November 9, 2018 – Families and friends crammed the wharf at Devonport Naval Base this morning to welcome back the 176 crewmembers of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) frigate HMNZS Te Mana, who returned from a five-month engagement across the Asia-Pacific region.
Te Mana and its crew left in June to conduct defense engagement activities in five countries across the region. The ship also took part in four international exercises as part of its deployment.
The first of these exercises was the biennial Rim of the Pacific, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, which was held in Hawaii and Southern California from 27 June to 2 August.
The ship then took part in Exercise Kakadu, the Royal Australian Navy’s largest international maritime engagement activity, which is designed to enhance the ability of maritime forces to operate in a coalition environment.
In Malaysia, the ship participated in Exercise Malzea, which aimed to enhance the ability of the RNZN to operate with the Royal Malaysian Navy. Its last joint training this year was Exercise Bersama Lima, which featured the air, land and maritime forces of the nations comprising the Five Power Defence Arrangements combining in joint exercises for the defense of Malaysia and Singapore.
“Welcome back and thank you to our sailors serving on Te Mana, for representing our country so ably across the region,” Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.
“Te Mana’s deployment strengthened cooperation with maritime forces in the Asia-Pacific and demonstrated our commitment to the region’s security and stability.”
Defence Minister Ron Mark and Maritime Component Commander Commodore Tony Millar boarded the ship before the ceremonial harbor entry, which featured a gun salute, while Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin joined hundreds of well-wishers on the jetty.
Commander Lisa Hunn, the Commanding Officer of Te Mana, said the deployment was an enriching experience for the ship’s crew members.
“It was a great opportunity, especially for our younger sailors, to engage and train with other navies and learn about other cultures,” Commander Hunn said.
“Everyone found the experience professionally enriching and is looking forward to seeing family and friends and taking on the next challenge.”
TE MANA’S ASIA-PACIFIC ENGAGEMENT:
Distance travelled: 55,000km
Number of hours spent at sea: 2250
Countries visited: United States, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore
Exercises participated in: Rim of the Pacific, Kakadu, Bersama Lima and Malzea