In an unfortunate but unavoidable circumstance, TS ACHILLES took a heavy hit during the Auckland floods and the building is currently out of commission due to the damage.
The unit officers, staff, USC and cadets have put in a tremendous amount of effort clearing the water and saving our important history and memorabilia but the building has been deemed too unsafe to actively parade in with a major factor being the slip behind the unit.
In a more fortunate turn of events, the Outboard Boating Club (OBC) on Tamaki Drive has generously opened their doors to us to resume our Thursday parade nights in what is a super well-equipped space for our operations.
A massive thank you to the team at OBC, your hospitable accommodation is a huge aid in keeping our Ships Company afloat in what will be a tricky bump in TS ACHILLES history.
We endeavour to be back in our building as soon as we can but the safety of our Ships Company comes first and we thank you for your patience during this time.

It is with deepest sorrow that the New Zealand Cadet Forces announces the death of a treasured member of TS Amokura's Ships Company. Chief Petty Officer Cadet Sacha Piper passed away on Thursday 2nd February (New Zealand Time).
Sacha was in New Delhi, on an international cadet exchange hosted by the Indian National Cadet Corps, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its formation. There were ten cadets and two officers from all across New Zealand on the trip, in addition to contingents from many other cadet organisations around the world. Sacha had been selected as one of the outstanding cadets in the Central Area, and an ideal ambassador for her Unit, Cadet Forces and the youth of New Zealand. The exchange programme was a great success and the opportunity of a lifetime, which she had seized with great enthusiasm.
Sadly, shortly before they were due to return home, Sacha began experiencing headaches. She was admitted to hospital and it was discovered that she had experienced a cerebral aneurysm. Despite immediate care of the highest standard, her condition rapidly worsened and she passed away peacefully several days later, with her family at her bedside.
While our hearts ache from the loss of a ship mate, friend, mentor and role model, we are comforted by the knowledge that Sacha was doing something that she was fiercely passionate about. She loved every bit of being a Navy Cadet, and grabbed any opportunity that came along, from coxswaining a Crown, to staffing promotion courses, and caring for the welfare of the New Entries in Training Division. But most of all she valued the friendships that she forged with other cadets, officers and RF staff all across the NZCF.
Her life has been tragically cut short, but her memory will be an everlasting example of what young people can achieve, and a reminder that each and every day is precious, and we must use all of our time to reach for the stars.
A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered.



The UK Prime Minister announced on 21 November that all miliary and civilian personnel in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji who took part in the British testing of nuclear weapons between 1952 and 1958 will be given a medal
Gerry Wright is asking nuclear veteran to contact him by e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


"How the hell did I manage to live to 100 years, I didn’t do anything to deserve that," Neill Boak says with a grin.

He survived World War 2 while flying a Catalina over the Pacific on dangerous rescue missions and yesterday made New Zealand history.

Boak became the first Kiwi to receive a birthday card from the new monarch, King Charles III, on the day of his 100th birthday.

Read more here

Te Puke teacher takes navy teachings to school

Bay of Plenty teacher Bayley Macdonald has yet to ask her students to do drill, but she’s found lessons from her Naval Reservist training translate well to the classroom.

Ordinary Maritime Trade Operator Macdonald is one of 24 officers and ratings undertaking the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Naval Reserve Common Training programme this year.

Read more here


Richard Charles Travis, VC, DCM, MM, Croix de Guerre (born Dickson Cornelius Savage; 6 April 1884 – 25 July 1918)

Dickson Cornelius Savage, as he was called originally, was born on 6 April 1884 in Opotiki, New Zealand. His father, James Savage, a former member of the New Zealand Armed Constabulary, had migrated to New Zealand from Ireland and farmed a block of land at Otara, a short distance from Opotiki. His mother, Frances (née O'Keefe), had originally come from Sydney, Australia. The oldest boy out of seven children, Dickson Savage attended schools at Opotiki but only completed the first four years of his education before his family took him out of school to work on the farm. He acquired various farming skills, but showed a particular talent for horse breaking, for which he earned a degree of local fame.
The impetuous Savage left home at age 21, after an argument with his father, and moved to Gisborne. He continued to work as a farmhand and further enhanced his reputation for horse breaking. Amid claims of impropriety with a local woman he moved on and, seeking a clean break, he changed his name to Richard Charles Travis. In 1910, he settled in Winton where he found work as a farmhand for Tom Murray, a local farmer, at his property around Ryal Bush. Sometime later he and Murray's daughter, Lettie, became engaged although the pair were not married before the war in Europe separated them.

