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Royal New Zealand Navy

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The RNZN is a small but mega-efficient naval service which at present runs 11 ships from its base at Devonport, Auckland, which is lovely. Not to be confused with Devonport, Devonport which is 50 shades of grim.

The fleet is broadly broken down into a deployable combat force of 2 frigates and a support vessel, a multipurpose vessel (like a mini Bay Class), 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels, several Inshore Patrol Vessels and a diving vessel. The RNZ Air Force supply maritime helicopters from No. 6 Squadron. The RNZN hasn’t got the time, interest or money in pouring billions down a procurement hole to ‘maintain the drumbeat’ or whatever we call it here. If they need a bit of kit, they buy it off the shelf and use the savings to train their people up the yingyang.

The Inshore Patrol Vessels have reservists on their crews, so as part of the recruiting push the RNZNR can actually offer volunteers the chance of going to sea.

In port, for ceremonial, in addition to the usual volunteer band-type thing, members of RNZN ship’s companies can volunteer to be on the Haka squad, which is a bit like being guard of honour but with more sticking your tongue out while wearing a grass skirt and bellowing.

There were 2 Kiwi Officers doing Marine Engineering on my SEMC at HMS SULTAN, who were both legends, who drank like Vikings and who were several kinds of hard. After the first long weekend at SULTAN Wardroom (imagine an infinite gulf of time and space in which nothing ever happens, ever), they realised that steps had to be taken to prevent assisted-suicide levels of boredom, so they went to the SULTAN car club (like an elephant's graveyard, but for cars), selected the most suitable jalopy and set to work. Within 4 days of continuous night shifts in and around the course, they had got themselves a running vehicle. If not quite roadworthy, or indeed legal, with bits of tinfoil acting as fuses etc, etc. In this car they went on a road trip every weekend. At the end of their course, they presented the car to the 25-person Canadian intake who had started their course. The car never moved again, and the Wardroom was full of bored Canadians every weekend. Thus, New Zealand and Canada.

The RNZN are on the constant rob for ex-RN personnel. Cons: you don’t get to work with cutting-edge kit. Pros: it looks like a laugh, and Eric Pickles doesn’t live there.