7 June 2012
Able Seaman Combat Specialist Kieran Willis in port at Apia, Samoa.
Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Able Seaman Combat Specialist Kieran Willis, from Waihi, is on board the HMNZS OTAGO for a three month tour of the South Pacific.
OTAGO stopped in Samoa on 31 May 2012 for the 50th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations, where Kieran joined personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force in a parade and march past as part of the 1 June event.
Kieran is 21 years old, and has been in the Navy for three and a half years. He says being a part of the Independence Anniversary parade was a great experience but the heat provided some challenges.
"It was definitely the hottest parade of my career, but it was amazing to see the passion and the pride that the Samoan people have for their country. I’m proud to say I was there for the 50th Anniversary, representing New Zealand and the Navy."
Kieran attended Waihi College, and joined the Navy to see the world, make new friends and earn a good wage. He’s been on the OTAGO for only two months, but has previously been posted to HMNZS KAHU, HMNZS HAWEA, HMNZS PUKAKI, HMNZS CANTERBURY and HMNZS RESOLUTION.
In his time with the Navy he’s circumnavigated New Zealand twice, and has been to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He’s looking forward to seeing more of the South Pacific on this tour with OTAGO.
"It’ll be good to be able to say that I’ve seen so much of the South Pacific, and I’m really keen to do some snorkelling on our down time."