Navy ship to pay last visit to Whitianga

The HMNZS Manawanui.

HMNZS Manawanui will pay a final visit to Whitianga from 30 January to 5 February.

The Navy vessel in Whitianga for ceremonies and parades ahead of its official decommissioning on 23 February at Devonport.

Whitianga is the home port for Manawanui, though it is not based there.

Manawanui and its crew of 24 have a long association with Whitianga and have visited over the years to take part in Anzac Day commemorations and other events.

The ship will be berthed at the wharf for most of its visit and minor disruption is expected to wharf users during her stay, says the Thames Coromandel District Council.

"This is being managed with assistance from the crew and in discussion with commercial operators.

"To allow the ship to berth some wharf dredging will take place on the week of the 22 January to accommodate Manawanui’s 4.0m draft."

Manawanui is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s diving and mine counter-measures ship and was commissioned into the Navy in 1988.

She was built in the UK in 1979 as a diving support vessel, the Star Perseus, for North Sea oil rig operations.

She is fitted with a triple lock compression chamber, a wet diving bell, a 15 tonne crane and workshop facilities including electric and gas welding equipment and a lathe.

She has a four-point anchoring system to keep the ship in position when undertaking diving operations.

Manawanui is the third ship of this name to serve in the Royal New Zealand Navy. The name translates as "Big Heart".

Manawanui, and the hydrographic ship HMNZS Resolution which was decommissioned in 2012, are being replaced by a single ship which will carry out both functions.

HMNZS Manawanui’s itinerary for its final visit to Whitianga:

  •   •  30 January - arrives about 5pm from Devonport Naval Base with VIP passengers. Ship will anchor in Mercury Bay.

  •   •  31 January - Ship will berth at Whitianga wharf for a 7:30am powhiri by Ngati Hei and response haka by ship’s crew.

  •   •  1 February - Parade from wharf with naval crew to Soldiers’ Memorial for a service and speeches from the Navy Commodore and our Mayor Sandra Goudie. Following this, there will be a march to the RSA at the Mercury Bay Club at 69 Cook Dr for an exchange of gifts.

  •   •  Over the following few days the ship’s crew will carry out community service, attend functions at the Matarangi and Whitianga Fire Brigade stations.

  •   •  4 February - Manawanui will be open to visitors.

5 February - HMNZS Manawanui sails from Whitianga wharf at 11:50am and people will have a chance to wave her off.


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