5 August 2013
Royal New Zealand Navy Petty Officer Seaman Combat Specialist Mark Hardgrave teaches a student how to tie a knot during a seamanship subject matter expert exchange at the Maritime Training Centre during Pacific Partnership 2013
Masterton man Mark Hardgrave has recently enjoyed the unique experience of teaching students of another culture, imparting his naval knowledge of seamanship in Kiribati as part of Pacific Partnership 2013.
Hardgrave is a Petty Officer Seaman Combat Specialist (POSCS) in the Royal New Zealand Navy, currently serving in the diving support vessel, HMNZS MANAWANUI. He is the ship’s Chief Bosun’s Mate - "I am in charge of all the seamanship operations onboard the ship, including boats and crane driving."
His seamanship expertise was put to good use when he went to help teach knots and splicing to the local Maritime Training Centre at Tarawa alongside American teams from amphibious dock landing ship, USS Pearl Harbor.
"These trainees spend in excess of six months at the school (without being allowed off) learning how to be deck hands on the local merchant ships," POSCS Hardgraves explains. "It was a great honour to be able to teach another culture and pass on my knowledge.
"They also came onboard MANAWANUI for a tour, and to see how things were conducted onboard a military vessel.
"Being able to assist with teaching the Kiribati students was very worthwhile; I can see how sharing information is another partnership tool that the RNZN can use."
HMNZS MANAWANUI was part of New Zealand’s contribution to Pacific Partnership 13, a large scale multinational operation that is designed to provide real world help to local people, whilst partner nations learn to work more effectively together.
In Kiribati and Solomon Islands MANAWANUI provided support to two embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams to find and render safe explosive remnants from World War II, improving the safety of the environment for local populations.
During their involvement, MANAWANUI and embarked personnel cleared more than 2,100 rounds of unexploded ordnance in the Solomon Islands and the Republic of Kiribati that remained behind from the battles during World War II.
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