Commanding Officer - HMNZS TE KAHA F77
Commander David McEwan, RNZN
Commander David Guy McEwan was born in Hamilton, New Zealand on 9 September 1965. While he was still quite young, his family moved to Auckland’s eastern suburbs where he grew up and was educated.
He joined the Royal New Zealand Navy on 21 May 1984 as an Ordinary Seaman, Radar Operator. In 1993, then a Leading Seaman, he took the opportunity to Commission From the Ranks and on completion of Junior Officer Common Training, posted to the Leander Class frigates HMNZS SOUTHLAND and WAIKATO for further training as an Officer Of the Watch. In Aug 1995 he was awarded his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate and promoted to Lieutenant.
David posted ashore in May 1996 as a member of the staff of the Maritime Commander NZ for duties in the Strategic Personnel Planning cell which oversaw the introduction into service of the RNZN’s first ANZAC class frigate, HMNZS TE KAHA. He then posted to the Dive Tender, HMNZS MANAWANUI, to undertake the dual roles of Executive Officer - Navigating Officer. The highlight of his posting being MANAWANUI’s deployment to Bougainville over the period December 97 - May 1998 in support of the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group.
In Nov 1998, he posted to Australia to attend the Royal Australian Navy’s Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) course at HMAS WATSON, Sydney. He successfully completed the course in September 1999 receiving top honours in his specialist field of Above Water Warfare and was presented with the St Barbara’s award for Gunnery Excellence.
After a short period ashore, David deployed as a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) to the United Nations Transition Authority – East Timor (UNTAET) serving in the border region of the Bobanaro District, January - July 2000. Following his return to NZ, he posted to TE KAHA as the Gunnery Officer and in January 2001, was appointed Operations Officer and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Between August 2002 and March 2004, David served in the Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand (HQ JFNZ), Trentham, as the JSO2-Maritime Plans. During that time, he led the planning for two RNZN deployments (TE KAHA and TE MANA) to the Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). His regular duties also included the development of RNZN Fleet Plan together with the planning and execution of national and international exercises.
In September 2004 he was posted to the RNZN’s last Leander Class frigate, HMNZS CANTERBURY, as the Executive Officer. The posting included not only a comprehensive overseas training deployment but the undertaking of CANTERBURY’s final tour of NZ and decommissioning activities. On completion, David then joined TE MANA again as the Executive Officer.
In March 2006, David was promoted to his current rank and returned to HQ JFNZ as Military Assistant to the Maritime Component Commander (MA MCC) a role he completed in February 2008. Following his posting as MA MCC, he then attended the NZDF Command and Staff College in Trentham, successfully completing the course in December 2008 having gained a Post Graduate Diploma, Arts (Defence and Strategic Studies) through Massey University.
David joined Naval Staff Capability Division in May 2009 where he served as the Director Naval Capability Requirements (DNCR) until 1 October 2010 when all single service Capability Divisions were re-structured as the NZDF Capability Branch. As part of the re-structure, his role was re-titled to Naval Combat Capability Working Group Lead (NC CWGL) a position he held until March 2011.
Over the period March to June 2011, David deployed as the N5 Future Operations, within the Singapore-led Combined Task Force 151 (CTF151) embarked in the USN destroyer, USS MASON. The focus of the CTF151 mission being that of Counter Piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Southern Red Sea. On return to NZ in early-July, CDR McEwan left the NZDF Capability Branch and together with his family, moved to Auckland in preparation for command of HMNZS OTAGO.
David took command of HMNZS OTAGO on 26 Aug 2011. Since then, OTAGO has undertaken many successful activities including a Cold Weather Work Up and deployment to the Southern Ocean in support of multi-agency boarding operations in the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) areas in November-December 2011; First Of Class Flight Trials (FOCFT) and the integration of the SH2G(NZ) helicopter into the OTAGO Class OPV in April-May 2012 and more recently, a deployment to the South Pacific in support of His Excellency the Governor General of NZ’s state visit to Tokelau followed by multi-agency boarding operations, defence diplomacy and regional capacity building during June-August 2012.
On 12 September 2012, an Exchange of Command took place between the two OPVs which saw Commander McEwan relinquish command of HMNZS OTAGO and become the third CO of HMNZS WELLINGTON. As CO HMNZS WELLINGTON David also held the role of Commander Task Group Reduced Availability Period (CTG RAP) and whilst HMNZS WELLINGTON remained at a reduced operating tempo, he and his staff successfully introduced the capability to remotely monitor ships from the Naval Base Command Centre in PHILOMEL thereby reducing the after-hours demand on personnel.
On 1 February 2013 CDR McEwan assumed Command of the Frigate HMNZS TE KAHA.
He is married to Wendy and together they have three children—Gavin (Born December 1999), Catherine (Born February 2007) and Victoria (Born November 2008).