Homeward Bound
(Source: Royal New Zealand Navy; updated June 23, 2020)
Aotearoa, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new Maritime Sustainment Vessel, departed South Korea on 10 June on her 16-day journey to New Zealand.

Not only the newest addition to Navy’s fleet, Aotearoa will also be the largest-ever ship the Navy has had. A purpose-built, technologically enhanced asset that will add real value to the Navy’s combat operations, humanitarian relief functions, operational and training support and resupply missions for Government Agency partners such as a DOC, MPI, MetService and MFAT.

She will provide global sustainment to New Zealand and coalition maritime, land and air units, through resupply of ship and aviation fuel, dry goods, water, spare parts and ammunition. And her ability to carry up 14 x twenty-foot shipping containers (or double stacked maximum 22), a Seasprite or NH90 helicopter and high capacity fresh water desalination plants (enough to produce 100,000 litres a day) will make her invaluable in a HADR response.

Aotearoa has been built to adhere to Polar Code safety regulations and is ice strengthened to Polar Class level 6 for Southern Ocean monitoring and Antarctic operations including the resupply of McMurdo Station and Scott Base.

The contract to build the $493 million Aotearoa was awarded to South Korea’s Hyundai heavy Industries – the same company that built her predecessor, Endeavour. On 29 January 2018 the steel was first cut for her construction and, now, 2.5 years later she will sail into Auckland Harbour on Friday 26 June at 1000.

New Plymouth will be the Home Port of Aotearoa which continues the long-standing relationship the Navy have had with the wider Taranaki area. Her Excellency Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor General of New Zealand, is the Ship Sponsor. The formal Commissioning ceremony for Aotearoa is anticipated to be late next month.

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