"I HAVE THE SHIP" - Change of command for HMNZS WELLINGTON

McCaw Robert LTCDR

Official portrait of Lieutenant Commander Rob McCaw

A ceremony to mark the official change of Commanding Officer of the Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMNZS WELLINGTON, will be held Tuesday 06 December 2011 at 10:00am, at the Devonport Naval Base.

During the ceremony Lieutenant Commander Simon Griffiths will relinquish command of HMNZS WELLINGTON and Lieutenant Commander Rob McCaw 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 Commander Simon Griffiths states "You have the ship" and Lieutenant Commander Rob McCaw replies "I have the ship".

Witnessing the ceremony will be the crew of HMNZS WELLINGTON, invited guests, family and friends. The Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Tony Parr, will be officiating the Change of Command ceremony.


Lieutenant Commander McCaw joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in January 1999 as a Midshipman in the Seaman specialisation, completing Junior Officer Common Training at the Officer Training School, HMNZS TAMAKI and initial specialist courses at the Maritime Warfare Training Centre, HMNZS PHILOMEL.

During his first specialist sea time at the end of 1999, Lieutenant McCaw served as an Assistant Officer of the Watch in HMNZS ENDEAVOUR seeing active service during both the early stages of and subsequent deployments in support of the East Timor emergency.

In July 2000 he successfully completed follow-on specialist training, in the process gaining a place on the inaugural exchange posting to the Royal Navy. Joining HMS SOUTHAMPTON in Portsmouth, England in August 2000, Lieutenant Commander McCaw set about gaining his full Bridge Watchkeeping qualification. In September 2001 the SOUTHAMPTON joined the HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Battle Group at the Suez Canal before spending the next three months in the Gulf of Oman and Pakistan coast in support of Operation VERITAS, the British effort in the Afghanistan ground offensive. During this time Lieutenant Commander McCAW was awarded his Grade 1 Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate and an endorsement from ILLUSTRIOUS following a short secondment to the carrier.

Returning to New Zealand in December 2001 completed the Frigate Navigating Officer’s (FNO) Course and subsequently assumed the role as Navigator in HMNZS TE KAHA in October 2002.

Whilst serving in TE KAHA off West Australia in November 2002, the Ship was re-deployed to the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman for operational tasking.

In October 2005 Lieutenant Commander McCaw posted ashore as the Assistant Navigation Training Officer. During his tenure, Lieutenant Commander McCaw saw the permanent introduction of two Junior Officer in-takes annually resulting in a doubling of the School’s required output coupled with the initial training requirements for Project Protector. Over this period he was also required to act as Officer in Charge of numerous sea-riding assignments as a member of the Maritime Operational Evaluation Team, in addition successfully completing the RNZN’s Minor War Vessel Command Course.

In June 2008 Lieutenant Commander McCaw successfully graduated the Royal Navy’s Principle Warfare Officer (PWO) Course and was awarded the Boniwell Cup as the Course Dux.

Completing a posting as the PWO and Gunnery Officer in TE KAHA, he then assumed the role of Operations Officer for Operation ENDURANCE, the RNZN’s support to the Department of Conservation and the Royal Society of New Zealand deploying to the Sub-Antarctic.

Lieutenant Commander McCaw posted to TE MANA as PWO and Under Water Warfare Officer in May 2009. In December he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and confirmed in post as the Operations Officer until posting due to TE MANA entering maintenance in April 2010.

Assuming his most recent post as Staff Officer – Joint Operations Maritime at Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand in April 2010, Lieutenant Commander McCaw assumes command of HMNZS Wellington on 6 December.

Lieutenant Commander McCaw is currently studying for his MSc through Kingston University of London and lives with his wife Samara and daughter Zara in Auckland.


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.

For further information, requests for interviews and registrations of interest to attend the ceremony, please contact Lieutenant Commander Angela Barker on 021 244 0638

This page was last reviewed on 9 January 2012.