The Royal New Zealand Navy is hosting a 15-nation International Naval Review to mark the 75th anniversary of its existence.
The review is scheduled to take place in Auckland next month and is set to see at least 20 vessels and a number of aircraft take part in exercises and manifestations.
For the first time in over 30 years, a US Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key.
“I am pleased to announce that the USS Sampson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s International Naval Review in November,” Key said.
“Under New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation I am required to be satisfied that any foreign military ship entering New Zealand is not nuclear armed. I have granted this approval after careful consideration of the advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”
Rear Admiral John Martin, New Zealand Chief of Navy, said the RNZN and the NZDF were looking forward to welcoming the ships and personnel from the countries taking part.
The International Naval Review starts on Thursday, November 17, with the entry of the fleet into Waitemata Harbour. Vessels will then berth either at Ports of Auckland or Devonport Naval Base.
“This year the Royal New Zealand Navy is celebrating 75 years of service to our nation and contributing towards the prosperity and security of New Zealand,” said Rear Admiral Martin.
“We celebrate the nation’s commitment to its Navy, honour and acknowledge the service of New Zealanders who have served at sea and look forward with confidence and excitement to the next 75 years.”
In addition to the entry of the fleet into Waitemata Harbour on November 17, a “1000-sailor” march down Queen Street is planned for November 18. Then on November 19 the formal International Naval Review will be held, during which the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, will review the assembled ships, in a centuries-old naval tradition.
“It’s a significant exercise to host such an event; one that will showcase the Navy, the NZDF and New Zealand,” said Rear Admiral Martin.
On Sunday, November 20, an open day will be held, during which the public will be able to board participating naval vessels.