Royal New Zealand Navy | Navy Today - Issue 247

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Contents WOET Naldrett-Jays 45 years in service

04 RIMPAC 2020


09 Classmates together for RIMPAC

20 Invictus Games

10 Combat Simulation

22 HMNZS GAMBIA last shots of the war

12 HMNZS MATATAUA Change of Command

31 Honorary Captains

15 MEST delivers during lockdown

“ It's an opportunity to see

first-hand what the world's largest nations can offer to the maritime picture.” ~ Midshipman Kieran Meikle HMNZS MANAWANUI

04 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: Design and Layout: Defence Public Affairs


Printed by: Bluestar Private Bag 39996, Wellington Distribution: Email:

10 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.

Front cover: HMNZS MANAWANUI turns in front of HMAS HOBART near Oahu, Hawaii.

Defence Careers: Phone: 0800 1FORCE (0800 136 723)

Photographer: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski, RAN

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Yours Aye


Maritime Component Commander

As I write the introduction to this month’s Navy Today, the Auckland region is going to moving from COVID Level 3 to COVID Level 2 (or 2.5, depending which way you describe it). Since the pandemic, many have become armchair epidemiologists, and our lexicon has grown to include terms such as bubbles, PPE, selfisolation and physical distancing. There is another term that has become more prominent: gratitude. Through my social media feeds (much more of a watcher than poster) I see friends taking the time to contemplate and share what they are grateful for; and on the radio, I hear advertisements for the “thankfulness project”– its goal, to increase all New Zealanders’ mental health with the message that thankfulness = happiness.

“ Even in the COVID-19 environment, the women and men of our Navy continue to go above and beyond to make a meaningful contribution.”

We are a small Navy of a large maritime nation, and it’s amazing how much we achieve with what we have. Even in the COVID-19 environment, the women and men of our Navy continue to go above and beyond to make a meaningful contribution to our region’s safety, security and prosperity. HMNZS OTAGO’s recent deployment to Fiji; contributing to regional security by working with the Fijian Navy and patrolling the Fijian EEZ and High Seas fisheries pockets – and proving that we can operate in the COVID-19 environment with “no-international exposure” logistic stops. HMNZS MANAWANUI deployed to Hawaii to participate in Exercise RIMPAC alongside partner nations such as Australia, Canada, Singapore, Japan and Korea; on her return to New Zealand she delivered medical stores to Tonga on behalf of a local charity, using the “no-international exposure” procedures developed for OTAGO. CANTERBURY is again at sea training and preparing for the upcoming cyclone season and a significant delivery of over 200 tonnes of equipment (water tanks and solar panels etc) to the Tokelau Islands to improve their resilience. HAWEA has been at-sea delivering training and conducting EEZ patrols, and she will shortly do so again.

Further offshore, TE KAHA is preparing for sea, and 20 members of the Maritime Operational Evaluation Team (MOET) have just completed their two-weeks isolation in Esquimalt and will help TE KAHA’s crew prepare to go to sea in September; TE MANA’s smaller Canada-based crew continue to “keep the ship alive” while upgrade modifications are made. And at home, AOTEAROA’s modifications and introduction into service continue, and we look forward to seeing her sailing later this year under the New Zealand White Ensign and operated by her Navy crew. Today there are around 490 RNZN sailors at-sea or deployed offshore, and in New Zealand over 200 contributing to Operation PROTECT (the NZDF’s contribution to the all-ofgovernment response to COVID-19) involved in maritime border security or working in managed isolation facilities. Importantly, for every one of our sailors there are supportive family and friends who enable them to serve. We are living in uncertain times, regularly described as “unprecedented”, and the environment is unlikely to change in the near future. As the country navigates through all this, we may be asked to contribute further and be tested even more. I am thankful for the certainty and pride I have that our Navy will rise to the challenge and continue to deliver, going above and beyond. It might not have been quite what many of us joined for, but along with our Army, Air Force and civilian colleagues, we remain a Force for good and a Force for New Zealand. So, I think we have much to be grateful and thankful for. To the sailors of the Royal New Zealand Navy, their families, and their friends: thank you. E heramana ahau. Commodore Mat Williams Maritime Component Commander

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RIMPAC 2020 Meet the Fleet












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HMNZS MANAWANUI continues the legacy started with HMNZS WAIKATO in 1971, representing New Zealand last month as one of the founding nations of Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii. Below: Photos courtesy of US Third Fleet, RAN, Wikimedia. Left: HMNZS MANAWANUI can be seen in the closest line to the camera, third from front. Photo: US Third Fleet.











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HMNZS MANAWANUI is a ship capable of making a good entrance, but it looks better with company. She arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 14 August, following a two-week, 3,900 nautical mile voyage from New Zealand. Prior to that arrival, MANAWANUI made the most of other transiting ships in the vicinity. She joined up with Australian destroyer HMAS HOBART and frigate HMAS STUART for Officer of the Watch manoeuvres, then joined Royal Brunei Navy offshore patrol vessel KDB DARULEHSAN and Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable-class frigate RSS SUPREME for a divisional tactics (DIVTACS) exercise. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, conducted every even-numbered year in Hawaii, often with a subset exercise in San Diego. The 2020 iteration, the 27th, was planned to be the largest yet – 30 countries, 50 ships and 25,000 personnel on land and sea. But under COVID-19 conditions, this year’s exercise is drastically altered. Gone are the public open days and tours, gone are the sports events between nations prior to the main events at sea. And certainly, gone is the crew’s shore leave in exotic Honolulu.

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With minimal interaction between the exercise and the Hawaiian people, the exercise has become an ‘at-sea-only’ event, without the substantial amphibious operations, diver mine clearance exercises, or the air surveillance serials involving international partners. Crews remain on the ships they arrive in, and will not be allowed to cross-deck. The sight of a dozen countries’ uniforms represented in a line for dinner is long gone. But it’s still an impressive exercise. Running from August 17 to 31, it involves 22 surface ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft and approximately 5,300 personnel from Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

It includes several realistic, high-end warfighting training events, including live gunnery and missile firings, a sinking exercise, multinational antisurface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, air defence, replenishment at sea, manoeuvring and maritime interdiction operations where all nations will function as interoperable task forces. Bridge watchkeeper Midshipman Kieran Meikle said the ship was kept busy prior to arrival in Hawaii, with plenty of internal training serials, including fire exercises and simulated break-downs. They also managed to get in a ‘hands to bathe’ for the Ship’s Company, virtually on the Equator. On approach, the embarked medical officer, ship’s medic and the command team addressed the logistics of arriving in Hawaii, which has over 6,000 cases of COVID-19, and – like other parts of the world – has been spiking since the start of August. It meant the only person allowed on


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“ That is why we made the calculated decision to proceed with RIMPAC 2020, to demonstrate to ourselves and the world that our navies have the resolve to come together in times of crisis.”

board was the Pearl Harbor pilot, suitably masked and socially distant on the bridge. All food and logistical items brought aboard had to be sanitised. Warrant Officer Diver Lance Graham, who is posted to US INDOPACOM on exchange, was there to see her berth. “It was really cool to see her coming in, with the Arizona memorial in the background. But they can’t come ashore, and we can’t go aboard! But we totally get it – COVID is rampant in the community so no use risking it.” MID Meikle says there is plenty ahead for MANAWANUI. “Multiple gunnery serials, in-company time with multiple nations and the opportunity to see first-hand what the world’s largest nations can offer to the maritime picture.” Exercise Commander Vice Admiral Scott Conn, USN, said even in a COVID environment, it was still important to bring as many navies together as possible at a time when maritime challenges in the Pacific – fisheries management, law enforcement and territorial disputes – had the potential to spark conflict. “That is why we made the calculated decision to proceed with RIMPAC 2020, to demonstrate to ourselves and the world that our navies have the resolve to come together in times of crisis.” Follow MANAWANUI’s adventures at RIMPAC in our October edition of Navy Today. Top Photo Credit: US Third Fleet

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Classmates together for Exercise RIMPAC Two former classmates of Tauranga Boys’ College had no idea they were both applying for the Royal New Zealand Navy at the same time.

