequisites such as aviation medicine and survival training. Just before the 2018 Christmas break he was posted to No. 6 Squadron, the Navy’s helicopter squadron based at Whenuapai to complete his conversion course from the A109s to the Navy Seasprites. “While I waited for the Helicopter Basic Course (HBC) to begin, I spent four months at No. 6 Squadron, and it was good to get in the environment where I hoped to work in the future,” he says. “I met some of the people there and it was good to see how the squadron runs and where I would fit in.” His HBC started with the RNZAF in April last year at Ohakea Air Base in the Manawatu, training at No. 3 Squadron on the A109s. “The course teaches you about the helicopter loadmaster role, such as helping with weight and balance on the ground and then once we’re airborne, being a second set of eyes and ears for the pilots, guiding them in when we go into clearings among trees, and landing in less than ideal places in less than ideal conditions,” says AHLM Turnbull.
“We also learn the utility part of our role, like winching and under-slung loads and how a helicopter can be employed on those tasks.” After graduating from the course in October 2019, AHLM Turnbull spent a couple of months building up his experience as a helicopter loadmaster before he was posted back to No. 6 Squadron at Whenuapai. “At the start of it all, the military environment was new to me and a bit of a culture shock, and adjusting from BCT to being 110 percent on all the time, and then getting into an environment where you are still expected to do your job 110 percent, but you’ve got a lot of time to manage as well, so it’s less directed and more self-guided.” “Overall I really enjoyed it and found that I was more motivated because it was something that I really enjoyed doing.” “I’ve only done two flights on the conversion course so far – it’s early days – but I’m looking forward to getting more training and experience,” he says. “I’m pleased with my progress and the rate they can train you and the capability that they have to keep that training going is amazing.”
Policing in the Sinai
Policing in the Sinai The first land-based deployment for Petty Officer Military Police Carla Marsh has proven longer than usual, but no less amazing for it.
“The MFO has been in the Sinai for 38 years and by being here we’ve helped defuse one of the world’s hot spots. Knowing this makes being away from home worthwhile.”
POMP Marsh is a Military Policewoman deployed to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, as part of the Kiwi contingent working with the Multinational Force and Observers, an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Normally stationed at Devonport Naval Base, this is her first land deployment after seven years with the Royal New Zealand Navy. POMP Marsh, who featured in Navy Today September 2019 as a Leading Rate, joined the Navy because of her love of the sea. She decided to become a Military Policewoman because of a passion for doing the right thing and leading by example. “I’m really interested in investigations and enjoy talking to people. A lot of our job is problem solving so I like the challenge of that and not one day is the same. I like being able to help others when they have an issue that needs resolving, and we also get to work with the NZ Police.” Her Military Police role in New Zealand is diverse and can range from general policing duties to investigations involving military personnel. In the Sinai, she’s the section commander at the Force Military Police Unit in South Camp.
“Our mission is to ensure maintenance of discipline and good order within the MFO, taking into consideration the jurisdiction, authority, powers, and discretion of the Force Provost Marshal. As a section commander my job is to facilitate the daily operation of the Force Military Police Unit, ensuring preventative policing and continuation training is conducted, responding to incidents and conducting on-base security patrols to support the MFO mission.” Being deployed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has made life interesting for the Kiwis, but thanks to an early introduction of lockdown procedures and isolation of the camps on 10 March, there have been no cases of COVID-19 within the MFO and life has been able to continue relatively normally. POMP Marsh will soon be able to turn her attention to heading home, although the normal six month deployment is likely to run slightly longer because of the difficulties in returning to New Zealand now. NZDF personnel normally rotate out of missions every six to twelve months, depending on the nature of the deployment. Because of border closures, travel restrictions and other measures imposed to restrict the spread of COVID-19, the Kiwis in the Sinai are waiting to hear when they’ll be able to return to New Zealand. “This has been an amazing six months. There are not many jobs in the world where you can be moved 10,000 kms from home to do a job that helps maintain world peace. The MFO has been in the Sinai for 38 years and by being here we’ve helped defuse one of the world’s hot spots. Knowing this makes being away from home worthwhile.”
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Addressing Naval Safety The NZDF Seaworthiness Authority and NAVOSH Functional Interaction y Commander Raymond McLaughlin B Director of Naval Safety and Health
As an operator in the maritime domain the NZDF has duties under both maritime law and health and safety law. The NZDF utilises a structured Seaworthiness System to facilitate compliance with statutory safety obligations for the safe operation and technical control for all NZDF maritime capabilities, ships, waterborne vessels and maritime activities. The NZDF also utilises a Safety Management System to facilitate its responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) as a Person1 Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) and to meet its primary duty of care obligations in relation to the health and safety of NZDF workers and others affected by the work it carries out. The appointment and terms of reference for the Chief of Navy vests the CN as both2 the NZDF Seaworthiness Authority and a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking as defined in the HSWA 2015. Both the Seaworthiness System and the HSWA address safety. The Seaworthiness System goes some way to addressing the NZDF health and safety responsibilities, however: •
Some Seaworthiness requirements are not found in the HSWA
Some Seaworthiness and HSWA requirements overlap
Some HSWA requirements are not found in the Seaworthiness system
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Duties addressed by the Seaworthiness System and the HSWA It is not necessary to duplicate actions or controls under the HSWA that are already addressed by the Seaworthiness System. HSWA duties addressed in the Seaworthiness System include examples like: •
Duty to manage risks
Duty to ensure the safety of other persons in the workplace, equipment and the environment
Duty to develop emergency plans
Duty to periodically review workplace controls
HSWA requirements not specifically addressed by the Seaworthiness System include; •
Duty to manage asbestos
Worker engagement, participation and representation
In NZ, maritime transport operators are regulated by both Maritime NZ and Worksafe NZ to ensure their compliance with maritime law and health and safety law. This dual construct is mirrored in the NZDF through the Naval Flag State Administrator and the NAVOSH organisation. Further details on each construct can be found in NZBR 2000 – NZDF Seaworthiness Instructions and NZBR 2015 RNZN Health and Safety Manual.
