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The Navy has announced its largest-ever ship – a 24,000-tonne vessel which will cost nearly half a billion dollars – will be called HMNZS Aotearoa. Construction of the ship will start next year, for delivery in January 2020. The 173-metre long vessel will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries at a projected cost of $493 million. “Aotearoa will have the ability to deploy anywhere in the world to support maritime operations and enhance our combat force,” Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin said. “It has the ability to conduct embarked helicopter operations and will be capable of carrying a significant tonnage of operational supplies. And it will provide an important Antarctic support capability to assist with our Southern Ocean monitoring.” Aotearoa woul...

MATTHEWSON, James Oliver

RNZVR Second World War 0/7412. “Gentleman Jim”. Passed on peacefully on 16 April 2017, aged 98. Dearly loved husband of the late Margaret, father of Peter, Sarah, and David, grandfather of Christy, Janina, Joyia, Eli and Tineke, and great- grandfather of Theo and Libby. An example of compassion and service


On 2 April 2017, it was 35 years since Argentinean soldiers landed on the Falklands Islands, triggering a violent culmination to a territorial dispute between Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government and Argentina’s military junta. The invasion of Port Stanley launched a ten-week war that cost the lives of 655 Argentine troops, 255 British servicemen and three islanders. Sovereignty over the windswept and sparsely populated islands, situated off the coast of Argentina in the South Atlantic, was a source of tension for decades. Britain has ruled the Falklands uninterrupted since the mid-19th century and the vast majority of the island’s tiny population – fewer than 3,000 at the 2012 census – are descendants of British settlers. However, in Argentina, where the islan...

Piping the Side

Did you know the custom of ‘Piping the Side’ dates from the days of sail when ship’s Captains were frequently called upon to report onboard their senior officer’s… Flagship at sea to receive or discuss orders?. On those occasions when the sea state was too rough to permit the use of sea gangways, it was customary for a visiting captain to enter and leave his boat by means of a Bosun’s chair rigged on a yardarm whip. The boat carrying a visiting captain would lay off the flagship and an order would be given to ‘Hoist him in’. The captain concerned would then be hoisted out of his boat and inboard with the requisite orders being passed by pipes made on a Bosun’s call. The present call used for ‘Piping the Side’ has its origins with the pipe once used for ‘hoisting and walking away’. Ov...


“Hey guys. This is the ex HMNZS KIWI now SARASU which I spent a bit of time on her when I was in the RNZNVR. This is Fishing boat harbour, Perth, Western Australia. I was lucky enough to be invited on board for a tour and was completely amazed at the transformation. Brought back a lot of memories from the day.”  


The CO HMNZS Ngapona has once again invited ex members of Ngapona to attend the ANZAC Day Parade at the Memorial Wall at the Naval Base. The parade will march off at 0800, followed by the service and light refreshments. There will still be time to attend other parades during the morning. To assist in organising the parade we need an indication of numbers. Last year we had a good muster, let’s see if we can do better this year. Please indicate your intentions by replying to

More Members Needed

Our club needs to grow and while it did grow during 2016 we do need an increase in membership to ensure the clubs future. A new member application form is available here and can be emailed or sent to our mail box with the $20.00 or pay by direct credit. WARNING. The secretary is not clairvoyant so after depositing club subs insert your name and the word SUBS in the reference on your deposits. Any deposits not identified are treated as donations

Hard Return (or, Fred Wilson goes back to Portsmouth)

In September, I spent six weeks in the UK with two objectives.  One was to do research on my two latest books and the other to attend the 55th anniversary of my year at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. The book stuff relates firstly to a definitive history of HMS New Zealand entitled “The Compleat Sailor’s Guide to HMS New Zealand” and will be printed in December.  The second book, still a work in progress, is a “Diary of the RNZN”, which records what happened when.  The idea is you will be able to look up and remember when you commissioned that ship, were first issued with plastic sandals, Link 11 was introduced, Leander shot down a US aircraft, and a million other things – well perhaps not a million, but 999,999 at least.  Writing that is much more fun as I find out things I did...

Navy 75th Commemoration

Mother Nature seemed determined to disrupt the Navy’s long-planned commemoration of 75 years’ service, with weather and earthquakes making their impact felt. But in the end, while some events were affected, the people and ships of our international friends joined the fray to mark the occasion. All but one of the Old Salts planned sailings on the William C Daldy went ahead. The Fleet departure sailing  planned for Tuesday after the weekend was cancelled, given the late arrivals of some ships diverted to assist with the earthquake recovery and the staggered, or uncertain departures of others. All in all, Operation Neptune and the ‘Old Salts’ events were a great success.  

Something a little different

Stg Arthur Helm OBE. He prior to the War was a Post Office telegraphist working in the South Island. As part of their dress you might note they wore lanyards and their puggaree was a light blue, dark blue, light blue colour around their lemon squeezers. Arthur first gained notoriety with the NZ Divisional Signals in the Middle East by learning to ride a camel, attempting to become the first soldier to adapt to that form of transportation. After the War he wrote two books on his wartime experiences following up with a degree, an MA at Otago University and turning his energies to the Public Service. He was private secretary to Sir Keith Holyoake at one point. He was however to make his mark as a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. It was as Secretary of the NZ Antarctic Society, and as a...

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