NZ Naval Board Report – 1953



THE Royal New Zealand Navy is controlled by the New Zealand Naval Board, established by the Naval Defence Amendment Act 1950.
The Board consists of:
The Minister of Defence (Chairman).
A Captain R.N., with the rank of Commodore (as First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff).
A Captain R.N. (as Second Naval Member).
A Captain (S), R.N. (as Third Naval Member).
An officer of the New Zealand Public Service as Navy Secretary.
Captain (S) M. H. Knott, O.B.E., R.N., was relieved as Third Naval Member on 20 July 1953 by Captain (S) R. A. J. Owen, R.N. Captain J. E. Slaughter, D.S.O., R.N., was relieved as Second Naval Member on 8 October 1953, by Captain V. J. H. Van der Byl, D.S.C., R.N.

THE Royal New Zealand Navy maintained two frigates continuously as its contribution to the United Nations Forces in the Korean area from 3 July 1950-only three days after the New Zealand Government decided to contribute to the United Nations Forces in Korea-until March 1954, when KANIERE returned to New Zealand, leaving only one frigate, PUKAKI, on the Far East station. This effort involved all six of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s frigates and eight completed tours of duty, and about half the total complement of the Royal New Zealand Navy had seen service in Korea. During the period of hostilities the frigates steamed a total of 339,584 miles and fired 71,625 rounds of ammunition. Total personnel involved, numbered 1,350, one rating being killed in action during ROTOITI’S first tour. Naval personnel were awarded the following decorations: D.S.C., 7; D.S.M., 2; M.B.E., 1; Mentioned in Despatches, 14; posthumous Mentioned in Despatches, 1.

Editors Note: Ab Smn RE Marchioni, MiD, RNZN KIA 25 Aug 51 was killed on a landing party in North Korean territory seeking to capture North Koreans for interogation. This party was made of personnel from HMNZS Rotoiti and HMS Ceylon. As a result of being detected by the guards after one of the party made a noise they came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire. The AB Marchioni was killed instantly. Another sailor AB Norm Scholes picked up his body and carried him for many miles back towards the waiting boats. Despite continual requests to the Royal Marines from HMS Ceylon for help with his burden none was forthcoming and Scholes eventually had to abandon his shipmate. It is not known what happened to Marchioni’s body although efforts continue to be made. He is wrongly shown in some records of NZ casualties as ‘drowned, body not recovered’. (May 2004) This was the subject of a TV story for Anzac Day 2004. It was also in the ‘Colour of War but wrongly attributed as being a raid mounted by the NZ Army.
AB Norm Scholes was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, not for this operation or for his fruitless efforts to return the body of his shipmate home, but for his conduct during a previous successful operation of the same type.
It is understood that no further missions of this type were ever attempted again. Brian told me that the landing party had carried out training with Ceylon previously back in Japan.

Other RNZN Personnel who died during Korea [DOAS died on active service]
of various illnesses and are buried in the UN Cemetary Pusan Korea.

Ord Smn WH Cooper, RNZN DOAS 29 Jul 50
Tel PJ Mollinson, RNZN DOAS 29 Oct 57
Ab Smn T. te H. Taiatini, RNZN DOAS 23 Aug 55
Ab Smn D Waitapu, RNZN DOAS 25 Nov 55

David Jasper with assistance from Brian Burford

The Royal New Zealand Navy throughout this period contributed to the United Nations effort by intercepting pirate attacks on shipping, beating off invasion attempts, and making commando landings to take prisoners. Most of their time, however, was spent in arduous patrols off the coast bombarding shore targets. From the cease-fire on 28 July 1953 the Royal New Zealand Navy maintained two frigates on the Far Eastern station policing the armistice agreement until March 1954, since when the contribution has been reduced to one.

