Loyal Hawke’s Bay Man Gains Navy Command

29 August 2018

Former Hastings resident Lieutenant Troy Gorden hopes to return to Hawke’s Bay when his Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) career ends, but for now his focus is firmly on his new role – command of the RNZN inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo.

Lieutenant Troy Gorden has taken command of the Royal New Zealand Navy inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo.
Lieutenant Troy Gorden has taken command of the Royal New Zealand Navy inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo.

“This command is definitely the highlight for me so far – every seaman officer wants to command a ship,” he said.

He is looking forward to the challenge of commanding HMNZS Taupo. He takes over from Lieutenant Ben Flight, who returned with the ship recently after a six-month deployment to Fiji, partnering with the Fijian Navy, Fiji Customs and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries on a fisheries patrol operation.

Lieutenant Gorden joined the RNZN in 2008 and this will be his second position in command, after holding temporary command of another inshore patrol vessel, HMNZS Hawea, earlier this year.

He comes from a navy family, with a grandfather and older brother both serving. 

“From as young as I can remember, I always wanted to join the navy,” he said. “My grandfather was an Able Seaman on a corvette with the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War in the Pacific and shared lots of stories about his time at sea.

“I could see as a youngster that his time in the navy had shaped him and made him the man he was – I had a lot of respect for him.”

Lieutenant Gorden’s eldest brother has completed almost 25 years’ service as an avionics technician with the Royal Australian Navy and was another strong role model for him.

“He is a lot older than me and joined the Navy about the time I was born.”

Lieutenant Gorden lived in Australia for several years but did his primary and most of his secondary schooling in Hastings, including at Karamu High School.

“I’ve had quite a nomadic life, as a youngster and in the Navy, but when I do finish my career and settle down to start a family, my ambition is to return to the Hawke’s Bay,” he said. “I had such a cool childhood there, enjoying the freedom and lots of time spent in the outdoors.”

A lot of his choices at school were influenced by his desire to join the Navy.

“I knew that maths was important if I wanted to become a seaman officer, so I focussed on my studies and also on sports – I knew it was important to be fit and active and able to work well with other people.”

After joining the RNZN and completing basic training he served on the Anzac frigates HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana. This featured overseas deployments, including a counter-piracy deployment to the Middle East and the coast of Africa.

“I served 18 months on HMNZS Te Mana as Bridge WatchKeeper 1 and after the last deployment I decided to take time out to complete my university degree,” he said.

He became an RNZN Reserve in 2014 to go to university and complete a Bachelor of Construction Quantity Surveying, with the aim of having a qualification that would be useful after his navy career.

For now his focus is on the RNZN, first with command of HMNZS Taupo, and then becoming a Principal Warfare Officer, with the aim of returning to serve on the frigates in a surface combatant role.

“It’s a great life in the Navy – I’ve been fortunate to have experienced some excellent opportunities overseas, met some fantastic people and now have been entrusted with the command of a ship and the 38 personnel who sail on her,” he said.

This page was last reviewed on 7 February 2019.