Above: Sub Lieutenants Matt Barnett (left) and Rory Butler on the flight deck of HMNZS MANAWANUI.

Sub Lieutenants Matt Barnett and Rory Butler were divisional rivals in the same officers’ training intake, but the pair are now shipmates, posted to Dive Hydrographic vessel HMNZS MANAWANUI and taking part in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, near Hawaii. Sub Lieutenant Barnett, 24, a warfare officer and MANAWANUI’s Operations Officer, says he got a tour of a Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel during year13 and started looking at Defence careers. “Rory and I were in the same class at Tauranga Boys’ College, but neither of us knew the other was looking at the Navy until we met during our final officer selection boards.” They both started training in 2015, in the same intake but in different divisions. “Butler was Bellona Division and I was Royalist, which made us fierce rivals in inter-divisional competitions.” SLT Butler went on to achieve a fouryear Bachelor of Engineering degree (Honours) at university, which meant neither crossed paths again until their posting together in MANAWANUI. As Operations Officer, SLT Barnett coordinates the day-to-day planning for the ship, as well as long-term planning. He’s often found on MANAWANUI’s bridge as an Officer of the Watch, and as a mentor for trainee warfare officers. “In a not-so-average day, I’d be on the bridge in company with multiple vessels, manoeuvring

“ You learn skills that others will He had been looking forward to never experience, RIMPAC 2020. “It’s about putting skills I’ve learnt over the last five years into as well as getting practice. We’re operating with multiple nations in an international warfare opportunities exercise, which is pretty cool. These are nations we don’t normally work to travel. You with, which means you to need to think ahead and have a solid plan.” make a lot of SLT Butler, MANAWANUI’s Assistant Engineering Officer, says he has new friends in a always wanted to be an engineer. “One of the deciding factors in joining strong culture of the Navy was the Navy’s Tangaroa Scheme, which covers your tertiary comradeship.” fees and provides you a salary while the ship to combat an air, surface or sub-surface threat. Or I could be on a seaboat, as an armed party ready to board a vessel of interest.”

you are at university.” His daytime routine on MANAWANUI sees him in the engineering spaces, working with the marine technicians. “This allows me to get involved in the more “hands-on” work which is a good way to learn.” He combines that with plenty of book work, working towards his Marine Engineering Qualification and Harbour Watchkeeping Certificate. “My primary role is to learn as much as I can during my time on MANAWANUI and keeping working to get qualified.”

is something new or interesting and being part of an organisation that offers this is a highlight.” SLT Barnett agrees. “You learn skills that others will never experience, as well as getting opportunities to travel. You make a lot of new friends in a strong culture of comradeship.”

If you like diverse working days, the Defence Force has a lot to offer, he says. “Constantly learning new things, while challenging, is rewarding. Most days there

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Combat Simulation Naval warfare is a team sport, it’s at its height when you’ve got lots of players involved. But how do we play with our friends when your navy is a long way away? With simulation and war gaming, it’s simply a matter of plugging in, being connected and getting stuck in.

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Imagine being in HMNZS TE KAHA, somewhere in the Tasman Sea. An air raid on the ship, using F/A 18C/D Hornets out of RAAF Base Amberley, has been organised several weeks in advance. They’ve departed the base, but things aren’t as ready as they should be in TE KAHA. “What are you going to do if you’re not quite ready?” says Andy Dowling, NZDF Strategic Advisor Simulation and Synthetic Training. “You can’t say stop, hold on, give us five minutes. There’s already fast jets in the air and they cost money to fly and time to organise. The opportunities to get meaningful training are limited. But in simulation, you can stop, you can say give me five, you can get ready to make the most of every opportunity. That’s the beauty of it.” Scenarios like this are being played out with Communication Warfare Specialists and Combat System Specialists using the Navy’s Combat System Trainer (CST) at Devonport Naval Base. It’s a simulation suite that will in time mirror and mimic the operations rooms in frigates HMNZS TE KAHA and HMNZS TE MANA. It will allow safe, repeatable, costeffective training to occur without having to take a frigate to sea.

The logistics, expense, intricacies and fragility of an actual warfare exercise are enormous, says Mr Dowling. But in simulation, it can happen over and over again at different levels each time and with different injects. “Taking a frigate to sea has a great training benefit. But in any serial, or warfare exercise, you can spend an hour just getting the communications right. Just as the communications come online it’s when you find out the jets have binned it for the day, the submarine has broken down and you’re in company with a frigate that has to go off task. You’ve been at sea for 48 hours and achieved very little. But in simulation, you can get to the point of what you want to do and quickly. In time we will be able to do anything with the CST. Anti-submarine warfare. Antisurface warfare. Anti-air warfare, joint fires. Aircraft control for helicopters returning to the ship. There’s so many different layers of richness for the maritime training continuum.” Simulation means setting your own pace for the trainees. “Monday and Wednesday could be general operations room training. Tuesday and Thursday can be anti-submarine warfare. Then Friday can be anti-air warfare. Then next week you do all three at the same time. That’s all without stepping off the simulator floor. And in simulation, you can say stop, that isn’t going well. Let’s review that and tweak it. It’s vital to realise simulation isn’t a standalone capability,


it’s part of the Naval Combat Force System and is part of a training and generation continuum. Individual training and then collective training can take place synthetically before heading to the ship and turning the props for real.” Working entirely with your own simulation programmes is one thing, but it’s the link-up with other players, in other simulation suites, that’s the game for the future. “Our first stage is getting the CST into service. Step two is setting a head mark vision for what we want this kit to do for us. After that comes the real fun, getting the simulator linked as part of a NZDF Synthetic training network. NZDF has some really exciting capabilities coming in the next few years and to make the very most out of them we need to be able to train as a team synthetically so that when we train or fight for real we are used to working together and we’ve ironed out all those bumps in the road. In the future we’ll be looking to link the P-8A simulator in Ohakea with the CST and of course our own Future Naval Helicopter too.” The Army is part of this aspiration with the Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC) simulator being the obvious one to link in. “Getting JTAC on-line would be great, as we could work Joint Fires with the frigate, airspace de-confliction, the whole complex environment that is modern warfare.”

Once the NZDF have their own network, the next goal is linking in with partner navies and militaries from other countries. “Training with the same team of people from the RAN, RCN, USN or RN that you’re about to deploy with is hugely beneficial.” The warfare teams will get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their allies, their personnel and equipment. It means you leave your homeport at a higher level of training, already knowing how you slot into a multinational Task Group and the people you will be operating with. It makes much more sense.” A good example of this training already underway is the annual Fleet Synthetic Training (FST) exercise which sees our Five Eyes partners linking together ships, aircraft, helicopters and Battlestaffs for training. With simulation, you can do your homework, your “work-up”, and arrive at an international exercise, ready to go and to make the most of the training on offer. Equally, it’s not just about exercising, but making sure that we are as best prepared as we can be for live operations. “It’s all about generating operational effect,” says Lieutenant Commander Richard McGinily, the CST Officer. “We want to be at a higher level of readiness when we leave NZ, so that we can get more out of an exercise, so that we are better and more effective on operations. It’s as simple as that."

