HMNZS MATATAUA is a commissioned ship in the RNZN and is made up of three distinctive groups hydrographers, divers, and logistics that operate primarily within the littoral or coastal waters.
MATATAUA provides deployable maritime capabilities to conduct operations that safeguard access to the harbours, inshore waters and littoral zones of New Zealand and wherever New Zealand Defence Forces are required to operate. MATATAUA is based on small, deployable, mission-based detachments utilising a wide range of equipment, platforms and tools to deliver its mission. It is capable of being rapidly deployed by air, sea and land into operational areas. Specialist teams within the groups can be quickly assembled into a composite force. The groups are:
- The Military Hydrographic Group (MHG)
- The Clearance Diving Group (CDG)
- The Logistics Support Group (LSG)
In 2017, the unit officially became HMNZS MATATAUA and was previously known as the Littoral Warfare Unit. Matataua means ‘Eyes of the Warrior’ - a fitting name for a unit of divers, hydrographers and surveyors, who go before the main force to identify and contain any dangers that lie ahead.
MAT will also be able to operate off the Navy’s new dive and hydrographic vessel, HMNZS MANAWANUI and from two Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) boats TAKAPU and TARAPUNGA.
Commander Layamon Bakewell, RNZN
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On 28 January 2016, a formal ceremony marked the establishment of the Littoral Warfare Unit (LWU) and the transfer of command from the Commanding Officers of the Mine Counter Measures Team, the Operational Dive Team and the Maritime Survey Team to the Commanding Officer Littoral Warfare Unit. In June 2017 the LWU became HMNZS Matataua (MAT).
MATATAUA, is part of the Maritime Component Command. It comprises a Command Element, and two operational groups Military Hydrographic Group (MHG) and Clearance Diving Group (CDG), and a support group Logistics Support Group (LSG), which all contribute to the delivery of littoral warfare operational capability.
The Concept of Operations (CONOPS) is founded on small, deployable, mission-based detachments, designed to be transported by and operated from a variety of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and other platforms as well as from ashore. This modular approach provides the NZDF with a multi-mission force that is adaptable and can respond quickly to maritime security and other time sensitive events.
Rather than being a platform based organisation, MATATAUA consists of a ‘toolbox’ of mission-based capability that is adaptable to provide the appropriate personnel and equipment for assigned tasks or missions.
MATATAUA component Groups have the capability to perform a variety of tasks including:
- Mine Counter Measures (MCM) and diving operations
- Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA), hydrographic survey tasks and specialist underwater peacetime search and rescue
- Minor underwater engineering tasks
- Military hydrography
- Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief
- Support for other government agencies, including Police
MATATAUA utilises a wide range of equipment, platforms and tools to deliver its mission and is capable of rapidly deploying by air, sea or land to an operational area and operating from many platforms.
Huge improvements in technology, such as the development of sophisticated and cost-effective Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), have greatly increased the survey and detection capacity. The ability to deploy this equipment quickly by sea, air and land makes for a highly mobile unit able to deploy and generate capability where and when needed.
New boats, TAKAPU and TARAPUNGA have been delivered to support Mine Counter Measures and REA (Rapid Environmental Assessment) operations. These boats can deploy by sea (on the back of an OPV), air (C-130) and land (truck) and capable of transiting at up to 24 knots to a minimum range of 150 nautical miles, providing an organic over-the-horizon boat capability.
- Military Hydrographic Group
- Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare Group
- Logistics Support Group
Badge - Ships Crest
On 14 June 2017, the Littoral Warfare Unit became HMNZS MATATAUA, complete with new badge, deck plate, flagpole and the presentation of a ceremonial taiaha. Matataua means “Eyes of the Warrior”, a fitting name for a unit of divers, hydrographers and surveyors, who go before the main force to find dangers that lie ahead.
HMNZS MATATAUA is affiliated to Whakatane.
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.
Navy divers operating from the support vessel MANAWANUI in October 2015 located and recovered the bodies from the fishing vessel FV Jubilee which sank in heavy seas near Rakaia River mouth. Members of the diving support vessel HMNZS MANAWANUI performed a ‘Piping of the Side’ as a mark of respect when the men were recovered.
January: Christmas leave period; Change of Command Ceremony
February: Hydrographic team conducted training exercises in and around Whitianga
March: Hydrographic team training cont'd;