HMNZS OLPHERT Symbol of Command "Tohoraha"
This Stone Mere links our naval traditions of leadership, navigation and the history of OLPHERT with the Wellington Harbour and New Zealand’s first maritime explorer Kupe.
The stone Mere symbolises leadership and authority of a chief, and his leadership of his people.
The stone was taken from the sea between Seatoun and Scorching Bay where Kupe landed and established his Marae.
The mere was carved by Mr Mike Brown a Wellington carver of Taranaki descent.
Mike has named the mere TOHORAHA which the initial recipient has added TOHORAHA OLPHERT O-WHANGANUI – A TARA. TOHORAHA or whale comes from its shape and also the old people stories of whales which once rested and protected the Wellington Harbour.
The feathers are from the tail of a Tui from the base of Mt Victoria. The Tui is a small bird but feisty and courageous, as is our history from our first Commanding Officer Captain Olphert during WW1, our Ships’ Company as they served in WW2, and whenever we are called to Service.
The flax rope binds the feathers and mere together and symbolises the diversity of our ships company, and our collective strength.
So in this Taonga/Mere we have our Navy traditions of leadership and courage, our Waka OLPHERT, our Mountain Mount Victoria, and our river or Wellington Harbour. The stone used to forge the Mere has been taken from the place of New Zealand’s first maritime explorer and leader Kupe.
So while there is an OLPHERT Naval Base in the Wellington Region, this Mere will help the Commanding Officer of HMNZS OLPHERT lead the Ships Company in their duties as part of our Navy Whanau.
Tohoraha was presented to HMNZS OLPHERT in 2012 as its Symbol of Command by Commander Roger Havell, VRD RNZNVR (Commanding Officer 2005-2008) upon his retirement from the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Image Above: LTCDR DAVIES is presented with HMNZS OLPHERT symbol of command "Tohoraha" by CDR HAVELL, VRD RNZNVR (Rtd) at a ceremony at the units Petone Headquarters.