First female commander of an RNZN offshore vessel

Lieutenant Commander Lorna Gray today became the first female commanding officer of a Royal New Zealand Navy offshore patrol vessel.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Commander Gray – the new commander of HMNZS Otago. Photo by Mike Millett, AirflowNZ

Lieutenant Commander Gray is from the South Island region of Otago and today became the commander of HMNZS Otago.

After growing up on the Taieri Plains Lieutenant Commander Gray joined the RNZN in 2005 as a warfare officer, and has previously served on HMNZS Otago as a junior officer.

She has been on numerous warfare courses in New Zealand and Australia, completing an exchange with the Royal Australian Navy as the principal warfare officer on a frigate before returning to New Zealand as a staff officer last year.

She takes over from Lieutenant Commander Andrew Sorensen.

Video by Mike Millett, AirflowNZ


Commander Lisa Hunn become New Zealand’s first female frigate commander when she takes charge of HMNZS Te Mana on 14 June.

Commander Hunn is originally from Wellington and is now based in St Heliers in Auckland.

This will be her second command – she was the last officer in command of HMNZS Takapu before it was decommissioned.


HMNZS Otago is a Protector-class offshore patrol vessel – the first of two.

The ships are designed for maritime surveillance, supply and support and patrol missions around New Zealand’s 15,000km coast, the southern ocean and into the Pacific.

Otago operates throughout New Zealand’s 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the southern ocean and the Pacific.

She undertakes a range of roles including patrolling, surveillance, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, support to peacekeeping operations and sea training for the Navy.

Conceived as part of Project Protector, the ships were built in Williamstown, Australia by Tenix Shipbuilding (now BAE Systems Australia).

The ship is based on a design also in service with the Irish Navy and Maritius Coastguard.

Otago was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on 18 February 2010.

She is the second ship of the name in the Royal New Zealand Navy.




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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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