The New Zealand Defence Force is sending the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana to the South Pacific this week to conduct port visits and to support a hydrographic survey in the Cook Islands.
2 May 2017
Life will be a little easier for ships in the Cook Islands after a visit from the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana in the next few weeks.
Te Mana leaves today for the South Pacific and will visit Apia and Rarotonga, the capitals of Samoa and the Cook Islands respectively, between this week and 2 June.
In the Cook Islands she will support a hydrographic survey by the Navy’s Littoral Warfare Unit to identify uncharted navigational hazards in Rarotonga and Penrhyn, two of the main islands.
The survey, for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), will be conducted by an 11-member team from the unit, said Maritime Component Commander Commodore Jim Gilmour.
He said the frigate would be also delivering a tonne of supplies to the Department of Conservation outpost in Raoul Island on the way to the Pacific.
LINZ Senior Hydrographic Surveyor Stuart Caie said that the survey was part of a wider work programme to improve nautical charts in the region.
“The survey will enable LINZ to update the nautical charts for Rarotonga and Penrhyn and provide mariners with up-to-date information to keep them safe as they navigate around these islands,” he said.
The New Zealand Defence Force last conducted a hydrographic survey in the Cook Islands in 2014. Apart from the Cook Islands, the NZDF has also conducted hydrographic surveys for LINZ in Samoa and Tonga.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said Te Mana’s deployment to the South Pacific would strengthen the NZDF’s long history of engagement in the region.
“The visits will seek to promote the strategic objectives of the Government in the region, with the ship serving as a ‘floating ambassador’ for New Zealand,” Major General Gall said.
He said that due to its geographical proximity and cultural links with New Zealand, supporting the South Pacific has always been a key focus for the NZDF.