Ensign Michael Brown, from the Republic of Fiji Navy, is sailing home on the Royal New Zealand Navy’s inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Hawea, where he is posted as Bridge Watchkeeper for the next six months
24 April 2017
A special homecoming awaits Ensign Michael Brown, from the Republic of Fiji Navy (RFN).
The 21-year-old RFN officer is sailing home on the Royal New Zealand Navy’s inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Hawea, which left Auckland today for a six-month deployment to Fiji.
Posted as Bridge Watchkeeper on Hawea for the next six months, Ensign Brown will help ensure the ship stays on course throughout the 2590-kilometre journey.
“This is my first operation. I was excited and happy when I was told I was coming to New Zealand. I’m really fortunate to be picked for this posting,” he said.
“The ship’s company have been so welcoming and have been helping me get around the ship. It’s been great working with the Kiwis.”
The New Zealand Defence Force is sending Hawea to Fiji to help patrol the South Pacific country’s territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone, which encompass more than 1.1 million square kilometres. Staff from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, Fiji’s Department of Fisheries and the Fijian Navy will also join the patrols.
The young Fijian Navy officer said he hopes to further his knowledge on navigation during his posting on Hawea.
“I look forward to enhancing my knowledge in the General List Executive branch and learning more about how the New Zealand Navy operates,” he said.
Ensign Brown joined the Republic of Fiji Military Forces in 2014 after graduating from St John’s College in Cawaci, on the island of Ovalau, where he was the head boy and top student of his graduating class. He enlisted in the RFN the following year and then undertook basic and navigation training conducted by the New Zealand Navy.
“My family encouraged me to join the Navy, especially my granddad and my uncle Toni, who often took us out to sea for fishing or diving. I also thought that joining the Navy will allow me to explore the beauty of Fiji’s islands that I have not seen myself.”
Ensign Brown is from Kanakana Village in Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island.