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March 2007 - Four Naval Reservists

Four Naval Reservists from NGAPONA, Auckland's Naval Reserve Headquarters, make a difference.

These Reservists describe their experiences as demanding, but totally worthwhile, something that they would not have missed, and could not have done, were they not part of the Naval Reserve. They say that the Naval Reserve offers people who seek to do something exciting and different, opportunities to serve their country not only in New Zealand waters, but also on international deployments.

North Shore's Lieutenant Commander Mike Oomen enjoys the best of both worlds.

Lt Cdr Mike Oomen in East Timor
Lt. Cdr Mike Oomens on UN peacekeeping duties in East Timor

The Naval Reserve recently announced the promotion of North Shore resident Mike Oomen to Lieutenant Commander, following his return from peacekeeping duties in East Timor. Mike, who is a tax lawyer in 'civvy' life, has been a 'part-time sailor' with the Naval Reserve since 1990.

Mike served in East Timor with the United Nations monitoring and observation force. He was assigned to monitor and report on the status of cross-border activity between Indonesia and East Timor. Whilst it was a decidedly non-nautical role for this 'citizen sailor', he found that the New Zealand presence really made a difference. He could draw on his Naval Reserve training, his civilian-learnt negotiating skills and on 'Kiwi goodwill', to deal with events ranging from cattle rustling to mediating in disputes between groups of spear-wielding locals. He reflects with irony now on his daily commute across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, compared with the dangerous daily river crossing by 4WD vehicle in monsoon-swept East Timor during his deployment.    

Mike lived on a diet largely consisting of satayed,  curried , boiled, or grilled goat, and worked in a UN force that included Jordanians, Bolivians, Malaysians, Danes, Australians, Swedes and Thais. 

In addition to this extended East Timor deployment, during his part-time Naval career he has enjoyed two postings to Australia and has spent time in the Joint Forces operations team in Wellington.

South Auckland Naval Reservist Lieutenant Stefan Hansen receives a General Service Medal for his Afghanistan service.

Lieutenant Stefan Hansen in Afghanistan
Lieutenant Steve Hansen on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan

The Naval Reserve recently announced the award of the General Service Medal for Afghanistan to Manurewa resident Lieutenant Stefan Hansen, following his return from peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. Stefan, an Insurance Underwriter in civilian life, has belonged to the Naval Reserve since 1993.

Stefan served in Afghanistan as a part of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, which he described as looking like 'Central Otago, Waiouru and the USA's Monument Valley', with no water in sight. Like Mike had in East Timor, Stefan found that the New Zealand presence really made a difference. In dealing with a wide range of events, including clearing munitions caches, rebuilding hospitals and schools and supervising elections, Stefan drew on not only his Naval Reserve training, but also his civilian diplomatic negotiating abilities, and the 'goodwill towards Kiwis' that New Zealand peacekeepers encounter.

As well as this extended Afghanistan deployment, during his Naval Reserve career Stefan has served in the Joint Forces operations team in Wellington, on the Reserve's Inshore Patrol Craft, and on exercises overseas.

Policeman and Sailor, Lieutenant Brett Wildbore wears two uniforms.

Lieutenant Brett Wildbore in the Navy 
Lieutenant Brett Wildbore

Albany resident Brett Wildbore, who is a Naval Reservist and a policeman, recently returned from a Resource Protection patrol with the Navy's Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) HMNZS KIWI. Brett enjoys wearing two hats, experiencing life as both a civilian and as a Naval sailor.
A member of the Naval Reserve for 18 years, Brett has served all round New Zealand's waters in IPCs. He has also served a tour in the Sinai with the UN Multi-National Force and Observers, and had a spell as Navigating Officer with the Navy's Diving Support Ship, MANAWANUI.


Waitakere City's Ordinary Seaman Cherie Carbines enjoys another world at sea.

Ordinary Seaman Cherie Carbines Ordinary Seaman Cherie Carbines

Titirangi resident and IT teacher Cherie Carbines enjoys a second career as a Naval Reservist with the 'part-time' Navy. She has recently returned from a Resource Protection patrol with the Naval Reserve on Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) HMNZS MOA. Cherie works for the Navy on an IPC for several weeks each year, and she encourages others to 'add another string to their bow' by experiencing life both as a civilian and as a Naval sailor.




Cherie Carbines, IT teacher
Cherie Carbines in her role as an IT teacher

A member of the Naval Reserve for 18 months, Cherie is about to pass the first rung in the promotion ladder to Able Seaman. Already she has had opportunities to serve around New Zealand's waters in IPCs, as well as to attend training courses in first aid, weapons handling and seamanship. Cherie finds the social life and camaraderie to be found in the Navy is another important aspect of life as a Volunteer Reservist.

Read more about the Naval Reserve's role in the Navy.

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