In February 1954 the administrative control of the frigate in the Korean area was given to the Commander-in-Chief, Far East station. This does not mean a reduction in New Zealand’s naval contribution to the United Nations since the frigate still spends much of her time in Korean waters, but it does simplify administration, gives New Zealand ships an opportunity of working with units of the Royal Navy, and, by permitting visits to Hong Kong and Singapore, introduces some variety for the ship’s company who would otherwise spend a year between Korea and Japan.


The Royal New Zealand Navy’s cruiser BLACK PRINCE left New Zealand in March 1953 and joined H.M.A.S. SYDNEY for the cruise to the United Kingdom to attend the Coronation and represent the Royal New Zealand Navy in the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead. Traveling in BLACK PRINCE was the Navy’s Coronation Contingent which numbered thirty six. Included in the contingent were sixteen members of the ship’s company of BLACK PRINCE, one R.N.Z.N.R. officer, one R.N.Z.N.V.R. officer, and eight ratings, one ex World War II officer and seven ratings, and one Royal New Zealand Navy officer in the mounted escort. One representative of the W.R.N.Z.N.S. travelled by passenger ship and joined the contingent in the United Kingdom. The Royal New Zealand Navy’s Coronation Contingent marched in the Coronation Procession. On the way the two ships called at Tobruk and Malta, where memorial services were held.

After the Coronation and the Naval Review, BLACK PRINCE left the United Kingdom on 16 June 1953 and carried out a two-month attachment to the: Mediterranean Fleet under the command of Admiral the Earl Mountbatten of Burma. At the conclusion of the exercises BLACK PRINCE accompanied the Fleet to Greece, where wreaths were laid on the Anzac Memorial, and to Turkey, where the New Zealanders and a detachment of Turkish troops combined in ceremonies of remembrance at Gallipoli. BLACK PRINCE then returned to Malta, and was preparing to return home when she was diverted to give assistance at the Ionian Islands, which had suffered severe earthquakes. The ship’s personnel helped in rescue operations until 19 August, their most prominent feat being the restoration of power supply in Argostoli. BLACK PRINCE then resumed the voyage home through the Indian Ocean, calling at Djakarta in September, and so being the first New Zealand warship to visit the Republic of Indonesia. She returned to New Zealand on 29 September. BLACK PRINCE again left New Zealand on 6 February to represent New Zealand at the Tasmanian 150th Anniversary Celebrations at Hobart, and returned to New Zealand on 26 February.


HAWEA, newly re-commissioned, left New Zealand in January 1954 for Sydney, and after working up sailed at the beginning of February for the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, which groups are within the New Zealand Naval Station. . HAWEA was enthusiastically received at these islands, being the first New Zealand ship to visit the Gilberts since June 1950, and the first to call at the Ellice Islands since September 1951.


The Royal New Zealand Navy played an important part in the Royal tour of New Zealand in December 1953 to January 1954. The cruiser BLACK PRINCE took over the escort of the Royal Yacht GOTHIC from H.M.S. SHEFFIELD at the northern limits of the New Zealand Naval Station on 12 December. On 17 December Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh came aboard BLACK PRINCE. Her Majesty inspected the Royal Guard, the ship’s company marched past, and the Queen talked with senior officers and junior representatives of all departments of the ship.

When the Royal Yacht GOTHIC entered the Auckland Harbour on 23 December she was led in by the survey ship LACHLAN and escorted by the minesweepers KIWI and TUI and three naval motor launches. The Guard of Honour awaiting the Queen on the Auckland wharf was composed of compulsory Naval Reserve entries to the Royal New Zealand Navy.
On 24 December the Queen visited the Devonport Naval Base and presented the first Queen’s Colour to the Royal New Zealand Navy. During the Royal visit to Waitangi the Royal New Zealand Navy again provided the Guard of Honour.

BLACK PRINCE visited Wellington, Lyttelton, Dunedin, and Bluff, where her ship’s company, along with members of the local Reserve Divisions, provided street-lining parties for the Royal visits. She then resumed escort duty on GOTHIC’s departure from Bluff, handing this duty over to H.M.A.S. AUSTRALIA on 1 February 1954.


