Navy dive ship to be decommissioned

By Aroha Treacher

The Navy's dive ship HMNZS Manawanui is on its final tour around New Zealand before being decommissioned in February next year, though one of the smallest ships in the fleet its ship's company has been at the forefront of countless rescue efforts and disaster relief.

HMNZS Manawanui may be small, but she's lived up to her name "big heart" by being at the forefront of many an international crisis.

"She's been involved in Bougainville peace talks, Solomon Island peace talks and other activities around New Zealand and the South Pacific doing body recoveries, recovering aircraft and ships from around the Pacific she's a busy little ship and she has a great dive capability," says Lieutenant Commander Muzz Kennett.

Kennett has a career in the Navy spanning more than 40 years and says the crew are active locally as well like when the dive team helped to rescue the infamous story of former Navy diver Rob Hewitt who was lost at sea for three nights.

"Manawanui's rep is pretty big for a small ship I have noticed myself there is only two divers that ever post to Manawanui and some people take it as a privilege to be posted to Manawanui," says Douglas.

Her many duties have seen her travel the equivalent of seven times around the world, serving the New Zealand government for 30 years.

"Well it's all about the people so even though the platform it's sad that we get to lose Manawanui I'll be more upset about losing that contact with the people that I've been working with for the last two years as their commanding officer," says Kennett.

She will be officially decommissioned in February will no announcement yet as to what type of vessel will take her place in the naval fleet.