First woman to command Navy Inshore patrol vessel

Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen

Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen

17 June 2010

Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen will become the first woman to command a Royal New Zealand Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel, HMNZS PUKAKI.

A ceremony to mark the official change of Commanding Officer of PUKAKI, will be held Friday 18 June 2010 at 1000, at the Devonport Naval Base.

During the ceremony Lieutenant John McQueen will relinquish command of PUKAKI and Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen will assume command.

The Change of Command Ceremony is traditionally formal and impressive - designed to strengthen the respect for authority, which is vital to any military organisation. The changing of command takes place when Lieutenant McQueen states "You have the ship" and Lieutenant Hansen "I have the ship".

Lieutenant Hansen said "I have been looking forward to taking command since I joined the Navy and know that it is a challenge that I have been well prepared for. I am fortunate to be taking over a ship that has been well prepared by LT McQueen and the crew to be able to work closely with the other Government agencies in achieving her capabilities."

Lieutenant Hansen will be the second commanding officer of PUKAKI since the ships commissioning in May 2009.

Witnessing the ceremony will be the crew of HMNZS PUKAKI, invited guests, families and friends.

Biography - Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen

Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in January 2005 as a Sub Lieutenant in the General List Seaman Officer (GLX). Before joining, she attended Wellington East Girls' College and studied at Victoria University in Wellington, gaining a Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration in Economics.

On completion of her Junior Officer Common Training, Lieutenant Hansen finished as dux of her initial GLX qualification course and spent time on HMNZ Ships WAKAKURA and TE KAHA. Lieutenant Hansen posted ashore in early 2006 to complete her GLX qualification courses where she finished in first place and as a result was awarded an exchange to the Royal Navy for twelve months - a posting to HMS EXETER based out of Portsmouth, England.

 Lieutenant Hansen participated in the Atlantic Patrol Tasking South which saw a "sea swap" trial.  This involved the entire ship's company flying to the Falkland Islands to take over another ship - HMS EDINBURGH. Whilst on patrol in the South Atlantic, she managed to get ashore in South Georgia and navigate very close to glaciers - a career highlight.

While transiting to Portsmouth onboard EDINBURGH in early 2007, Lieutenant Hansen was awarded her Bridge Warfare Qualification. This made the subsequent port visits to Montevideo, Rio de Janiero and the Grand Canary Islands amongst other ports all the more enjoyable.

Upon returning to New Zealand in late 2007, Lieutenant Hansen completed the Major Fleet Unit Navigating Officer's Course and posted to HMNZS CANTERBURY as the Navigating Officer early 2008. Her time onboard CANTERBURY saw numerous trips to the Pacific Islands (including for the Samoan Tsunami relief effort), Northern Australia , Timor-Leste and Indonesia.

In early 2010, Lieutenant Hansen completed the Minor War Vessel Command Course before becoming the second Commanding Officer of HMNZS PUKAKI on June 18 2010.

Lieutenant Alexandra Hansen is a keen sportswoman, playing Tennis, Cricket and representing the New Zealand Defence Force at Soccer. Her other interests include surfing, tramping and mountain biking.


For further information or requests for interviews please contact Lieutenant Sarah Campbell, Senior Media Adviser-Navy Mob: 021 244 0638.

This page was last reviewed on 19 January 2011.