Giant Jenga brings nations together

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Kara Wansbury (author)

Topic(s): Sport, HMAS Dechaineux (S76), Events, International Fleet Review

ABMT SM Joe Piasecki completes a round of the inflatable circuit during the Royal New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary sports day. (photo: LEUT Kara Wansbury)
ABMT SM Joe Piasecki completes a round of the inflatable circuit during the Royal New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary sports day.

A sports day involving competitors from 22 nations proved a highlight of last year’s Royal New Zealand Navy 75th birthday celebrations, according to crew members of Australian submarine HMAS Dechaineux.

The Collins class submarine joined with ships from India, Germany, France, China and the United States to participate in the festivities, held off the east coast of New Zealand in November last year.

Competitors from each nation were mixed into 60 teams for the sports day, which included games of giant Jenga, ski-soccer, mini golf, charades and rock climbing. 

Petty Officer Electronic Warfare Submariner Corey Finch said communications between team mates proved the biggest challenge but also the most rewarding.

“Having integrated international teams was fun. The game of charades was interesting with some language barriers. It was a unique experience,” Petty Officer Finch said.

The four-way volleyball was a favourite. Dechaineux brokered a truce with the predominantly New Zealand team in order to defeat a mixed team of New Zealand, Chilean and Indian personnel.

There were also strong individual performances, with Leading Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner James Neylon using his height to his advantage on the inflatable circuit.

Dechaineux Sports Officer, Leading Seaman Neylon, said he was impressed by his crew’s performance.

“We competed well, and everyone did their best. While we did not receive the top prize, we still enjoyed a great day,” Leading Seaman Neylon said.

Events for the birthday celebrations included a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony, an appreciation ceremony for those affected by the November earthquake, an International Naval Review, and warfighting exercises.

Sports days are a part of most international exercises. They are designed to boost morale, develop competitive spirit and Navy values, develop diplomatic relations between the nations, and promote greater fitness among Navy personnel.