NZS Amokura

Amokura was a training ship that was commissioned by the New Zealand government for the purposes of naval training. The name means ‘red-tailed tropic bird.’Read More

HMNZS Arabis (Flower-class Corvette)

HMNZS Arabis was commissioned into RNZN service on 22 February 1944 and completed by 16 March 1944. This was a rugged simple design that was meant for wartime construction needs and to meet the need for escort vessels for the Atlantic convoys. In 1943, New Zealand was seeking more escort ships for the RNZN. The Royal Navy offered Arabis and her sister ship Arbutus as a gift to the RNZN. The gift was gratefully accepted by New Zealand. Both ships were adapted to operate in tropical environments.Read More

HMNZS Arbutus (Flower-class Corvette)

In 1943, New Zealand was seeking more escort ships for the RNZN. The Royal Navy offered Arbutus and her sister ship Arabis as a gift to the RNZN and New Zealand accepted gratefully. They were adapted to operate in tropical environments. HMNZS Arbutus was commissioned into RNZN service on 16 June 1944 and was completed by 5 July 1944.Read More

HMNZS Bellona (Dido-class Cruiser)

After the end of the Second World War and after some consideration and consultation with the Admiralty, it was agreed that the most appropriate replacements for Achilles and Gambia would be two ships of the Modified Dido-class. HMS Bellona and Black Prince were the two ships decided upon.Read More

HMNZS Black Prince (Dido-class Cruiser)

In late 1945 the New Zealand government announced plans to replace the cruisers HMNZS Achilles and Gambia with updated cruisers. HMS Black Prince was in New Zealand waters when the decision was announced that her and her sister ship HMS Bellona would be commissioned into service with the RNZN.Read More

HMNZS Blackpool (Whitby-class Frigate)

This Whitby-class Type 12 frigate was designed for the RN in the early 1950s for ASW against the Warsaw Pact submarines. Blackpool was the last Whitby to be constructed and was loaned to the RNZN while HMNZS Canterbury was being built. Read More

HMNZS Breeze

In World War Two, after the discovery of minefields laid by the German raider Orion, the urgent need for minesweeping off New Zealand ports was highlighted. Breeze was one of a number of vessels that it was thought would be suitable to conversion to a minesweeper.Read More

HMNZS Canterbury (Amphibious Support Vessel)

As part of the Project Protector plan the RNZN introduced a multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury, that could support disaster relief, humanitarian operations, amphibious operations, and logistical support operations. The design was based on a Dutch RORO [roll on-roll off] vessel that did not have a well deck but could embark directly from the stern ramp.Read More

HMNZS Canterbury (Leander-class Frigate)

Canterbury was one of two New Zealand frigates that provided operational support to the Royal Navy in 1982 and 1983. When the Falklands War broke out in April 1982, New Zealand offered to relieve a Royal Navy ship on operational duties in the Indian Ocean, so that one of its ships could be available for operations in the South Atlantic. Read More

HMS Chatham (Town-class light Cruiser)

On 1 October 1920 HMS Chatham was commissioned into the New Zealand Naval Forces. Chatham was the name ship of type of 2nd-class light cruiser and was first commissioned on 3 December 1912.In May 1915 Chatham was employed in the Dardanelles campaign and was remembered by many New Zealand soldiers for this service. Read More

HMNZS Coastguard

HMNZS Coastguard was a fishing vessel built by W.L. Ford Jr in Berrys Bay Sydney in 1935 and before conversion to a dan layer was used as a seine-net fishing vessel.  She was 62ft long with a beam of 16.7ft.Read More

HMS Diomede & HMS Dunedin (D-class Cruiser)

The D-class cruisers were wartime construction in response to a reported German cruiser that was better than the C-class cruisers then in commission. Read about the ships’ wartime involvement and their role in the Mau Uprising.Read More

HMNZS Endeavour I (Ailanthus-class wooden hull Netlayer)

