Last week, the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) kicked off the much-awaited International Naval Review as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.
The five-day Review, held in Auckland Harbor, began on November 17 with visiting ships from 15 countries and was the highlight of year-long anniversary celebrations. Events included the entry of the fleet into Waitemata Harbor, a “1,000 Sailor” march down Queen Street on November 18, and the Fleet Review itself on the afternoon of November 19, after which the ships would be open to visitors.
The Fleet Review itself occurred on Waitemata Harbor, with the reviewing officer, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and other dignitaries embarking on the HMNZS Otago and then being escorted around the review line.
According to the RNZN, the foreign vessels in the review line included Singapore’s RSS Resolution, Japan’s JDS Takanami, South Korea’s ROKS Chungbuk, Australia’s HMAS Dechaineux, Indonesia’s KRI Banda Aceh, China’s CNS Yancheng, and India’s INS Sumitra.
Earlier, the Review had been overshadowed by a deadly 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the town of Kaikoura last Monday and required the help of the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF). New Zealand had also accepted offers of help from countries who were sending ships for the review, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Singapore, according to Defense Minister Gary Brownlee.
Most of the attention was on the United States, with the first U.S. warship to visit New Zealand in more than 30 years diverting to help evacuate stranded people. The ship marked another step in the normalization of security ties, which had been estranged following Wellington’s ban on nuclear-armed or powered vessels in 1984.
But there were also other engagements that occurred on the sidelines of the celebrations. For instance, prior to the Review, Singapore’s RSS Resolution participated in Exercise Lion Zeal, a bilateral exercise with the RNZN, from November 13 to 14.
Ahead of the Review, Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin said he appreciated the effort of other ships and personnel from the countries taking part in an occasion that would showcase the Navy and the country’s defense forces more generally.
“The Royal New Zealand Navy appreciates the attendance of our allies, friends, and partners at our celebrations,” he said.