Mr Dowling says simulation is how New Zealand gets itself current with the technologies of partner navies. “We’ve not had our frigates for a little while now, so how do we get back up there in terms of warfare training and proficiency, so that we have a direct effect on how good the RNZN is on operations? We use the training continuum that starts with basic individual training, progresses through synthetic collective training and synthetic exercises, and last of all we embark in our warship and go to sea better trained and better integrated. But it’s all about operational effect. If we can’t draw a straight line from the tasks we’re asked to do on operations all the way back to why and how we’re training an individual using the CST, then we’ve made a mistake. The technology is exciting – it won’t happen overnight, but having a vision and working towards it is key. Simulation doesn’t do everything, it can never replace a real ship, but it does mean when you take that ship to sea, you’re at the peak of efficiency and the peak of training and you’re making the most of the investment the New Zealand Government has put into the RNZN.”

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Safe to operate, and operate safely If the job was going to be easy, Wiremu Leef would have said no. Last month Commander Leef took command of the Navy’s dive and hydrographic capability, HMNZS MATATAUA, receiving the symbol of command from departing Commanding Officer, Commander Layamon Bakewell. It’s a homecoming of sorts for CDR Leef, stepping back into uniform specifically for this role after seven and a half years as a civilian. The formal change of command was a first for the Navy in that it was conducted remotely. Due to Auckland’s Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions, the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, oversaw the ceremony from a conference room in Defence Headquarters, Wellington, communicating by video to the officers at Devonport Naval Base. CDR Leef was personally asked by the Chief of Navy to take on the role and when it’s the boss, you’ve got to take that request seriously, he says. “It’s been an interesting year,” he told Rear Admiral Proctor via the videolink. “I’m not surprised by much at the moment.”

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He’s spent 22 years in uniform and seven and a half years out of it, joining the Navy in 1991 as a Midshipman, training as a Seaman Officer then transitioning to a Flight Observer, before coming back to the fleet for his final years. During that time he deployed to the Arabian Gulf four times, was a Flight Commander, Executive Officer in HMNZS TE MANA, then attended staff college and completed a masters degree in strategic studies. He took command of HMNZS MANAWANUI (III) in 2010. The ship performed exceedingly well under his command, being awarded the Chatham Rose Bowl and Efficiency Pennant for their operational performance that year. His last posting was as Commander Maritime Operational Evaluation Team (MOET), before leaving the Navy at the start of 2013. “I needed a break after 22 years,” he says, “to do something different.” He worked in the Australian offshore oil and gas industry, looking at operational safety, incident and emergency management, and environmental response. Last year, he returned to New Zealand to work for Rocket Lab, where he was part of a team responsible for launch safety operations and emergency response.


“The Rocket Lab job ad said they wanted someone familiar with high risk environments, had experience in maritime operations and knew about safety. Pretty much the only people with all of these skills, I thought, were people from the Navy or Air Force but who had also done time outside the military working in another hazardous type of industry. It was like I ticked all of the boxes.” Rocket Lab is an amazing company, he says. But he had always had in the back of this mind a desire to potentially do something with Defence again, although not necessarily in uniform. “I’ve never ruled it out. When you spend half your life in the military, it’s in your blood.” He put enquiries out, assessing whether there were opportunities to be involved potentially in safety roles. He hadn’t planned to put the uniform back on. Then the Chief of Navy came calling. The irony was he once said to a previous Chief of Navy, when he left in 2013, to look kindly on him if he turned up at the base gates again, a bit more grey-haired, looking for a Navy job.

industries that have had a lot of regulatory oversight, where assurance and compliance are part of business as usual. It's all about doing things safely and the right way.” He appreciates it is a different Navy, and he is impressed with the Seaworthiness framework that has been introduced since he’s been away. But there are things that he will do a certain way, which may mean there is a need to be a little disruptive at times. “I have almost eight years to catch up on, so will be asking a lot of questions, I suspect.”

“ When you spend half your life in the military, it’s in your blood.”

He is an example of a modern workforce, with people who can leave the Navy, “do a whole bunch of other things,” and then return and add significant value. “There are ways that things are done outside the military that make sense and that can be done here, I’m hoping to add some of the things I’ve learned and experienced to MATATAUA. Safe to operate, and operate safely are the tenets of the Seaworthiness framework, sounds like a great way to start.”

This role will be challenging, he says. “CN explained to me, it needed a person with different skills and different experience from outside of Navy, but someone who knew the organisation, knew the people, and had that mana. I’ve worked in

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Are we too safe to be able to do our jobs? y Commander Raymond McLaughlin B Director of Naval Safety and Health

This article is based on the responses that I provided to two Safety questions put to the WON as part of the last Leadership Roadshow. The questions and responses are in full on the Navy intranet site.

Central to both questions were the concern asked that ‘are we too safe to be able to do our jobs’ despite acknowledging that being in the NZDF has risk. Now the great thing about both questioners was that they recognized the requirement to be safe – that being safe is good. In addition to ‘being good’ is that being safe is the right thing for any organisation and its workforce from both a moral and also the legally enforceable sense. So are we too safe to be able to do our jobs? Firstly we still have accidents and injuries (both minor and major) so how can we be too safe now? Secondly being in the NZDF has risk and the CDF acknowledges in his Safety Policy Statement that: ‘The NZDF is a military organisation. Our core purpose is the preparation and availability of credible and effective armed forces, capable of meeting the Government’s defence and national security objectives. This can mean responding to tough situations, in challenging environments, both in New Zealand and abroad. Given these realities, sometimes our people will be placed into situations where there will be risks that cannot be avoided.’ CN also supports this thinking through both the RNZN 003 CN’s Commitment to Safety, Health and the Environment and also with his Guiding Principles in NZBR 48 – The RNZN Plan 2017–2025 ‘To be a World Class Navy for a large Maritime Nation.’ Specifically in NZBR 48 are CN’s Guiding Principles and the very first two of these are; ‘Our primary purpose is warfighting at sea and we are the masters of our domain’ and ‘We place the safety, health and wellbeing of our people at the forefront.’

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If these two principles are considered as being mutually interconnected, then placing the safety, health and wellbeing of our people at the forefront enables our Navy to generate and sustain the most effective and required maritime capabilities for the primary purpose of warfighting at sea. This is the basic foundation of being ‘Safe to Fight’ which encompasses those existing elements within the Naval System that make up the our very distinct NZ military maritime safety culture – it includes systems and concepts like ‘Safe Sailor Action’, Operational Risk Assessment, Accident/Incident Reporting, Seaworthiness, Small Arms Training and SARC assessment, to name but a few. The safety, health and the wellbeing of our people should not be considered as a handbrake on NZDF and Naval Operations. Instead these must be considered key elements in maximizing the preparation and availability of credible and effective armed forces, capable of meeting the Government’s defence and national security objectives. So are we too safe to be able to do our jobs? – No. Can we ever be too safe to be able to do our jobs? – No. Can we be safer to be able to do our jobs? – Always.

MEST setting the standard Processes developed by the Maritime Engineering Support Team (MEST) to ensure essential work could continue to be carried out on the Navy’s fleet at Devonport Naval Base throughout the COVID-19 lockdown levels were so successful they are being replicated at other Navy bases internationally, including in the UK and Canada. The strategic partnership of Babcock New Zealand and the Defence Logistics Command (Maritime), who together form the MEST, introduced their COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan (BCP) prior to the Alert Level system being introduced. Logistics Commander (Maritime), Captain Mark Worsfold, says this enabled the MEST teams to quickly change the way in which they worked, “ensuring we were able to firstly protect our people and also preserve their ability to support the Navy fleet”. Planning started as early as February, with the MEST identifying COVID-19 as a risk for their operations. To ensure the Navy's fleet remained ready to deploy for any humanitarian tasking or planned operations, the MEST put in place strict measures for their teams who needed to be onsite at Devonport Naval Base to conduct critical maintenance and repair activities. While many teams across areas such as the Centre of Engineering, supply chain management, fleet engineering and project management were able to work from home, the dedicated maintenance workforce onsite was split into Red, Green and Blue teams. Identified by their coloured hard hats and armbands, this was as an effective control measure to minimise interactions of those required to come onsite to work on the Navy’s ships.