In August 1953 H.M. Submarine TACTICIAN arrived in New Zealand to carry out exercises with units of the Royal New Zealand Navy at Auckland, Lyttelton, Wellington, Picton, and Dunedin. TACTICIAN exercised with KIWI and TUI, with members of the Auckland Division of the R.N.Z.N.V.R. embarked, and with aircraft of the R.N.Z.A.F. off Auckland, and with KIWI, with members of the Canterbury Division of the R.N.Z.N.V.R. embarked, off Lyttelton.

The Australian aircraft carrier H.M.A.S. SYDNEY arrived in New Zealand on 10 August 1953 to disembark the Army Coronation Contingent at Auckland.

The Australian cruiser H.M.A.S. AUSTRALIA arrived in New Zealand in September 1953 on a goodwill and training visit. AUSTRALIA carried sixty reservists completing their annual sea training, and visited Wellington, Lyttelton, and Milford Sound before leaving New Zealand on 4 October.

The Canadian cruiser H.M.C.S. ONTARIO arrived in New Zealand in February 1954 on a brief visit. ONTARIO was on an extended cruise in southern waters in connection with the 150th Anniversary Celebrations in Tasmania. ONTARIO arrived in New Zealand, touching at Milford Sound, on 25 February, and paying courtesy calls at Dunedin from 27 February to 1 March, and Wellington from 2 March to 6 March.


The survey ship LACHLAN has continued to make good progress on the survey of the New Zealand coast line. Eleven charts have been published and more are in preparation. The charts completed are Cook Strait, Wellington Harbour, Cape Saunders – Nugget Point, Nugget Point – Centre Island (including Foveaux Strait), Paterson Inlet, Bluff Harbour, Otago Harbour, Lyttelton Harbour, Plans in Cook Strait, Cape Palliser – Kaikoura, Kaikoura – Banks Peninsula. Shipping companies, Harbour Boards, and other marine authorities have commented favourably on the standard of the charts produced. The valuable assistance and the co-operation of the Lands and Survey Department and of the Government Printer in the production of these charts is recorded.

LACHLAN sailed for Fiji in May 1953, during the New Zealand winter, to complete the survey of the Suva area and to carry out surveying around Apia. LACHLAN returned to New Zealand in July.

In October LACHLAN stood-by in mid-Tasman during the international Air Race and broadcast at intervals so that competitors could fix their positions, and to supply weather forecasts.

All compulsory and volunteer naval reservists are required to carry out at least one week’s sea training each year in addition to their part-time training with the Volunteer Reserve Division to which they are attached.

During the year the corvettes KIWI and TUI have been fully occupied providing this training, and, in addition, have given hundreds of Sea Cadets their first experience of the Navy at sea. With the reduction of commitments in Korea it was possible to release the frigate HA WEA to assist with this training. This additional ship will greatly ease the burden placed on KIWI and TUI in the past and provide for more varied training of reservists.


This year 219 adults and 185 boys carried out training in TAMAKI, the basic training establishment on Motuihi Island, in the Haurakl Gulf. Training progressed smoothly for all intakes in spite of the many handicaps inherent in the establishment.

The Royal Guard provided by TAMAKI on three occasions comprised 86 compulsory naval reservists, 10 continuous service ordinary seamen, with 4 Petty Officers as markers. In addition, 24 boys were combined with the Royal Marine Band as drummers and buglers, and paraded on each occasion of the mounting of the Royal Guard.

In addition to regular recruits, 301 compulsory naval reservists completed training at TAMAKI last year and were drafted to the four Volunteer Reserve Divisions for part-time training.

A system of ” follow up ” reports for seaman boys has been instituted whereby ships send to TAMAKI reports on the ability and conduct of boys three months after leaving TAMAKI, which has proved interesting and useful in giving an indication of what aspects of seamanship and naval life have been insufficiently stressed during the training period.