1 The word ‘Person’ should not be taken literally and will normally be an organisation. 2 DFI 0.1 Terms of Reference – Chiefs of Service Article 2.3 d. (4) and (6).
HMNZS WELLINGTON'S Ship's Company Celebrate 10 Years This year marks the 10th anniversary for Offshore Patrol Vessels WELLINGTON and OTAGO being accepted into the Royal New Zealand Navy. Both vessels, constructed by BAE Systems Australia (previously Tenix), were the last two vessels to be constructed under the $500 million Project Protector scheme, which also delivered four Inshore Patrol Vessels and Landing Ship Logistics HMNZS CANTERBURY.
OTAGO was accepted at Williamstown, Melbourne, on 18 February 2010, with then Lieutenant Commander Simon Rooke taking the ship as her first Commanding Officer. He was also the delivery Commanding Officer for WELLINGTON, accepted on 6 May, with Lieutenant Commander Simon Griffiths becoming WELLINGTON's first CO in June. Lieutenant Lorna Gray (now LTCDR), who would go on to post as Executive Officer on both vessels (and take command of OTAGO seven years later), was part of the delivery crew for both OPVs. She told Navy Today in 2010 that sailing into Auckland in OTAGO on 9 April was a “momentous occasion” and one that was repeated promptly – the crew only had a week’s break before heading back to Australia to pick up WELLINGTON. The OPVs boasted fully computerised power and control systems, and a more open and inclusive layout in comparison to frigates, promoting more interaction between different departments.
A two-berth cabin with an ensuite was a luxury for its time. WELLINGTON and OTAGO are often described as the "workhouses" of the fleet because of the variety of tasks they are called on to perform. With the capability of embarking the SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopter, they have ranged from the Ross Sea and Sub-Antarctic Islands to the South Pacific. In February 2010 the NZ Government reached a settlement with BAE Systems over Project Protector, which had encountered numerous problems and delays (OTAGO was two years behind programme). Both OPVs were heavier than designed, although within a safe operating margin. The most notable defect was with HMNZS CANTERBURY, which originally had RHIB alcoves below the flight deck. A flaw in the alcove design meant water could enter the cargo deck in heavy seas. The RHIB alcoves are now for’ard of the flight deck, at the same level.
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A Steel Eel, two Kiwis and a couple of Dux y LCDR Wayne McColl B Royal Australian Navy
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The opportunity to deploy in HMAS PARRAMATTA has been the experience of a lifetime for two Royal New Zealand Navy officers. Sub Lieutenants Jordan Appleton and Francesca Hlavac have been posted to the Anzac-class frigate and have just returned from a three-month deployment to South East Asia. SLT Appleton completed the Junior Warfare Application Course as Dux in early 2019 and posted onto PARRAMATTA as a consolidation posting while SLT Hlavac joined the ship in December last year on
Clockwise from top: HMAS PARRAMATTA breaks away from formation with USS AMERICA and USS BUNKER HILL. USS AMERICA and USS BARRY form a column during officer of the watch manoeuvres with HMAS PARRAMATTA. SLT Francesca Hlavac.
completion of the Royal Australian Navy’s Marine Engineering Application Course, of which she was also awarded Dux. SLT Appleton said his exchange to PARRAMATTA had been a great experience early in his career. “PARRAMATTA has been an exciting and dynamic posting as an Officer of the Watch and I have had the opportunity to tick off some career highlights,” SLT Appleton said. “Being able to drive the ship alongside other navies throughout Asia was an unbelievable experience.” For SLT Hlavac, her time aboard the ‘Steel Eel’ was also her first chance to work as an officer at sea in a class of ship operated by both the Australian and New Zealand navies. The 'Steel Eel' reference comes from the name Parramatta, anglicised from the Aboriginal dialect “Barramattagal”, meaning “Place where the eels dwell”.
“HMAS PARRAMATTA is my first seagoing posting, and this deployment has offered an excellent opportunity and context in which to progress my training as a junior Engineering Officer,” SLT Hlavac said. “With both of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Anzac-class frigates, TE MANA and TE KAHA, undergoing upgrades in Canada, this posting has enabled me to gain experience on the same class of ship, which will be of great benefit on return to New Zealand.” “Through this posting I have been able to expand my technical support network and have made some great Aussie friends.” With PARRAMATTA’S deployment now complete, SLT Appleton will return to New Zealand to take up a sea-going posting while SLT Hlavac will remain posted to PARRAMATTA until 2021.
