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Gisborne chosen as home port for new Navy vessel

28 Aug 2018

Gisborne chosen as home port for new Navy vessel

Gisborne has been chosen as the honorary home port for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) newly purchased dive and hydrographic vessel.

Last week Minister of Defence Ron Mark announced the purchase of the 85-metre Edda Fonn, a 15-year-old survey and light construction vessel, as the replacement for decommissioned dive tender HMNZS Manawanui and hydrographic survey ship HMNZS Resolution.

The new ship will be renamed HMNZS Manawanui, the fourth RNZN ship to bear that name.

Gisborne was chosen as the home port for the new Manawanui because it was the home port of HMNZS Resolution and HMNZS Monowai.

Resolution paid a final visit to Gisborne before she was decommissioned in 2012.

Mayor Meng Foon described it as great news for our region.

“I have been lobbying this for a while now. We have a proud association with the Royal NZ Navy and we welcome the Manawanui with open berths,” he said.

“Thanks to the hard work of the NZ Navy and the support of Eastland Port in achieving this, I’m sure the former and current serving Navy people of Tairawhiti will join me in welcoming her to port in Gisborne.

“This bodes well for the Navy Scholarship we have in this region, as it brings a much more tangible meaning to our young people.”

The practice of home ports relates to the awarding of charters to individual ships and the name of the ship. HMNZS Resolution had a charter with Gisborne, which gave permission for the ship’s company to conduct formal parades in the district.

Commander Matt Wray, a hydrographic survey officer and the last commanding officer of HMNZS Resolution, said a ship’s visit to its home port was an occasion the ship’s company looked forward to.

“Gisborne always made Resolution welcome and it is wonderful the Navy is reconnecting with the district after six years. I said to the Mayor, Meng Foon, when the Resolution had its last visit that the Navy won’t forget Gisborne,” Commander Wray said.

“It’s really pleasing for me to see our traditional link with Gisborne renewed with the hydrographic trade, and now the diving trade.”

Once commissioned in New Zealand, HMNZS Manawanui will have final modifications and be in service by November 2019. The budget for the project is $103 million.

Mr Mark described the vessel as a great addition to the RNZN, filling capability gaps in diving, salvage and hydrography.

“It will be in service three years earlier than a purpose-built ship would have been.”