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New command for patrol vessel

When Samara Mankelow was finishing at Orewa College, she was looking for something “a little less ordinary”. A family friend in the Navy gave her a tour of the base.

08 December, 2022

Ten years later, Lieutenant Mankelow took command of Inshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS Taupo at Devonport Naval Base. She declared “I have the ship” on 30 November, receiving the ship’s symbol of command (a carved ceremonial hoe) from outgoing Commanding Officer Lieutenant Fletcher Slierendrecht.

HMNZS Taupo is utilised for patrol of New Zealand’s waters and as a training vessel for newly-graduated officers undertaking the Officer of the Watch (Basic) course. It’s a role close to the heart of LT Mankelow, who was recently Head of Navigation School, training junior warfare officers who go on to the OOW course in Taupo. “It’s fitting taking command of this ship,” she says. “I understand where the students are coming from.”

LT Mankelow’s warfare journey was similar, doing her OOW course in sister ship HMNZS Hawea, and then ending up posted to the ship for fisheries and customs patrols.

She then spent two months on exchange in USS Shiloh, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, which included patrolling the East and South China Sea in a Carrier Strike Group. The following year she posted to HMAS Parramatta, exposed to numerous exercises and port visits in Australia.

“Exchanges with foreign navies offer a great insight into other nations. You’re seeing operations on a large scale, combined with hours of watchkeeping in busy environments, that makes it such an invaluable experience.”

Domestically she has served in HMNZS Wellington, including a posting as Operations Officer, for various operations from the Sub-Antarctic Islands to the Kermadec Islands.

On successful completion of the Major Fleet Unit Navigating Officer Course in 2018 she became the commissioning Navigator in HMNZS Manawanui, which involved her training in Norway in Dynamic Positioning and ship handling with Azimuth thrusters.

“I was involved for about three years as part of the commissioning crew. It was really rewarding bringing such a unique capability to the Navy. When I look back on it now, I feel that we were whanau. It was such a complete team effort, to get Manawanui to sea. Stepping off was like an end of an era.”

Taupo is going to be busy under her command, she says. “Taupo is always busy and next year it’s a big programme. I’m really looking forward to the privilege to lead and the opportunity I have been given. It’s a small Ship’s Company, we will all know each other well, and I am looking forward to working with them to make Taupo the best ship in the Navy.”