During the year a total of 13 ratings was drafted to TAMAKI for the two higher educational test courses, which were held. Passes were satisfactory, two candidates qualified educationally for commissioned rank and one for branch rank. A voluntary school was held three evenings a week to provide extra educational coaching. Four continuous service ratings and one compulsory naval reservist were placed under observation for possible promotion to officer rank.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain training at a high level in TAMAKI. Accommodation and facilities are inadequate and the equipment provided for instructional purposes is in many cases out-moded. The preparation of plans for rebuilding this establishment have presented many problems, most of which have now been resolved, and it is hoped to commence the actual rebuilding in the coming year. It is proposed that the rebuilding be carried out in five phases so that the continuity of training will not be unduly interrupted.

The extensions to the Naval Communications Centre in Wellington have allowed for the modernization of this important link in Commonwealth communications. The internal teleprinter services have been reorganized with maximum flexibility, and ultimately control of all naval broadcasts at present operated from IRIRANGI will be possible. The design of the cypher and message handling arrangements has demonstrated the benefits of these new facilities for control of traffic, and in the event of an emergency the present layout would be satisfactory.

The technical development of IRIRANGI, the naval wireless station at Waiouru, has been further progressed during the year. A second transmitter building was completed, the power-reticulation scheme commenced, and the old transmitter building re-erected as an extension to the receiver building. The result of these developments was most noticeable at the December rush period, when the standard of overseas circuits showed considerable improvement over previous years.

The transmission of Her Majesty the Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast was the major event of the year for IRIRANGI. As a result of the railway disaster at Tangiwai all line communications with Auckland were severed less than twenty-four hours before Her Majesty was due to speak, and the success of the broadcast can in no small manner be attributed to the swift and competent manner in which the Post and Telegraph Department repaired these lines. The success of the part played by IRIRANGI in transmitting this speech is evident from the report of the British Broadcasting Corporation that IRIRANGl’s direct route broadcast was almost entirely used for the rebroadcast to home and overseas listeners.

Naval personnel from H.M.N.Z.S. IRIRANGI, the Naval WIT Station at Waiouru, gave excellent service at the scene of the railway disaster at Tangiwai on 24 December 1953. Approximately 75 per cent of the ship’s company were on Christmas leave, and only thirty-five ratings and five officers were available to offer assistance. The first party left IRIRANGI only ten minutes after the news was received, and a second party was on its way a few minutes later. Search parties were organized and a rope ladder rigged across the gap between the east bank of the Wangaehu River and the collapsed road bridge, and this enabled the searching for victims to be continued on the other side. A further party from IRIRANGI gave assistance at the Waiouru Railway Station. Tea and sandwiches were provided for survivors and passengers from a later train, and the public address system from IRIRANGI was installed there. A number of ratings and their wives organized a party and provided food, clothing, and money to survivors.

At IRIRANGI visiting officials were accommodated, and a temporary broadcasting studio was established with the assistance of a Post and Telegraph and a National Broadcasting officer who were in IRIRANGI for the relay of the Queen’s speech, and the Prime Minister (Mr Holland) was able to make a national broadcast within a very short period.

Search parties continued operating all next day, and rescue work continued until the morning of 29 December, when all unidentified bodies were moved to Wellington.

The efforts of the personnel at IRIRANGI were even more creditable by virtue of the fact that watchkeeping and other routine duties at the W IT station had to continue regardless of rest, and the majorities were either working or watchkeeping for over three days.


H.M.N.Z.S. PEGASUS, the new headquarters of the Canterbury Division of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve in Christchurch, was commissioned in July 1953. The more modern training facilities have been reflected in the standard reached by personnel of this division.


The shortage of housing accommodation in the Auckland area for naval personnel is still one of the main problems affecting the re-engagement of ratings. The approved programme allows for the construction of 403 units, and of these, 171 were completed and occupied at the end of the year under review. Although the figure of 71 units completed in the year compares more than favourably with previous figures, the coming year will see a decline in the availability of new houses due to fewer contracts being let during the past year. With additional contracts now in hand the position should to some extent rectify itself during the next eighteen months.