Less than a month after the outbreak of the First World War, Richard Travis sought to join the 7th (Southland) Mounted Rifles, a squadron of the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment. Giving his occupation as "horse breaker", he enlisted in Invercargill. His stature of 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) and weight 133 pounds (60 kg), with "a fresh complexion, blue eyes and fair hair", belied his military potential. He was attested on 20 August 1914 and after a short period of basic training Travis departed New Zealand along with the first contingent—known as the "Main Body"—of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) bound for Egypt.
Upon arrival in the Middle East in December 1914, the New Zealanders undertook further training at camps in Egypt, before taking part in the landing at Anzac Cove as part of the Gallipoli campaign on 25 April 1915. The Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment (including Travis' Southland Squadron) did not take part in the initial landing; instead, they were sent as dismounted reinforcements the following month. Travis, who was part of the transport section and had responsibility for breaking in new horses, was not scheduled to proceed with the rest of the Southland Mounted Rifles Squadron. Instead, he was to remain with the horses in Egypt. Nevertheless, exhibiting the same disregard for discipline that had gotten him in trouble earlier in his life, he stowed away upon the squadron's transport and joined them on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Travis' unauthorised presence was soon discovered, and disciplinary proceedings followed: he was returned to Egypt and received 14 days' confinement. Nevertheless, in October he was able join up with the Southland Squadron as it rested on Lemnos after the August fighting before returning to Gallipoli to take part in the final month of the campaign before the Allied forces were evacuated in December 1915. While at Anzac Cove he established a reputation as a fine soldier who possessed the ability to move through "no man's land" unscathed.

Following their evacuation from Gallipoli, the New Zealanders returned to Egypt while the War Office considered their future deployment. After sustaining a knee injury while breaking in a horse, in March 1916, Travis was transferred to the infantry and was posted to the 8th (Southland) Company of the 2nd Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment, New Zealand Division. When the division transferred to the European theatre, he sailed with it to France, arriving there in April, to serve in the trenches along the Western Front. After the 2nd Battalion entered the line near Armentières, Travis began conducting scouting missions at night into "no man's land" to gather intelligence on German positions and help in mapping the front. By the end of July 1916, he had been twice commended in brigade orders for his work in carrying out night patrols and recovering wounded soldiers. He had also been wounded, which saw him spend most of August in hospital receiving treatment.
In September 1916 he singlehandedly dealt with two German snipers that were firing upon a work party during the fighting on the Somme. He later received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), the British Empire's second highest gallantry award, for this action, the published citation for his award also referring to him having "...on many occasions done very fine work." After this the 2nd Battalion moved to Flanders to hold the line during winter. Throughout the remainder of 1916 he progressed through the ranks, soon reaching the rank of sergeant, whereupon he was given responsibility for a sniper and reconnaissance section consisting of hand-picked men, tasked with conducting reconnaissance of German lines and capturing prisoners to gain intelligence. His section quickly grew a reputation for being able to provide important intelligence on the strength and positions of the enemy. As a leader he was said to have a casual approach towards things such as dress and military protocol, however, he was resourceful, had a well-developed understanding of enemy courses of action and had a penchant for detailed planning.

