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Ship names continue Navy traditions

Hon Phil Goff - Minister of Defence

31 March 2006

Ship names continue Navy traditions

The names of the seven new naval vessels to enter service over the next two years were announced by Defence Minister Phil Goff today.

"The government has decided to follow naval tradition in naming the ships after earlier vessels that have served in the Royal New Zealand Navy," he said.

"The four Inshore Patrol ships will carry lake names – Taupo, Rotoiti, Pukaki, and Hawea, which were the names of New Zealand's Loch Class frigates that fought in the Korean War between 1951 and 1953.

"This is appropriate in the Year of the Veteran, honouring the ships and crews that served New Zealand.

"Their names were also used for the patrol craft that carried out resource protection in our waters in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Each ship will therefore carry the honour board of its predecessor, and the heritage so represented.

"The two patrol vessels and the Multi Role Vessel (MRV) will carry the names of provincial areas with which they will be affiliated.

"They will follow in the tradition of the Leander Class frigates that served between 1966 and 2005. The MRV will be named the Canterbury and the Offshore Patrol ships will be the Otago and the Wellington.

"All seven ships will have regional affiliations, with the Taupo associated with Northland, the Rotoiti with Hawke's Bay, the Pukaki with Nelson/Marlborough, and the Hawea with Westland. The Otago will also be associated with Southland."

The MRV is nearing completion in Rotterdam, while the two offshore vessels are being built in Melbourne, and the four inshore craft in Whangarei.

"All seven ships being built under the $500 million Project Protector are due to be commissioned by the Navy over the next two years," Mr Goff said.

"The Canterbury is scheduled to be the first to begin service, next January, while the fourth and final Inshore Patrol Vessel should start in early 2008. The MRV gives the Navy the new capabilities of military sealift and amphibious operation.

“All seven Project Protector ships will make an important contribution to the security and economic interests of New Zealand, as well as increasing our capacity to assist in disaster relief in the Pacific.

"They will be operated by the Navy but will also undertake work for a range of government agencies responsible for protecting New Zealand's borders and our Exclusive Economic Zone," Mr Goff said.

Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson, said the ship names continued a long-standing Navy tradition.

"These are names that the Navy is very happy with and I’m sure the many former sailors who served on the original ships will feel exactly the same.

"The regional affiliations continue current naval practise, which allows ships to develop a close relationship with their ‘home port’. The chosen regions ensure a geographical balance of the Navy’s fleet throughout New Zealand.

"The four lake names also maintain a geographical balance, with Taupo and Rotoiti in the North Island, and Hawea and Pukaki in the South," he said.


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