Plans and specifications for the Ngataringa Road multi-unit housing scheme are complete and are being finally checked. It is anticipated that tenders for this 88-unit project will be called early in the next financial year.


The planned development of the Dockyard at Devonport has been further progressed during the year. The space formerly occupied by the old cafeteria has been converted into a light electrical repair shop, and with the completion of the new paint shop the space occupied by the existing paint shop is to be converted into a heavy electrical repair shop. At Kauri Point Naval Armament Depot the first stage of construction of the new laboratory has been completed, and tenders have been called for the remainder of the work.


Stocks of naval and armament stores have been kept up to a generally satisfactory level. Reserve stocks are maintained to meet the demands of an emergency, when there will be a delay in obtaining further stocks from overseas sources of supply. The bulk of the equipment for fixed naval defences in New Zealand in time of war has been purchased and is held in store in New Zealand.

Sufficient equipment is on order to modernize one of the Bathurst Class ocean minesweepers, which were presented as a gift to New Zealand by the Australian Government in 1952. All four Bathursts were given extensive refits after arrival from Australia, and when modernization has been completed will be capable of carrying all types of ocean minesweeping equipment. It is planned to modernize the first of these minesweepers in 1955.

All other ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy have a remaining useful life of only eight to ten years. In addition, they are becoming incapable of efficiently carrying out their designed roles in view of the rapid advances in submarine speed and endurance. As new ships take two to three years to arrange for and build, and in order to avoid very heavy replacement costs at one time, a continuing ship-replacement programme has been prepared, by which it is hoped to provide the Royal New Zealand Navy with new ships capable of safeguarding our sea communications under conditions of modern warfare.


The object of the Merchant Navy defence courses held in Navy Office, Wellington, is to keep the personnel of the Merchant Navy informed of the measures that will be taken by the Royal New Zealand Navy for the protection of seaborne trade in time of war, and to make known to masters and officers of merchant ships the part they must play to ensure the maximum degree of safety to their ships. The course comprises one week’s lectures on such subjects as trade protection, convoy work, communications, radar, and defence against submarines and mines. The courses are being constantly brought up to date as new methods and defence weapons are devised. Six courses are held during the year at two-monthly intervals. During the year 136 officers, of whom 120 were from New Zealand registered ships and 16 from overseas vessels, attended the courses. The total number of officers who completed the course was 41. This is satisfactory.


Sport, varying from Rugby football to team marching, forms the main recreational avenue for personnel of the RN.Z.N. Not only is the Navy represented in the various competitive sports in Auckland and at all inter-service championships, but opportunity is taken when ships are away from New Zealand to participate against overseas teams.

The RNZN Surf and Life-saving Club, formed less than two years ago, is now strongly established. Not only does this club take an active part in surf competitions but it is fulfilling a most useful role in training personnel for the various awards of the Royal Life-saving Society, and carrying out patrol duties on various beaches during week-ends.

Purely naval competition is not neglected. Success was achieved in Australia by BLACK PRINCE when competing against ships from Canada, Ceylon, and Australia through her crews convincingly winning the naval section of the 1954 Royal Hobart Regatta.


The manning target of the Royal New Zealand Navy is to build up to a strength of 3,500 by 1958. This target provides the necessary number of ratings to man seagoing units of the proposed peacetime Navy, and a sufficient margin for training and the manning of shore establishments. Progress towards this target has been slower than desired in the twelve months under review. Both the standard and numbers of recruits obtained in New Zealand have been considerably lower than expected. The number of recruits obtained in the three recruiting tours of 1953 is approximately 100 short of the target figure of 425, and the recruiting methods and organization within New Zealand are now under review and may be changed in the near future