In early December 1917 Travis was sent to England; this was intended to be for a period of three months, but Travis agitated for an earlier return and rejoined his battalion, serving on the front lines near Polygon Wood in Flanders, in mid-January 1918. Soon afterwards, Travis was awarded the Croix de Guerre ("Cross of War" awarded for bravery or other military virtue on the battlefield.) from the Belgian government. During the German spring offensive of April 1918, Travis was wounded which required hospitalisation for over two weeks. At the end of the following month, he was awarded the Military Medal (MM) "for acts of gallantry in the field".
In July 1918, as part of the operations undertaken prior to the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, planned for August, the 2nd Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment, was committed to operations around Rossignol Wood, to the north of Hébuterne, where a salient had developed in the German lines. Following the initial attacks, the Germans withdrew from their positions and Travis, with the reconnaissance section, set out to discover their new location. On 24 July the battalion was scheduled to launch its attack. Prior to stepping off, Travis crossed "no man's land" in daylight and destroyed a wire obstacle that threatened to block the path of the battalion's advance. Later, after the attack had been checked by heavy fire from a number of machine gun positions, seeing the danger, Travis approached two weapons pits alone and killed their occupants.

He was killed the following day in a German artillery barrage while accompanying an officer on an inspection of the battalion's positions. Well known among the New Zealand Division for his exploits, his death affected its morale. On 26 July 1918, he was interred in a grave near the small village of Couin, which is now the site of the Couin New British Cemetery. For his deeds on 24 July, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) in September 1918.
The citation for his VC read:
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. During 'surprise' operations it was necessary to destroy an impassable wire block. Serjt. Travis, regardless of personal danger, volunteered for this duty. Before zero hour, in broad daylight and in close proximity to enemy posts he crawled out and successfully destroyed the block with bombs, thus enabling the attacking parties to pass through. A few minutes later a bombing party on the right of the attack was held up by two enemy machine guns, and the success of the whole operation was in danger. Perceiving this Serjt. Travis with great gallantry and utter disregard of danger, rushed the position, killed the crews and captured the guns. An enemy officer and three men immediately rushed at him from a bend in the trench and attempted to retake the guns. These four he killed single handed, thus allowing the bombing party on which much depended to advance. The success of the operation was almost entirely due to the heroic work of this gallant N.C.O. and the vigour with which he made and used opportunities for inflicting casualties on the enemy. He was killed 24 hours later when, in a most intense bombardment prior to an enemy counter-attack, he was going from post to post encouraging the men.
— The London Gazette, No. 30922, 24 September 1918.
Although Lettie Murray was named as the beneficiary of Travis' will, executed in May 1918, the ownership of Travis' medals was disputed after the war due to the estrangement from his family. Eventually it was settled that the majority of his possessions, including his medals, belonged to Lettie. A close friend of Travis ensured that some personal effects went to the family. Travis' medals which, in addition to the VC, DCM, MM and Croix de Guerre, included the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal, were loaned to the Returned Services Association in Rotorua for a display in 1965 for the 50th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign. Lettie donated the medals to the Southland Museum, in Invercargill, in 1974 after her death. The medals were placed on public display from 25 April 2006 to 2 July 2006.

Travis is remembered by a memorial at Ryal Bush, where he was living at the time of his enlistment in the NZEF, and by a plaque in Queen's Gardens in Dunedin. His service is also commemorated by the annual Dick Travis VC Memorial Shoot at the Karori Rifle Club, in Wellington. He was also the subject of a painting by Richard Wallwork. Additionally, Travis Barracks at Linton Military Camp and Travis Street in Napier are named after him, and in 2011, New Zealand Post issued a 60 cent stamp featuring Travis.


“I have the ship.”

With those words Commander Trevor Leslie accepted command of shore-based establishment HMNZS Matataua today, encompassing our Navy’s dive and hydrography teams, and received the symbol of command, a tewhatewha (ceremonial signal stick) from outgoing Commanding Officer Commander Wiremu Leef.
CDR Leslie, who joined the Navy in 1986, rose through the ranks as an accomplished clearance diver and supervisor to Chief Petty Officer before commissioning from the ranks.
He has worked across the Pacific, in the Middle East, USA, Europe and Antarctica and is a champion of positive and progressive culture and capability initiatives across our Diving trade and the wider Littoral Warfare Force. He was awarded the NZ Defence Force Peter Rule Diversity and Inclusion Award last year in recognition of his contribution to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Who started off in the Cadets?? They have recently launched 🚀a fresh new website with updated information, fresh new faces and a whole new look to encourage a whole new generation.