Workshops and ships were also designated Red or Green areas. Blue was reserved for those buildings and teams that could not be split and that both Red and Green required managed access to. HMNZS MANAWANUI came into the drydock for maintenance and Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Andy Mahoney, said for him it was great to see “the quick and pragmatic way the Dockyard adjusted to ensure continuity. HMNZS MANAWANUI enjoyed the support from the ‘Green Hats’, as they became known, who ensured work was maintained and prioritised in support of our programme of capability release and Exercise RIMPAC 20”. Through each change in the national alert level, updates were issued jointly by CAPT Worsfold and Babcock New Zealand Managing Director Chris Saxby. It ensured everyone across the MEST partnership – both Navy personnel and Babcock employees – received the same information at the same time, clearly communicating the process and controls in place for each alert level and how the MEST blended workforce would transition to each level. The MEST was successful in delivering a number of key areas of work, including:

• Managing and executing essential maintenance and defect rectification across the fleet to ensure each platform retained the required availability while remaining at reduced notice for sea. • Providing critical support to other units. • Docking HMNZS OTAGO and conducting critical work during Alert Level 4. • Maintaining operational strategic fuelling capability and port operational management throughout. • Providing critical support to FENZ’s breathing apparatus cylinders through CABATs department. Rear Admiral David Proctor, Chief of Navy, acknowledged the collaborative work done to ensure critical outputs were continued to be delivered. “I was really pleased to hear how the MEST team pulled together during a uniquely challenging time to ensure they continued to deliver support to the fleet. CAPT Worsfold says the strength of any relationship lies in its ability to adapt and evolve to suit the circumstances.

• Completing two full dockings in New Zealand and one in Canada. • Planning and executing HMNZS MANAWANUI’s availability period. • Planning and executing remote MROE activity for HMNZS TE KAHA in Canada. • Finalising HMNZS CANTERBURY’s maintenance package.

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AOTEAROA'S POINTS OF INTEREST Guests attending the arrival of HMNZS AOTEAROA at Devonport Naval Base on 26 June will have noticed a drop door flap or platform near the bow, as the vessel approached for berthing. This sensible feature is known as a “hero platform”, says former AOTEAROA project team member Commander Des Tiller, so-named because versions in the past had fewer safety features, and thus you had to be a bit of a ‘hero’ to step out on them. When a ship’s anchor is being retrieved, a sailor can lean over the bow to see how the anchor is laying. But with AOTEAROA’s enclosed bow, tapered at the top, the view is impossible.“This is a common issue with axe bow designed ships.” So the hero platform allows a supervisor to get a good view of how the anchor is laying when it is brought up. The platform is also a useful position to observe mooring evolutions, as demonstrated when AOTEAROA berthed at Calliope Wharf. “It’s not common on tankers because most commercial tankers have a different bow shape and do not have an enclosed deck.” As it happens, the Leanderclass frigates also had hero platforms. How far the hero platform had to extend was determined using virtual reality software. CDR Tiller, with a pair of virtual reality goggles, had to walk out in a computergenerated 3D environment, seemingly on thin air, until he could ‘see’ the anchor.

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45 years in the Navy In 1974, it could be said that Naenae College student Mark Naldrett-Jays was ready to move on from school. He had completed four years at college, and was looking at his options. He remembers someone suggesting the Navy would be an avenue towards obtaining a trade.

After a lot of water and sea postings later, last month the Chief of Navy awarded Warrant Officer Electronic Technician NaldrettJays his second clasp to his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. It signifies 45 years of service in the Royal New Zealand Navy. WOET Naldrett-Jays says as a teenager he was flown to Auckland on a C-130 Hercules with a large number of other trainees. He joined BCT 75/1 with around 180 others. “It was an eye-opener, turning up, with a whole lot of new people who you’d never seen before in your life. You’re in dormitories with 30 other people. But I enjoyed the camaraderie of basic training.” He has evolved as the trade evolved. Initially a weapons electrical mechanic, he then specialised as a radio mechanic, which in time became re-branded as electronic technician. Today, he is a posted to the Fleet Engineering Authority, part of the LC(M) organisation, in the Subject Matter Expert role of Marine Superintendent Communication and Electronic Warfare.

His sea postings and deployments are a long list, he says. “I’ve enjoyed every posting I’ve had. They’ve always been good to me, and I’ve always enjoyed myself. I joined to go to sea, and I still enjoy going to sea.” He has just finished a two-year posting with HMNZS CANTERBURY, including missions to Australia, the Sub-Antarctic Islands and the Kermadec Islands. In 45 years, the biggest change he has seen are in the advances in technology. During his initial training all the equipment was valve technology. The late 1970s saw rapid advances, particularly with the arrival of HMNZS MONOWAI. He was posted to her as the maintainer for the Navy’s new solid state hydrographic survey equipment. Forty-five years seems to have “snuck up on me”, he says. “When 20 years came around I thought, yeah, that would be enough. But I still enjoy the life. Twentyfive years later, I’m still here.” Two of his former classmates from 75/1 are still serving: Commander Muzz Kennett, and Chief Petty Officer Communications Technician Darby Allen.

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Our People 1. Military Assistant to the Minister for Veterans, LTCDR Andrew Lincoln, and Military Assistant to the Chief of Defence Force, CDR Colleen Smith, at Pukeahu National War Memorial. 2. MIQF Manager LTCDR Jodi Greenhalgh celebrates a “significant” birthday while on duty at a COVID isolation facility, courtesy of hotel staff there. 3. Recent recipients of Long Service and Good Conduct awards. From left, (1st clasp): CPOMT(P) Tony Dunn, LTCDR Paul McMichael, CPOET Craig Flintoff, CDR Martin Walker, WOMT(P) Danny Paton, WOMT(P) Desmond Rangiwai, WOET Shane Menzies, (2nd clasp): WOET Mark Naldrett-Jays. 4. Personnel from HMNZS TE KAHA in Esquimalt, Canada, organise a Physical Training fundraiser, raising $800 for the Victoria homeless shelter. 5. The funeral service for former CPOWTR Jill Thompson, Womens Royal New Zealand Naval Service, at St Christopher’s Chapel. 6. Chief of Navy RADM David Proctor claps as Monique Jellick is promoted to Chief Petty Officer. 7. LTCDR Sam Williams is among the instructors and students planning flights for the T-6 Texans as part of the Flying Instructors Course.


8. The Ship’s Company of TS ACHILLES pose for a photograph during their Change of Command ceremony. 9. NZDF Maori Cultural Adviser WOSCS Jack Rudolph confers with Principal Chaplain Pete Olds and former Chief of Navy Jack Steer during the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, at Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington. 10. Defence security guard Peter Vandermade with his designer face mask at Devonport Naval Base. 11. CDR Fiona Jameson returns the symbol of command of HMNZS OTAGO to LTCDR Ben Martin, following her temporary command of OTAGO during workup and Operation Calypso.

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COVID’s Silver Lining y Sharon Lundy B Team Leader Communications

The postponement of the 2020 Invictus Games due to COVID-19 turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Chief Petty Officer Combat System Specialist Quintin Monk.

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Invictus Games

The Games were scheduled to run from May 9–16 and the 22-strong NZDF team was due to stop over in Singapore on the way home, with the final leg of the journey on May 20 – the same day CPOCSS Monk was rushed to hospital for major abdominal surgery.