The Coronation year, which attracted people to remain in England, and the gradual relaxation of food rationing and the other unsettled post-war conditions in the United Kingdom has clearly had an effect on recruiting in the United Kingdom, which in 1953 was a particularly bad year. United Kingdom recruiting is now improving, but it is clear that the Royal New Zealand Navy cannot realize its manning target if the recruiting conditions both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom do not improve in forthcoming years. The manning situation for ratings in the Royal New Zealand Navy is also affected by lack of men re-engaging for a further term of service after their first active service engagement of eight years. This matter has been given serious consideration. It is true that the pay conditions attaching to service in the Royal New Zealand Navy now compare favourably with those offering in civilian life, but the shortage of labour in civilian life provides an abnormal attraction to young men reaching the end of their first engagements.

Considerable attention has been paid to the introduction of fixed commissions of at least eighteen months for all personnel, with a limitation on the period during that eighteen months that will be spent overseas. This follows the policy recently introduced by the Royal Navy and removes from the seagoing man’s lot one of the more irksome conditions prevailing in the past, the inability of a man to settle down in his ship and to plan his domestic life accordingly.

The revised scheme under which boys of secondary school education of approximately School Certificate standard are entered as artificer apprentices for eighteen months’ training in New Zealand, followed by approximately four years’ training in the United Kingdom, is proving extremely satisfactory. To date the numbers of boys entered on this scheme have been restricted by limitations of training facilities both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. These limitations are now being removed, and proposals are being considered to increase the numbers of boys accepted under this scheme to balance with the manning requirement of the Navy.

The Royal New Zealand Navy at present remains dependent upon seventy Royal Naval officers on loan to make up the officer complement. The Admiralty has indicated their embarrassment in fulfilling their wide loan commitments to the Commonwealth navies, and the question of reducing the number of loan officers has been given close consideration. In postwar years there has been a shortage of young New Zealanders coming forward for the two officer cadet schemes. They are: entry as a Cadet Midshipman at the age of 15-16 years through the Royal Australian Naval College at Flinders, and entry as a special entry cadet at the age of 18 through the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

Special consideration is being paid to the encouragement of the promotion of suitable young ratings from the lower deck of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Special courses have been instituted to enable these young men to overcome the hurdle of the qualifying educational, examinations, and to date this scheme is producing satisfactory results, and already a considerable number of young New Zealand sailors are being given preliminary officer training in the United Kingdom and others are being prepared for this training in New Zealand.

In an additional effort to reduce the numbers of loan officers from the Royal Navy an officer was sent to the United Kingdom last year for discussions with Admiralty with a view to the Royal New Zealand Navy transferring to its officer strength selected officers from the National Service and from the Branch List of officers of the Royal Navy. While this scheme may well reduce the existing loan commitment with the Royal Navy, the numbers accepted under it will be reduced to a minimum in order to maintain the maximum number of vacancies for New Zealand ratings by promotion, and the policy for officer recruiting remains firmly one of encouraging young New Zealanders to accept careers as officers in their own Navy.

The Royal New Zealand Navy continues to implement the scheme for the exchange of its officers with those of the Royal Navy to the end of ensuring the common doctrine in naval training and seagoing practice which is the essential prerequisite of efficient co-operation between Commonwealth navies in time of war, and discussions are proceeding with the Royal Australian Navy toward the implementation of an officer exchange scheme between officers of the Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Navies. The reduction of the numbers of loan officers serving on the New Zealand station will add emphasis to the essential need for sufficient exchange service for New Zealand officers.

Recent years have seen an encouraging stabilization of the officer strength of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and a particularly desirable feature has been a satisfactory increase in the numbers of New Zealand officers promoted to senior rank. We are confident that forthcoming years will see the higher command of the Royal New Zealand Navy vested in officers who are New Zealanders.


Training of naval personnel for higher substantive rating and for specialist qualifications has in the past been carried out almost entirely in Australia or the United Kingdom at considerable cost. Economies are now being effected in this respect by the institution of naval training schools in New Zealand.