In June 1956 the New Zealand government purchased this vessel for £20,000 and it was sent for refitting. It was decided that this vessel would carry the name Endeavour. Endeavour was commissioned to transport the New Zealand section of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition which included Edmund Hilary. The destination was McMurdo Sound. Read More

HMNZS Endeavour (Fleet Replenishment Tanker)

As the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) purpose built fleet replenishment tanker, HMNZS Endeavour carries supplies and fuel for RNZN, Commonwealth and Allied surface units. She can resupply ships at sea, or in overseas ports from the 7,500 tonnes of fuel in her eight tanks, or the supplies held in the four containers on deck. Read More

HMNZS Gambia (Fiji-class Cruiser)

Gambia was ordered under the 1938 Naval Programme and was one of seven cruisers planned for this class. This was a new cruiser design for the Royal Navy and it met the requirements of the 1936 London Naval Treaty that restricted displacement to 8,000 tons. On 22 September 1943 HMNZS Gambia was commissioned for service with the Royal New Zealand Navy.Read More

HMNZS Hawea (Loch-class Frigate)

HMNZS Hawea was the fourth of six Loch-class frigates formerly known as HMS Loch Eck that was sold to the New Zealand government. She was commissioned for service with the RNZN on 1 October 1948. Hawea was the first RNZN vessel to fire shots in anger during the Korean War.Read More

HMNZS Hinau (Castle-class composite Minesweeper)

A Castle-class minesweeper built in Auckland and commissioned as HMNZS Hinau on 23 July 1942 and was paid off 4 September 1945. She carried a complement of 26 officers and ratings and was equipped with magnetic minesweeping gear as well as acoustic sweep ‘Kango hammers’ for acoustic minesRead More

HMNZS Inchkeith ( Isles-class Minesweeper)

Inchkeith was one of the first warships to be commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy after the awarding of the title that was effective 1 October 1941. From October 1942 to June 1943 Inchkeith and her sister ships were employed on anti-submarine patrols while supply ships were discharging at Norfolk Island.Read More

HMNZS Humphrey (Converted Trawler)

This vessel was built to an Admiralty trawler pattern for the Royal Navy at the end of the First World War as a Strath-class minesweeper. Humphrey was the second vessel taken up and was taken over to the Devonport Naval Base to be fitted out as a minesweeper which took five weeks. A 102mm gun was fitted along with minesweeping gear.Read More

HMNZS Kahu (Diving Tender)

On 17 May 1988 the former Manawanui was recommissioned into RNZN service as HMNZS Kahu. In 1990 Kahu was part of the RNZN fleet present at the Waitangi Celebrations. From 1988 to 2009 Kahu operated as the navigation and seamanship training vessel for the RNZN for regular and volunteer personnel.Read More

HMNZS Kaniere (Loch-class Frigate)

HMNZS Kaniere was one of six Loch-class frigates that the New Zealand government purchased in 1948. She was a Second World War design of anti-submarine frigate. Kaniere was the last of the Loch-class frigates to be sent to Korea to serve full time under the UN and carried out patrols and naval gunfire support.Read More

HMNZS Kiwi & Moa (Bird-class Corvettes)

Three small Bird class corvettes ordered in 1939, HMNZS Moa, Tui, and Kiwi were built by Henry Robb Ltd., of Leith, Scotland between 1940 and 1941. This class was based on the design of an experimental Royal Navy minesweeping trawler were the first new ships to enter service with the Royal New Zealand Navy, their principal peace time function was training, and in wartime, minesweeping and escort duties.Read More

HMNZS Kiwi (Inshore Patrol Craft)

 HMNZS Kiwi, the Inshore Patrol Craft attached to Canterbury’s Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer reserve unit came into service in September 1984. The vessel’s main task was mine counter measures, for which it was fitted with sophisticated towed sonar.Read More

HMNZS Lachlan (River-class Frigate)

