Christchurch Man Leads NZDF Mission to Fiji
Lieutenant Dave Luhrs, the Commanding Officer of inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Hawea, is leading a 29-member crew on the ship’s first trip to the South Pacific
21 April 2017
It has been 12 years since a Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) recruiting advertisement on television caught Dave Luhrs’ eye and led him to sign up for basic training.
The former student and hockey player at Christ’s College in Christchurch is now leading the 29-member crew of inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Hawea, which is scheduled to leave Auckland on Monday for a six-month deployment to Fiji.
“It’s great to be part of the team that is taking Hawea on her first trip to the South Pacific,” Lieutenant Luhrs, the ship’s Commanding Officer, said.
“It will be a tremendous opportunity to help build the relationship with our Fijian partners and to support the Fijian Navy’s capability development.”
The New Zealand Defence Force is sending Hawea to Fiji to help patrol the South Pacific country’s territorial seas and exclusive economic zone, which encompass more than 1.1 million square kilometres. Personnel from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, Fiji’s Department of Fisheries and the Fijian Navy will also join the patrols.
“The ship’s company expect it to be a rewarding deployment, given the opportunities to engage with personnel from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and other Fijian agencies and to experience the Fijian culture. It will also be a great opportunity to see Hawea’s team bond and grow,” Lieutenant Luhrs said.
The deployment to Fiji will mark the second time Lieutenant Luhrs has been on an operation to the South Pacific. In 2013, when he was the Executive Officer of HMNZS Manawanui, the RNZN’s diving and mine counter measures support ship, he took part in Operation Pukaurua in the Solomon Islands.
Manawanui’s crew spent three months working with about 120 military personnel from Australia, Canada and the United States to safely dispose of more than four tonnes of unexploded ordnance from the Second World War.
“The work was very rewarding. We interacted a lot with the community and learnt about the history of the islands,” Lieutenant Luhrs said.
Lieutenant Luhrs previously served as Executive Officer of inshore patrol craft HMNZS Kahu and inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Rotoiti. He was formerly the Bridge Watchkeeper of RNZN frigate HMNZS Te Mana and joined the ship on deployments to Southeast Asia and Australia.
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