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Canterbury crest


Support Force: HMNZS CANTERBURY is a Protector-class amphibious and military sealift vessel of the Royal New Zealand Navy. CANTERBURY provides the New Zealand Defence force with the ability to transport and deploy personnel, vehicles, and supplies  around New Zealand’s 15,000-kilometre coast and overseas.

CANTERBURY is a multi-role vessel (MRV) and her primary mission is to deploy personnel, vehicles and cargo using conventional port infrastructure or directly ship-to-shore using Landing Craft, boats or helicopter airlift.

Conceived as part of Project Protector, the ship was built in the Netherlands by Merewede Shipyards and fitted out by Tenix Shipbuilding (now BAE Systems Australia) in Williamstown.

CANTERBURY was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on 12 June 2007. CANTERBURY is the second ship of this name to serve in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Commanding Officer

Commander Martin Walker, RNZN
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HMNZS Canterbury


CANTERBURY provides the sealift capability for the NZ Defence Force Joint Amphibious Task Force.  She is adapted from a commercial roll on/roll off vessel design and has been outstandingly successful in service. Has demonstrated the ability to support and deploy land forces and has preformed extremely well during a number of disaster relief operations, notably the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and three major cyclone relief operations in the Pacific.

CANTERBURY has facilities for accommodating up to 250 personnel and can transport and deploy supporting military vehicles and equipment by Landing Craft, helicopter or ramps.  The ship regularly exercises with units of the New Zealand Army and Air Force, and with forces from Australia and other friendly nations.  Among her capabilities are:

  • The ability to deploy personnel, vehicles and cargo using conventional port infrastructure or directly ship-to-shore using Landing Craft, boats or helicopter airlift
  • The ability to provide medical support to military or civilian operations from a self-contained hospital with surgical capability
  • The ability to manage military or civilian operations from an onboard command and control facility

CANTERBURY is regularly deployed to the Pacific where she has provided sealift support for military exercises and operations including humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

CANTERBURY regularly support the operations of other government agencies.
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  • Embark military forces or civilian personnel over long-distances
  • Search and Rescue
  • Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief
  • Support for other government agencies, including Foreign Affairs and Trade, Primary Industries, Customs and Department of Conservation
  • Helicopter operations
  • Sea training for the Navy


  • Displacement: 9,000 tonnes
  • Beam: 23.4 metres
  • Draught: 5.4 metres
  • Length: 131 metres
  • Speed: 20 knots
  • Range: 6,000+ nautical miles at 18 knots
  • Complement: 78 (core crew), 10 (flight personnel), 4 (Govt. agencies), 7 (Army ship's staff), 24 (trainees), 243 (embarked force) Total 366
  • Two medium landing craft (23 metres/60 tonnes)


  • Main Gun: 25mm Bushmaster naval gun
  • Helicopter: Two helicopter spots and hangar storage for four helicopters
  • Small Arms: Numerous small arms ranging from 50 calibre machine guns to 9 mm pistols


  • 2 x Combined Diesel and Diesel Electric Engines

Badge - Ships Crest

The Ship's crest features two crossed bishop’s crosiers (staffs) to represent the status of Christchurch as a Cathedral City, and four ships (representing the first european settlers) depicted as heraldic Lymphad with sails furled, oars in action and flags flying.  The flags all feature the Cross of St George.

One significant departure from the standard RNZN badge where the ship’s name is shown in black letters on a white background, CANTERBURY’s name is shown in black letters on a red background representing the province’s sporting Colours.

The badge is surmounted by the Admiralty Crown and surrounded by a right hand laid rope with two New Zealand silver fern leaves at the base.

The RNZN and the Canterbury region share a bond, with many people from the region serving our Navy in times of peace and in times of conflict. CANTERBURY is named to honour our connection to the Canterbury region and her homeport Lyttelton.

CANTERBURY was named by the Ship Sponsor, The Right Honourable Helen Clark and is affiliated to the Lyttelton (Canterbury) region.

Recent Activities - 2019

Ships and aircrafts are complex pieces of kit, packed with hard-working sailors - all of whom need some time alongside once in a while.

In February 2016, CANTERBURY deployed to Fiji with 293 military personnel as part of New Zealand's post-disaster recovery operations in Fiji's northern outer islands working alongside the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, the Australian Defence Force and the French military. The initial NZDF response also included the delivery of relief supplies funded by the NZ Aid Programme and emergency personnel using RNZAF C-130 Hercules aircraft. An advance group of 37 Army combat engineers was deployed to help clear roads and repair schools and other community buildings in villages along the northern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island.

In November 2016, CANTERBURY, TE KAHA, ENDEAVOUR and WELLINGTON along with ships from Australia, Canada, and the United States deployed to Kaikoura following the massive 7.5 earthquake that jolted North Canterbury on 14 November - Operation AWHINA.

Historical data:

  • Distance steamed during January 2019 - 520.9 nautical miles
  • Total distance steamed since commissioning - 236,348.4 nautical miles

January: Duty ship for cyclone season
February: Harbour training; Sea training; Aviation training
March: Schedule maintenance period
April: Maintenance cont'd
May: Change of Command ceremony - CDR Martin Walker takes command of CANTERBURY from CDR Matt Wray; Sea training - HIKI ANO

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