The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has deployed Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana to the Asia-Pacific over the next five months, as it seeks to strengthen engagement with countries in the region.
Commander Lisa Hunn, the Commanding Officer of Te Mana, said the ship would take part in several international exercises as part of its deployment.
“Participating in joint military exercises provides great training opportunities for the ship’s crew members and also helps build trust through cooperation with other regional military forces,” she said.
In the first stage of the deployment HMNZS Te Mana, together with more than 300 NZDF personnel and three aircraft, will take part in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, which will be held around Hawaii and southern California from 27 June to 2 August.
During the exercise Te Mana will form part of Task Force 176, under a New Zealand-led Sea Combat Command staff on the Royal Australian Navy landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide, and work alongside other international navies.
This year’s exercise will involve 26 nations, 52 ships and submarines, 18 national land forces, more than 200 aircraft and about 25,000 personnel.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said Te Mana’s deployment was a great opportunity to strengthen engagement with maritime forces in the region and to enhance linkages with non-traditional security partners.
“It also reflects New Zealand’s continued interest in the region, as well as its commitment to its security and stability,” Major General Gall said after the send-off at Devonport Naval Base this morning.
Last year the NZDF sent HMNZS Te Kaha, Te Mana’s sister ship, to the Asia-Pacific for six months to conduct training and defence diplomacy activities.