13 September 2018
The role of Assistant Weapon Engineer Officer on frigate HMNZS Te Mana during a six-month deployment across the Pacific and Asia should be enough to keep any young officer busy – and it is.
Lieutenant Alexandra Pereyaslavets, the Public Relations Officer on HMNZS Te Mana, ensures families, friends and the public get to see a lot of what the crew on Te Mana do when on deployment across the Pacific.
However, when she’s not involved in that role, Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Lieutenant Alexandra Pereyaslavets is also Te Mana’s Public Relations Officer. She is like a reporter with a nose for a story, looking for the angles, the colour and the excitement that will appeal to an audience back in New Zealand.
Lieutenant Pereyaslavets, a former Hillcrest High School student from Hamilton, joined the RNZN in 2014, midway through university.
“It offered me good opportunities, such as travel, career progression, and technical expertise. I also had the remainder of my university studies funded, which was a big plus,” she said.
As the Assistant Weapon Engineer Officer she needs to know how to manage the Weapon Engineering Department on Te Mana. She has to know the systems, the people and the administration.
“I have to be able to confidently inform Command of the capability of the ship and what outputs we can achieve,” she said.
She is also a Damage Control Training Officer, and works with instructors to develop training scenarios to test the ship’s company.
As the Public Relations Officer she ensures families, friends and the public get to see a lot of what the crew on Te Mana do when on deployment across the Pacific.
“This involves writing articles, editing videos and taking lots of photos of varying themes, from gunnery to cleaning stations.
The material supports New Zealand Defence Force media releases and RNZN social media.
“I think it is very important for the public to see what this organisation does and how this is vital for New Zealand’s security and diplomatic relationships,” she said. “The public can see what our naval combat force achieves, and families get to see what their loved ones are experiencing.”
She likes being an “enthusiasm lifter” for the ship.
“I get some really funny photos and the crew love them. The hard thing is sometimes it’s hard to set up opportunities. People are naturally camera-shy, even though everyone loves them afterwards.”
She is particularly proud of capturing video footage of Te Mana firing the rounds that won the ship the best gunnery title at the world’s largest maritime military exercise, Rimpac, in Hawaii.
“I love the stories on the people I’ve written about. It is cool hearing their life stories and then sharing that with the Navy and the public. Everyone on Te Mana is so passionate and hard-working. Everyone really wants the ship to succeed, which is reflected through us performing so well on multinational exercises.”
Being on a frigate was being at the “sharp” end of the RNZN, she said.
“We get to do the awesome long trips, see lots of the world, participate in some of the biggest military exercises, and do diplomatic work.
“It’s everything you get told when you are being recruited.”