E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi katoa huri noa o Aotearoa;
tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou.
Nga apiha me nga toa o Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa e huihui nei,
tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and officers and sailors of the Navy, warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge Dame Silvia Cartwright;
Rear Admiral Martin, Chief of Navy;
Commodore Mat Williams, Deputy Chief of Navy; and Captain David McEwan, Maritime Component Commander.
I am delighted to be here today to review the 2018 Fleet Divisions. It is the first time I’ve had this honour in my role as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief.
I welcome this opportunity to thank you for the warm welcome I have received on naval vessels in Waitangi and Auckland, and it is my privilege to be able to address personnel from 9 of our 10 ships.
Today we celebrate all that the Navy and its people have accomplished so far in 2018, including working with other government agencies in the Campbell Islands, surveying near White Island, TE MANA’s work up off the east coast of Australia; and WELLINGTON’s current patrol and support to other government agencies.
As Patron of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, I appreciate the support given to Blake Young Expedition members by CANTERBURY in the Kermadec Islands.
Looking ahead, the Navy is preparing for several deployments which will maintain our national interests in the Pacific region and contribute to global security.
TE MANA will be attending exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii in the middle of the year, followed by visits and exercises in South East Asia with the Royal Australian Navy and other members of the Five Power Defence Agreement.
TE KAHA will be undergoing her fleet systems upgrade in Esquimalt, Canada, which will enable the ship to operate effectively and provide credible combat capability.
TAUPO and OTAGO will be involved in Operations WASA WASA in Fiji, and CANTERBURY will head to Noumea for Exercises TROPIC MAJOR and CROIX DU SUD, which will help preparedness for response to a variety of situations, including cyclones and other natural disasters.
Later in the year, WELLINGTON will deploy to the Antarctic region for OPERATION CASTLE and fisheries patrols within the Southern Ocean.
There are plans afoot to launch of a School to Seas programme, which will target a diverse group of young people – encouraging them to consider careers and areas which are currently under-represented for gender or ethnic diversity – and encouraging a focus in STEM careers by demonstrating military opportunities. I will be following the progress of this initiative with interest.
I will also be following the progress of AOTEAROA’s construction, given my role as the Launch Lady for the ship, and news that things are now very much underway with the cutting of her steel.
In late April, there will be cause for reflection with the first repatriations of the remains of New Zealanders who died overseas while serving in the NZDF. This programme of repatriation, Te Auraki - The Return – will commence with repatriations from Pago Pago.
This will be a moment to honour those service personnel, to reflect on the sacrifice of our service personnel in many theatres of war, and our continued readiness to respond to a range of situations within New Zealand and around the world.
I wish you all the very best in the months ahead and encourage you to hold fast to the values of the NZDF: courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity, as you fulfil your various roles within our Navy.
Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa