11 June 2012
Able Chef Alexis Gray in port at Apia, Samoa.
Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Able Chef Alexis Gray, from Marlborough, 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 Alexis 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.
She says being a part of the day was a great experience.
"The scale of the event was quite overwhelming, it was amazing to see that such a small country could pull together such a huge celebration. The Samoan people showed so much passion and pride. It was really special to be there and be a part of that."
Alexis is 21 years old and attended Marlborough Girls College. She’s been in the Navy for three years, and had always wanted to join to try something different. She’s already travelled to Antarctica, Rarotonga, the Solomon Islands, Chatham Islands, Raoul Island, and has been on ships that have resupplied many of the DOC islands that are not open to the public.
She’s looking forward to the rest of the three month deployment in the South Pacific, and has absolutely no regrets about joining the Navy.
"I really enjoy sailing in the Pacific, and I like to use the three months away from home to set myself a goal, such as getting fitter and healthier. This is a great job – I’m getting paid to be in the Islands for three months, who would regret that?"