The team put Zoom to good use during lockdown, with team and coaching sessions and, like many other Kiwis, creating a baking group. CPO Monk and his four daughters – Freya, two, Harmony, four, Willow, eight, Esmae, nine – were enthusiastic participants.

CPO Monk’s Invictus journey started in 2009 when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer while only in his late 20s. He made a full recovery following surgery and chemotherapy and had enjoyed generally good health – until extreme stomach pain on May 20 sent him to the doctor. Hours later he was in surgery and spent the next two weeks in hospital. He’s still on light duties.

“The girls got right into the baking. It was quite a nice time, being able to share with the family more. Usually I go to work every day, and they go to school, so I don’t get to have as much interaction during the day.

“So 11 years ago I was in that exact hospital, in the same ward, and I was having a similar operation and being told I had cancer. It definitely dragged up old memories and emotions.” The Games have been rescheduled to May 29 – June 5 2021. They’ve been renamed The Hague 202One, and there’s a good chance they’ll be virtual. The NZDF team held a Reconnect+Reset camp at Base Auckland from August 7–9, and CPO Monk said the camp had helped with his recovery. “Coming into a camp so soon after having that operation done, I could just open up and talk to people about things I wouldn’t usually discuss in my workplace or my circle of friends. “It's almost unspoken understanding and bond because you’ve all had something going on. It might not be the same something but it has had some sort of effect on your life, that you feel comfortable sharing with the team, that you might not share with others. I find it helps the healing journey. “This camp has reinforced what it is that we’re here for and what we’re doing. We’ve all been isolated and gone into some not-so-good places but this camp has sort of brought us out of that and helped us to start moving up and forward.”

“Those were pretty much the main things that got me through – sharing with my family but also sharing with the team, and likewise they were sharing what they were doing in their family bubbles.” CPO Monk lives on a 16ha block north of Auckland, where he has 30 chickens, 10 cows, three sheep, a horse, two dogs, a cat – and an archery range out the back. Esmae and Willow regularly joined their dad while he was training for Invictus, and Harmony has recently shown an interest.

“ This camp has reinforced what it is that we’re here for and what we’re doing. We’ve all been isolated and gone into some not-sogood places but this camp has sort of brought us out of that and helped us to start moving up and forward.”

For now CPO Monk is taking more of a coaching role with his girls, as he is still recovering from the surgery which left him with a 20cm-plus scar and 10kg lighter. Despite it all he counts himself lucky. “Looking back, if it wasn’t for COVID I could possibly have been in a foreign nation without family or friends or a support network, stuck in hospital, for a number of weeks. “So in a sense I’m lucky that COVID happened because it’s now given me the chance to repair, reset and train back to where I was pre- COVID.” The NZDF Invictus Games team is supported by Fulton Hogan and Dynasty. Opposite page: CPOCSS Quintin Monk during a training camp in February 2020, prior to the first COVID-19 lockdown.

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HMNZS GAMBIA A teenager’s journey to the last days of war

“ When action stations sound, you’re on your way, you’re flying. The siren has that way about it, like a fire engine coming up your tail. You’re pumped up. The adrenaline is really flowing. You know what to do, there’s no messing about. You don’t feel the fear. It’s on, let’s go.” ~ Ken Gordon

In 1944 Ken Gordon, from Gisborne, put his hand up to join the Navy at age 16. “My father was in World War One, and he put his age up to go to war, so he couldn’t really argue with me.” He was inspired by other local boys who joined the Navy, and wanted to show willing. “There was also the idea that Navy was more of a career.”

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After training, Mr Gordon was posted to HMNZS GAMBIA, a Fijiclass light cruiser and the largest warship to have ever served with the Royal New Zealand Navy. She departed New Zealand in February 1945, to join one of the largest fleets ever assembled by the Royal Navy, the British Pacific Fleet. Together with the American Third Fleet, he was off to attack the islands and mainland of Japan. He was still a Seaman Boy, one of 26 in GAMBIA. “We were virtually all under training,” he says. “We were respected as boys, but we were being checked on all the time. We had to learn. The Petty Officers were brilliant, although the odd one seemed to have been brought up on a diet of acid drops. I can rattle off all their names even now.”





The Petty Officers decided what the seaman boys could handle. Mr Gordon’s position was the No. 2 position on an Oerlikon gun. But a lot of the boys were used as lookouts, he says. “They needed young eyes. We were on aircraft lookout during the day. We were placed on all the angles for a two-watch system, six hours on and six hours off.” The crew were kept well informed. “We were never attacked by any seagoing asset. It was mainly air attack. We had the intercom going all the time, talking to us. You were fully aware of what was going on. You knew you were getting closer [to Japan].” If action stations sounded, his gun position was on the aft superstructure. “You took off, up ladders, down ladders, your feet barely touch the

steps. You’re on your way, you’re flying. The siren has that way about it, like a fire engine coming up your tail. You’re pumped up. The adrenaline is really flowing. You know what to do, there’s no messing about. You don’t feel the fear. It’s on, let’s go.” You had three levels of action. Flash Green, Flash Blue, Flash Red, he says. “The intercom is talking to you all the time. Blue was stand by, and Red was go, they have identified the attack.” There was no radio contact between ships during an attack, or at any time. Aldis signalling lamps were used, or signalling flags. “You would see all these flags change, and get hoisted up, and all the other ships would put up those flags as well. It’s very, very effective.”

The British and American fleets would close up when they came under air attack. “God knows how many ships, maybe 60 or 70? Can you imagine them, all firing? It’s a huge umbrella of firepower. They would do barrage firing, where the fuse settings would be high and low. It had a sandwich effect, with the plane in the middle of it, and shrapnel all around.” His position was right above GAMBIA’s four-inch aft guns, and the noise was incredible as they blasted away. It was a kamikaze attack near the Sakishima Islands that disabled destroyer HMS ULSTER, and Mr Gordon remembers GAMBIA towing the destroyer for nearly 800 miles to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. At eight knots, for three days, it was a dangerous mission, with the ship

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vulnerable to Japanese submarines. “We finally got there, and had a break for a while. The Americans there, they had loads of torpedo boats, MTBs. At night, they’d tie up to anything they could get hold of, and in the morning you’d find 50 or 60 boats tied up to GAMBIA. The Americans knew we had rum on board, and our guys would save their tots. The Americans would give you anything for a bit of grog.” They had to post shark guards all the time. “I’ve never seen so many sharks in my life. It’s something I’ve never forgotten.” One of his most profound memories was the bombardment of the ironworks at Kaimashi, Northern Honshu, on 9 August 1945. Kaimashi had been attacked a few weeks before, by the Third Fleet, and

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they returned with elements of the British Pacific Fleet, including GAMBIA. They made four passes across Kaimashi harbour, at an average distance of 13km. “The ships had to do at least 32 knots,” says Mr Gordon. “On board a ship, that’s incredible. The air intakes are roaring, sucking air in. The ship is trembling under that power, the vibration feels like about 12 inches. It’s absolutely incredible.” He says some ships had paravanes streaming from the bow, a device that would cut mines from their cables. “Any mines that were cut had to be shot out. You couldn’t join them there.” In they went. “I’ve no trouble recalling it, it’s stayed with me for most of my life. It’s the most fantastic thing I’ve

ever seen. The power of that fleet. Battleships, cruisers, destroyers. American spotter planes would call the range for us. Up 100, down 100, then ‘bang on’. It’s like watching a game. I’m trying to depict that feeling of that attack on Kaimashi, that absolute exhilaration. That feeling, of being a New Zealand ship, the white ensign on the stern mast. It was very exciting.” GAMBIA fired the last shots of that engagement. “We scarpered as fast as we could out of there. We had no air protection, we were lucky we didn’t cop a torpedo from a plane. But we had ‘chattering’ gear on the stern. They’re a series of straight bars that were hinged. As the water went through them, the noise they made was louder than our propellers. Their torpedoes were acoustic. The torpedo would go astern and miss the ship.”



