29 Sept 2012: Home are the sailors from four months at sea
HMNZS TE KAHA and HMNZS ENDEAVOUR returned to a very warm welcome from hundreds of family and friends on Saturday 29 September after a four-month deployment that reinforced the Navy’s role as an integral member of the Asia-Pacific security community.
Throughout their time away, frigate TE KAHA and fleet replenishment tanker ENDEAVOUR demonstrated their versatility and value by participating in three major exercises, which included the world’s largest naval exercise RIMPAC off the coast of Hawaii.
It was the first time in 28 years that New Zealand ships were invited to take part in RIMPAC and the exercise gave our Navy an opportunity to train and work alongside some of the Pacific’s biggest navies, including those of the United States, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Australia.
The Navy performed with distinction, with TE KAHA taking podium places in three main competitions, placing first in Specialist Warfare Skills and Knowledge; second in Sport, and third in Gunnery, among the 22 countries participating.
ENDEAVOUR set impressive records, including the pumping of over two million litres of fuel in one day and the completion of 51 replenishments at sea, a number well above normal activity.
The deployment also included participation in Exercise PACIFIC BRIDGE in the Western Pacific as well as Exercise KAKADU off the coast of Darwin, where TE KAHA led a task force of ships from other navies.
But that’s not all; on her way to RIMPAC, ENDEAVOUR provided diesel fuel to Penhryn and other atolls in the north of the Cook Islands group, guaranteeing the island was able to maintain domestic utilities and power generation.
“The crew have all worked extremely hard over the last four months, and are looking forward to spending some time with family and friends,” says ENDEAVOUR’s Commanding Officer, Commander Keith Robb. “I have been blown away by their unfailing effort. They are a great crew and I’m proud to be associated with them.”
These sentiments were echoed by TE KAHA’s Commanding Officer, Commander Jon Beadsmoore: “Everyone is proud of what we’ve achieved, but we are also looking forward to getting home and having a well deserved rest. I am impressed with the crew’s can-do attitude. The amount of great feedback I’ve received from our partner navies has been overwhelming.”
A YouTube video of TE KAHA using her weapon systems at RIMPAC, including firing a Seasparrow missile, is here.
A full report on the New Zealand Defence Force's participation in RIMPAC 12 is here.
A photogallery of the Navy's participation in RIMPAC 12 is on our Flickr page.
Picture: ACSS Taani Reihana with his niece Kahu Reihana and his mother Karetu Reihana on the flight deck of HMNZS TE KAHA immediately after the frigate and the tanker HMNZS ENDEAVOUR returned from four months at sea.