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New Zealand commissioned diving support and hydrographic survey vessel, HMNZS Manawanui

On June 07, the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) formally commissioned its latest diving support and hydrographic survey vessel, the HMNZS Manawanui, during a ceremony at Devonport Naval Base.

New Zealand commissioned diving support and hydrographic survey vessel HMNZS Manawanui The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, naming the HMNZS Manawanui during its commissioning ceremony (Picture Source: RNZN)

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is also the ship’s sponsor. The event included the traditional breaking of a bottle of wine on the ship and the pronouncement by the Prime Minister that “I name this ship, Her Majesty’s New Zealand ship, Manawanui.”

“The commissioning of a ship is a significant moment; from this moment Manawanui will come to represent our country, and through the actions of the ship’s company, will represent our values as a nation.” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “For these reasons, it is an honour to have been chosen to act as the ship’s sponsor.”

The Prime Minister concluded the ceremony with the words to Manawanui’s crew, “kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui; be strong, be brave, be steadfast.” (as "Manawanui", the name of this vessel, does mean "be steadfast").

“Manawanui is a highly capable ship and will be a game changer domestically and for our South Pacific region, where it will operate frequently. Its commissioning comes at a time when we have raised the priority for operating in the South Pacific to the same level as our own territory, commensurate with the Coalition Government’s Pacific Reset”, said Defence Minister Ron Mark.

“Manawanui is also a procurement success story, having been delivered in the space of ten months since contract signature in August 2018. The ship will now undergo a second stage of modifications in New Zealand to install defence specific equipment. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year”, Defence Minister added.

The new vessel will replace RNZN’s already decommissioned hydrographic survey ship HMNZS Resolution (A14) and diving support vessel HMNZS Manawanui (A09). The two vessels were decommissioned from the RNZN in 2012 and 2018 respectively, following several decades of service. The modern design and systems of the new Manawanui will provide improved capacity, safety and capability over the vessels it replaces.

Some of the new and enhanced capabilities include a 100-tonne salvage crane, a remotely operated vehicle and a contemporary dynamic positioning system, which will allow the Navy’s specialist divers to achieve greater levels of effectiveness and safety, in a greater range of conditions.