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Year in Review: Royal New Zealand Navy

From international deployments to at-home humanitarian aid, the Royal New Zealand Navy has delivered in goodwill, capability and disaster relief this year.

12 December, 2023

Navy resources were vital to the New Zealand Defence Force’s response to Cyclone Gabrielle, while our tanker and frigate tracked across South East Asia for exercises and diplomacy.

We welcomed fast tactical boats to our fleet, developed new deployable team capabilities, and supported our partner agencies and Pacific nations in operations and training.

Here are just a few of the moments from 2023.


Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle

With the east coast devastated by the cyclone, three ships were dispatched with supplies and infrastructure to Napier, with crews going ashore to assist with clean-ups. HMNZS Manawanui concentrated on the small townships of East Cape, while divers from HMNZS Matataua dived into muddy ponds to remove silt from water supplies.

Cyclone Gabrielle

Maritime Training Teams

We shared our expertise with the Pacific, with bespoke flyaway Maritime Training Teams instructing police and Navy personnel in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

Maritime training teams v2

Pacific security

HMNZS Taupo travelled further than ever before in its service, undertaking a maritime security and fisheries patrol of Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and providing on-board training for the Samoan Maritime Police.

Pacific security

Amphibious capability proven

During March and April HMNZS Canterbury and NZ Army’s 5th Movements Company worked alongside Fijian military to train personnel in amphibious operations and humanitarian and disaster relief work.

ampbibious capability proven

High-speed tactical boats

The Navy’s punchy new long-range high-speed Littoral Manoeuvre Craft tick the boxes between coastal littoral operations and small, fast team tactical insertions over the horizon. They’re capable of 40-plus knots, can carry a zodiac and troops and can be transported on board HMNZS Manawanui.

high speed tactical boats

Sub-tropical to sub-Antarctic

Over January and February, HMNZS Canterbury tackled back-to-back conservation and resupply missions at two ends of New Zealand’s territory: the sub-tropical Kermadec Islands and sub-Antarctic Islands, involving the Department of Conservation (DOC), Meteorological Service NZ (MetService), Geological Nuclear Sciences (GNS) and mana whenua from Northland iwi, Ngati Kuri.

sub tropical to sub antarctic

Specialist boarding teams

Bespoke, short-notice Deployable Boarding Teams (DBT) are being developed as a specialist capability out of littoral warfare unit HMNZS Matataua, available at short notice for “fly-in, fly out” deployments to support a RNZN ship on operation, or the vessels of partner nations.

specialist boarding teams

Five Power partners

In October HMNZ Ships Aotearoa and Te Mana took part in Exercise Bersama Lima, an annual exercise based in Malaysia and Singapore that has run since 1971. Over the 19 days, Royal New Zealand Navy sailors carried out maritime operations, conducted boarding training and replenishment at sea operations. The Exercise was part of the Operation Crucible South East Asia deployment for Te Mana and Aotearoa, which include port visits to Australia, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City in Viet Nam.

five power partners

Mapping the Pacific

Hydrographers from HMNZS Matataua embarked with HMNZS Manawanui to provide long-overdue upgrades to charts for the Fijian Hydrographic Office, plus dropped off supplies to outlying islands hit by Cyclone Mal.

Mapping the Pacific

Missile away

In the last week of November HMNZS Te Mana conducted two Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missile firings in the East Australia Exercise Area, which completes the final part of the frigate’s testing and evaluation process.

Untitled 1 v2

Uncrewed and renewable powered

The Navy is going to trial a 6.8-metre unscrewed surface vessel. Powered by solar and wind, it uses a retractable rigid sail to provide wind propulsion. Photo-electric cells on the sail can drive its motor.

Uncrewed v2

Congratulations to our graduates

In June and again in December we celebrated our Basic Common Trainees and Junior Officers becoming our newest members of the Royal New Zealand Navy, graduating with pride in front of families and friends and ready to embark on the next stage of their careers.

Navy graduation