New Zealand Navy Pays Friendship Visit To Vanuatu

Lieutenant Commander hosts women leaders on board HMNZS Otago 

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 27, 2017) – Lieutenant Commander (Lt CDR) Lorna Gray, Commanding Officer of the HMNZS Otago and New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Georgina Roberts recently co-hosted a luncheon for several women leaders on board the HMNZS Otago.

“It was an opportunity to gather some female leaders in our community, whether they be government, social sector, journalism and other partners working in the country to share their stories and background about being female leaders, the roles we play and the opportunities that are there for females,” said Commissioner Roberts.

The NZ High Commissioner said the Navy’s ship visit to Vanuatu is part of an ongoing program that New Zealand operates across the region, supporting the maintenance and surveillance of fisheries resources.

“This year is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of a resident New High Commissioner in Vanuatu so it is a great opportunity with this visit to profile the relationship and Vanuatu and also the good work that has been undertaken by our partners in the region,” she said.

Commissioner Roberts mentioned that her successor will be taking up his post in Vanuatu, next year.

“My successor, Jonathan Schwass has been announced.

“I still have a few months in Vanuatu, a few more projects to oversee and complete.

“It has been an enjoyable three and half years for me here with my husband in Vanuatu,” she said.

The NZ diplomat elaborates on New Zealand’s assistance to Vanuatu, pointing out that New Zealand works very strongly in tourism, agriculture, infrastructure development, education as well as support to the Law and Justice sector.

NZ High Commissioner Roberts is travelling to Luganville, Santo, this week to open, alongside the Government the new Luganville Correctional Centre, which is funded by New Zealand.

This is the first time; a new permanent Correctional facility has been built in Vanuatu, since independence.

LT CDR Gray revealed they would conduct a fisheries patrol in Vanuatu’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

She gave an insight into her challenging but fulfilling role on board the navy vessel.

“I joined the navy in 2005 so I have been slowly getting the experience that I need to finally get this job and command HMNZS Otago,” she said.

“It is slightly stressful but at the same time it allows me to have so many amazing experiences.

“It really fosters the people coming out below and ensure the future of the navy, which is my job as well as conducting these missions and ensure that New Zealand is out supporting the people of the Pacific and looking after our environment.”

Vanuatu Daily Post
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