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Auckland Man Takes Command of Navy Ship HMNZS Hawea

17 July 2019

Sitting in assembly at Auckland Grammar School, Year 13 prefect Ethan Moser heard an announcement for a Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Open Day.

“A day off school sounded good, so I went along,” he said. “I was hooked from there.”

Eight years later last month Lieutenant Moser has taken command of HMNZS Hawea, one of the RNZN’s inshore patrol vessels.

He assumed command from Lieutenant Troy Gorden, receiving the Ship’s Symbol of Command – a kotiate (short club) – and affirming “I have the ship” to Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor and HMNZS Hawea’s ship’s company in a ceremony on 12 July.

Lieutenant Moser, from Greenlane, Auckland, has always loved the outdoors and the ocean. He is keen on waterpolo and swimming and most summers as a child were spent at his grandmother’s bach in Whitianga.

He had not thought about the RNZN as a career until that Navy Open Day.

“Joining the Navy was the best decision I have made,” he said. “I signed on as a Midshipman in 2011, when I was 18. I had enrolled in a business degree at the University of Auckland, and completed one semester, but I wasn’t sure where that would take me.”

He was able to finish the degree through the RNZN’s Tangaroa Scholarship Scheme, which allows Midshipmen to undertake full-time study on a salary. During semester breaks he worked for the RNZN as a junior officer.

Following his degree, he pursued warfare officer training. He was dux of his Officer of the Watch (Basic) course, and followed up with dux achievements in warfare courses in New Zealand and at the Royal Australian Navy base HMAS Watson in Sydney.

He served nine months on exchange on the HMAS Ballarat frigate in 2017.

“That experience was amazing – to be representing New Zealand as an officer on a foreign operational warship was a great experience.”

Being taking command of HMNZS Hawea his career highlight was deploying to Fiji on inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo as Executive Officer.

“Our ship’s company had a great attitude and culture. I have always been told that it is the people who make the difference – this deployment highlighted that for me.”

He was on leave in Whitianga when he got the phone call from his career manager to say he was getting command of HMNZS Hawea.

“Since I joined the Navy I have always wanted to become a Commanding Officer,” he said. “I was heading to the Whitianga boat ramp to go fishing for the day and after hearing that news I couldn’t stop smiling.

“The day couldn’t get any better from there.”


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