“Being able to drive the ship alongside other navies throughout Asia was an unbelievable experience.” ~ SLT Appleton
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Our People 1. Fellow medics OMA Caitlyn Johnston (left) and OMA Hannah Searancke (BCT 20/01) drill the Sunset ceremony. 2. Marae Events and Protocol manager Melanie Lucas and ASTD Ashleigh Huata perform for the song Tūtira mai ngā iwi for an online music collaboration between three Defence Force bands and the United States Air Force. 3. BCT 20/01 celebrate OCSS Valerie Karaka’s birthday.
4. OET Jacob Golightly and OMT Tiaana Tamatea lower the colours at sunset at the Recruit Training Squadron. 5. CDR Mike Peebles is temporarily at the helm of HMNZS MATATAUA, as well as Commanding Officer of HMNZS TE MANA. 6. BCT 20/01 get in touch with their naval history at North Head, Devonport. 7. LCSS Nicholas White, from Base Operations Unit, works with other BOU members and the NZ Remembrance Army to rejuvenate sailor’s graves at O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, Bayswater. 8. Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield visits the Managed Isolation Facilities coordination teams in Auckland, chatting to LT Troy Gorden and SQNLDR Paul White.
9. CPOCH Rowe Kaa at a Management Isolation Facility with former Chiefs and current Tongan rugby player Ben Tameifuna, who isolated after returning to New Zealand from his Paris rugby club. Ben completed 150 rounds of his hotel during his 14-day isolation period, equating to 52km. 10. Regardless of COVID-19, flu jabs are still important, as AMED Courtney Davies demonstrates. 11. OMUS Esther Hunter, Royal New Zealand Navy Band, shows that social isolation does not preclude flute practice.
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Navy Marae Celebrates 20 Years Te ohonga ake i te moemoea, ko te puāwaitanga o ngā whakaaro. Dreams become reality when we take action.
This year the Navy Marae, Te Taua Moana, celebrates 20 years of welcoming and embracing its warriors of the sea and visitors to the Navy. Navy Today explores the work and history leading up to its opening on April 15, 2000. It’s one of the first things Navy recruits encounter after “signing on the line” during their attestation into Navy service. The sailors and officers head over to the foreshore of Ngau Te Ringaringa Bay (Ngataringa) and assemble, as manuhiri, at Te Waharoa, Tangaroa, the gateway in front of the wharenui, Te Whetu Moana. After their pōwhiri, the trainees can consider Te Taua Moana their marae. The pōwhiri at Te Taua Moana is also an inherent part of welcoming visitors to the Royal New Zealand Navy. Dignitaries, VIPs, Heads of State and service chiefs from across the world have passed through Te Waharoa and met Te Wero Pōwhiri, the challenge. But the initial focus and purpose of the Navy marae was Te Iwi Hēramana, its sailors. Robyn Tauroa, the first woman to speak at the marae, was the Rūnanga o Te Iwi Hēramana Secretary at the time, later Marae Assistant Manager. She tells the story about the time before the marae, of how young
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Māori, accustomed to both discipline and communal living, would arrive to the Navy from all over New Zealand – ngā hau e whā. “Our 15-19-year-old Ngāti minds were shaped by Killicks and Gunnery Instructors (GIs), and we quickly and happily integrated, seizing the opportunity to get out and see the world.” Following World War II, and into the sixties, aspects of tikanga were practised, albeit discreetly. “Whānaungatanga inherently guided our behaviour towards one another, and tuakana-teina relationships of a tribal nature were established during training. Reverend Māori Marsden, as the first Māori chaplain in the Royal New Zealand Navy, provided karakia and also guided unuhia ceremonies to prepare Māori for battle. Veterans of that era viewed the wairuatanga of those occasions as being an inevitable precursor for a Navy Marae.
“Importantly, tikanga that surrounded the universal journey of death were respected, although in a restrictive manner. Our forebears would gather in funeral parlours to farewell fellow matelots, and when the bereaved family arrived, they were all guided back to their hometown marae, where the deceased would lie in state.” In the seventies, tupāpaku lay in lounges, carports and garages, with tents erected outside for wharekai. “Often this was only for a night, as buses were organised and filled with sailors to accompany shipmates on their final return to whānau. It was for these occasions that sailors yearned for a marae where they could gather to farewell the dead, share stories with whānaupani of how their shipmate had lived, while collectively grieving their passing.
Top of page: A mass haka at the opening of Te Taua Moana marae in April 2000.
NAVY MARAE'S 20TH BIRTHDAY
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“By the eighties, Iwi Hēramana Hui were being held, bringing together ships, and invited Kapa Haka, to perform before whānau and friends. These celebrations were held at naval sports grounds and in gymnasiums, in lieu of the future marae.” The eighties were a turbulent time for race relations in New Zealand, with Māori opinion divided both on Treaty issues and Waitangi Day events. “With mainstream Māori protesting against a dishonoured Treaty, sailors were being confronted by their own whānau regarding their loyalties. Such concerns led to a Fleet Hui in 1984 for Māori sailors to discuss kaupapa Māori issues within the Navy, and again, the dream of a Navy Marae was raised as a place of solace and comfort.” The times also coincided with the planning for new Basic Common Training facilities at Ngataringa. “Lieutenant Commander Karl Hutton, a newly-recruited Māori officer who had been assigned the project, decided he could make a difference. After discussions over various sites with Navy kaumatua and other senior Māori, he designated the current site in an initial Concept Plan that was presented to command.”
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It was approved, but it would take another 12 years before fruition. In the meantime, Iwi Hēramana established its own Rūnanga; and spurred by external influences, the Navy established its first Bi-Cultural Committee, whose founding members included Rear Admiral Jack Welch, Chief of Naval Staff. In the mid-nineties, two buildings were placed on the site chosen by LTCDR Hutton, to become the Wharanui – Te Whetu Moana and the Wharekai – Hinemoana, of Te Taua Moana marae. They traditionally face east, to welcome the sunrise and look out to the sacred land marks of the area. On 15 April, 2000, the late Māori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikāhu, opened the marae. Navy kaumātua Kairo McLean opened his whaikorero with this whakatauki – Te ohonga ake i te moemoea, ko te puāwaitanga o ngā whakaaro – Dreams become reality when we take action. The proverb acknowledged both the dreams of Māori sailors over the previous 40 years, and the actions taken by successive generations to fulfil those dreams. Hui with local and surrounding iwi had been held to advise intentions, discuss plans, and invite representatives to take part in the traditional dawn ceremony. At the formal Naval ceremony held later that day, one group raised concerns about what they perceived was a lack of consultation, particularly around the choice to honour the marae as nga hau e whā. However, the kaupapa was strengthened by this, as sailors, officers and their extended whānau responded by standing in unity and singing in worship, maintaining the overall integrity of the day. In the speeches that followed, the significance of the matter was not lost, affording mana to the marae and its people. The COVID-19 lockdown over April has meant a ‘21st’ celebration is contemplated for 2021.
Privileged to Speak Ordinary Steward Teaukutai Cook, 18, says it was one of the highlights of his life to give a speech in Te Reo on behalf of his class, BCT 20/01, at Te Taua Moana. It was the second welcome for OSTD Cook at the Navy marae, as he had undertaken a three-day Defence Force recruitment course before joining the Royal New Zealand Navy at the start of 2020. Back then, he was a teenager contemplating his choices, and he liked what he found when he was welcomed to the marae. He was familiar with marae protocol, with parents from Hokianga in the Far North and Ihumātao, Auckland. “I’ve spoken quite a few times on a marae, but this felt pretty life-changing. It was like knowing what I was getting into, had a lot of connection to my Māori culture. The Navy really care about it. That was what was going
through my head. They knew what they were talking about, they had their procedures in place, and it was really comfortable.” The experience helped him with his choice of service. “I’m proud of myself for speaking. It was a privilege to have that opportunity.” OSTD Cook says his father had been dropping hints for a long time to consider a career in the Defence Force. He says he had a vague life plan mapped out, but he agreed to try the three-day course. His mother worked hard with him on his applications, both for the course and later for the Navy. “Once you experience what it’s like, you find that there’s a lot of things that are unseen about the Defence Force. People think they are going to drill you, smash you, get you fit. But I realise now, this is career-building. I can get a career, get a trade, get a name for myself.”
Glossary Hui – gathering
Tikanga – customs
Iwi – tribe
Tuakana – Teina – elder-younger sibling type relationship
Kapa Haka – traditional performing artists Karakia – prayer Kaumatua – elder Kaupapa – topic Mana – prestige Manuhiri – visitors Ngāti – slang Ngā hau e whā – the four winds
Tupāpaku – deceased body Unuhia – ceremonial cleansing before battle Wairuatanga – spirituality Whaikōrero – speech Whakatauki – proverb Whanaupani – bereaved family Whānaungatanga – close relationships Wharekai – dining hall
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Motivated to Succeed Suzi Phillips talks to three BCT 20/01 trainees about their motivations for joining, and coping with the restrictions under COVID-19. Practical skills lead to Navy trade Former Fiordland College student, Bradley Carruthers enjoys hands on, practical work, traits that steered him towards engineering in the Royal New Zealand Navy. “During the last few years of college we had Careers Day and the Defence Force presentations on the Navy appealed to me,” says Ordinary Marine Technician Carruthers. He did subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, calculus and statistics at college and enjoyed his sport, including playing for the Southland in his final year. “I was interested in the Navy, but I didn’t seriously consider it until Year 13. I was going to go to University, but pulled out because I wanted to do something more practical and handson than academic,” he said. “I’ve always liked working with tools and worked for my father as a builder’s labourer after college. I like learning the physics behind how things work.” After a chat with his recruiting facilitator he was offered a choice of marine or electronic technician as his trade in the Navy. “I read about what a marine technician does in the Navy and decided to give it a go,” says OMT Carruthers.
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He began his basic training course in February and has found the return to Auckland fairly quiet so far. Asked about his challenges on the course, Bradley says: “I first “hit the wall” in training at about week six. That was when I was questioning whether this was for me. “It was also hard when we got updates about the impact of COVID-19 and were put in Lockdown Level 4 with all our leave cancelled. At first it was a bit scary to do lockdown here and not have any free time away, but we got used to it. “It’s not really busy in Devonport – we’re away from Auckland City and with COVID-19 not many people have been getting out and about,” he says. “Our family lived in Whangaparaoa in my early years, and it was interesting when we went to the Tamaki Leadership Centre there for our Shakedown training – we drove past the area I used to live and it still looked familiar.” “I see Navy as a lifestyle to enjoy and live full-on, and it’s very different from a normal job situation,” says OMT Carruthers. “I’m looking forward to the travel and working in a ship.” At time of writing, he was looking forward to seeing his family in Te Anau when he next gets some leave. “I love the Fiordland area and being around the mountains and having time for hunting, so I’m looking forward to getting back for holidays,” he says.
Former Dux joins the Navy Former Te Kuiti High School dux, Hannah Searancke, has joined the Navy to train as a medic. She follows her father and grandfather into the New Zealand Defence Force. “My Dad, Edwin, was a Navy gunner in the early 1990s and he shared a lot of good stories about being in the Navy,” says Ordinary Medical Assistant Searancke. “And my great-grandfather fought in World War II in the New Zealand Army. Dad was chuffed when I told him I was joining the Navy. He’s very proud and happy for me. “Living in Te Kuiti is like being part of a big family – it’s a very whānau place and I think the Navy will be the same,” she says. OMA Searancke was Head Girl and Dux at Te Kuiti High School in 2018, where she took subjects like biology, chemistry, statistics, calculus, and English. She also played hockey and soccer and served as captain of those teams. “I played guitar and enjoyed music at high school. I really enjoy guitar playing in my spare time and hanging out with cousins and friends. “Our Head Girl, when I was in Year 11, joined the Navy as a chef and that was influential for me.” After high school, OMA Searancke went to Waikato University to study science, but decided she really wanted to give Navy a go.
“I chose to be a medic because I like helping people and I had taken some medical sciences at university and they interested me,” she says. “I started my application for Navy midway through last year, but had to have laser eye surgery to improve my eyesight,” she says. “I was rapt when I was told in January this year that I was successful.” During her basic training course at Devonport Naval Base, the news of the spread of coronavirus and the Level 4 lockdown added to the challenge of completing the course, she says. “We had no Church Service in Week 5, when usually we would see our family and we were not able to leave because of lockdown,” she says. “That meant staying on Base for 12 weeks without seeing our families. “It also meant we didn’t get through everything on our timetable on schedule, so our course is an extra four weeks long and we graduate a month later than planned. “That brought us all a lot closer because we were all feeling the same and had to lean on each other for support,” says OMA Searancke. After graduation from basic training, she will go straight into the start of Medic training at Burnham for a twoyear course.
Nursing interest leads to Navy medic training Former Roxburgh student Caitlyn Johnston, 18, has also joined the Navy to train as a medic. “I wanted a career where I could be active and decided to train as a nurse,” says Ordinary Medical Assistant Johnston. “I was going to do a nursing course with a polytechnic, but when I found out about the medic trade in the Navy, I decided to do that.” At Roxburgh Area School, OMA Johnston took subjects like English, Phys Ed, Biology, and did a preparatory nursing online course. She also played, captained and coached both Netball and Kī-o-rahi (a ball sport played with a small round ball called a 'kī'), and learned kickboxing. “Roxburgh is a very outdoors place and we also did a lot of hunting there, she says. “Defence Force recruiters came and talked to our classes in Years 11 – 13, and our school careers advisor promoted the Defence Force as a good option,” says OMA Johnston. “She suggested it would be good for me too.” “I like caring for people and this will be in the action as well with lots of opportunities for travel later on which will be good,” she says. “My application process was straightforward and that takes a while, but I just worked through
the steps. I finished Year 13 and while I was waiting, I worked at the bakery in Roxburgh, Jimmy’s Pies,” she says. “I’ve worked there for about three years (after school and in the holidays), and it’s great experience for meeting new people and customer service.” OMA Johnston didn’t know what to expect from her Navy basic training course, but has found it a good experience. “It’s been cool meeting new people and making new friends,” she says. “We have established some strong connections from training together for several months.” She was also glad she had worked on her fitness before doing the training course too, because she says, “it has paid off and I’ve done well in our fitness tests. “This is the longest I have been away from home, and Shakedown week was hard but it was also some of the biggest accomplishments. You get tired, physically and mentally, but you are still part of a team and need to communicate well.” “During the course we were also dealing with the news of the spread of COVID-19 and not knowing what was happening in the outside world – it came as a shock.” Now OMA Johnston is looking forward to finishing her course and the return of domestic flights so that she can go home to see family before embarking on the rest of her medic training.
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My Navy Life y Peter Maitland B Ex Leading Telegraphist
In 1953, at the age of 19, I joined the Navy. I did my basic training on HMNZS TAMAKI, (The Rock). After three months I went to HMNZS PHILOMEL, where for the next nine months I trained to become a Radio Operator. On completion of my training all of the class I was in were being sent to join the light cruiser HMNZS BLACK PRINCE, which was in service at that time. The class previous to mine had all been sent to join the Loch class frigate HMNZS HAWEA, which was leaving for Korea in the middle of January. Fortunately for me, one of that class had an accident and broke his leg just two weeks before being due to sail. Because I had come top of my class I was sent to HAWEA as his replacement, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.
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Peter Maitland, aged 20.
