RNZN Key contributions to Afghanistan, Bougainville, Iraq and Project Protector

Read about the RNZNs role in Afghanistan, Bougainville, Iraq and  Project Protector including the ships linked with these roles.



  • November 2002 Government announced the RNZN would play a role in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO),
  • HMNZS Te Kaha was deployed immediately to join the Canadian-led Coalition Task Group, patrolling the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.
  • The Task Group monitored shipping activity in those areas and, in addition to escorting coalition vessels through the Straits of Hormuz, has a responsibility to gather intelligence, intercept and board shipping, and, if necessary, identify and detain Al Qaeda and Taleban personnel
  • Te Kaha would remain on station until February 2003, when HMNZS Te Mana took over that role until late June 2003. In April 2004 Te Mana undertook a second deployment
  • Along with SAS units, the NZ Government send Provincial Reconstruction Teams – presently the NZ PRT located in Bamyan province consists of 91 military personnel being 75 from the NZ Army, 12 from the RNZN and four from the RNZAF. Over the time that the PRT has been operating, a number of RNZN personnel have conducted tours with the team. Presently, the PRT is still operating in the province.


  • The NZDF has had a presence in this country as part of UN sanctioned peacekeeping since the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988.
  • In the 1990’s much of the effort was directed to disposing of chemical weapons stock in the form of artillery shells containing mustard gas
  • in August 1995 RNZN supplied the frigate HMNZS Wellington to the Multinational Inception Force (MIF)
  • With its shallow draft, the Wellington was very useful in its role of intercepting the traditional trading vessels, Dhows. During a three month tour, the ship’s company questioned 348 vessels, boarded 11 of them and discovered violations of the UN sanctions.
  •  In 2003 and 2004, RNZN personnel were part of a Light Engineer Group in the repair and refurbishment of hospitals, health clinics, schools, police stations, law courts, and municipal and government buildings. In addition, they assist in restoring electricity, and the rebuilding of bridges and water pipelines and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the local population in the form of operation of town supply reverse osmosis water plants. The tour of duty was for six months


  • In 1990 as part of Operation BIG TALK the Bougainville delegation is hosted aboard the HMNZS Waikato and the PNG government hosted aboard HMNZS Wellington. HMNZS Endeavour is assigned to keep the frigates on station
  • HMNZS Endeavour is selected by both parties as neutral territory for the peace negotiations to be held.
  • Negotiations conclude with a peace deal on 5 August 1990 – known as the Endeavour Accord.
  • Waikato’s Wasp helicopter delivers critical medical supplies to Bougainville as soon as the Accord is signed.
  • HMNZS Manawanui carried out diver support operations and conducted surveys so the RAN could get their landing craft to supply remote villages under the peace accord.
  • NZDF peace-support mission Operation BEL ISI 2 in Bougainville ends 30 June 2003

Project Protector

  • Project Protector, the $500 million project initiated in 2002 to provide the Royal New Zealand Navy with new purpose built vessels capable of undertaking such tasks as tactical sealift and disaster relief in the Pacific, and patrol vessels to meet our inshore and offshore requirement
  • 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).

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


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: Since 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: Both launched but yet to be completed – late 2008

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: Not yet built will be in service late 2008