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Our structure

The Royal New Zealand Navy is led by the Chief of Navy. Our Navy is comprised of Naval Staff and the Maritime Component Command. We also have a number of personnel in Defence Logisitics Command (Maritime) who provide logistics support for our Navy. Regular Force personnel make up the majority of our numbers and the Naval Reserve provide valued additional support.

Our civilian staff support our Navy at all levels, often bringing specialist expertise and performing a wide range of functions to enhance overall defence capabilities.

Naval Staff

Naval Staff is our Navy's headquarters. It provides support to the Chief of Navy to raise, train and sustain the Royal New Zealand Navy. The Naval Staff purpose is to:

  • command, lead and manage Navy personnel;
  • develop, implement and monitor Navy strategy;
  • develop and deliver training and career management of Navy personnel appropriate to the strategic needs of the Navy;
  • manage the regulatory requirements of NZDF's maritime domain – including seaworthiness, construction and engineering;
  • manage the resources allocated to Navy effectively and efficiently; and
  • foster culture based on Navy's ethos and values.

Maritime Component Command

The Maritime Component Commander (MCC) is responsible to the Chief of Navy for the command and readiness of the Fleet and the specialist teams that deliver on the Navy’s mission, outputs and outcomes. This includes capability generation, training, evaluation, and all operational activities that the fleet undertake.

Additionally, the Maritime Component Commander is responsible to the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand for the command and conduct of maritime operations and provision of the naval contribution to Defence Force outputs.

Ships of the Fleet

The Royal New Zealand Navy operates nine ships. The fleet's capability covers combat, patrol, littoral, hydrographic, and replenishment at sea functions.

HMNZS Matataua

Matataua provides deployable maritime capabilities to conduct operations that safeguard access to the harbours, inshore waters and littoral zones of New Zealand and wherever NZDF deployed forces are required to operate. Matataua is based on small, deployable, mission-based detachments utilising a wide range of equipment, platforms and tools to achieve its objectives. It is capable of being rapidly deployed by air, sea and land into operational areas. Specialist teams within the groups can be quickly assembled into a composite force. The groups are:

  • The Military Hydrographic Group (MHG)
  • The Clearance Diving Group (CDG)
  • The Logistics Support Group (LSG)

In 2017, the unit officially became HMNZS Matataua. It was previously known as the Littoral Warfare Unit. Matataua means ‘Eyes of the Warrior’ - a fitting name for a unit of divers, hydrographers and surveyors, who go before the main force to identify and contain any dangers that lie ahead.

Matataua is able to operate off our dive and hydrographic vessel, HMNZS Manawanui and from two Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) boats Takapu and Tarapunga.

Naval Aviation – No. 6 Squadron

No. 6 Squadron is based at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland and is one of the force elements under the command of the Air Component Commander (ACC), Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand.

The helicopters are deployed from Base Auckland to HMNZ Ships Te Kaha, Te Mana, Canterbury, Otago and Wellington. When onboard Te Kaha and Te Mana the aircraft fulfil a combat and surveillance role as well as providing transport and vertical replenishment capability. When deployed onboard Canterbury, Otago and Wellington the aircraft are primarily tasked to provide surveillance, reconnaissance, transport and vertical replenishment capabilities.

No. 6 Squadron regularly supports the operations of other government agencies.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has flown Seasprite helicopters since 1998 with the then Kaman SH-2F and the SH-2G(NZ) since 2001. In 2016, the NZDF transitioned to the “I” variant.

The Super Seasprite is one of the most technologically advanced helicopters in the world. Manufactured by Kaman Aerosystems, the Super Seasprite SH-2G "I" variant was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 14 April 2016. 

Defence Logistics Command (Maritime)

Defence Logistics Command (Maritime) provides a range of logistics services necessary to sustain our fleet through its life. Defence Logistics Command (Maritime) consists of:

  • Fleet Engineering Authority
  • Supply Chain Group
  • Future Fleet Sustainment

Naval Reserve

The Naval Volunteer Reserve is a part-time force of around 500 people. Members of our Reserve crew ships of the Naval Patrol and can support our Regular Force at sea and overseas on deployment. They support small ship engineering maintenance and shore duties in the Naval Base at Devonport. And they provide specialist advice, often bringing their civilian skillsets to support Navy priorities.

Reservists can come from all walks of life. They might be people with regular jobs, tertiary students or full-time parents. They get paid for the time they spend as a member of the Naval Reserve.

There are four main Naval Reserve units located in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The Auckland unit maintains a sub unit in the large port of Tauranga. The units all have their own training headquarters and are each commanded by a senior Reserve officer. Each unit is a commissioned ship that bears a 'Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship' (HMNZS) name. Each unit has between 30 and 80 Naval Reserve personnel. The most senior officer is Captain Naval Reserve, who acts as principal advisor to the Chief of Navy on Reserve issues.