We sailed for Korea, via Sydney, for two months of working up exercises with ships from the Australian Navy. This involved lots of work for everyone as we prepared to go onto a war footing. Just a few days before we were due to leave Sydney for Korea, the Peace Treaty was signed, and hostilities ceased. This left us a highly trained ship, with nowhere to go. The Navy quickly made a decision for us to do a Pacific Cruise, visiting Fiji and the Gilbert and Ellis Islands (these are now known as Tuvalu). What a wonderful experience for me, now 20 years old and doing something that people pay many thousands of dollars to do today. Mind you, the conditions on HAWEA were vastly different to being on a cruise ship, but we were young and life was one big adventure. After visiting Suva and several islands, we arrived at the island of Funafuti, just after 8am on a perfect tropical day. The sea was mirror-smooth, the temperature warm and balmy, and the island was a real picture-postcard type of place with palm trees swaying and a white coral sand beach gleaming at the edge of a beautiful blue sea. The reef was about 100 metres from the shore, with waves gently breaking over it, making it appear like a large white line painted on the blue sea. As we approached, our Asdic was pinging the reef and the range was being broadcast to the Bridge and all parts of the ship. The Asdic operator’s voice kept getting higher as we got closer to the reef. “Range 100 metres. Range 50 metres. Range 20 meters.”
Then we hit. At this time most of the crew were on the upper deck taking photographs and just soaking up how beautiful it all was. I was right up in the bow and was watching the reef rising from the sea floor through the crystal clear water. I wrapped my arms around the Jack Staff and hung on just before we ran aground. With lots of noise and the ship shuddering her way onto the reef things got a bit hectic. We were stuck hard and fast. A Petty Officer came running up to the bow yelling for everyone to quickly move aft to the Quarterdeck. At the same time the order to “Clear Lower Deck” was being broadcast throughout the ship. As soon as everyone had arrived on the Quarterdeck the Chief Petty Officer took over and yelled at us to all crowd as astern as we could and to jump up and down. With the engines going full astern it was hoped that we could bounce the ship off the reef. This idea did not work, so the Chief changed tactics and ordered everyone over to the Port side, then yelled “Starboard side Go.” And we all raced across the Quarterdeck to the other side. This was repeated over and over, and the engines were still going Full Astern. When at last, looking up to the top of the mast, we could see the ship was starting to rock side to side.
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This worked, and after being stuck on the reef for almost 20 minutes, the ship slid free. The signal that was sent to the New Zealand Naval Board informing them of our mishap read, “Regret to inform you that the ship took the ground this day at Funafuti. An investigation is being carried out”. After dry dock and a refit HAWEA did two cruises around New Zealand, stopping at several ports and cities as well as a visit to Milford Sound and a few days at the Chatham Islands, as well as a week in Hobart and a couple of visits to Sydney. I then spent time at PHILOMEL and did casual trips in HMNZS KIWI and the diving tender MANAWANUI. On KIWI I made a trip to Fiji in company with HAWEA and a Royal Navy submarine to exercise with the RNZAF, who had a large base on Fiji, flying Sunderland flying boats. En route to Fiji the submarine was recalled to Singapore, its home base, and HAWEA and KIWI were left with no one to play with. Once again we got sent on a goodwill cruise around the Fiji Islands visiting several places including Levuka, the old capital of Fiji and Leper Colony, before returning to New Zealand. On the return voyage we encountered seas so rough that we were not allowed on the upper deck as the ship spent more time under water than above. We had lots of water sloshing around the mess deck and had no cooked food for three days as the Galley was on the upper deck, so we were forced to survive on “Ships Biscuits”, which were pretty horrible. During this very rough weather, KIWI
was rolling up to 48 degrees either side of vertical, (there was a curved spirit level on the Compass Binnacle which we watched),as well as pitching and tossing around. KIWI had a 52-degree safety roll so there was not much margin for safety left. Standing was impossible without hanging on, and to add insult to our woes, HAWEA, who was much larger and weathering the conditions better, kept sending us nasty signals such as, “The inside of your funnel is disgracefully dirty” and” Your bottom is in much need of a good scraping”. On speaking to crew members from HAWEA on return, they assured us that at times, because we were rolling so much, they could actually see down our funnel and observe our very dirty bottom. After postings at HMNZS IRIRANGI and HMNZS WAKEFIELD in Wellington I was sent back to Auckland to join HMNZS ROYALIST, which had recently arrived from the UK after the New Zealand Government had bought her, much against the wishes of the Navy. But the politicians hold the purse strings and New Zealand was still very much tied to doing things for the benefit of England. ROYALIST had been in mothballs for several years, and was due for scrapping before the politicians got a brilliant idea, spend eight million pounds on a refit in Ireland before she became the flagship of the RNZN.
Hong Kong. For the next 12 months the ship visited Singapore several times, Penang, in Malaya for their “Merdeka” celebrations, Yokosuka, Kobe and Sasebo in Japan, sailing through the Inland Sea. We saw Hiroshima when we sailed close by. In Korea we visited Pusan, Inchon and Paengyong-do, which is just short of the 38th parallel. We were in and out of Hong Kong as it was our home base at that time. A couple of interesting facts. We were never issued with life jackets or protective clothing. My emergency station in HAWEA was a “Floatanet”, which was a large type of fishing net with cork floats all over it. All it would have done was at best keep anyone afloat, if you could manage to hang on, but you would still be in the water and chances of survival would have been rather slim. Once, I and another junior Telegraphist were sent up the Main Mast on HAWEA whilst in harbour, to check the wire splicing of the antennas. There was no safety equipment at all, we were told to climb the mast and crawl out on the yardarm to do the checking. Both of us were absolutely terrified and I was never so glad to get my feet back on the deck. The Navy provided a very different life to anything else and I do not regret my time in the Navy at all, in fact, I can remember more about my service than the rest of my life put together.
