(1976 – present) Project Protector

Read about the acquisition of a multi-role vessel, and offshore and inshore patrol vessels. These vessels were to be operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy to conduct tasks for and with New Zealand Customs, the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand & New Zealand Police.



To acquire a multi-role vessel, and offshore and inshore patrol vessels, to be operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy to conduct tasks for and with New Zealand Customs, the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand & New Zealand Police.


The Government has approved a project budget of NZ$500 million excluding GST.


The Invitation to Register (ITR) was released in July 2002, and closed on 13 September 2002. The industry brief was conducted and a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on 26 May 2003. The RFP closed at the end of October 2003. An RFP evaluation was completed in March 2004, and the preferred tenderer(s) was announced on 5 April 2004. The Contract was awarded at the end of July 2004.

Current status

A Contract was signed at the end of July 2004, with Tenix Defence Pty Limited for the provision of seven ships, comprising one Multi-Role Vessel (MRV), two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), and four Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV). The focus has now moved from the source selection to the implementation phase of the Contract. All seven vessels will be brought into operational service over the next three and half years, with the MRV scheduled for January 2007 and the last IPV in October 2007.

The names and affiliated home ports of the vessels were announced by the Minister of Defence Phil Goff on 31 March 2006. The Multi Role Vessel will be named HMNZS Canterbury, the two Offshore Patrol Vessels will be named HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Otago, and the four Inshore Patrol Vessels will be named HMNZS Hawea, HMNZS Pukaki, HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Taupo.

The first steel was cut for the MRV on 11 April 2005 with construction of the first module at Merwede shipyard, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The keel was laid on 6 September 2005. The MRV was launched on 11 February 2006 at the Merwede shipyard. Sea trials were completed in July in the North Sea and the MRV will depart the Netherlands in August arriving in Australia late September. The 25mm gun system and military communications suite will be fitted, crew training undertaken and final acceptance and contractor sea trials occurring in Williamstown before final delivery in January 2007.

The first steel was cut for the first OPV on 22 February 2005 at the Tenix, Williamstown Yard, Melbourne, with the keel being laid 16 December 2005. Steel for the second OPV has already been cut. The launch of the first vessel is scheduled for November 2006.

The first steel was cut for the first IPV on 24 June 2005 at the Tenix New Zealand Whangarei facility. Construction of OPV superstructure modules (bridge and hangar) was done at this facility and barged out to Williamstown for consolidation in July 2006. Five other OPV modules have been constructed in the Netherlands and will be transported to Williamstown on the MRV.

The MRV will have a maximum speed of 19 knots, and be capable of transporting the Army’s Light Armoured Vehicles and Light Operational Vehicles, as well as 250 troops, one Seasprite and four NH90 helicopters. It will have two 60-tonne landing craft for situations where port facilities are not available

The keel of the first of four IPV was laid 3 March 2006. The photo shows a silver five-dollar coin being placed under the keel of the vessel as a talisman during the keel laying ceremony. The talisman is a tradition dating back hundreds of years and is to protect the ship builders and future seafarers from bad luck.

The Maritime Forces Review undertaken in the second half of 2001 was endorsed by Government with statements in late January 2002 that NZ$500 million would be made available to acquire a Multi Role Vessel (MRV), Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) and Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV).

MOD (NZ) Acquisition Division commenced a multi-stage tender approach based on the use of a functional specification as opposed to a detailed specification describing a particular ship.  An integrated Project PROTECTOR team was formed under the direction of the MOD(NZ) Acquisition Division to prepare the functional specifications, undertake industry response evaluations, seek and evaluate firm proposals and manage any contract, or contracts, that result from Government approvals to acquire the desired capability.

Tenix has been selected as the Prime Contractor to meet the NZDF requirements for the MRV and patrol vessels.  The MRV will provide tactical sealift, support of disaster relief and military operations, conduct resource protection patrols, provide diplomatic/military presence, and core naval sea training.   The patrol vessels will meet requirements for maritime surface surveillance and other tasks in New Zealand’s EEZ and the South Pacific.

Project Inclusions

The scope of this project includes completion of the following tasks:

Provision of the appropriate advice and HR resources to MoD to met the MoD’s acquisition requirements.

