26 Jun 2020

Devonport naval base welcomes HMNZS Aotearoa

From Checkpoint, 5:27 pm on 26 June 2020

Navy staff at the Devonport Base have welcomed their newest recruit - the HMNZS Aotearoa. 

Measuring the length of two rugby fields and costing more than $500 million, navy staff say the boat is breathtaking. 

The new ship, built in Korea, was officially welcomed on the Waitematā Harbour on Friday. 

Flanked by dozens of sailboats and three Air Force planes, the HMNZS Aotearoa cruised into the Devonport Naval Base met by hundreds of excited Navy staff. 

Minister of Defence Ron Mark was just as excited.

"When I look at Aotearoa here, and straight down there is Manawanui, so in the short time I've been minister of defence we've taken possession of two magnificent vessels for the navy. This is a great time to be joining the Navy." 

The HMNZS Aotearoa measures 173 metres long and weighs around 24,000 tonnes, making it the largest ship in the New Zealand Navy. 

The higher and thicker grade of steel means it can travel through the Ross Sea and do supply drops to the Scott and McMurdo Stations in Antarctica. 

It was welcomed to the wharf with a haka from navy staff. 

"You can see from all the smiles on the faces on all the naval ratings who performed that haka, this is one of those very special days," Mark said. 

He said it was the largest ship the Royal NZ Navy has ever owned, and will become a well-known vessel in Pacific to help whenever natural disasters hit. 

Rear Admiral David Proctor said he could not wait to test the ship on the water. The boat has been designed to move more efficiently through the water, reducing fuel burn and emissions, he said. 

It also has two desalination plants, which can produce 100,000 litres of fresh water every day. 

"She represents fantastic capability for New Zealand," Proctor said. 

"The ability to refuel our ships and partners' ships in the ocean, keeping them at sea doing what they do to protect New Zealand."