Lieutenant Commander Ian Wells was born in England moving to New Zealand in 1974. Educated in Dunedin he graduated in 1996 from Otago University with a Masters Degree in Marine Science. Ian joined the Royal New Zealand Navy Volunteer Reserves in 1988 at HMNZS TOROA in Dunedin as an ordinary seaman. In 1991 he accepted a commission as an Ensign.
During the period 1991–1998, as a Seaman Officer he was actively involved in the many activities of TOROA. During these years, he spent short training periods at HMNZS TAMAKI, undertook a trip around the South Island on HMNZS SOUTHLAND and undertook various fishery patrols. He obtained his Bridge watch-keeping Certificate whilst on TASMANEX in 1995. There were numerous trips on the Division’s attached Patrol Craft HMNZS MOA, including the usual delivery trips to and from Auckland for annual refits.
Moving to Wellington in 1998 he transferred to HMNZS OLPHERT taking up the role of Operations Officer and Divisional Officer.
In November 2003 he was awarded a Minor War Vessel Command Certificate and on numerous occasions commanded the Inshore Patrol Craft, HMNZS MOA, HMNZS KIWI, HMNZS WAKAKURA and HMNZS HINAU on different duties in all parts of New Zealand.
In 2004 he was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration (VRD) and in 2005 promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
In February 2006 he was awarded a Commanding Officer’s Commendation for actions undertaken to recover personnel during a “man overboard” incident whilst operating in the Cook Strait. In 2006 Ian also completed the Joint Junior Officer Common Warfare Course at Trentham. Later that same year he was appointed as the Executive Officer of HMNZS OLPHERT.
In 2009 Lieutenant Commander Wells was appointed Commanding Officer of HMNZS OLPHERT. He held this position for nine months and then in 2010 posted to the RNZN to undertake a tour of duty (TOD) with the United Nations as a Military Observer in Sudan, which included the turbulent time of the country’s referendum for self determination. During his TOD he was appointed as Team Leader of the military observers for three months.
In 2012 he transferred to the RNZN into the Office of Strategy Management managing a project reviewing Navy publications, policy and its implementation. In March 2013 he posted to a new role in the RNZN as Manager Maritime Capability Delivery. Lieutenant Commander Wells continues to undertake this job while also carrying out the duties of Commanding Officer HMNZS OLPHERT.
Lieutenant Commander Wells is married to Karen; they have two sons.