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.
Type: Leander-class frigate
Pennant No.: F104
Displacement: 2990 tonnes
Dimensions: 113.4m x 109.7m x 12.5m x 5.5m
Machinery: 2-shaft double reduction geared steam turbines, shp 30,000 = 30 knots
2 x 40mm Bofors single mount
2 x 20mm guns single mounts
6 x 324mm Anti-submarine torpedo tubes 2 x 3 mounting
1 x Ikara (GWS40) Anti-submarine missile launcher
8 x Seacat Missiles – 2 x quad mountings
Aircraft: 1 x Westland Wasp helicopter
The Leander-class frigate was an early 1960s development of the Rothesay and Whitby-class frigates such as the Otago and Taranaki.
Southland was constructed at the Yarrow & Co shipyard in Glasgow. She was laid down on 2 December 1959, launched on 22 December 1961. She was originally laid down as a Rothesay-class frigate to be named HMS Hastings then changed to HMS Dido and she was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 18 September 1963. The ship’s company that had decommissioned HMNZS Otago were transferred to the Southland.
In 1975, HMS Dido was the ship used to make the television series Warship. Her pennant number was changed to F42 and she was named HMS Hero for the series. In 1978 she went in for a major refit. The twin gun turret was removed and replaced with the Ikara AS missile system.
On 18 July 1968 HMS Dido was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy and renamed Southland. The next day she was sent to the Vosper Ship Repairers yard at Southampton for a refit before she entered RNZN service. HMNZS Southland was commissioned into RNZN service on 21 December 1983. She along with HMNZS Wellington would replace HMNZS Otago and Taranaki.
HMNZS Southland carried out a work-up with the Home Fleet and departed Southampton on 9 May 1984 sailing to New Zealand via the East Coast of the United States, Panama, Pearl Harbour arriving at Auckland after stopping at Bluff and Wellington on 26 July 1984. 1988 she went into the dock at Devonport for a limited dockyard refit.
Once in service, 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. On 1 March 1995, HMNZS Southland was paid off from RNZN service and in November 1995 she was towed to the Philippines to be broken up.
Commanding Officers of HMNZS Southland
Captain I.A. Hunter December 83 – December 1984
Commander K.F. Wilson December 1984 – December 1985
Captain J.G. Leonard December 1985 – December 1987 (He was a Commander when first appointed as commanding officer)
Commander A.J. Peck December 1987 – December 1989
Commander M. J. Wardlaw December 1989 – May 1990
Lieutenant-Commander D. C. Henderson May 1990 – November 1990
Commander D. V. Anson November 1990 – October 1992
Commander D. G. Collier October 1992 – December 1993
Commander M. J. Millar December 1993 – March 1995
February Acts as Guardship for the Waitangi celebrations
June Sails to Sydney with HMNZS Canterbury
July First firing of the Ikara missile & Sails to Solomon Islands
November Sails to Sydney for more exercises with the Royal Australian Navy
May Accompanies HMNZS Canterbury to Sydney for exercises
June Visits Adelaide
July Sails to Indonesia and Singapore for exercises
August Visits Hong Kong
September Participates in exercises with the Royal Navy’s carrier HMS Invincible off Australia and joins the RAN 75th celebrations
November returns to Sydney for more exercises.
March Exercise in Hauraki Gulf
April Sails to Sydney with HMNZS Canterbury for more exercises.
May Participates in Operation WELLS off Fiji
June Exercise off Singapore
July Visits Shanghai and Inchon
August Visits Bangkok, Singapore, Darwin
September Visits Port Moresby and Port Vila
November Sails to Sydney for more exercises with RAN
March Converted to take WASP helicopter
August Sails to Sydney to begin NZFORSEA deployment
September Docks at Singapore
November Visits Western Samoa
December Visits Niue
October Visits the Chatham Islands
December Deployed for Southern Ocean Patrol. Visits Campbell and Auckland Islands with HMNZS Endeavour
February Guardship for Waitangi celebrations. Visits Wellington for RNZN 50th Anniversary Celebrations
April Visits Sydney for missile firing exercises
May Conducts SAR for yacht Salano. Visits Tahiti and Cook Islands
June visits Tokelau Islands, Niue and American Samoa – resupply run to Kermadec Islands (Raoul and Curtis Islands)
October Based in Auckland for the formal 50th Anniversary celebrations
December Sails to Melbourne then to Sydney for an exercise
Southland spent this most of this year operating around the coast of New Zealand
July Sails to Tasmania with HMNZS Endeavour
October Exercise with RNZAF aircraft and other RNZN vessels
February Guardship for Waitangi celebrations – the Governor-General took passage to Waitangi aboard
April Conducts SAR for yacht Windsong
June Participates in Operation NORMANDY with NZ Army
November Sails to Sydney with HMNZS Waikato for exercises
Southland spent this last year of its commission with the RNZN operating around the coast of New Zealand
June exercises with HMNZS Waikato
August Put into reserve
March Decommissioned from RNZN service