That day, August 9, was the same day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which resulted in Japan’s unconditional surrender on August 15, 75 years ago. The signal went out to the fleet that morning. “Cease hostilities against Japan.” GAMBIA’s crew were told to get the ammunition sorted and returned to the magazines. On the quarterdeck, sailors and marines were assembled, training for an advance landing party. “I was down by the starboard four-inch gun, doing what I was supposed to be doing. This scream came out. ‘Action Stations!’” A lone Japanese fighter had made a kamikaze run for the nearby aircraft carrier, HMNZS INDEFATIGABLE. Some reports say the fighter was initially disabled and veered towards


GAMBIA. “There was nowhere to hide,” says Mr Gordon. “The firing started, shells were flying.” And then it was over. A US fighter pilot in a Corsair shot down the plane. It exploded and crashed so close to GAMBIA, wreckage fell on the deck and was later collected as souvenirs.

It is also possible crewmen of GAMBIA were the first Allied personnel to set foot on Japanese soil. On August 20, Royal Marines and sailors from GAMBIA took the surrender of the Japanese Naval Base at Yokosuka. The crew were photographed with a captured flag from the base.

The pilot’s action, and the firing of GAMBIA’s guns, are believed to be the last shots of World War II.

GAMBIA would later go on to represent the Royal New Zealand Navy in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, when the Japanese signed the instrument of surrender on board USS MISSOURI.

“We weren’t expecting it. It was over as quickly as it started. You didn’t have time to think. If we had been hit we would have been goners.” The incident occurred so close to the signal to cease hostilities that the reply from GAMBIA was: “Judy 33 shot down over fleet while signal was flying. C.T.F’s instructions not obeyed.”

Mr Gordon got to step on mainland Japan for short stints of an hour or two. “We stuck together in groups. The Japanese were walking around all over the place. They were almost walking in queues. Mum in front, carrying the bags. Kids in the middle, Dad in the

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back, which we thought was the wrong way around. We went into the banks, and saw they were using abacuses.” The sailors discovered that cigarettes were practically legal tender. “There’s a webbing that goes around the inside of a sailor’s cap, and we used to fill up that webbing with cigarettes and go ashore. That was big money.” Mr Gordon stayed in the Navy for eight years after the war, becoming a Petty Officer and Physical Training Instructor. He supervised Compulsory Military Training and thoroughly enjoyed working with young people. “Those three months, it really made those boys. If New Zealand introduced it again, we’d see some differences.” In civilian life he returned to Gisborne and became a winemaker, then a horticultural tutor at Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

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In 1987 one of his former shipmates, Jack Stuart, tracked down the pilot of the Corsair in the United States. Commander Marshall Lloyd (retired) wrote a letter back, giving some insight into that last attack on GAMBIA: “On August 15, 1945, the day hostilities with Japan ceased, I was attached to the USS Hancock in Air Group 6, as divisional leader flying F4V Corsairs. My division was on combat patrol for approximately four hours on the morning of August 15... we were vectored at approximately 1120 to an unidentified ‘bogie’ which I further identified as a Japanese single engine aircraft. My initial contact was in a firing overhead run and subsequent passes by my division resulted in a ‘kill’.” CDR Lloyd came to New Zealand, attending a 1988 GAMBIA reunion in

Hokitika. The town put on a parade for him and his wife. Mr Gordon didn’t attend that reunion. “I’ve belonged to the RSA for as long as I could,” he says. “I’m coming up to 93 in a couple of months. I’ve had three strokes, lost some eyesight. I’m on a mobility scooter, that gets me around.” He says he finds it very hard to forgive the Japanese for atrocities committed during the war. He didn’t see the prisoners of war being recovered; they were generally taken to the carriers, which had better facilities. “I know there are memorials for the dropping of the bombs. But what happened to all those Australian, New Zealand, British soldiers, and all those other people killed? That sticks in my craw. One day I will get over it.”


War College Graduate A Royal New Zealand Navy officer has become the first international student to top the prestigious United States Naval War College’s senior course and masters study.

The course involved completing a coursework masters, without a thesis, but a very busy year nonetheless with the same writing load. Part of the study involves travel to different parts of the United States, seeing a variety of American life. “One of my goals with the course was to deepen my understanding of United States government, how it views the world, and the relationships it has. You could learn some of that with study at home, but you can’t get the same experience of living and breathing another country’s culture, institutions, outlooks and history. It’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”

His advice to others is to go into it with the mindset of “getting every bit of juice out of the orange. Squeeze it for all it’s worth. It’s been one of the most fantastic opportunities I’ve ever had. You might feel like you can’t do it all. But what you get out of it will be a reflection of the effort you put in and your willingness to seize opportunities. Want to exercise your academic skills? This is the place. Want to build a strong network of colleagues? Absolutely, you will get that chance.” It’s also very good quality time with the family, he says. “Even with the pandemic, it’s a time in my life I will struggle to improve on.”

Commander John Sellwood, who undertook the 11-month residential course in Newport, Rhode Island, says the achievement is still sinking in. “There’s about 250 United States students across all four services, plus other Government agencies like Homeland Security and State Department. Then there’s 58 international students from 55 countries. While all the US students do the full masters course, only a handful of international students are accepted and I was one of them.”

He points out that while international students have been attending for 60 years, it has only been in recent years that they’ve been able to join the US students in the full masters programme. “My achievement has validated that approach. It’s proven that it’s not just possible, but that we can compete at the highest level.”

You would be hard-pushed to find a military education institution that offers this level and quality of experience, he says. “It’s the length of time they have been doing this. The programmes are very well defined. People doing this course can go on to be senior leaders in their field. It’s a naval war college – it’s exactly the sort of place you want to go to as a naval officer.”

The Naval War College is the oldest of the War Colleges in the United States. CDR Sellwood arrived in July 2019 with his family, basing themselves in nearby Jamestown.

CDR Sellwood enjoys academic writing, winning two writing prizes in addition to the overall course prize. “A big feature of the course is honing your writing to be suitable for upper reaches of government. In the final exam, I had to write a strategy paper in compressed time. To be judged to have written the best paper… for me, that encapsulated what I hoped to get out of the course, and in some ways I value that most of all.”

Sadly, the pandemic meant the prizegiving was done virtually. “My wife has a photo of me at the kitchen table with the laptop running,” he says. “As a class, we would have loved to come together. But the bonds we forged will still last our lifetimes.”

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Information to swipe for Lieutenant Commander Emma Pickering, working from home in Cambridge, can appreciate the irony. “If you can’t design a piece of technology that’s supposed to help people in remote situations, by being remote yourself, then there’s something wrong.”

“While you’re at home, what if you or one of your division has a problem?” says LTCDR Pickering. “Who do you call? What’s their phone number? What if you have a question about leave entitlements when you are on leave? It’s about having that information right there and then.”

LTCDR Pickering is talking about her project, a Navy app that will place all the divisional and welfare information in one place. It is, effectively, the divisional handbook (NZBR 9) plus a lot of extras, all there to be sourced from a phone or tablet.

The project, which started under project manager Lieutenant Commander Fiona Evans, began at the end of 2019. At this point, all the content is with a technology company, who have produced the prototype app for review. The next stage is the “look” of the app, based on NZDF visual guidelines.