The formation of an electrical training school in PHILOMEL has removed the necessity of sending new entries in this branch to Australia for their basic branch training. Electrical branch ratings are, however, still required to proceed to Australia for more advanced training. It is also proposed to institute a communications school in PHILOMEL early next year, making it possible to train Signal and Telegraphist Branch ratings. Other courses carried out locally include basic gunnery, diving, supply and secretariat, cooking, instructional technique, and divisional courses. Engine-room Branch ratings receive all their training in New Zealand, except those selected for mechanicians courses. These latter ratings proceed to Australia, where they undergo a two-year course.


A high standard of training has been maintained in the four Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions, and the responsibility of training personnel enlisted under the Military Training Act has been capably handled. This system of “follow-up” training of compulsory naval reservists by the Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions is unique in the Commonwealth navies and is considered to be a most satisfactory arrangement.


During the year the welfare organization in the Royal New Zealand Navy was reviewed and several improvements effected. This organisation fulfils a much-needed link between personnel serving overseas and their families in New Zealand. Classes of religious instruction are held by Chaplains of the Royal New Zealand Navy and by visiting Honorary Chaplains. Regular visits were made to all Auckland hospitals whenever ratings or the wives of ratings serving overseas have been patients. A total of 1,164 visits were made during the year to hospitals and homes of personnel.

It is gratifying to note the small number of compassionate cases requiring assistance from the Royal New Zealand Naval Benevolent Fund during the past year. This has resulted in the trustees being able to continue their policy of encouraging and assisting ratings to purchase their own homes by providing small interest-free loans to help bridge the gap between mortgages and to-day’s building costs.


BELLONA, the reserve cruiser, has been given a good periodical overhaul, and will undergo sea trials shortly.

The Reserve Fleet frigate TAUPO underwent a thorough refit, and after sea trials she will be hermetically sealed under the latest system for the preservation of Reserve Fleet ships, which effectively maintains them for very little cost over long periods.

The long refit of TUTIRA, another Reserve Fleet frigate, was progressed as far as possible as labour became available. This refit will be completed in the coming year.

The frigate KANIERE, on return from service in Korea, has been given a thorough refit involving important repairs to her machinery, armament, and electrical installations, and at the same time extensive alterations and improvements have been carried out, particularly on the electrical and radar side.

Work similar to that carried out in KANIERE was put into PUKAKI before she left New Zealand waters for her current spell of duty in the Korean theatre.


In addition to the above major refit works the planned programme for surveying and refitting the seaward defence motor launches, which carry out various duties in peacetime, has been completed. This refitting work is, however, becoming a steadily increasing commitment as the age and mileage run of these wooden craft lengthens. It will, unfortunately, be a year or two before more suitable craft are available to release some of these valuable minor warships from their present duties. A considerable programme of routine refitting and emergency repairs to the minor craft of the R.N.Z.N has been carried out. This standing requirement is aggravated, however, by the unsuitability and age of some of the craft concerned, and also by shortage of the requisite labour in the yard.


The increasing demands on the Dockyard required for the maintenance of the growing active and reserve fleets has resulted in correspondingly less work being carried out for other Government departments and private firms; even so, jobs of this sort to the value of £8,581, have been completed during the year, including some machine work which could not have been undertaken elsewhere in New Zealand.


The R.N.Z.N. armament depots at Kauri Point, Auckland, Shelly Bay, Wellington, and Cass Bay, Lyttelton, are now all fully stocked. At Kauri Point experimental work on the stowage of gun barrels and casings has been carried out and has proved highly successful.

Early in the year Admiralty advised that large quantities of 20 mm. ammunition held in New Zealand was considered dangerous, and the task of examining each round of this explosive and re packing same occupied many man-hours. In addition, routine inspection and proof firings of a percentage of all ammunition held was carried out. This latter work is most important, as the results of such tests govern the acceptance of the remaining stocks held.

In order to conform to the new inter-service identification markings of ammunition it is necessary to scrape and repaint large quantities of shell. This work is proceeding satisfactorily.