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Devonport Naval Base - HMNZS PHILOMEL

Devonport Naval Base

Devonport Naval Base is the home of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Devonport Naval Base is located on Auckland’s North Shore in the suburb of Devonport and hosts training and support services for the ships and personnel of the Royal New Zealand Navy including:

For Devonport Naval Base enquiries between 0700-1630 weekdays please contact 09 445 5999. After hours this number diverts to the Duty Officer.


The Navy's association with Devonport began when Lieutenant Governor William Hobson, a Royal Navy Officer, arrived on board HMS HERALD on 21 February 1840. He established Auckland as the colony's capital, and consequently the Waitemata Harbour became a regular anchorage for warships. In 1841 Hobson established a permanent naval presence at Devonport.

Nearby Torpedo Bay, another location with a long military history, is the home of the Navy Museum.

Life on Base

The base is a self-contained community with accommodation facilities, places to eat, health and social services, a gymnasium and sports facilities, childcare, the Navy Marae, a Chapel and library.

When working on base military personnel dress in uniform and obey military discipline.  Many civilians also work on base for the NZ Defence Force or contractors employed by the Navy.  Access to the base is strictly controlled and members of the public are not allowed entrance except by appointment.


Devonport is where sailors and officers are based for much of their naval career.  New recruits become part of the Recruit Training Squadron of HMNZS PHILOMEL which over 13 weeks (22 for an officer) turns trainees from a civilian to a competent and self-disciplined sailor. After completing Basic Common Training (for sailors) or Junior Officer Common Training personnel begin branch or specialist training courses where they learn skills for their chosen trade.

After completing branch training sailors and officers are usually posted to a ship to begin their seagoing career.  During and after training many ratings live at Devonport in barracks, or in nearby Navy housing, when not at sea.

Throughout their naval careers sailors and officers will regularly return to Devonport for refresher courses, more advanced training or posting to administrative roles. 


The Navy’s fleet is based at Devonport.  Ships leave Devonport on operations and exercises that last from a few days or weeks to many months on long overseas deployments.  Whatever the length of the deployment the ships always return to Devonport where regular planned maintenance and larger engineering projects are undertaken.

Physical support for the fleet is provided by base infrastructure including a dry-dock, wharves, engineering facilities, fuel and logistics stores.  Administration, planning and training is also undertaken on base in custom-built facilities.


HMNZS PHILOMEL is the name for Naval Support Services, which is responsible for the logistics and organisation of Naval personnel, and for any visits to the base by foreign ships. 

HMNZS PHILOMEL was the name of an old light cruiser assigned to the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1921 as a training base.  After the ship was decommissioned in 1947 the ship’s name transferred to the land base.

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