Chief of Navy has announced the appointment of a new Commanding Officer for HMNZS Aotearoa, Captain Simon Griffiths DSD, RNZN wef 17 November 2021. CAPT Griffiths has been the Director of Strategic Engagements within the Strategic Commitments and Engagements Branch since December 2019 and has co-chaired the Maritime Culture Guardianship Board over the last year. CAPT Griffiths has a wealth of command experience as Commanding Officer of HMNZS Wellington, Te Kaha, and Te Mana. CAPT Griffiths’ time as Commanding Officer of HMNZS Wellington saw him lead the crew to Antarctica, an experience that will serve him and the Ship’s Company well when HMNZS Aotearoa departs for Antarctica in early 2022. CAPT Simon Rooke MNZM, RNZN, has been the Commanding Officer of HMNZS Aotearoa since her commissioning. Whilst under his command HMNZS Aotearoa has achieved significant introduction of her many capabilities. This included the recent successful conduct of Op Crucible 02/2021 where the ship represented New Zealand and the RNZN at the highest level.





D-Day torpedo boat commander, golfer, dinner party host and yachtie. Neil Harton died recently in Whangaparaoa, three months short of his 105th birthday, having already planned his annual birthday bash at his local golf club.

When World War II broke out, Neil and hie brother Maurice were both quick to enlist. With their love of the sea, both wanted to serve in the New Zealand Navy, which was then still a part of the Royal Navy. The navy, however, did not respond quickly enough for Neil, so he volunteered to join the RAF in August 1940 and completed a preliminary navigation course. In the meantime, he spotted an advert to join the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Scheme to undergo training in England for a commissioned rank.

He subsequently became a torpedo commander serving in the North Sea, with a distinguished career highlighted by rescuing the Canadians, and later taking part in the D-Day landings.

On D-Day his role was protecting the minesweepers clearing the way for the landing craft that would take troops to the beaches.

He travelled to France with the NZ Air Force, to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and was awarded the ‘French Legion of Honour’ in 2015 at a ceremony at Devonport, Auckland.







AMUS REBECCA NELSON is this year’s recipient for the VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD. Muchly deserved for her work with the charitable trust Te Kiwi Maia, the Devonport RSA and the Remembrance Army. A big BZ from Ngapona and the Ngapona Assn. Building the charity from the ground up, it was recognised that the work Able Musician Nelson is doing with Te Kiwi Maia would have a lasting impact on the first responder community. Through a friend’s circumstances, AMUS Nelson saw the need for some extra help for people who, as a result of their role in serving, safeguarding and caring for their communities, have physical or psychological injuries. Joining her local Devonport Returned & Services Association, Rebecca quickly became a passionate supporter of the organisation and its objectives. She became a committee member, where for three years she happily gave up her time and brought fresh ideas, igniting development which enabled the Devonport RSA to thrive into the future. Rebecca has also been a Poppy Appeal ambassador, working with the RSA’s national body to promote the RSA’s work and to encourage Kiwis to give generously on Poppy Day. For the Remembrance Army, Rebecca volunteered to help restore one of the larger North Shore cemeteries, O'Neill's Point Cemetery in Devonport. Initially on her own, she spent hundreds of hours locating, cleaning and restoring veterans’ graves. It inspired her to tell the veterans’ stories on social media around the graves, and she later encouraged others to join her (such as local sailors from the RNZN). She has shown what someone can do as an NZDF service person, to showcase the rich history and legacy of the NZDF.

Rebecca entertained us at the Ngapona Assn Formal Dinner in July this year.



After intense lobbying over many years to the government the Minister of Defence, Hon Peeni Henare announced last week that 4500 more veterans are now eligible for the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) for service in South East Asia from 1 Feb 1959 to 31 Jan 1974 who had not previously received a medal for that service.  The recent review by the NZ Defence Force showed the need for a wider approach to medallic recognition for South East Asia than had been practiced in the past.

The eligible veteran must have been posted or attached for seven or more days with the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR), the Australian New Zealand United Kingdom Force (ANZUK). If one has already been issued the NZOSM for other operational service you are not to receive another medal or clasp. The award does not afford eligibility under the Veterans Support Act 2014, however further representations are being made.

There are now 24 RNZN ship deployments to South East Asia now qualify for the NZOSM from 1961 to 1974 and are HMNZS Royalist, Pukaki, Taranaki, Otago, Blackpool, Waikato.
For further information and application forms, go to NZ Defence Force Personnel Archives and Medals web site.…/medal-and-ser…/medal-applications/

B.C. shipyard embroiled in legal battle over New Zealand warship upgrades


A legal battle is brewing between two of Canada's largest defence contractors over upgrades to a pair of New Zealand navy warships in British Columbia.

The companies, Lockheed Martin Canada and Seaspan Shipyards, were contracted by the New Zealand government to install new combat and surveillance systems aboard Her Majesty's New Zealand ships Te Mana and Te Kaha read more here 

Essential staff shipped to Raoul Island

HMNZS Wellington with Raoul Island in the background, taken in August this year. The ship made a short stop at Raoul, to capture imagery of infrastructure, en route back to New Zealand after delivering vaccines to Tokelau and the Cook Islands. Supplied ph

Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Wellington has set sail for Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands with GNS Science and MetService staff on board who will be maintaining essential equipment that provides weather and tsunami warning systems for New Zealand.


Raoul Island’s strategic location in relation to New Zealand makes it an important site for monitoring tsunamis following seismic events, and for gathering data on shifts in weather and weather patterns.

1 OCTOBER 1941

An Order in Council was signed at Government House by the Governor-General, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Cyril Newall GCB OM GCMG CBE AM, establishing the titles "Royal New Zealand Navy" and the designation "His Majesty's New Zealand Ship", granted to the New Zealand Naval forces by King George VI. Details were promulgated in NZ Navy Order 500/41.


The New Zealand Defence Force last month announced its participation in Exercise Bersama Gold 21, and that it would interact with the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) as it conducts engagement activities in the Indo-Pacific region. 

While with the CSG in recent days, there have also been exercises and training with ships from Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States, including the US aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan.

HMNZS Te Kaha and the Navy’s replenishment tanker HMNZS Aotearoa, with a Seasprite helicopter on board, departed Auckland in September.

HMNZS Aotearoa recently met up with HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s flagship vessel in the CSG, as both ships conducted exercises off the coast of Guam. 

Now it is HMNZS Te Kaha’s turn as the frigate enters the South China Sea and transits in company with the CSG and ships of other partner nations.

The NZDF has operated in the South East Asia region for decades as part of bilateral and regional defence engagement, and demonstrates its commitment to regional security through its presence in the region. 

NZDF deployments exercise freedom of navigation and overflight. The NZDF undertakes all activities in accordance with international law, and for ships in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

The South China Sea is one of the world’s major sea lanes and is routinely transited by merchant and naval vessels and aircraft.

BOP woman loving navy life

Krystal Sims has been a Naval Reservist since 2016. Known as an Ordinary Maritime Trade Operator, or OMTO, Krystal was born in Tauranga and raised in the Coromandel.  She juggles post-graduate nursing study and her commitment to the Naval Reserves alongside her role as a nurse for the Waikato DHB.  You can read more of the story from SunLIve BOP here


The William Sanders VC Memorial Service will be held at 0800 on Sunday 15 August 2021, at Sanders Memorial, corner of Lake Rd and Sanders Ave, Takapuna.

Rig: 1 or suit and medals.

William Sanders remains the only New Zealander to receive our highest military decoration – the Victoria Cross – in a naval action. Born and raised in Takapuna, perhaps it’s no surprise that this legend was a reservist! In April 1917 Sanders was in command of HMS PRIZE when she took on the German submarine U-93. Following that battle Sanders was awarded the VC for his ‘conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness, and skill in command’. In August the same year, Sanders and his crew were killed in action when HMS PRIZE was sunk by the submarine UB-48.



The Association held its third Formal Dinner last Saturday at the Birkenhead RSA. The Guest of Honour was RADM David Proctor, Chief of Navy, who gave a very informative address. There were 70 guests, and entertainment for the evening was provided by Rebecca Nelson and a three piece band, all of whom were serving members of HMNZS Ngapona. At a short ceremony after the meal Lt Cdr John Gresson was promoted to Cdr by CN. Congratulations John, well done. At the conclusion of the evening CN acted as the Duty SA for the ‘Up Spirits’ ceremony.

By all accounts this formal dinner was a very successful event with all feedback being very positive. It resulted in CN making the statement that ‘the NGA Assn have become the keepers of the traditions of the RNZN’. Other comments were that the organisers ‘shouldn’t change a thing’ when organising the next dinner!




The Wellington branch of the Navy League has recently established a Web Page and FB Page which can be accessed as follows:

Via the internet:

Via Facebook:


The Navy League of New Zealand - Wellington Branch was founded in 1904. It is an organisation which supports the Royal New Zealand Navy and is interested in all aspects of maritime defence.

Wellington Branch Aims and Objectives:

- To foster an interest in the Royal New Zealand Navy and in the policies which the New Zealand government pursues in respect of our naval defence.

- To foster an interest in New Zealand's maritime trade and the policies which the New Zealand government pursues in respect of overseas and local maritime trade.

- To foster an interest in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone, the extended continental shelf and the Oceans Policy which regulates its governance.

- To support the Sea Cadet Corps units in the Wellington area and maintain a close and supportive interaction with the Sea Cadet Association of New Zealand.