5 September 2014
Able Chef Megan Ward Hartstonge working in the galley onboard HMNZS CANTERBURY during Exercise Croix du Sud in New Caledonia
Eighteen year old Dunedin woman Megan Ward Hartstonge is the youngest sailor onboard HMNZS CANTERBURY, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) amphibious support ship currently operating in New Caledonia.
Able Chef (ACH) Ward Hartstonge, a former Taieri College pupil, joined the RNZN straight out of school at 17 after she attended a five-day Navy Adventure Challenge at the Devonport Naval Base. In just 16 months, she has experienced more than most.
From completing her trade training in Waiouru and firefighting training in Devonport, to being promoted and cooking for the ship’s company while deployed in Hawaii, ACH Ward Hartstonge describes every day as an adventure.
“I’m enjoying how everyone on board treats each other like family and looks out for one another, and all of the qualifications and travel I have achieved. I’m learning so much, and have gained a lot of independence and way more confidence,” says ACH Ward Hartstonge. “Moving away from home and having to fend for myself has helped me realise how capable I am.”
ACH Ward Hartstonge has been cooking for up to 250 extra personnel a day during Exercise Croix Du Sud, a multi-national Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) based in New Caledonia. The exercise has seen military forces from America, Canada, France, Tonga and Australia staying on board HMNZS CANTERBURY, tripling the usual dining numbers.
“It’s been a challenge changing menus to suit the fluctuating numbers,” says ACH Ward Hartstonge, “but it has also been really rewarding being complimented by the other military forces on our food, and fun having them in the galley helping out with the dishes.”
ACH Ward Hartstonge is looking forward to returning to New Zealand next week to see her partner and family, and play for her local indoor netball team.
For further information or an interview, please contact Defence Communications Group, 021 487 980