New Zealand Navy Frigate Visits Cook Islands

HMNZS Te Mana to do hydrological survey of uncharted underwater hazards in Rarotonga, Penrhyn

By Richard Moore

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 22, 2017) – One of New Zealand’s main fighting vessels, the HMNZS Te Mana, is expected to arrive in Rarotonga today.

The 118-metre-long frigate, one of the ANZAC-class warships, is the smallest type of ship capable of prolonged independent and sustained operations and has a range of 6000 nautical miles.

Its operations include conducting patrols in Antarctica for illegal fishing, participating in joint training exercises with other navies on the tactical levels of warfare, participating in United Nations’ peace-keeping missions and search-and-rescue missions.

On its visit to Cook Islands it is expected the Te Mana will make life a little easier for ships in our waters after she supports a hydrographic survey by the Navy’s Littoral Warfare Unit to identify uncharted navigational hazards in Rarotonga and Penrhyn,

On her voyage Te Mana will also visit Apia, the capital of Samoa.

Te Mana has a 5” inch main gun, a vertical launch missile system, torpedoes and a close-in weapon system for self-defence.

It has a crew of 178 naval personnel and, when accompanied by a helicopter, an aircraft crew of 10.

The survey, for Land Information New Zealand, will be conducted by an 11-member team from the unit, said Maritime Component Commander Commodore Jim Gilmour.

He said the frigate would be also delivering a tonne of supplies to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation outpost in Raoul Island on the way to the Pacific.

Senior hydrographic surveyor Stuart Caie said that the survey was part of a wider work programme to improve nautical charts in the region.

“The survey will enable Land Information New Zealand to update the nautical charts for Rarotonga and Penrhyn and provide mariners with up-to-date information to keep them safe as they navigate around these islands,” he said.

The New Zealand Defence Force last conducted a hydrographic survey in the Cook Islands in 2014. Apart from the Cook Islands, the NZDF has also conducted surveys for LINZ in Samoa and Tonga.

The Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major-General Tim Gall, said Te Mana’s deployment to the South Pacific would strengthen the NZDF’s long history of engagement in the region.

“The visits will seek to promote the strategic objectives of the Government in the region, with the ship serving as a ‘floating ambassador’ for New Zealand.”

He said that due to its geographical proximity and cultural links with New Zealand, supporting the South Pacific has always been a key focus for the NZDF.

Cook Islands News
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