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Navy sailor finds her problem-solving niche with NZ Navy

A childhood dream of a career in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) has sparked a lot of satisfaction and pride for Able Marine Technician (Electrical) Dana Costello.

08 March, 2024

Growing up in Nelson, she had a deep love of the ocean and wanted to join the Navy since she was 12 years old; her father was a Marine Technician, and she wanted to be like him.

“I have a passion for problem-solving, getting my hands dirty, pulling things apart and fixing them,” Able Marine Technician Costello said. 

“Growing up, I had a great split of tomboy and ‘girly’ hobbies - motocross racing, pony club and ballet in my teens.

“Today I’m always out with my partner surfing and fishing and we have a self-contained van that we travel all over New Zealand in.” 

She joined the RNZN in 2020, and after her trade training she posted to HMNZS Canterbury for a year.

Since May 2023, she has been posted to HMNZS Manawanui, the Navy’s dive, hydrographic and salvage vessel.

“I handle the electrical part of the ship, where we cover our planned and breakdown equipment maintenance jobs, making sure all our machinery is safe and well maintained.”

Able Marine Technician Costello said her favourite deployment so far was to the sub-Antarctic Islands in support of scientific research.

“I’ve had a lot of proud moments in my Navy career, including helping Fiji with disaster relief last year after a cyclone. I got to meet so many special people, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Someone who Able Marine Technician Costello said has had a huge impact on her journey, is Lieutenant Commander Clare Talbot - the Marine Engineer Officer aboard HMNZS Manawanui and former head of the Maritime Engineering School.

“I just thought it was so inspiring that a woman could be in that position and it gave me a lot of faith that I could be successful too one day.

“Clare has also been supporting me through my training and pushing me to complete my task book. It has been amazing having her on board as she offers so much to the team and someone I can always talk to.”