New Zealand Navy chooses Gisborne as homeport for new vessel

The ship is expected to be in service with the RNZN by November 2019. Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

Gisborne has been chosen as the honorary homeport for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) newly purchased dive and hydrographic vessel.

In late August, the country’s government approved the purchase of the 85-meter Edda Fonn, a 15-year-old survey and light construction vessel.

The ship will replace the decommissioned dive tender HMNZS Manawanui and hydrographic survey ship HMNZS Resolution.

Edda Fonn will be renamed HMNZS Manawanui, the fourth RNZN ship to bear that name.

As explained, Gisborne was chosen as the homeport for the new Manawanui because it was the homeport of HMNZS Resolution and HMNZS Monowai. Resolution paid a final visit to Gisborne before she was decommissioned in 2012.

“We have a proud association with the Royal NZ Navy and we welcome the Manawanui with open berths,” Mayor Meng Foon said.

The practice of homeports relates to the awarding of charters to individual ships and the name of the ship. HMNZS Resolution had a charter with Gisborne, which gave permission for the ship’s company to conduct formal parades in the district.

Commander Matt Wray, a hydrographic survey officer and the last commanding officer of HMNZS Resolution, said a ship’s visit to its homeport was an occasion the ship’s company looked forward to.

“It’s really pleasing for me to see our traditional link with Gisborne renewed with the hydrographic trade, and now the diving trade,” he commented.

Once commissioned in New Zealand, HMNZS Manawanui will have final modifications and be in service by November 2019. The budget for the project is NZ$103 million.

Minister of Defense, Ron Mark described the vessel as a great addition to the RNZN, filling capability gaps in diving, salvage and hydrography.

“It will be in service three years earlier than a purpose-built ship would have been,” he said.

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