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Combat Force: HMNZS TE KAHA is the RNZN's first Anzac Class frigate. TE KAHA is a purpose-built warship constructed to the German MEKO 200 design.

TE KAHA is designed to fight and evade her enemies and take battle damage. Her primary mission is to ensure the security and prosperity of New Zealand by undertaking maritime security patrols and surveillance operations to protect our sea lines of communication or trade routes.

TE KAHA was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on 22 July 1997. TE KAHA is the first ship of this name to serve in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Commanding Officer

Commander Brock Symmons, RNZN
Download PDF Profile (pdf, 239kb)




During the mid-1980s, the RNZN began considering the replacement of the Leander class frigate. Australia was going through a similar process and it was decided to collaborate on the acquisition in early 1987. In 1989, it was announced that Melbourne base  AMECON (which  became Tenix Defence) would build the modified MEKO 200 design frigate. The Anzacs are based on Blohm + Voss' MEKO 200 PN frigates, modified to meet Australian and New Zealand specifications and maximise the use of locally built equipment. The first Anzac frigate, HMAS ANZAC, was commissioned in May 1996.

TE KAHA was laid down at Williamstown on 19 September 1994 and was assembled from six hull modules. She was launched on 22 July 1995, and commissioned on 22 July 1997. Many of the components used in the ships were constructed in New Zealand. Work on options for the replacement of the frigates will begin well before they reach the end of their service life in the mid-2020s.

The two Anzac class frigates, HMNZS TE KAHA and HMNZS TE MANA, are the main fighting ships of the Navy and play a vital role in protecting New Zealand, its exports, maritime resources and those of our allies. Frigates are the smallest type of warship capable of prolonged independent and sustained operations, including:

  • Working with our allies in regional and global security
  • Conducting patrols in Antarctica for illegal fishing
  • Participating in joint training exercises with other navies on the tactical levels of warfare
  • Participating in UN peacekeeping missions
  • Search and rescue missions

Anzac frigates can combat simultaneous threats from air, surface and sub-surface. This makes these ships a vital component in maintaining regional security.

The Anzac frigates have a complement of 178 naval personnel. 

TE KAHA is part of New Zealand's national security system, and works with other agencies to protect and advance New Zealand's national security interests.
Download PDF Factsheet (pdf, 632kb)


  • Air, surface and underwater warfare operations
  • Sustained and independent surveillance and reconnaissance
  • Multinational task force operations
  • Naval gunfire
  • Search and rescue
  • Vertical and cross-deck replenishment (delivery services/logistics)
  • Medical evacuation
  • Interception and boarding
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Humanitarian aid and disaster relief
  • Support for other government agencies, including Police, Primary Industries, Customs and Department of Conservation
  • Training for the Navy


  • Displacement: 3,600 tonnes
  • Beam: 14.8 metres
  • Draught: 6.2 metres
  • Length: 118 metres
  • Speed: 27+ knots
  • Range: 6,000 nautical miles at 18 knots
  • Complement: 178 crew (25 officers, 153 ratings), plus 10 flight personnel


  • Main Gun: 5-inch 54mm calibre fully automatic lightweight gun
  • Missiles: Eight cell Vertical Launch System which houses the NATO Seasparrow Mk 41 air defence missile
  • CWIS: PHALANX Close In Weapons System
  • Torpedos: Mk46 Mod 5 Anti-submarine Torpedos 
  • Helicopter: One Kaman Super Seasprite SH-2G(I) with a combination of torpedos, depth charges, Penguin air-to-ship missiles and M60 machine gun
  • Small arms: Numerous small arms, ranging from 50-calibre machine guns and mini-Typhoon automatic weapons to 9mm pistols


  • Combined Diesel or Gas Turbine (CODOG)
  • One GE LM 2500 Gas Turbine (30,000 hp)
  • Two MTU 12V 1193 Diesels (6,000 hp each)
  • Twin Shaft Controllable Pitch Propellers

Badge - Ship's Crest

The name TE KAHA is Maori, meaning "fighting prowess" or "strength". The Ship's Motto is "He Ponanga Kaha" or "Service with strength" - this embodies the strength of the Ship, the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the service to our country.

