As a young boy, Upper Hutt’s Barry Dulieu got an early taste of helming a ship and, thanks to the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, has fulfilled his dream of a career at sea – which hasn’t finished yet.

The 68-year-old was recently in Auckland for an exercise which provided Reservists an opportunity to understand how their role supports the Navy’s operations. 

Able Seaman Dulieu, an active member of the Wellington Naval Reserve Division, HMNZS Olphert, has good insight into that role.

When he was six years old, he travelled on the interisland ferry Tamahine on an open bridge day and got the chance to steer the ship. A seed was planted that set him on a maritime course for the rest of his life. 

He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1972 and then again in 2005.

“I joined the Naval Reserve because of my love of the sea, ships and the general marine environment. It also felt good to be able to serve my country.

“In my time in the Reserve I have been lucky enough to be part of the crew on many Royal New Zealand Navy ships, helping other government agencies do their work. I’ve met some fine and interesting people.

“In 2013 I spent six months on the inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo carrying out a variety of tasks along New Zealand’s coast.

“In 2017 I joined the Navy team on Exercise Southern Katipo - the combined NZDF exercise with all three services and international participants covering the West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough regions.

“A small team of us were given role playing tasks to test the systems and personnel of the exercise. My role varied from being an antagonistic evacuee causing trouble, to storming a ship and trying to disrupt things.

“In 2020 I was back at sea again on the offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington for two weeks while the Navy assisted the Ministry for Primary Industries investigating fishing vessels.

“I have always been involved with some sort of training throughout the years. Courses like general seamanship, sea survival training, weapons training, the rigid-hulled inflatable boat coxswain’s course, law of armed conflict and other small courses have all helped shape my role as a Reservist,” Able Seaman Dulieu said.

“More recently being a part of the RESERVEX 21 activity in Auckland gave me more of an appreciation of my fellow Reservists. They are all loyal, dependable and motivated people.”

Able Seaman Dulieu worked as a carpentry tutor for WelTec before retirement.

“My wife Dianne is extremely supportive of my work and I always had very good employers who have supported and encouraged me to fulfil my efforts in military training,” he said.

Four years ago he and Dianne moved to Picton, where he is a member of the Marlborough Coast Guard. It changed his involvement with HMNZS Olphert and he now collates reports on merchant shipping movements for two regional ports. 

Assistant Chief of Navy (Reserves) Captain Phillip O'Connell said that Naval Reservists provide a valued, flexible workforce of skilled professionals.

“They support Navy delivery from the front line at sea and ashore to senior management. Modern Reservists are a blended mix of personnel,” he said. 

“Some are people who have signed up for part-time service as an adjunct to their civilian careers. Others are ex-Regular Force personnel who have transitioned to civilian careers or are taking time out from fulltime service for reasons such as whanau needs and further education.”

If you are interested in serving while maintaining your civilian career, or thinking of leaving the NZDF to start a civilian career and wanting to maintain your service links, then we want to hear from you. Your civilian and military qualifications, skills and experience will set you in good stead to become a Reservist, and we can in most cases design and tailor a career pathway that will be rewarding for you and support Navy aims today and into the future. Visit defencecareers.mil.nz(external link) for more information. 

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