NZ Naval Board Report – 1954



1. Partly because they have not been spectacular-but mainly because, for security reasons, it has been unwise to draw attention to them it is easy to overlook the developments which have taken place in naval warfare in the last half-century. In 1910, for example, it was considered extremely difficult to hit a moving target by naval gunfire. Exercises were carried out by ships against stationary targets with gun crews firing independently and taking the range from a large blackboard displayed prominently on the bridge.

2. During the First World War fire control was introduced. It became possible to control the ship’s offensive power from one point and, by installing control equipment there, to improve accuracy and range. During the Second World War radar extended this control and accuracy for the first time to beyond human vision.

3. To a large extent these developments in naval warfare have been counter-measures against a growing threat. At the end of the First World War, for example, bombers attacked at around 100 miles an hour; at the end of the Second the speed had increased to 400 miles an hour. During the First World War submarines travelled submerged at 5 knots; during the Second this was 7 knots, and today submerged speeds of up to 20 knots have been recorded. In the First World War mines were all of the contact type; in the Second there were acoustic, magnetic, pressure, and contact mines fitted in many cases with intricate devices designed to prevent sweeping.

4. Fortunately the design of counter-measures has been actively, and in most cases successfully, pursued. But their introduction has had secondary effects. A high standard of training is necessary in the men who operate the new equipment, a higher standard in the skill of the men in the ships who operate them. And greater facilities must be provided in the shore establishments where the equipment is given the extensive maintenance that cannot be provided in the ships.

5. All this must affect the Royal New Zealand Navy. It is logical that the ships which defend the Dominion should be fitted with devices designed to meet the weapons which can be expected to attack it. For this reason the Government have decided to obtain H.M.S. ROYALIST, a completely modernized cruiser which will include the most efficient and up-to-date equipment at present in service in a ship of her type.

6. This programme of ship replacement has become policy, and provision is being made by an annual sum set aside for the purchase of new units. By this means it is hoped to replace the frigate fleet by newer, faster ships and eventually to provide the Navy with minesweepers specifically designed to sweep new and unpleasantly efficient designs of mine.

7. The effects of the introduction of new equipment on training and maintenance facilities are also being considered. To a certain level for example in basic training and seamanship-it is convenient and economic to carry out training in New Zealand. But beyond that in some branches and above a certain level of proficiency it is better to send naval personnel overseas to Australia or the United Kingdom. In this way the expense of operating large training establishments for relatively few trainees is obviated and the trainees themselves receive more modern instruction. This overseas training is watched closely. Whenever it becomes possible or economic to begin training in particular branches in New Zealand, either in conjunction with the Army and the Royal New Zealand Air Force or separately, overseas training is discontinued and training in New Zealand is instituted.

8. The problem of expanding maintenance facilities is equally important. H.M.N.Z. Dockyard at Devonport, Auckland, grew from an Admiralty contract with the Auckland Harbour Board more than fifty years ago by which docking and repair facilities were provided in New Zealand against the possibility that they might be required by ships of the Royal Navy visiting New Zealand from their Australian bases.

9. Since then the Dockyard has developed under the pressure of two wars and its facilities have always lagged slightly behind the equipment it is designed to maintain. The acquisition of new equipment will be the largest step forward the Royal New Zealand Navy has yet made. If the Dockyard is to keep pace and full use is to be made of the devices carried by new ships, a programme of capital expenditure will be necessary to replace present inadequate workshops and establish and equip new ones.


10. During the last half-century the role of naval forces in the New Zealand Naval Station has changed. The necessity of maintaining a force which can enforce law and order in isolated British possessions has declined; the necessity of maintaining a fleet which can protect New Zealand itself bas increased.

11. To fill this new role the Royal New Zealand Navy must have two functions: it must be sufficiently operational to have ships which can be dispatched at short notice should the need arise, and it must have a sufficiently large training framework to enable it to expand in the event of war.

12. For these two functions-operational and training-the present Fleet is correctly balanced and within New Zealand’s capacity to man and maintain. The supporting administrative organization is well designed to support the Fleet and is based, in general, on the carefully developed pattern of the Royal Navy.

