02 June, 2022
The 28-year-old Leading Seaman Combat Specialist, of Ngāti Kahu, Kai Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou descent, has served with the Royal New Zealand Navy around New Zealand, the Pacific, Asia and Antarctica and his next task will be part of the 40-strong NZDF contingent marching through London as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
Alongside around 2,000 personnel from Commonwealth militaries, the 40-strong marching party will pay tribute to the head of New Zealand’s Armed Forces.
Ahead of the Pageant, as the contingent prepares at a British Army Camp in Surrey, he joked he volunteered for the role because “I have served the Queen for nine years and think it’s about time I meet her”.
But it is deeper than that.
“I think it’s quite amazing that she has served her country for so long and has seen more history than most.”
During World War II, Queen Elizabeth joined the Auxillary Territorial Service on turning 18 and trained as a mechanic. LSCS Gibbons-Hiko respected that commitment to service.
“I think it’s awesome, especially noting that the services of her era were a lot rougher and probably weren’t the most ideal place for wāhine, yet she still went for it and proved that she’s just as tough as anyone else.”
LSCS Gibbons-Hiko said he felt that most when he was aboard HMNZS Wellington during the Kaikoura earthquake and transferred people from land to ship “so locals and tourists alike could escape and feel safer”.
“To me, nothing will ever top the feeling of being able to help our own people.”