6 August 2019
Mangawhai woman Casey Allott has gone from organising Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) ships’ stores to handling the uniform requirements for the entire Navy.
Sub-Lieutenant Allott, 21, a Supply Officer, is the Navy Clothing Manager, based at Trentham Military Camp in Upper Hutt. Everything RNZN personnel wear, from boots to correct gym gear to fine-dining mess jackets with the right number of gilded buttons, comes under her scrutiny, evaluation and distribution.
Sub-Lieutenant Allott, who was posted to Trentham from RNZN ship HMNZS Canterbury, said she was excited to get the role.
“This is a big step up for me, being a junior officer,” she said. “We have to work with experts to discuss our requirements, we place orders and we handle loads of queries.”
She reports to a Navy Clothing Board, which approves changes, but she gets plenty of emails with enthusiastic suggestions that won’t make the cut.
“It’s not my job to police people wearing correct uniform, it’s my job to make sure the uniform we issue is serving the requirements of the Navy,” she said.
One of her biggest tasks is the three kit-out days each year, where up to 100 RNZN recruits each receive more than 30 items of clothing, all sized correctly.
Sub-Lieutenant Allott joined the RNZN in 2016, after being undecided about what to study at university.
“A friend and I talked about joining the military, I checked it out and it looked really cool,” she said.
“You earned money straight away, you travelled, made friends, and it was something different from the usual path.”
After graduating as an officer and gaining experience at Devonport Naval Base, she was posted to HMNZS Canterbury.
“It was pretty exciting,” she said. “I spent a year and five months as Assistant Supply Officer, where you work first as the Commanding Officer’s secretary, then move into the logistics side with the stores needed for New Zealand and overseas duties.”
Larger RNZN ships have a canteen, a small shop for ship’s caps, branded T-shirts, drinks and sweets.
“You make sure that’s stocked and you’re the treasurer of the ship’s funds.”
She enjoyed life on the ship.
“You are around people all time, so it’s like a community, where you make friends with everyone.”
However, in her new role she has the power to change things for all of the RNZN personnel.
“We’ve just done the new Navy polar fleece, we’ve brought out garrison shoes and a new operations shirt,” she said.
“We’re now looking at organising the ship’s badges for HMNZS Aotearoa. There’s a new drummer’s badge, and a new bucket hat.
“I’m really enjoying myself – everyone is interested and passionate about uniform.”
She knows what she wants to study at university now and, thanks to distance learning, she can tackle a degree in business and arts, majoring in marketing and sociology, through Massey University – subsidised by the New Zealand Defence Force.