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HMNZS Matataua


HMNZS MATATAUA: The Littoral Warfare Unit (LWU) is a collective name for the divers, hydrographers and mine counter measure units that operate primarily within the littoral or coastal waters. Comprising divers, hydrographers and a mine counter measures unit. The purpose of the LWU is to ensure access to and the use of harbours, inshore waters and associated coastal zones in New Zealand and wherever the ships and personnel of the NZDF are required to operate. 

The units and specialist teams assigned to the Littoral Warfare Unit (LWU) include:

  • The Maritime Survey Team (MST)
  • The Operational Diving Team (ODT)
  • The Mine Counter Measures Team (MCMT)

The component parts of the LWU can be quickly assembled into a composite force and deployed by sea, land or air.  The LWU operates off many platforms including the Navy’s Dive Tender, HMNZS MANAWANUI and from two Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) boats TAKAPU and TARAPUNGA.

The LWU was established in January 2016.

Commanding Officer

Commander Robert Ochtman-Corfe, RNZN
Download PDF Profile (pdf, 263kb)


LWU diver


On 28 January 2016, a formal ceremony marked the establishment of the Littoral Warfare Unit and the transfer of command from the Commanding Officers of the Mine Counter Measures Team, the Operational Dive Team and the Maritime Survey Team to the Commanding Officer Littoral Warfare Unit.

The LWU, is part of the Maritime Component Command. The LWU comprises a Command Element, two operational groups (Military Hydrographic Group) (Mil-HG) and (Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare Group) (CDMWG), and a support group (Logistics Support Group), which all contribute to the delivery of littoral warfare operational capability.

The LWU Concept of Operations (CONOPS) is founded on small, deployable, mission-based detachments, designed to be transported by and operated from a variety of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and other platforms as well as from ashore. This modular approach provides the NZDF with a multi-mission force that is adaptable and can respond quickly to maritime security and other time sensitive events.

Rather than being a platform based organisation, the LWU consists of a ‘toolbox’ of mission-based capability that is adaptable to provide the appropriate personnel and equipment for assigned tasks or missions.

The LWU provides a deployable maritime capability prepared to conduct operations that safeguards access to and the use of harbours, inshore waters and littoral zones in New Zealand and wherever NZDF forces are required to operate.


LWU component Groups have the capability to perform a variety of tasks including:

  • Mine Counter Measures (MCM) and diving operations
  • Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA), hydrographic survey tasks and specialist underwater peacetime search and rescue
  • Minor underwater engineering tasks
  • Military hydrography
  • Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief
  • Support for other government agencies, including Police

The LWU utilises a wide range of equipment, platforms and tools to deliver its mission and is capable of rapidly deploying by air, sea or land to an operational area and operating from many platforms.

Huge improvements in technology, such as the development of sophisticated and cost-effective Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), have greatly increased the survey and detection capacity of the LWU.  The ability to deploy this equipment quickly by sea, air and land makes for a highly mobile unit able to deploy and generate capability where and when needed.

New boats, TAKAPU and TARAPUNGA have been delivered to support Mine Counter Measures and REA (Rapid Environmental Assessment) operations. These boats can deploy by sea (on the back of an OPV), air (C-130) and land (truck) and capable of transiting at up to 24 knots to a minimum range of 150 nautical miles, providing an organic over-the-horizon boat capability.

MANAWANUI - new dive and hydrographic vessel expected delivery mid 2019


  • Military Hydrographic Group
  • Clearance Diving and Mine Warfare Group 
  • Logistics Support Group

Badge - Ships Crest

LWU was established on 28 January 2016.

On 14 June 2017, the Littoral Warfare Unit became HMNZS Matataua, complete with new badge, deck plate, flagpole and the presentation of a ceremonial taiaha. Matataua means “Eyes of the Warrior”, a fitting name for a unit of divers, hydrographers and surveyors, who go before the main force to find dangers that lie ahead.

Matataua is affiliated to Whakatane.

Recent Activities - 2018

Ships and aircrafts are complex pieces of kit, packed with hard-working sailors - all of whom need some time alongside once in a while.

Navy divers operating from the support vessel MANAWANUI in October 2015 located and recovered the bodies from the fishing vessel FV Jubilee which sank in heavy seas near Rakaia River mouth. Members of the diving support vessel HMNZS MANAWANUI performed a ‘Piping of the Side’ as a mark of respect when the men were recovered.

January: Christmas leave period, Deployment preps; Harbour Training; Shakedown Week
February: Harbour Training & Deployment preps; Autonomous Underwater Vehicle training; Military Hydrography; Diver Training
March: Demolitions Training; Open Day; Fleet Divisions
April: Ex Tropic Major
May: Ex Tropic Major Cont'd; Ex Croix du Sud
July: Ex RIMPAC cont'd
August: Govt. announces the purchase of a dive and hydrographic vessel

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