She credits Sub Lieutenant Jack Walters, who came up with the original concept three years ago of a “NZ Navy app” when he was a senior rating. “We discussed the divisional handbook (NZBR 9) during a divisional officer’s seminar last year,” says LTCDR Pickering. “The old version was out of date, hard to follow, and just not a practical resource. We wanted it to make more sense, so as part of the project we re-wrote it. Then we wanted it to be accessible on a mobile device and someone said, didn’t Jack come up with something like this?” SLT Walters says the Warrant Officer of the Navy challenged him to come up with a concept, after noticing his “dabbling” with app development. He and an app developer friend put together a prototype for senior leadership to show what an “NZ Navy app” could look like. “I’m glad someone has taken up the reins and carried it on.” With lockdowns occurring and people at home more, the need for accessible information while away from work has become greater than ever. The first lockdown prompted an assessment of NZDF communications, with the question being asked: what avenues are there for people who don’t have access to NZDF intranet?

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“Security protocols and accreditation is the next stage – a lot of hoops to jump through, but everyone has been incredibly supportive of what we are trying to achieve,” says LTCDR Pickering. The goal is to go live with the app just before everyone goes on Christmas leave this year. “At first, it will just be accessible to Navy personnel. Then, to nominated family members, to give them some ability to get information on Navy life.” And if anyone downloaded the app from the App Store, they would be able to see basic Navy info similar to that on the Navy website. The app has the potential to grow as an information powerhouse for other branches of the Navy, but LTCDR Pickering and her team want to consolidate what they have. “If it gets too big, we won’t get a product. At this stage, this is for divisional information. We want it out there, live. It’s something we can show people, show them what can be achieved.” It will get bigger and better in time, she says.

The New Navy Mobile App

It’s got everything except a name! Everything you ever wanted to know about your Navy – fleet, ranks, career management, promotions, disciplinary procedures, performance management, honours and awards, personal admin, uniform, dress and bearing, support services and a whole lot more – will shortly all be in one place. All within easy reach on your mobile. But the one thing it doesn’t have is a name. And that’s where you come in. We’re looking for a short, sharp and punchy name. Something that says what it is and what it offers. A name that we can wrap a design around and then put it up on the App Store for download. If you’ve got a name that you think’s a winner, we want to see it. There’s no prize. Just the quiet satisfaction you’ll get knowing your name has been judged the best. Simply email navytoday@nzdf. by 15 October 2020 with your app name, your name and contact details. Open to all NZDF personnel as well as members of the public.


From Australia, with love They might be made in Australia, but Sophie Going’s new rank slides pack just as much punch.

Lieutenant Going received an acting promotion to Lieutenant Commander in July while posted as a warfare officer on board Australia’s largest vessel, Landing Helicopter Dock HMAS CANBERRA. But initially, it seemed the promotion would have to be deferred, as the delivery of her New Zealand rank slides missed the ship’s departure from Darwin as part of a two-month Regional Defence Deployment. But CANBERRA’s Commanding Officer, Captain Terry Morrison, says the ship managed to adapt a pair of Royal Australian Navy rank slides, right down to the ‘New Zealand’ below the two-and-a-half rank stripes. However, CAPT Morrison couldn’t resist pointing they had “Australian Made” embroidered on the underside.

“They will be a unique possession that Sophie can keep to remind her of her great time in Australia,” he said. He advised RNZN of a suitable port to post the New Zealand rank slides, but hoped the Aussie ones would remain her favourite. He promoted LT Going on 12 July as the ship was passing through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, with Krakatoa in the distance. She will retain that rank only for her posting in CANBERRA. While on her way back to Australia, CANBERRA made the news last month with the rescue of three crew members of a wrecked skiff on Pikelot Island in Micronesia. The crew had marked a gigantic SOS on the beach, which was spotted by aircraft during a search.

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Facing Forward The Navy, as a service, has arguably a greater historical and modern complexity than Army or Air Force when it comes to uniforms. One subtle complication is the right way and wrong way to position rank slides. Personnel with a rank that involves a single anchor in its symbol (Leading Hands, Chief Petty Officers, Chaplains) will be issued with two different slides, one being a mirror version of the other. They are positioned on the shoulders so the top loop of the cable/chain is facing forward and the bottom loop is leading aft. Due to symmetry of the doubleanchor design, Petty Officers are immune to the issue. Warrant Officers display the Royal Coat of Arms and this can only be displayed in one format. Able Ratings have a nonsymmetrical figure-of-eight knot, but as it is not an anchor, there is no issue on which side they’re placed. Owing to the words ‘New Zealand’ below the rank symbol, it is not possible to get the figure-of-eight – or any of the ranks – upside down. Officers (with two exceptions) are issued with mirrored rank slides. The stripe with the loop starts at the back and runs ‘forward’, passing over then under and finishing at the front. Getting this around the wrong way means you are “going astern”, or going backward. Again, because of symmetry, both midshipmen and commodores are happily immune to this complication. Above: Chief of Navy RADM David Proctor checks as LTCDR Karl Weston is promoted to Commander, with CDR Weston's son Tom handling one of the rank slide changes.

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Rank Slides 1






1. Chaplain

4. Leading Hand

2. Commander

5. Midshipman

3. Commodore

6. Petty Officer


Honorary Captains In August’s Navy Today our story on the late Honorary Captain Andrew Leachman prompted a question: what are Honorary Captains? Rear Admiral Fred Wilson (retired), the former Chief of Naval Staff who revived the practice, explains what it entails. The first Honorary Captain in the RNZN was created at the start of World War II, when an Honorary Mercantile Marine Liaison Officer was appointed to coordinate wartime procedures with the Naval Board. Honorary appointments were later expanded to include personnel appointed as Examination Officers at main ports. Harbourmasters from the four main ports were introduced in 1968, but the relationship was little more than respectful acknowledgement of their role. When I was leading the Anzac Ship Project in the late 1980s, I saw the opportunity to forge an effective link between the Navy and the community, with honorary appointments being the catalyst. Interacting with NZ industry and local and regional business and community groups on that project alerted me to both the lack of awareness in many quarters

of what the Navy did and, somewhat quixotically, the number of individuals who were championing the Navy in their own quiet way without recognition. With encouragement and appreciation, I felt sure they could be even stronger advocates and informants. Importantly, they could also serve as inspirational achievers for young officers and ratings. When I was fortunate enough to become Chief of Naval Staff, I had the opportunity to resurrect the award of honorary ranks. After all, I reasoned, what was the point of all that power if I couldn’t abuse it? Because of the natural civilian association with the rank, captains seemed the appropriate vehicle to achieve easy recognition. The purpose was quite straightforward. It was simply to recognise individuals in the political, commercial or academic fields who had a specific relationship or affinity with the RNZN, or otherwise had provided exceptional support or model behaviour in some way. The award was recognised by the presentation of an officer’s cap, so the recipient could display a symbol of their affiliation. I was told later by many receivers that that cap was one of their most treasured possessions because of its simple yet powerful demonstration of appreciation. The list of those who have been made Honorary Captains is remarkable for the prevalence of the humble and the truly admired. It is enduring for its diversity and universality. It is respected because everyone on it, through their association, has helped make the RNZN a better service, by example or deed. He heramana katoa ratou. They are all sailors. In upcoming issues of Navy Today our Honorary Captains will be profiled.

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Be the best you can be On call as an IT engineer by day, while tending an Auckland ministry by night and weekends. It was a life of two halves. Now newly graduated chaplain Glen Hemi Popata will embrace the full-time ministry of the Royal New Zealand Navy, as the latest chaplain based at Devonport Naval Base. CHAP Popata, of Ngati Kahu descent, grew up South Auckland, meeting his future wife at Onewhero Area School. After qualifying from university – which included theology studies – he worked in IT as his “day-time gig”, attending an Anglican ministry in Grafton, Auckland, in the evenings. “Serving others has always been the bottom line for me,” he says. “I had done a chaplaincy paper during my theology studies and long-term, I knew chaplaincy was always going to be something for me.” His move towards the military was something that fell into place. Like others before him, he was talentspotted. “A colleague of mine, an Army chaplain, said I’d be good at this.” Chaplains have to complete the 22week Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT) as a midshipman, exactly the same course as other officer trainees. At 43 years old, a father and grandfather, he was a lot older than the others, but he wasn’t daunted.

