Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister
Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence
Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship Manawanui was commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the ship’s sponsor, in an event at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.
The ceremony included the traditional breaking of a bottle of wine on the ship, and the pronouncement by the Prime Minister that “I name this ship, Her Majesty’s New Zealand ship, Manawanui.”
“The commissioning of a ship is a significant moment; from this moment Manawanui will come to represent our country, and through the actions of the ship’s company, will represent our values as a nation.” Jacinda Ardern said. “For these reasons it is an honour to have been chosen to act as the ship’s sponsor.”
HMNZS Manawanui is the fourth ship of the Royal New Zealand Navy to hold the name. Manawanui in English means ‘steadfast’ or ‘big heart’. Manawanui will serve as a dive and hydrographic vessel for the Royal New Zealand Navy, replacing HMNZS Resolution and the previous HMNZS Manawanui.
Manawanui’s predecessor had a long history of service, including clearing unexploded ordnance from World War II in the Pacific, undertaking search and recovery, and inspecting hazards in sea lanes.
“The impacts of these tasks on communities in New Zealand and across the Pacific is real and it is meaningful. For some it means being able to engage with the environment safely, and to journey with certainty.” Jacinda Ardern said. “These are small things we take for granted, but they are vital to our wellbeing. They allow communities to connect, to generate livelihoods, and of course to engage with their natural surroundings.
The Prime Minister concluded the ceremony with the words to Manawanui’s crew, “kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui; be strong, be brave, be steadfast.”
The modern design and systems of the Manawanui will provide improved capacity, safety and capability over the vessels it replaces. Some of the new and enhanced capabilities include a 100 ton salvage crane, a remotely operated vehicle and a contemporary dynamic positioning system, which will allow the Navy’s specialist divers to achieve greater levels of effectiveness and safety, in a greater range of conditions.
Defence Minister Ron Mark said, “Manawanui is a highly capable ship, and will be a game changer domestically and for our South Pacific region, where it will operate frequently. Its commissioning comes at a time when we have raised the priority for operating in the South Pacific to the same level as our own territory, commensurate with the Coalition Government’s Pacific Reset.
“Manawanui is also a procurement success story, having been delivered in the space of ten months since contract signature in August 2018. The ship will now undergo a second stage of modifications in New Zealand to install defence specific equipment. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.” Ron Mark said.