Change of command for Navy tanker

Navy, Te Kaha, NPU, Portrait, Cdr Robb Hat on showing arm rank

Commander Keith Robb (MC04-0360-11)

13 October 2010

A ceremony to mark the official change of Commanding Officer for the fleet replenishment tanker, HMNZS ENDEAVOUR will be held at 1000 on Friday, 15 October 2010, at the Devonport Naval Base.
The Change of Command Ceremony is traditionally formal and impressive - designed to strengthen that respect for authority, which is vital to any military organisation. Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson, will review the ceremony.
During the ceremony, Commander Dave Toms (Rotorua) will relinquish command of  HMNZS ENDEAVOUR and Commander Keith Robb (Gisborne) will assume command.

This is the second time Commander Robb has been in command of a Navy vessel.

“Having had the privilege of commanding a Frigate, the opportunity to command ENDEAVOUR is like winning the Lotto a second time,” said Commander Robb.

“Having grown up in the Navy serving primarily in frigates, eight in all, the need to now learn the ways of Navy's support ship will be another career highlight. It will not be without its challenges, however I am fortunate to be taking command of a ship in excellent working order with a very professional and motivated Ship's Company that well help me meet those challenges.”


Commander Keith Robb heralds from Gisborne, New Zealand and joined the RNZN in January 1976. He began his naval career as a Junior Rating specialising as a Seaman Radar Plotter. 

As a rating Commander Robb served at sea in HMNZ Ship’s TARANAKI, OTAGO, WAIKATO, TARAPUNGA and WELLINGTON as well as six month attachment to the Australian Destroyer HMAS VAMPIRE.  In 1982 he was selected for service in the Royal Yacht BRITTANIA, as a member of the New Zealand Navy contingent during the Ship’s visit to New Zealand in support of the Royal Tour. He also served ashore at PHILOMEL and TAMAKI and at the now disbanded Naval Air Support Unit based at RNZAF Hobsonville in West Auckland. Commander Robb obtained the rank of Petty Officer before being selected for officer training. In 1987 he was Commissioned from the Ranks as a Sub Lieutenant in the Executive Branch.

After completing his initial training at the Officer Training School HMNZS TAMAKI, Commander Robb returned to sea early in 1988 to HMNZS WELLINGTON to qualify as a Bridge Watch-keeping Officer; fully qualified within a year he was also promoted to Lieutenant. In 1989 he qualified as an Anti Submarine Aircraft Controller and posted to HMNZS SOUTHLAND as the Aircraft Control Officer.  He then posted to HMZS WATSON, Sydney, Australia to undertake an 11-month Principal Warfare Officer’s course in 1991.

In 1992-3 Commander Robb was back at sea as the Gunnery Officer, firstly in HMNZS WAIKATO, then HMNZS WELLINGTON.  Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1994, he assumed the role of Staff Officer Sea Training and Staff Officer Above Water Warfare on the staff of the Maritime Commander Auckland.

Returning to sea postings early 1996 Commander Robb commenced a busy period which included operational deployments. As Operations Officer of HMNZS CANTERBURY he deployed to the Arabian Gulf to enforce UN sanctions on Iraq.  In 1997 he enjoyed his first command as he of the diving support vessel HMNZS MANAWANUI, deployed to the island of Bougainville in support of the New Zealand led Truce Monitoring Group. From this role he was posted as the commissioning Executive Officer of HMNZS TE MANA while she was fitted out at the builder’s yard in Melbourne, Australia. During 2000 and 2001 HMNZS TE MANA saw brief operational service in the Solomon Islands.

In July 2001 Commander Robb moved to Wellington to take up a position in the newly established Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand. In November of the same year he was promoted to his current rank of Commander and appointed as the Inspector General of the Navy, on the staff of the Chief of Navy at Naval Headquarters Wellington. During this period he also held the positions of Director of Naval Warfare and Commanding Officer of WAKEFIELD concurrently for a short while.

Commander Robb was appointed as Commanding Officer of the ANZAC Class Frigate, HMNZS TE KAHA in August 2003 and remained in command until January 2006. In February 2006 he was posted as Executive Officer of HMNZS PHILOMEL at Devonport Auckland New Zealand. 

Commander Robb commenced a three year diplomatic post as the Naval Adviser on the New Zealand Defence Staff, Canberra Australia in March 2007. In March 2010, he took up the position of the Military Assistant to the Maritime Component Commander at Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand.


Media are welcome to attend the Change of Command Ceremony at the Devonport Naval Base. Photographic Identification is required for entry to the Naval Base. 


Please contact Lieutenant Sarah Campbell - Media Adviser- Navy on 021 244 0638 for further information.

This page was last reviewed on 18 January 2011.