ROYALIST sailed from Auckland for a 12-month commission to the Far East. Working up exercises were done out of Sydney before leaving for Singapore for a short stay, then on to
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A Chance to Serve Long winters, lifetime friendships and serving your country. Nancy Moore, who turned 100 years old this year, talks to Navy Today about her war service at the Waiouru Wireless Transmitter facility.
Nancy ‘Pat’ Moore says she never had much confidence as a young woman. Her family – and the Navy – are likely to disagree. Mrs Moore, who turned 100 years old in April, achieved the rank of Petty Officer in the Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service, serving as a ‘Wren’ telegraphist at the Navy communications facility at Waiouru during World War II. On her table at her flat in Eastbourne is her birthday letter from the Queen. “Isn’t it lovely,” she says. She is also delighted with her letter of congratulations from the Chief of Navy, but ruefully remarks, “I have no Wrens left to ring and say, I’ve had a letter from the Admiral.” As Pat Clothier, she was living in Lower Hutt when the war started, and prior to enlisting in the WRNZNS had joined the Women’s War Service Auxillary (WWSA). “All the young women had joined,” she says. “You could do all sorts of things. I choose communications, and we had an old soldier who took us one night a week, and all day Saturday, teaching us Morse Code and semaphore. I think this was 1940?” She had a fiancé at the time, overseas in the Air Force, but she wanted to join the Navy. “I had read a lot of naval stories.”
The young women learned Morse Code at 20 words per minute, then furthered their skills with the Union Steamship Company. Eventually enlistment opened for women to join the WRNZS in 1942 and by then the women were reasonably proficient. “I remember, we got asked to put in our applications, then six months later we had an interview. There were 12 of us at Defence Headquarters in Stout Street, we were the first intake. Petty Officer Biggs (later Warrant Officer Telegraphist E.H Biggs, first officer in charge at Waiouru) taught us the Navy way of doing things.” They were issued uniforms, although the Wrens lamented they didn’t have bellbottoms like sailors. Many would add them on later. The Wrens were assigned to the Post Office wireless station on Tinakori Hill (called Te Ahumairangi Hill today), where the Wellington Naval Radio Station was based. “We used to go up there on night duty, walking up the hill. It was quite a hike. You could get a tram, but in wartime they were slow.” The stations ran full watches, day and night. The Wrens would receive coded messages in Morse, from all over the world. “It was very energetic,” she says. “It was hard work, and
Former Petty Officer Telegraphist Pat Moore celebrates her 100th birthday on 11 April.
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sometimes the air wasn’t clear and it would be hard to hear the signal. You would be scared of making a mistake.” Pat spent a year training at Tinakori before being posted to Hihitahi Camp at the Naval Wireless Transmitter Station, Waiouru. Both the Navy W/T and Air Force W/T stations had been conceived in the 1930s, with both the Navy and Air Force looking for a lost-cost site to establish a highfrequency transmission and receiving service. Waiouru, flat, isolated and clear of built-up areas, was considered optimal. It quickly became operational in 1942, and Wrens were hand-picked for the duty. It is likely strength of character and resilience were factors, considering the remote conditions. Morse Code and Snowflakes, a book by Lieutenant Commander David Davies (2007), describes the Navy camp as 58 buildings and five miles of road. Pat travelled to Waiouru by train in May 1943. “You never got a seat, it was too crowded. You sat on your suitcase.” She joined about 150 officers and ratings, 80 of them being women. Her service record for this time shows her serving at ‘HMNZS COOK’. Waiouru was operating as a tender for COOK, which was based in Shelly Bay, Wellington. “The Wrens slept in one building – the ‘wrennery’ – and the men’s quarters were on the other side of the road,” she says. “Each of our cabins had four bunks. We were issued six blankets each and we really needed them. There was a laundry room, and a communal shower.” By 1944 Pat was a Petty Officer and got a bathroom to herself and another Petty Officer. In fact, a number of Wrens who served there became Leading Telegraphists and Petty Officer Telegraphists in a short space of time. “I’m going to skite here,” says Pat, reaching for her Certificate of Service and pointing to a handwritten note at the bottom. It says, “Passed professionally for Petty Officer Wren Telegraphist – 92.5%”. The Wrens worked at the Naval receiver site, which was near the Hihitahi accommodation but seven kilometres from the Naval transmitter. All message handling took place there, with the transmitters keyed remotely from the receiver site. Her job was to handle messages as they came in on the teleprinter, and where they were to go, and what priority they were. “They never stopped, they just kept coming.”
