The New Zealand Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral (RADM) Jack Steer, thanked Royal Australian Navy personnel for their contribution within the last year in assisting the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) in various operations from onboard HMNZS Wellington.
RADM Steer was able to personally thank the Australians before they left for Exercise SOUTHERN KATIPO with in HMNZS Wellington earlier this week.
Those currently serving in New Zealand are Petty Officer Khan Kershaw, Lieutenant Adrian Cooper, Petty Officer Nathan Harris and Leading Seaman Matthew Tymrackiewicz.
A fifth sailor, Leading Seaman Bradley Cochrane, who has recently returned home to Australia, has spent the most amount of time abroad with a total of eight months over two separate deployments up his sleeve to date.
LS Cochrane said all the Australians hold real, core billet positions onboard the ship.
“We are taking the lead in many areas in our respective departments.
“The Australians have worked very closely with our New Zealand counterparts on numerous RNZN Operations so far including Operation ZODIAC, Operation KAUWAE, Operation MULTUS and SOUTHERN KATIPO.
“The first activity we did was with Australia, the US and NZ, working with dive teams conducting explosive ordinance disposal in the Solomon Islands.”
“After that we conducted a number of fishery patrols,” said LS Cochrane.
“It has been a very interesting and rewarding experience; we are really glad to assist our New Zealand Navy friends and to have the opportunity to learn from each other.”
Those who are currently deployed in New Zealand have served around two months so far, and will return to Australia in December this year.
HMNZS Wellington is one of the Navy’s two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and is designed to undertake surveillance, supply and support capability over long distances around NZ, the southern ocean and into the Pacific.
The main duty of Wellington is the surveillance of fishing vessels in the southern oceans. She operates with a core crew of 35, plus ten flight crew to operate a helicopter.
LS Cochrane said the Australians and Kiwi’s are working well as a team.
“Everyone gets along really well together, I had four Able Seamen working for me and I was working underneath the Chief; so we were fully embedded in the ship’s company and it was a really great experience.”