In 1948 the New Zealand Government sought a survey ship on loan and Lachlan was offered after negotiations on the term of the loan which initially was to be three years. During the Waterfront strike of 1951 Lachlan was deployed to Dunedin where her ship’s company worked the wharves. Detachments from there were sent to Westport to work in the coal mines and operate the wharf. Read More

HMS/HMNZS Leander (Leander-class Cruiser)

Leander was the name ship for a class of five light cruisers fitted with twin turret 6-inch guns. Her sister ships were Achilles, Neptune, Orion, Ajax. In World War Two she sank the Italian Ramb I on the 27 January 1941. Leander rescued all the survivors, which comprised all but one of the crew, one later died of wounds. After more escort work she left for the Mediterranean joining in the fleet in Alexander in June 1941.Read More

HMHS Maheno (Hospital Ship)

In 1915, the government requisitioned two of the Union Steam Ship Company’s newest passenger liners SS Maheno and SS Marama. Both were fitted out as hospital ships for service during the First World War. They were manned by the existing civilian officers and engineroom personnel, the medical staff being doctors, officers and other ranks from the NZ Medical Corps, and nurses from the New Zealand Nursing Service.  Read More

HMNZS Mako (Defence Motor Launch)

The Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML) was designed by the Admiralty in 1939 for harbour patrols and anti-submarine duties. It became apparent early in the Second World War that a small type of vessel was needed for harbour protection, coastal patrol, and anti submarine work in New Zealand waters. In February 1942 HDMLs 24 were ordered, including HMNZS Mako.

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HMNZDT/HMNZS Manawanui II & III (Diving Vessels)

The second Manawanui was laid down on 8 December 1978. This ship was a lead-ship of an Inshore Patrol Craft type based on the 1970s RAN torpedo recovery vessel although it was built with a larger superstructure. In March 1988 the RNZN purchased a larger diving tender due to the expansion of the Operational Diving Team. This new vessel was commissioned into service as HMNZDT Manawanui III.Read More

HMNZS Monowai (Armed Merchant Cruiser)

Having been laid-up at Auckland since 1936, Monowai was requisitioned for war service with the New Zealand Navy on 19 October 1939. Converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser the ship served in the South Pacific until 1943 when it was decided that it would be better employed as a landing ship. Read More

HMS/HMNZS Philomel (Pearl-class Cruiser)

After World War One, HMS Philomel’s role was in the form of a depot ship, providing training for new entrants and specialist maintenance personnel. Auckland was chosen as the location for these facilities. Berthed alongside on what would become known as ‘the Training Jetty’ the old ship became home to generations of new entrants.Read More

HMNZS Pukaki (Loch-class Frigate)

HMNZS Pukaki, a Loch-class anti-submarine frigate served in the North Atlantic as escorts for inbound convoys to Britain. She also saw service in Korea, the Far East Station, Operation GRAPPLE and Antarctica.

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HMS Puriri (Minesweeping Vessel)

Puriri was a twin diesel cargo vessel working the West Coast to Nelson and the North Island coastal trades at the outbreak of the Second World War. On 13 May 1941 word was received that a fisherman had pulled a mine out of his nets off Whangarei. Puriri was ordered out to find this mine but Puriri struck the mine and sank very quickly. Read More

HMNZS Rotoiti (Loch-class Frigate)

HMNZS Rotoiti was handed over to the RNZN at Portsmouth and entered service with the RNZN on 6 June 1949. Rotoiti completed two tours off the Korean Peninsula October 1950 to November 1951 and January 1952 to March 1953. Her duties consisted of providing shore bombardments, patrolling, and landing raiding parties as she did in August 1951 when two prisoners were taken. Read More

HMNZS Royalist (Dido-class Cruiser)

Royalist was laid down at Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering at Greenock Scotland on 21 March 1940. There were three ships of this class HMS Royalist, Black Prince and Bellona. All three would serve with the RNZN. Her initial service was to act as a flagship for escort carriers operating off Norway attacking the battleship Tirpitz. Read More

