LT Marais talks to Chelsea Primary School children after landing the SH-2G Seasprite helicopter on the school field.
28 April 2014
Self-confessed ‘Blenheim boy’ from Twizel, Lieutenant (LT) Wicus Marais, of the Royal New Zealand Navy, went back to school in a very different way when he piloted a SH-2G Seasprite helicopter, onto the field at Chelsea Primary School in Auckland.
The Marlborough Boys College old boy says that the visit was a great way to inspire our future generation.
“It’s great to be able to show New Zealanders the helicopter and give them an idea of how we employ it.
For these kids seeing something so out of the ordinary really makes their day,” said LT Marais.
In addition to his community engagements, LT Marais has recently returned from his two-month contribution to the six-month deployment patrolling for pirates off the coast of Africa onboard HMNZS TE MANA, and has been awarded the Operational Service Medal.
HMNZS TE MANA and her 182 member crew was away for seven months over Christmas, with a total of 91 days spent conducting counter-piracy operations during which time 128 sorties were flown.
“We didn’t get to see any pirates, but it felt good to be able to be a part of an operation which keeps people safe.”
Since joining the Navy in 2005, LT Marais has seen a large portion of the world, travelling to China, Japan, South Korea, Guam, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Australia, India, Somali Coast, and the Seychelles.
It’s a long way from rural beginnings in Twizel, but LT Marais said that it has been an enjoyable journey.
“I get to fly a helicopter from the back of a ship, day and night. Few people ever get to experience that part of the job, it’s very rewarding,” said LT Marais.
For further information, please contact LT CDR Vicki Rendall, Senior Media Adviser – Navy, on 021 244 0638.