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HMNZS Taupo departs Devonport Naval Base for Fiji

New Zealand to provide maritime patrol support to Fiji - Royal New Zealand Navy’s inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo left Auckland today to spend the next three months conducting maritime patrols in Fiji.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), with support from the Ministry for Primary Industries, will help Fiji patrol its vast Exclusive Economic Zone and train its Navy sailors for the second consecutive year.

The patrols by HMNZS Taupo, in support of the Republic of Fiji Navy, will involve the usual compliance monitoring activities, which include two Fishery Officers from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries assisting with boarding and inspection of vessels.

In 2017, the NZDF sent inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Hawea to Fiji to help patrol the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which encompass more than 1.1 million square kilometres.

Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the combined maritime surveillance operations with Fiji would contribute to the multinational effort to ensure sustainable management of fishery resources in the South West Pacific.

“We also expect the patrols to deepen collaboration between New Zealand and Fiji government agencies and strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries,” Major General Gall said.

The combined maritime patrols with Fiji last year achieved strong results, with about 550 vessels boarded and 110 alleged infringements detected. About 50 Fiji Navy sailors, 27 Customs Officers and 19 Fishery Officers also trained on Hawea.

Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Dave McEwan, the Maritime Component Commander, said learning was a two-way process and the New Zealand sailors learnt as much from their Fiji Navy partners.

“We hope to replicate the success of last year’s combined patrols and contribute to Fiji’s maritime security,” he said.

Photo - Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin watches as Royal New Zealand Navy inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo sails Auckland to conduct maritime patrols in support of the Republic of Fiji Navy over the next three months.



She's got a name and now she has a badge...

Her Excellency The Governor-General of New Zealand and the Chief of Navy

The sheer number of entries, and their quality, were the things that impressed RADM Martin the most. “It was wonderful that so many New Zealanders cared so much about our new ship that they wanted to submit a design,” he said.

The Ship’s Names & Badges committee convened to review the over 250 designs received. They had no details of the designers so their selection was completely impartial. The panel reduced the submissions down to a top 10 which were given to the Chief of Navy in December to make the final decision.

“My design criteria was very clear,” said RADM Martin.  “I asked for designs that were simple yet striking, reflective of the role of the ship and uniquely New Zealand. While I had no idea who submitted the designs, Steven’s immediately stood out. The fish hook elegantly blended the Maori legend of Aotearoa’s origin with the replenishment role that the ship will be responsible for.”

“Dividing the sea and sky, I saw the white band representing both a long white cloud and an ice shelf – very appropriate given the importance of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica to New Zealand.  For a number of reasons this design was an obvious choice for me.

I was genuinely surprised that the winner was one of Navy’s own and I’m thrilled for him.”

Steven’s winning badge design will now form the basis of the formal ship badge.

When HMNZS Aotearoa is commissioned into service in early 2020 she will not only be the new maritime sustainment vessel and fleet tanker but will also enhance combat operational capability, provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief and support monitoring operations in the Southern Ocean.

“I know New Zealanders will be as proud of her as the whole of the Navy will be when she arrives,” said RADM Martin.
Steven works at the Devonport Naval Base as Project Manager responsible for the Inshore Patrol Vessels upkeep and maintenance.
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