HMNZS Resolution (Oceanographic Vessel)

HMNZS Resolution is the tenth naval vessel to carry this name.[3] The most famous was HMS Resolution under the command of Captain James Cook that he took on his second voyage and his third ill-starred voyage. It was appropriate to use a ship’s name that reflected the significance of Cook in New Zealand’s naval heritage when the RNZN went to commission a new survey and oceanographic vessel.Read More

HMNZS Sanda (Isles-class Vessel)

The ship was named after an island near the Mull of Kintyre. Sanda was commissioned into service with the RNZN on 30 October 1941. On 31 December 1943, Sanda along with her sister ships were deployed to sweep the independent minefield in the Bay of Islands. By the end of February 1944, 249 mines had been swept and destroyed from the field of 258 mines laid in October 1942.Read More

HMNZS Southland (Leander-class Frigate)

HMNZS Southland was commissioned into RNZN service on 21 December 1983. She along with HMNZS Wellington would replace HMNZS Otago and Taranaki. Southland carried out a range of duties including exercises, ceremonials, and maritime rescues. In 1992 Southland participated in Operation OCTANUS. This was a joint MAF/Police operation against paua poachers based in Bluff.Read More

Tangaika (Yacht)

Tangaika, the Maori term for spoil of war, was put to very good use within the RNZN although as new yachts came on the scene she was not particularly successful on the racing circuit.  Tangaika’s main forte was cruising and she was much in demand for trips in the Hauraki Gulf, mainly to the Kawau and Waiheke Islands, the WRNZNS being well represented. Read More

HMNZS Taupo (Patrol Craft)

The RNZN in the early 1970s sought a replacement patrol craft for the slow and inadequate SDMLs which were of the Second World War era. These craft would be used for fisheries patrols and surveillance of territorial waters which in 1975 was a 12-mile [19km] zone. Taupo was laid down on 25 July 1974. She was then sent to New Zealand and arrived in Auckland on 9 June 1975 with her sister ship Hawea. Read More

HMNZS Taupo (Loch-class Frigate)

HMNZS Taupo was renamed from HMS Loch Shin which was built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson River Tyne. She was laid down on 6 September 1943, launched on 23 February 1944 and completed by 10 October 1944. With the outbreak of the Waterfront strike in 1951, Taupo was deployed to Westport from March to June. The ship’s company manned the wharves and operated the coal mines.Read More

HMNZS Tui (Bird-class minesweeping Trawler)

One of three small Bird class corvettes ordered by New Zealand, HMNZS Tui was built by Henry Robb Ltd. of Leith, Scotland and was completed by November 1941. These were the first new ships to enter service with the Royal New Zealand Navy and was designed for training in seamanship, gunnery, minesweeping, and torpedo. Read More

HMNZS Tui (Oceanographic Vessel)

Tui was formally commissioned for RNZN service on 11 September 1970, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York.While the prime user of the ship was the Defence Scientific Establishment, the ship frequently worked for other institutions, such as the Universities of Auckland and Hawaii and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.Read More

HMNZS Tutira (Loch-class Frigate)

In 1948, six Loch-class frigates, including HMNZS Tutira, were bought from the Royal Navy for £1,500,000. These vessels were designed for anti-submarine, escort and convoy duties. They were cheap, simple, and rugged. Their service during the Second World War proved the reliability, its excellent cruising range, and good sea keeping qualities. Read about Tutira’s operations in the Korean War.Read More

HMFS Viti (Minesweeper Vessel)

RCS (Royal Colonial Ship) Viti was built and launched at Hong Kong in late 1939 and was fitted out as a ‘minor combatant ship.  HMFS Viti spent her war service in Fijian waters and would return annually to New Zealand for refitting. On her first refit visit in December 1941, she was equipped with ASDIC.Read More