13. To meet its commitments, however, the Royal New Zealand Navy must maintain a high standard of efficiency in both ships and personnel. Many of the ships are now old and, in the main, obsolescent. It is therefore planned to replace BELLONA by, the modernized ROYALIST in 1956, and a programme to replace the six “Loch” Class Frigates by new fast frigates of modern design is under consideration. Minesweepers must be modernized and provision made to acquire some of the latest types at the right moment.

14. The complexity and speed of modern warfare calls for increased numbers of specially trained personnel and for higher standards not only in the ships themselves, but in the naval and civilian administrative services, dockyard repair and maintenance organization, and training establishments which support the seagoing fleet. It is towards the achievement of this efficient support that increasing effort and money must be directed in peace if the Navy is to be an effective and reliable force.


(a) Oceanography
15. During the year assistance has been rendered to the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in the conduct of research work round the coasts. In particular H.M.N.Z. Survey Ship LACHLAN has continued to collect data and samples during the course of her survey duties and during the short periods when it has been possible to make her available full time for this work.

(b) Underwater Defences of Ports
16. The proposed sites for the underwater defences of important ports have been scientifically examined and surveyed. In consequence a number of changes are being made in planning which would result in economies in labour and materials should these defences have to be laid in time of war.

(c) Survey of the Crustal Structure
17. A series of trials were conducted in February, March, and April in conjunction with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to obtain data on the geological structure of the seabed in the Auckland area. It was also possible during these trials to obtain basic data required in certain naval research projects for the prosecution of which Government approval has now been obtained.

(d) Defence Scientific Corps
18. The Corps strength stands at ten officers, reducing to nine in August 1955. Of these, three have returned from training overseas and are working in New Zealand, two are just entered and have not yet completed their Service training, and the remainder are under scientific training in the United Kingdom or, in one case, at Victoria University College. On completion of their training and obtaining their degrees most of these officers will be sent to naval research and development establishments in the United Kingdom for acquaintance training in the progress of the research to date on the projects, which Navy will investigate in New Zealand under the new arrangements. It. is the intention, naturally, that naval research projects will absorb all of the Naval Defence Scientific Corps officers, but for some time to come assistance will have to be sought from scientific officers seconded from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. It is a pleasing feature of the Corps that young men of the highest academical attainments are coming forward for appointments.


19. The cruiser BLACK PRINCE left New Zealand at the end of April 1954 on a visit to Australia, where ten days were spent in exercising in the Jervis Bay area with units of the Royal Australian Navy. Towards the end of May BLACK PRINCE visited Fiji, and later His Excellency, the Governor-General of New Zealand, embarked for a Vice-Regal island cruise of the southern Cook Islands, Niue, and Tonga where His Excellency left the ship. BLACK PRINCE returned to New Zealand towards the end of June 1954 for refit and trials. After re commissioning, BLACK PRINCE carried out visits to minor New Zealand ports in both the North and South Islands from early November to middle December 1954. A visit was paid to Dunedin early in 1955 for the City’s Festival Week. BLACK PRINCE later visited Hobart, and during February and March 1955 carried out exercises with Royal Australian Navy Destroyer and Frigate Squadrons as well as independent exercises. An informal visit to Melbourne was made, and the cruiser returned to New Zealand towards the end of March for her annual inspection by the Chief of Naval Staff, which was carried out in Queen Charlotte Sounds and the Wellington area.

20. After a refit, the frigate KANIERE left New Zealand on 19 July 1954. After working up exercises in Australia she proceeded to the Far East Station relieving PUKAKI at the end of August. The KANIERE’S service for the remaining period under review was spent in Malayan and Korean waters. Her duties consisted of patrolling the boundary area between North and South Korea with United Nations naval forces and serving as a frigate of the Far East Fleet. These latter duties included anti-piracy patrols in Borneo waters.

(iii) H.M.N.Z.S. HAWEA
21. Until the end of July 1954 HAWEA was engaged in sea training of compulsory and volunteer reservists and Sea Cadets. Anti-submarine exercises in the Hauraki Gulf and Suva area were carried out with H.M. Submarine TELEMACHUS and aircraft of No. 5 and 6 Maritime Squadrons, Royal New Zealand Air Force, HAWEA returning to New Zealand during August 1954. A cruise of the west coast of the South Island with the Chief of Naval Staff embarked was undertaken during October, and thereafter HAWEA resumed her sea-training duties, during which a visit was made in November to the Chatham Islands. Minor New Zealand ports were visited during January 1955, terminating in a visit to Dunedin for the Festival Week. HAWEA then visited Hobart early in February and later exercised in the Sydney – Jervis Bay areas in Australia, returning to New Zealand early in March for basic anti-submarine training and exercises. At the end of March HAWEA assisted in BLACK PRINCE’S annual inspection and exercises, returning to Auckland on completion for refitting and re-commissioning.