With the Japanese advancing through the Pacific, the station provided valuable support to ships as sea. The station’s major achievement during the war was in broadcasting for the British Pacific Fleet off Japan, by acting as the link between Admiralty and the fleet when it was found that the American circuits were too heavily loaded to handle the British traffic. In addition, a large proportion of the messages of a similar nature between Admiral Earl Mountbatten, Supreme Commander, South East Asia, and the British Government passed through Waiouru. As well as their telegraphist duties, sailors and wrens had cooking and cleaning tasks, including preparing the vegetables in the morning. Captain’s rounds were on 1100 on Wednesdays, with Telegraphist Lieutenant H Phillpott, Officer in Charge, and Third Officer Mary Chesney. It meant a scrub-down and clean of the Wrennery the morning before.
Clockwise from top: PO Telegraphist Pat Clothier (right) and a friend in Taihape during World War II. Cleaning duties at the ‘Wrennery’. Preparing vegetables duty.
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“It was so cold, but we were all there together, and everyone was happy. It really didn’t matter. We all were far from home, and we had a job to do.”
Top left: Camaraderie among the men and women was high at Waiouru. Above: Pat (centre) with the oft-necessary gumboots.
People dated while they were there, she says. “There was a YMCA facility, a civilian-run thing. It had magazines to read, tables to play cards.” Some of the Wrens had fiancé or boyfriends who lost their lives overseas. Pat’s Air Force fiancé was lost after the fall of Singapore, and in reading Morse Code and Snowflakes years later, Pat recognises herself as the Wren who was “scanning through lists of missing servicemen, looking for the name of her fiancé”. The Wrens weren’t allowed alcohol, unlike the sailors. “Imagine that today,” she says. “We used to sneak our own drink in, hiding a bottle or two in our gumboots. When the captain did his rounds, he’d always look, but he would never find it.” Pat spent three winters at Waiouru. According to Morse Code and Snowflakes the leave allowance on paper was liberal, but it was rarely able to be used. Male telegraphists tended to be in between sea-going posts, so they came and went. “Once the European war was over, they loosened up a bit, and would give us a truck to go up to Lake Taupo. We used to have picnics on the foreshore.”
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Life wasn’t easy, but you made wonderful friends, she says. It was reasonably egalitarian between men and women – apart from the alcohol rule – because the isolated environment threw everyone together for long hours. Pat served in the Navy up to 1946. She met John Moore, a Fleet Air Arm pilot, while he was on furlough in 1944, and they later married. John became a stock agent in Wairarapa and the couple brought up a family on a farmlet in Upper Plains, Masterton, living there for forty years. Pat has four children, nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. After the war the RNZAF personnel in Waiouru posted to Ohakea and the station later became known as HMNZS IRIRANGI, being formally commissioned as a Royal New Zealand Navy establishment on 30 October 1951. It was decommissioned in 1993 and today is called the Irirangi (Waiouru) Naval Communications Facility. “The ship in the desert, that’s what they called us. All we were hoping was that we would be able to go overseas. We kept saying, when are we going to go? Oh, I would have loved a chance to go.”
HMNZS PHILOMEL tackles water-saving measures As the Auckland region battles one of its worst droughts in history, HMNZS PHILOMEL joined forces with RNZAF Base Auckland and Papakura last month to turn off the taps and save thousands of litres a day. At Devonport Naval Base, Commander Angela Holland says they are working closely with WaterCare on long-term actions to reduce water usage. It included performing the Dry Dock wash down with salt water, following the recent modification work with HMNZS MANAWANUI. Within the base, all building, window washing and irrigation has stopped. The fleet swimming pool is only open for essential training. At the Sea Safety Training School, where trainees practice damage control techniques in flooded compartments, water is now being recycled three days a week with fresh water uses on two days only. “These measures will result in a significant reduction in water usage at the facility,” says CDR Holland. Base Auckland’s Rescue Fire Service (RFS) has had to rethink how it trains – turning to “dry training” such as cutting open cars, physical and driving training.
The team normally tests vehicle water cannons every morning but that has now been reduced to once a week, which still ensures they can respond to an incident and keep up training requirements. “Our vehicles carry 6,800 litres of water, which we generally use every morning to make sure they are working properly and to train with,” says Base Fire Master Flight Sergeant Nick Wyld. “We have also sent some people down to Taranaki to a civilian training area, which doesn’t have water restrictions, and they can use the facility there.” By changing the training regime, the RFS was probably saving about 7,000 litres a day minimum, F/S Wyld said. Base Commander, Group Captain Andy Scott, says the base stopped watering its sports pitches and other green spaces, and washing all buildings and windows in March. “Our vehicle fleet won’t be washed anymore and we have reduced the amount of water we use to wash our aircraft, which is now only done after they have been flying over corrosive sea water,” he said.
“We have also closed our swimming pool, moving our sea survival training to the Waitemata Harbour.” At Papakura and Ardmore, vehicle, building and window washing has been stopped. Defence Force personnel at all Auckland bases are also being encouraged to conserve water at home in their communities by the required 20 litres per day.
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HAERE MAI AOTEAROA WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND The Navy’s newest and largest-ever ship, Aotearoa will sail into Auckland on Friday 26 June. We’d like you to be on the water with us – so join the flotilla in your yacht or boat and help escort her in. Find out more on the @NZNavy Facebook page
In our June edition we catch up with our officers on exchange with the Australian Navy. CDR Fiona Jameson receives her first command, HMNZS...
Published on Jun 18, 2020
In our June edition we catch up with our officers on exchange with the Australian Navy. CDR Fiona Jameson receives her first command, HMNZS...