HMNZS Waiho (Castle-class Minesweeper)

HMNZS Waiho was commissioned into service with the RNZN on 3 June 1944. She formed part of the 194th Auxiliary Minesweeping Group.  Her duties included gunnery, depth charge, and anti-submarine drills and exercises. Daily sweeps of the port entrance channels to the Waitemata Harbour were carried out.Read More

HMNZS Waikato (Leander-class Frigate)

Waikato was launched by Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra on 19 February 1966. Waikato’s weapon systems were at the forefront of technology in the mid 1960s. The fire control system for the guns was so new that the Royal Navy conducted its ‘first of class’ trials in Waikato, because their first ship to be fitted with the system was not yet operational. Read More

HMNZS Wellington (Leander-class Frigate)

HMNZS Wellington was formally handed over in October 1982 and commissioned into RNZN as HMNZS Wellington on 1 October 1982 at Portsmouth.Wellington’s first major deployment was to Fiji in 1987 during the first coup in May, She stood by in Fijian waters with Canterbury to evacuate New Zealanders as part of Operation WELLS.Read More

Fairmiles in RNZN Service

This class of vessel was developed in 1939 by the Admiralty and the Fairmile Marine Co from the Fairmile A-class three shaft launches. During the Second World War these launches were used for anti-submarine patrols off Guadalcanal, Tulagi and the Russell Islands. Additional duties included escorting vessels through the Slot northwards to Bougainville, New Georgia, and the Bismarck Archipelago.Read More

HDML Flotillas in the Second World War

In January 1942 the Admiralty agreed with the New Zealand government to allocate HDMLs to the RNZN. In February 1942 24 were ordered. Only 22 were to be supplied twelve by the United States under the Lend-Lease programme and ten from Britain. By end of 1943 the 124th and 125th Flotillas were operating in Wellington and Auckland. Read More

Hospital ships of World War One

The Maheno and Marama were the poster ships of New Zealand’s First World War effort. Until 1915 these steamers had carried passengers across the Tasman for the Union Steam Ship Company, but as casualties mounted at Gallipoli, the government pressed them into service as hospital ships. Read More

Inshore Patrol Vessels

There are four Lake-class Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV) commissioned into RNZN service. They have been named HMNZS Rotoiti, Hawea, Taupo, and Pukaki. These four are the third vessels in RNZN to carry these names.Read More

Ship’s Boats

Ships carry boats or, boats go on ships not the other way round. All warships carried a number of boats for specific duties and they were given titles. There were many instructions for the proper handling of the ship’s boat that the ratings were trained in. There is no doubt that handling of a ship’s boat was a skill and poor handling could bring embarrassment to the Commanding Officer.Read More

Spa Torpedo Boats

Considered as a ‘doubtful and less than successful defence system’ the Spar Torpedo Boat was introduced by the British into New Zealand as a reply from the British to ensure that New Zealand were protected against the Russians in the early 1880s. It seems that the spa torpedo boat we got was obsolete even as it was built until such time as it got a torpedo. Read More

Naval Whalers

The earliest reference to ‘whaleboats’, as they were originally known, was in 1756 and when introduced into Royal Naval service around 1810, they were called ‘whale-gigs’.  Their use at this time was to take boarding parties to enemy ships and so it was highly desirable that they were unsinkable, thus they were fitted with buoyancy tanks, giving them a secondary role as lifeboats. Read More

RNZN Colour Schemes

RNZN colour schemes have followed very closely with the RN and the RAN. One significant change was in 2000 when HMNZS Resolution was painted grey to match the fleet in accordance with RNZN Order 07/2000 promulgated 7 August 2000. Read More

Ships’ Mottoes of the Royal New Zealand Navy

A ship’s motto is generally chosen by the Commanding Officer, and is approved by the Chief of Naval Staff once approved the motto remains with the ship for its life. Read the mottoes of past and present ships of the RNZN.Read More