Captain Rae joined HMNZS NGAPONA as a Weapons Engineer Officer in 1989 after twenty years service in the RNZN.
He served first as the Weapons Engineer Officer, and then as Engineer Officer in NGAPONA until 1996, when he was appointed Executive Officer. He was promoted Commander and appointed Commanding Officer in 1999.
Captain Rae's term in command was interrupted when in 2000 he volunteered to return to sea in HMNZS CANTERBURY (his first ship as an Artificer Apprentice in 1971) to cover a specialist shortfall in the RNZN.
Captain Rae returned to NGAPONA in 2001 and in April 2003 was reappointed Commanding Officer of NGAPONA in order to complete his term as Commanding Officer.
On relinquishing Command of Ngapona he was appointed Director of Naval Reserves Support in July 2005 and joined the staff of Captain Naval Reserve. He was subsequently appointed Director of Naval Reserves Policy in 2008.
Captain Rae was promoted to his current rank in January 2010. Captain Rae now carries out the duties of Advisor to the Naval Reserve Advisory Board.