All RNZN activities associated with the introduction into service of the Project PROTECTOR capability in accordance with section two above.

Project Exclusions

The scope of this project phase excludes:

  • Production of Acquisition Contract Documentation,
  • MoD project tasks, and
  • The New Zealand Army and RNZAF project tasks, and
  • Support of the vessels after they have been introduced into Naval Service

Project Budget

Financial requirements identified within each of the Project sub-tasks detailed at Appendix 1 will be addressed by Project Managers as and when they have been identified.   Costs to be incurred by Navy in order to examine Risk areas or to obtain and provide the necessary information or equipment to MOD (NZ) are to be reported by Project Managers at each Steering Committee meeting.

All RNZN costs associated with Project PROTECTOR are to be costed against SPC 921590.

Project Protector: Supply Chain preparations

  • The introduction into service of the 7 Protector ships requires a significant change in Navy’s support philosophy and reflects Navy’s commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Instead of holding a vast number of specialist military items, as far as possible the supply chain will access Commercial Off the Shelf spares, readily available from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). In many cases these items will be no different from those used in the commercial marine sector.
  • In the case of 16 of the leading OEMs, this support is being formalised into In Service Support The first of these contracts has already been signed, with several others already at an advanced stage.
  • The Protector Ship introduction requires:
    • reconfiguration of the physical layout of parts of the warehouse,
    • changes in the composition of the Ships’ Support Team and Through Life Inventory Teams of the Naval Stores Depot,
    • a number of organisational and procedural changes. These are already at an advanced stage.
  • Tenix continues to work through the Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) data required to make sparing decisions for ship systems. This information is then forwarded to Navy via the Ministry of Defence for consideration. In accordance with the Project Protector contract, the final decision on which spares are to be ordered is the Ministry’s to take.
  • Tenix intends to complete ILS analysis of all MRV systems by 31 Dec 06 and the OPV and IPV systems in early 2007.
  • $13M has been allocated for sparing for the whole of the Protector Fleet. This funding level is looking increasing like it will be insufficient and alternative funding sources are being considered.
  • Equipage is all equipment needed to turn a commercial build ship into one fit for purpose for RNZN use, such as boarding party equipment and DC gear, and which is not covered as part of the build cost of the project.
  • The supply chain is tasked with purchasing Government Furnished Equipment and Equipage items for all 7 ships. This is a major buying process.
  • Government Furnished Equipment and Equipage purchases will be worth $7.1M. To date $3.499M worth has been ordered and $2.265M received into the Naval Stores Depot.
  • The Naval Stores Depot has been receiving and holding the first items of stores for Protector Ships since as early as the end of last year.
  • The first container of equipage for the MRV has arrived in Melbourne with $424K worth of equipment. This represents the majority of MRV equipage. Other containers will be dispatched to complete all MRV and OPV equipage.
  • It is intended to have all Protector Ships’ stores bar coded. Hardware for this purpose has been purchased and the MRV will be used to trial the process.

Project Protector Ship Links with New Zealand

Ship                            Affiliated Region       Affiliated Ports

MRV      CANTERBURY       Canterbury                  Lyttleton & Timaru

OPV 1    OTAGO                   Otago/Southland         Dunedin & Bluff

OPV 2    WELLINGTON        Wellington                   Wellington

IPV 1      ROTOITI                  Hawke’s Bay               Napier

IPV 2      HAWEA                   West Coast                 Westport & Greymouth

IPV 3      PUKAKI                   Nelson/Marlborough   Nelson & Picton

IPV 4      TAUPO                    Northland                    Whangarei

Fact File – Project Protector

One Multi -Role Vessel

HMNZS Canterbury

  • Length: 131 metres
  • Speed: 19 knots
  • Crew: 53 Navy, 10 Air Force, 7 Army, four from government agencies, up to 250 soldiers, 35 trainees
  • Roles: Disaster relief, army transport, naval training, ocean patrol
  • In service: January/February 2007

Two Off Shore Patrol vessels

HMNZ Ships Otago and Wellington

  • Length: 85 metres
  • Speed: 22 knots
  • Crew: 79
  • Role: Ocean patrol
  • In service: April and October 2007.

