NZ Navy ships deployed to Pacific


New Zealand naval ships and Orion aircraft will next week begin a three-month patrol mission in partnership with six Pacific Island nations.

Radio New Zealand reports, that Defence Minister Peeni Henare announced the HMNZS Wellington offshore patrol vessel, and HMNZS Manawanui offshore support vessel would be taking part in Operation Mahi Tahi.

It will involve patrolling to deter illegal fishing, and monitoring explosive remnants of war, in partnership with Fiji, Niue, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa and Vanuatu.

The mission would also help with fisheries sector training and capacity, humanitarian aid and disaster relief planning, and boost engagement with the Pacific Defence Gender Network.

Henare said it would also include patrols by Orion aircraft.

“Last week’s Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Fiji reinforced New Zealand’s deep and long-lasting connections within the region, and reaffirmed the concept of regionalism and a Pacific-led approach to deliver regional peace and security,” Henare said.

“The Pacific is who we are as well as where we are. The challenges our region faces are New Zealand’s too which is why the region is both a foreign policy and defence priority for the government.”