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Manawanui Crest


Support Force: HMNZS MANAWANUI is the Navy's diving and mine counter-measures support ship.  The ship is designed for diving and support operations and the Littoral Warfare Unit (LWU) frequently work on board MANAWANUI. 

The LWU is a collective name for a group of units that operates primarily within the littoral or coastal waters comprising of divers, hydrographers and a mine counter-measures unit.

MANAWANUI was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1988. Originally she was built as a diving support vessel, the Star Perseus, for the North Sea oil rig operations.

MANAWANUI is the third ship of this name to serve in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Commander Muzz Kennett, RNZN
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HMNZS Manawanui


MANAWANUI was built in the UK in 1979 as an oil rig tender. Designed for operations in the North Sea, she has a long low working deck aft with her superstructure forward and bluff bows for good sea keeping.

MANAWANUI is fitted with modern systems including a triple lock compression chamber (to 250ft), a wet diving bell, a 15 ton crane and workshop facilities including electric and gas welding equipment and a lathe.  She has a four-point anchoring system to keep the ship in position when undertaking diving operations, very handy when  asked to anchor directly over a wreck for the divers. 

With a range of 5000 nautical miles, MANAWANUI can also undertake peacekeeping and maritime security missions around the New Zealand coast and in the South Pacific or across to South East Asia, to protect the security and prosperity of New Zealanders. 

MANAWANUI regularly work with government agencies such as Primary Industries (fisheries), Customs, Police and the Department of Conservation and are frequent visitors to ports throughout the country. 

MANAWANUI is a busy ship and its company is highly skilled in all aspects of its operation from maintaining high-powered diesel engines to using the modern electronic systems.   As well as having a specialist skill (such as diver, combat specialist, chef or medic) each member of the ship's company is part of the larger unit and might drive the ships boats, operate the guns or be a member of the boarding team.
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  • Mine counter-measures
  • Navy diving operations
  • Search, rescue and recovery operations
  • Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief
  • Support for other government agencies, including Police, Primary Industries, Customs and Department of Conservation
  • Vertical replenishment by helicopter
  • Sea training for the Navy


  • Displacement: 991 tonnes
  • Beam: 9.5 metres
  • Draught: 3.2 metres
  • Length: 43 metres
  • Speed: 11 knots
  • Range: 5,000 nautical miles
  • Complement: 24 (officers and ratings)


  • Main Gun: Nil
  • Helicopter: Vertical replenishment (no flight deck)
  • Small Arms: Numerous small arms ranging from 50 calibre machine guns to 9 mm pistols


  • 2 x Caterpillar Marine Diesel Engines (565 hp)
  • 2 shafts
  • Bow thrusters

Badge - Ships Crest

The ship's badge is a diver's dry suit helmet (with the hemit surrounded by the four stars of the Southern Cross).

The name Manawanui translates as 'Big Heart'.

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.

MANAWANUI was one of the vessels that responded to the Mayday call from the MV RENA after it grounded on Astrolabe Reef in October 2011.  The evacuation of RENA’s crew was co-ordinated by HMNZS ROTOITI using helicopters and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats. The Defence Force had four Navy vessels supporting the operation; the diving support vessel, MANAWANUI, the inshore patrol vessels TAUPO and ROTOITI as well as the tanker ENDEAVOUR.

MANAWANUI will decommission after 30 years service on Friday 23 Feb. 2018

January: Christmas leave period; Shakedown Week
February: Homeport visit to Whitianga; Final Auckland Harbour entry; Decommissioning ceremony

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