The Ship's Crest features a wahaika - a hand-held thrusting weapon - tying the design to the land and the people. The rope ties the design to the sea. The knots in the ends of the rope represent skill, strength and protection.

TE KAHA was named by the Ship Sponsor, Mrs June Bolger, and is affiliated to the Napier (Hawke's Bay) region.


TE KAHA regularly deploys to the Asia-Pacific region to advance New Zealand's security interests through exercises and operations with other navies and partners, and conducting diplomatic port visits.

The Anzac frigates and their integrated capability systems represent the only maritime element capable of operating across the spectrum of operations, from constabulary and humanitarian tasks to combat roles as part of a multinational coalition. The frigates are also able to protect other vessels, such as logistical support ships.

In recent years the frigates have participated in a range of activities, including:

  • Anti-terrorism operations in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman
  • Supporting peacekeeping operations in Bougainville
  • Antarctic and Southern Ocean patrol
  • Supporting UN operations in East Timor (Timor-Leste)
  • Supporting peacekeeping operations in Solomon Islands
  • Anti-piracy operations off Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean


From 2013 - 2016 TE KAHA and TE MANA went through a significant and extensive engineering upgrade. The refit included:

  • Platform Systems Upgrade (PSU to replace obsolete equipment) - the engines, control systems, and environmental systems

In 2018 - 2020, TE KAHA and TE MANA will undergo a weapons and communications systems upgrade in Esquimalt, Canada.

  • Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU to replace combat and self-defence systems) - new radar and targeting systems, a new combat management system and a number of  other improvements to protect the ship

Graphic showing what the frigate will look like after the upgrade (credited to Ministry of Defence)

Recent Activities - 2018

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

Early 8 June 2015, a boarding party from TE KAHA uncovered 139 one-kilogram bags of heroin worth NZ$235 million in hidden compartments on a dhow the ship had been monitoring. TE KAHA had intercepted and searched seven other dhows during her patrol off the Horn off Africa as part of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which aims to prevent drug and people trafficking, piracy and terrorism.

In November 2016, TE KAHA, CANTERBURY, 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.

In July 2017, the New Zealand Government offered TE KAHA to support the United States Seventh Fleet after the collision between the US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine container ship in Japanese waters in mid-June, which killed seven US sailors. Te Kaha was in Japan at the time of the collision, as part of a naval taskforce group deployment throughout Asia, and joined the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

In February 2018 she started her long journey to Esquimalt on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The upgrade will be completed by Lockheed Martin Canada.

In November 2018, The [US] Secretary of the Navy awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation to HMNZS TE KAHA. The award was present to Ship's Company by Admiral John Richardson, U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations.

Historical data:

  • Distance steamed during January 2019 - 0 nautical miles
  • Total distance steamed since commissioning - 659,375.8 nautical miles

January 2018: NZDF Christmas leave period and deployment preparations; Shakedown Week 2018, Seeport and Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta
February: Transit to Canada (via Hawaii) for Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU, project to replace combat and self-defence systems)
March: Minister of Defence Ron Mark announced today (6Mar.18) the arrival of HMNZS Te Kaha in Canada, where a major upgrade of its sensor and weapons systems will be undertaken. The project will extend the vessels' operational life to around 2030
April: Canada (Esquimalt) for FSU
May: Canada cont'd
June: Canada cont'd
July: Canada cont'd
August: Canada cont'd; Change of Command ceremony CDR Brock Symmons takes command
September: Frigate Systems Upgrade continues in Esquimalt, Canada
October: Canada cont'd
November: Canada cont'd; U.S. Navy Commendation
December: Canada cont'd
January 2019: Canada cont'd; new forward and aft masts and pole mast installed during a dry dock phase
February: Canada cont'd
March: Canada cont'd
April: Canada cont'd
May: Canada cont'd

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