Four of the more important words any Chief of Navy looks forward to hearing during their tenure – “I name this ship …” – fell on New Zealand Rear Admiral David Proctor’s ears yesterday in Ulsan, South Korea.
CAPTION: Captain Simon Rooke, first Commanding Officer of Aotearoa, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and New Zealand’s Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor at the ship’s naming ceremony at the Hyundai Shipyard in South Korea. RNZDF photo.
Rear Admiral Proctor said he was delighted to hear Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy name the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) newest ship, Aotearoa, at a ceremony at the Hyundai Shipyard.
Just five months after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern named the RNZN’s replacement diving support and hydrographic vessel HMNZS Manawanui, Dame Patsy did likewise for the RNZN’s new sustainment vessel.
After the ceremony, Dame Patsy said how proud she was to be given the honour of sponsoring Aotearoa and officially naming her.
“Aotearoa will carry the name of our country to all corners of the world, and I’m sure the ship and her crew will bring credit to all New Zealanders,” she said.
Rear Admiral Proctor said Aotearoa’s predecessor, HMNZS Endeavour, was built and launched at the same shipyard in 1987.
“Our excellent relationship with Hyundai Heavy Industries goes back more than 30 years and, with Aotearoa, the RNZN will take possession soon of a maritime sustainment vessel that will be one of the most technologically advanced available,” he said.
At 173m long, Aotearoa will be the largest ship the RNZN has ever had in the fleet.
It boasts state-of-the-art design and capability features, including ice-strengthening and ‘winterisation’ for operations in Antarctica.
She will operate as a fleet tanker and a supply ship and has the ability to produce 100 tonnes of fresh water each day – critical when providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Following her sea trials, Aotearoa will sail to New Zealand in the second quarter of next year and will be formally commissioned at the Devonport Naval Base.