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“Well, not initially. I was keen as, full of confidence. I had worked with youth, and I felt I could connect with young persons. My wife was very supportive – she could see I had skills in certain areas, and she knew I was good at connecting with people.” He did struggle at first. “The transition to military life was tougher than I thought. And being directed loudly by people half my age – some of them younger than my children – was a challenge. My oppos [classmates] were confident, very intelligent, and that was intimidating. You have to think quickly and on the spot. But I found my groove. Anxiety went out the window. I was definitely out of my comfort zone at first, but I think that’s an important way to grow.” The course, which ran through the Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown, was expanded to 27 weeks, with recruits staying in their ‘bubbles’ on base and doing work online. “Being unproductive was the hardest. Sometimes you’d think, couldn’t I be at home, and be useful? I’m used to being useful.” Graduation day for his class, JOCT 20/01 in July, was wonderful, he says. “It was great to get to that point. I came out feeling broadened in my own faith.” He will be formally inducted as a Navy chaplain later this year.

Did you know? There are three distinct aspects to the uniform worn by chaplains, all inherited from the Royal Navy. If you look carefully at CHAP Popata’s hat, the Officer’s badge is a gold outline filled with black, rather than completely gold. You may also see a black cloth on the rim of the peak (absent from a standard officer’s hat). Navy chaplains do not display a rank. Instead, they have a stylised cross with an anchor overlaid (pg 30). In effect, the chaplain is the same rank as the person they are ministering to, be it Chief of Navy or an ordinary rating. 1

As CHAP Popata settles into the base, he’s looking forward to reinvigorating the sports he enjoyed when he was younger. He’s signed up for netball, and wants to start up a spearfishing and diving club, with a side benefit of fellowship and talking about challenges. His advice to others following him? “Have an open mind, and be prepared to grow.”



Flipping for Charity A sailor with a penchant for physically extreme fundraisers has flipped a tyre for 21km to raise money for two Auckland foodbanks. Last month Petty Officer Youth Development Specialist Albie Roebeck, in a rotating team of six, set themselves 12 hours to flip a 54kg tractor tyre around and around a 1.2km course at Ngataringa fields in Devonport. They reached their target in just under 10 hours, raising $2,619. POYDS Roebeck, an instructor at Youth Development Unit North, Whenuapai, says they were “packed out” with support from the Devonport community, with the team rotating two people every odd hour and three people every even hour.

He had planned the event prelockdown, to raise awareness for mental health, but after lockdown he noticed the increased demands on food charities. He chose to support Otara Health Charitable Trust and the Salvation Army Waitakere, “two charities either side of Auckland”. He’s probably not as sore as some of his previous events. In October last year he spent 60 hours punching a boxing bag, a yet-unconfirmed world record, to raise awareness around mental illness and depression. In the same year, he and a team did a 2.4km series of burpees, raising awareness around stress and anxiety. “It’s a different way of approaching these issues,” he says. “I’ve struggled with mental health at times in my career. But this is not about me. It’s about helping others, getting community involved, and giving these groups a platform to reduce stigma in mental health.”

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Leaving on a high note y LTCDR Sacha Belcourt B NZCF

The presentation of the sought-after Royal New Zealand Naval Association Trophy was a fitting farewell for Lieutenant Commander Craig Walecki as he stepped down as Unit Commander of TS ACHILLES (Auckland City) this month. TS ACHILLES has been located in Ōkahu Bay, Ōrākei, since being commissioned as a Sea Cadet Unit in 1964. Since 2017, she has been under the command of LTCDR Walecki, NZCF, and his time in command has been one of the most successful. The unit won the Sea Cadet National Skills (Regatta) in 2018 and 2019 (this year cancelled due to the COVID-19 health

crisis) and the Navy League Regatta in 2019. For the past three years they have been the Northern Area Sea Cadet Efficiency winners. It was the National Efficiency Award in the form of the Royal New Zealand Naval Association Trophy that completed the set, with TS ACHILLES taking the 2019 trophy. The trophy was presented to LTCDR Walecki by the Chief of Navy on 6 August (postponed from April due to the pandemic). LTCDR Walecki stood down as Unit Commander to take up the role of Staff Officer Operations and Plans with HQ NZCF. It was a special night for the ship, as the evening began with a presentation of a wahaika as the ship’s symbol of command. It was donated to TS ACHILLES by the late Beni and Roland Belcourt, who were instructors at the unit for 20 years. The presentation was made on behalf of the family by Beni’s nephew, Mark Smith. LTCDR Walecki first joined the Cadet Forces as a cadet at No. 40 (Howick) Squadron Air Training Corps and has continued his interest in flying by becoming an international pilot with Air New Zealand. In 2013 – when employment brought him

back to Auckland – he posted to TS ACHILLES and enjoyed the Navy Cadets so much that he officially transferred to the Sea Cadet Corps the following year and took command in 2017. LTCDR Walecki said it has been a true honour to be a part of, and lead TS ACHILLES. “But I know the Ship's Company are in the very safe hands of LTCDR Belcourt and his officers; I look forward to following the Ship’s continued success.” With LTCDR Walecki relinquishing command, TS ACHILLES’ Executive Officer, LTCDR Sacha Belcourt, NZCF, has been appointed the new Unit Commander. LTCDR Belcourt, who first joined the Sea Cadets in 1985 as a cadet, has experience across a range of Cadet Force areas and most recently was the Officer Commanding Maritime for Exercise CADET2020, held in Waiouru in January. “I am keen to ensure that young people are always well trained and are in the best position to experience everything that the Navy Cadets and the New Zealand Cadet Forces has to offer,” he said, after reporting for duty and being read his command directive.

Above: Chief of Navy RADM David Proctor and outgoing TS ACHILLES Unit Commander LTCDR Greg Walecki.

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From the WON


Warrant Officer of the Navy

Mā te rongo, ka mōhio Mā te mōhio, ka mārama Mā te mārama, ka mātau Mā te mātau, ka ora Through listening comes awareness Through awareness comes understanding Through understanding comes knowledge Through knowledge, come life and well-being

“ We are shipmates, we are oppos, and we are whānau. We all have each other's back...”

The Mental Health Toolkit, Mental Health Foundation resources, and the Defence Health internet site ( have more information on spotting the signs and supporting a mate. You can also contact these helplines directly for support: • NZDF4U: 0800 693 348 (confidential support for NZDF community, available 24/7) or text 8881

This month we will recognise World Suicide Prevention Day. In my mind every day should be Suicide Prevention Day. We should consistently look out for our oppos and loved ones. I know life gets busy and chaotic, but we are never too busy to take time to sit down with a person in our ship, department, division or we care about and just ask ‘how are you doing?’ I want us all to look out for each other, be there for one another and remember there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance. That is what oppos are for!

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

There are many resources available for each of us to use even if you just need to talk. I have used some of the resources myself.

• Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is the Defence Health Centre, the Navy Community Organisation, our Padres, your GP, or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call Police immediately on 111.

• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7) • Youthline: 0800 376 633 • Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7) • Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7) • Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)

We are shipmates, we are oppos, and we are whānau. We all have each other's back. Wayne Dyke Warrant Officer Communication Warfare Specialist

Navy Today #247  |  35

Back in the day... “ I was an enthusiastic smoker. When we had a family, I became even more enthusiastic about sticking around to see our children grow up... Whatever the reason, it’s a reason to stop.� ~ C ommodore Mat Williams Maritime Component Commander

Quitline 0800 778 778

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