October 26, 2019 – Four of the more important words any Chief of Navy looks forward to hearing during their tenure are “I name this ship …” because it means a new addition to a navy fleet.
Yesterday in Ulsan, South Korea, Rear Admiral David Proctor was delighted to hear Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy name the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) newest ship, Aotearoa at a ceremony at the Hyundai Shipyard.
Just five months after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern named the RNZN’s replacement diving support and hydrographic vessel HMNZS Manawanui, Dame Patsy was able to do likewise for the RNZN’s new sustainment vessel.
After the ceremony, Dame Patsy said how proud she was to be given the honour of sponsoring Aotearoa and officially naming her.
“Aotearoa will carry the name of our country to all corners of the world, and I’m sure the ship and her crew will bring credit to all New Zealanders,” she said.
Aotearoa’s predecessor, HMNZS Endeavour, was built and launched at the Hyundai Shipyard in 1987, Rear Admiral Proctor said.
“Our excellent relationship with Hyundai Heavy Industries goes back more than 30 years and with Aotearoa the RNZN will take possession soon of a maritime sustainment vessel that will be one of the most technologically advanced available,” he said.
At 173m long, Aotearoa will be the largest ship the RNZN has ever had in the fleet. It boasts state-of-the-art design and capability features, including ice-strengthening and “winterisation” for operations in Antarctica.
She will operate as a fleet tanker and a supply ship and has the ability to produce 100 tonnes of fresh water each day – critical when providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Following her sea trials, Aotearoa will sail to New Zealand in the second quarter of next year and will be formally commissioned at the Devonport Naval Base.