Last week Keith and Heather Nicholson sold their HDML Ex HMNZS Paea to her new owner / custodian Roger Reeves. Heather said “We had so much fun and met so many awesome people. Wishing Roger all the very best and hope that the fun continues with Paea”




COMMANDER BRONWYN HESLOP, RNZN, COMMANDING OFFICER HMNZS CANTERBURY AND LIEUTENANT COMMANDER NIGEL HESLOP VRD, COMMANDING OFFICER HMNZS NGAPONA.   Both are currently Commanding Officers of their respective RNZN Ships, and in the same family, something that doesn’t happen very often and probably the first time in the history of the RNZN.

I could only imagine the conversations between two Commanding Officers over the dinner table. Comparing notes and advice on their respective commands as well as raising two sons which must be a challenge and a need for effective time management.  CDR Heslop joined the RNZN in 1990, as a MID GLX(H).  She studied at the University of Auckland, graduating with a BSc (Phys. Geog). 

In 1994, CDR Heslop joined HMNZS Endeavour, and gained her Grade 2 BWC and HWC.   From 2008 – 2011 she served in HMNZS Ngapona before re-joining the RNZN again, to resume her operational career.  During the period 2011 to 2022 she held several posts including, METOC HQJFNZ, XO Endeavour, a year in the RN and Commander MOET.  CDR Heslop left MOET in Jan 2022 to complete the Major Fleet Unit Command Course (MFUCC), in preparation for taking command of HMNZS Canterbury.  

CDR Bronwyn Heslop took command of HMNZS Canterbury on 12 April 2022. Not her first Command as she was the first female to go IOC of a RNZN vessel, HMNZS Moa. In 1998 CDR Heslop was given command of HMNZS Moa, and surveyed Port Pegasus.    Her husband, Lieutenant Commander Nigel Heslop, VRD, RNZNVR was born and raised in Auckland, andjoined the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve as an Ordinary Shipping Controller in 1990.  He commenced training in what was then known as the Naval Control of Shipping (NCS) Branch before taking up a commission in the rank of Ensign in January 1992.  During 2012-2013, he was Lead Planner for EX BELL BUOY 13 (BB13), a Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) exercise conducted by the RNZN on behalf of the Pacific and Indian Oceans Shipping Working Group (PACIOSWG).  This exercise, the first of its kind to be hosted by the RNZN, saw naval personnel from 10 nations join together to successfully exercise MTO doctrine and skills within a humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) context.  Very much a career highlight, his efforts to plan, organize and execute EX BB13 later saw him awarded a Commanding Officer’s Commendation.  A graduate of the University of Auckland (MA(Hons)) and Whitireia Polytechnic (Diploma in Publishing), away from his civilian and naval commitments LT CDR Heslopenjoys umpiring cricket (his playing days apparently now firmly behind him), reading, and family life with his wife and two sons. 

LT CDR Heslop was appointed XO HMNZS Ngapona in 2016 and appointed CO on the 23 November 2018 and also holds the position as Reserve Personnel Officer.  Both Bronwyn and Nigel got to know each other when both were Reservists at HMNZS Ngapona, prior to Bronwyn returning to regular service in 1911.  CDR Heslop is married to LT CDR Heslop, and have two teenaged sons, James and Oliver. Both enjoy all forms of cricket, and walking their dog, Zeus.


PaymeWWII veteran Keown “Wallace” Shirley, celebrates 102nd birthday 

During his 102 years, Keown “Wallace” Shirley​ is perhaps most proud of having served in World War II with his five brothers.  The former telegraphist in the Royal New Zealand Navy celebrated his birthday on Friday and is one of the country’s oldest surviving veterans.  He said it didn’t feel all that different from making it to 100. “It’s not different from 22, except that you can’t get around the same.”  Wallace attributes his longevity to a daily kip of whisky with whipped cream, and never having smoked.tnam veteran ex gratia payments — 22 February