Four Inshore Patrol Vessels

HMNZ Ships Pukaki, Rotoiti, Taupo, and Hawea

  • Length: 55m
  • Speed: 25 knots
  • Crew: 36
  • Role: Coastal patrol to 25 nautical miles
  • In service: January, May, September and December 2007.

First New Navy Patrol Vessel launched

18 November 2006

Minister of Defence, Phil Goff
Speech at the launch of HMNZS Otago, Williamstown, Melbourne

Ministers, the Hon. Andre Haermeyer and the Hon. Bruce Billson, New Zealand High Commissioner John Larkindale, Tenix CEO Robert Salteri, Dame Silvia Cartwright, Chiefs of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson and Vice Admiral Russ Shalders, and Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force Lieutenant General, Ken Gillespie, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Today’s launch of HMNZS OTAGO, the first of New Zealand’s two new offshore patrol vessels, marks an important step forward for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

It is appropriate that the launch should occur here alongside the largest of the Navy’s new ships, the multi-role vessel HMNZS CANTERBURY, and that members of CANTERBURY’s crew are here to witness this occasion.

From 2000, the New Zealand Government’s goal has been to build a modern and well equipped defence force to meet the contemporary needs of New Zealand. This includes the need to protect our sovereignty, secure our borders, protect New Zealand from terrorist and transnational criminal activity and to guard our resources as well as meet civil needs such as search and rescue and disaster relief. The commitment of over $3.3 billion on new equipment through the Long Term Development Plan will enable the Defence Force to meet these objectives.  The additional $4.6 billion in the Defence Sustainability Initiative announced last year will address infrastructure and personnel needs.

The Government has made significant investment in upgrading the Navy.  The $500 million committed through Project Protector has bought seven new vessels – and an array of new capabilities for the Navy and the wider Defence Force.   HMNZS CANTERBURY, our multi-role vessel, represents a unique capability for the New Zealand Defence Force.  It will be capable of transporting a 250-strong Company Group with its associated vehicles and support equipment, a Seasprite maritime surveillance helicopter and four of our new state of the art NH90 helicopters.

It has two 60-tonne landing craft for situations where port facilities are not available.  It will greatly improve New Zealand’s ability to respond to natural disasters in the Pacific.  It’s the type of vessel that we will use in deployments like those recently in Timor Leste and Solomon Islands.

CANTERBURY will give us strategic lift and will enable us to deliver our forces to where they are needed and in sufficient quantities to be self-sustaining. HMNZS OTAGO and her sister ship HMNZS WELLINGTON have impressive credentials.  They are 85 metres long, have the same 6000 mile range as an ANZAC frigate, are helicopter capable, ice strengthened, able to carry 30 embarked troops and containers, have comprehensive communications suites and a 25 millimetre gun.

They will significantly increase the capability of the Navy and enable it to work closely with other government agencies in pursuit of New Zealand’s security and wider interests.

The offshore patrol vessels will undertake a range of tasks including patrolling New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and undertaking border protection, including supporting counter terrorism missions. They will operate around New Zealand in the Pacific and down to the Southern Ocean. Together with the four new inshore patrol vessels, also part of Project Protector, they will deliver greater capacity in the policing roles navies are increasingly being asked to perform.

Project Protector has provided significant opportunities both here in Australia and in New Zealand for industry.  Tenix’s role as major contractor is a tangible example of closer defence relations with Australia at work.

Twenty-six New Zealand suppliers have been contracted by Tenix to assist with the construction of the fleet.  They are located across New Zealand including in Auckland, Whangarei, Kawerau, Christchurch, Dunedin, Blenheim, Palmerston North and Wellington.

Local New Zealand companies are expected to receive around $110 million worth of business from Project Protector.

I want to acknowledge Tenix, the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force and everyone from both New Zealand and Australia who has been involved with making today happen. I look forward to welcoming OTAGO to New Zealand next year and offer our best wishes to all who sail in her.

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s latest offshore patrol vessel HMNZS WELLINGTON was launched by its Lady Sponsor Dame Sian Elias in Williamstown shipyard, Melbourne, on 27 October 2007.