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Naval Reserves Adviser: 1994 - 2001

Captain RM McKillop VRD** RNZNVR
Commanding Officer HMNZS TOROA 1980 - 1981
Commanding Officer HMNZS OLPHERT 1985 - 1992
Naval Reserve Advisor 1994 - 2001

Captain R.M (Robert) McKillop, MNZM, VRD**, RNZNVR


Born in Dunedin in 1944 and educated at High Street Primary School and Otago Boys’ High School. Joined The New Zealand Shipping Company Limited in 1963, transferred to Wellington in 1969, spent a short time with Crusader Shipping Company Limited (a development trade line jointly owned by the British Conference Lines) before joining the British trading company Harrisons and Crosfield NZ Ltd.


After two years returned to manage their Dunedin Branch before coming back to Wellington in 1981 to head the Merchandise Department of Harrisons, trading in things as diverse as food, rubber, palm oil, hardware and golf clubs. He travelled frequently to Australia in connection with the various agencies held and in 1986 to Hong King, Singapore and Malaysia to see the company’s operations in South East Asia. The following year he was in Canada and the United States of America visiting the Expo in Vancouver and calling on businesses with whom the company dealt.


In 1988 he was appointed a Director of Harrisons and Crosfield New Zealand Limited. In 1989 he attended the ANUGA trade fair in Cologne, but later that year the London parent company decided to withdraw from their Southern hemisphere operations and the food agencies were sold to Neill, Cropper and Company for whom he worked as their Wellington manager, trading mostly in food products and ingredients until he retired at the end of June 2010.


Having been a member of the Sea Cadet Corp from 1958 until 1962, he joined the Otago Division Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (HMNZS TOROA) in 1963.  He completed National Military Service in HMNZS PHILOMEL and HMNZS TARANAKI. In 1967 he was promoted Probationary Acting Sub Lieutenant and during the next seven years completed the courses required for promotion to Lieutenant Commander. In 1969 he transferred to Wellington and joined Wellington Division (HMNZS OLPHERT). He was promoted Lieutenant 3 October 1971 and spent the majority of his whole time training periods in HMNZS PARORE the Seaward Defence Motor Launch attached to the Wellington Division. This included Reserve Exercises and the commemoration of the bicentenary of Captain James Cook’s visit to Dusky Sound as well as short training periods in the Royal Navy Frigate HMS DIDO and the Destroyer HMS FIFE.


In 1974 he was transferred to Dunedin, re-joined HMNZS TOROA and completed whole time training periods in HMNZS WAIKATO both in Fishery Protection Patrols and during a deployment to the sub-Antarctic islands. In 1979 he was promoted Lieutenant Commander and appointed Executive Officer HMNZS TOROA. A year later he was granted the acting rank of Commander and appointed in command of the Otago Division. He was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration in 1979 and appointed Honorary ADC to His Excellency The Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir David Beattie during 1980-81


He returned to Wellington in 1981 and became Executive Officer HMNZS OLPHERT at the end of that year. He completed further whole-time training in SDMLs and was appointed Commanding Officer of the Wellington Division 31 December 1984, holding that post until the end of 1992. He served for a short period in HMNZS TARAPUNGA during the hydrographic survey of Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound before being posted to HMNZS WAKAKURA for the first work-up of that vessel after she was delivered from builders in January 1985 and then in command for the commissioning of that ship into the Royal New Zealand Navy in March 1985. He commanded WAKAKURA during a number of RNZNVR Fleet Training Periods and was subsequently Officer in Tactical Command during three RNZNVR Fleet Training Periods. He participated in Exercise TASMANEX 93, a multinational naval exercise and during that period he was also involved in the SAR operations for the liner MIKHAIL LERMENTOV and the Wellington Police Launch “LADY ELIZABETH II. He was awarded a clasp to the Volunteer Reserve Decoration in 1989.


He was promoted Captain, 2 July 1994 and posted Naval Reserves Adviser to the Chief of Naval Staff. He remained in that post until 31 December 2001. In 2000 he was included in the Queen's New Year Honours List with the award of Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and later that same year was awarded a second clasp to the Volunteer Reserve Decoration.


He joined the Navy League in 1963 but has been most active in the Wellington branch over the past twenty years as Secretary and latterly Branch President. The branch is settlor of a large trust for the benefit of Sea Cadets in the Wellington area, but otherwise has a programme of meetings with speakers throughout the year. The branch has sponsored two conferences on Oceans Policy with a third planned for 2012 following the extension of the recognised New Zealand continental shelf to form an Exclusive Economic Zone of 4.3M Sq Kms.

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