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Royal New Zealand Navy facts for kids

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Royal New Zealand Navy
Māori: Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa
20110928 WN S1015660 0018.jpg - Flickr - NZ Defence Force.jpg
Navy units, Cook Strait 2011
Clockwise from front: Otago, Wellington, Te Mana, Canterbury
Founded 1 October 1941; 80 years ago (1941-10-01)
Country New Zealand
Type Navy
Role Naval Warfare
Size Personnel:
  • 2,050 Regular
  • 392 Reserve
  • 108 civilian staff


  • 2 Frigates
  • 4 Patrol vessels
  • 1 Strategic sealift ship
Part of New Zealand Defence Force
Garrison/HQ Devonport Naval Base
Motto(s) Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa, "Warriors of the Sea of New Zealand")
March Quick – Heart of Oak Slow – E Pari Ra
Mascot(s) Anchor
Anniversaries 1 October 1941 (founded)
Engagements World War II
Korean War
Malayan Emergency
Cross border attacks in Sabah
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Iran–Iraq War
Gulf War
Solomon Islands
East Timor
Operation Enduring Freedom
Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief Dame Patsy Reddy
Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short
Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor
Warrant officer of the Navy WO Wayne Dyke
Naval ensign Naval Ensign of New Zealand.svg
Naval jack Flag of New Zealand.svg
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite

The Royal New Zealand Navy is the navy of New Zealand. It is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. As of 2012 the Navy includes twelve ships. Five Naval helicopters are operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The Navy was formed during World War II in 1942. Prior to that the Royal Navy had protected New Zealand.


The Navy's fleet is grouped into four groups (also called forces).

  • Naval Combat Force: The Navy's fighting ships (frigates).
  • Naval Patrol Force: The Navy's patrol boats.
  • Logistics Support Force: The Navy's support ships (e.g. tankers).
  • Littoral Warfare Support Group: The Navy's coastal forces.

Air support uses the SH-2G Seasprite helicopter. They are operated by both the Navy and Air Force. They are part of No. 6 Squadron RNZAF. The helicopters mainly serve on HMNZS Canterbury, the frigates and the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

Current Role

  • Defence: "to secure New Zealand from external threat, to protect our sovereign interests, including in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and to be able to take action to meet likely contingencies in our strategic area of interest."
  • International Participation: Supporting peace-keeping and other missions around the globe.
  • Civilian Support: Helping Government agencies such as customs.


The Navy has one base in Auckland Harbour called the Devonport Naval Base. It is named after the naval base in Plymouth, Britain. The base includes harbour facilities for the whole fleet. It also includes a dry-dock, once the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Navy's school.


On 1 July 2007 the RNZN had a total of 2,034 Regular Force personnel, 237 Naval Reserve personnel and 378 civilian employees, totalling 2,699. Around 1800 of that total are based at the Devonport Naval base in Auckland.

On 1 January 2011 the RNZN consisted of 2,135 Regular Force personnel, 332 Naval Reserve personnel and 375 civilian staff.


This is not a complete list of all Royal Navy vessels. It is a simplified version of only the major units for simplicity.

Anzac Class Frigate

HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) is one of the navy's two frigates. She entered service in 1997. Her name means strength in Maori. She has served in the Persian Gulf and Solomon Islands.

HMNZS Te Mana (F111) is one of the navy's two frigates. She entered service in 1999. Her name means authority in Maori. She is regularly sent to the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman on patrol.

Canterbury Class MRV

HMNZS Canterbury (L421) is the navy's flagship. She entered service in 2007. She is named after one of the big cities in New Zealand, Canterbury. The last HMNZS Canterbury was a famous ship in the Navy. She can do a variety of roles to support the Navy and Army. She has responded to all of the major disasters in Australia and New Zealand since her commissioning.

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