(iv) H.M.N.Z.S. PUKAKI
22. PUKAKI was New Zealand’s frigate serving in Korean and Malayan waters until relieved by KANIERE. She returned to New Zealand at the end of September 1954 after an absence of over a year. PUKAKI then re-commissioned and was engaged in underwater research work until the end of March 1955. This frigate will return to the Far East Station for a further term of service on 28 April 1955.

(v)H.M.N.Z.S. TU!
23. The corvette TUI was employed in the training of compulsory naval reservists, volunteer reservists, and Sea Cadets until early June 1954 when, with KIWI, she carried out a cruise to the Fiji Islands, calling at Raoul Island en route. During the cruise assistance was given to a small coaster that had grounded on a reef in the islands and TUI and KIWI were successful in re-floating this vessel. TUI returned to New Zealand early in July 1954 and continued training duties until the middle of October when she carried out a short cruise to New Zealand major and minor ports. During November 1954 a party of scientists was embarked and the ship made a voyage to the Campbell and Auckland Islands. On return, TUI resumed her New Zealand cruise until mid-December. From early February 1955 until the end of the period TUI was mainly engaged with PUKAKI in underwater research work for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

(vi) H.M.N.Z.S. KIWI
24. The corvette KIWI was likewise employed on training duties until mid-April 1954 when visits to minor New Zealand ports were made. Later KIWI sailed for a cruise of the Fiji Islands that was carried out in conjunction with TUI, returning to New Zealand early in July 1954. Later the same month KIWI, in company with HAWEA, sailed again for Fiji, taking part in anti-submarine exercises on passage and also while at Suva. The remaining period until the end of March 1955 was spent in New Zealand waters training naval reservists.

(vii) H.M.N.Z.S. LACHLAN
25. The survey ship LACHLAN continued surveying the New Zealand coast in the Hawkes Bay – Poverty Bay areas. LACHLAN sailed for Fiji and Samoa in May 1954 to continue work on the survey around Apia during those months when weather conditions on the New Zealand coast are unsuitable for this work. LACHLAN returned to New Zealand early in August 1954. Until the end of March 1955 LACHLAN was further engaged on her New Zealand coast survey work and also carried out oceanographic observations.

26. The commissioning of a second seaward defence motor launch for fishery protection duty in September 1954 has allowed for better patrols and increased coverage of fishing grounds around Auckland this year. These craft were responsible for four apprehensions, which resulted in convictions in Court for breaches of the fishery regulations, and their presence in the area is proving a deterrent to all poachers. The craft also visited Russell for the Treaty of Waitangi celebrations.

27. The fleet auxiliary vessel ISA LEI was engaged in the carriage of explosives and the dumping of condemned ammunition for all three Services during the year.

28. The two survey motor launches attached to LACHLAN have carried out inshore surveying of the New Zealand coast in the vicinity of Napier and Gisborne.

29. The motor launches attached to the four Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions have carried out training duties in the vicinity of their respective ports. Training cruises to the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds were also undertaken. The motor launch of the Wellington Division successfully carried out an extended cruise of approximately 2,000 miles to Milford and Fiordland in February 1955.

30. Anti-submarine exercises with H.M. Submarine TELEMACHUS were carried out in July 1954. A joint maritime exercise with the RN.Z.A.F. in sea/air co-operation in defence of a convoy, together with a naval control of shipping exercise, was conducted from the newly completed Maritime Headquarters in Wellington later the same month. In March 1955 further anti-submarine exercises with a submarine, aircraft, and a modernized anti-submarine frigate of the Royal Australian Navy were carried out. In addition, harbour defence exercises were carried out at Auckland, including co-operation with both the Army and Air Force.


31. The year under review saw a great variety of types of overseas warships visit New Zealand.

32. In May 1954, following a visit to Sydney for the Coral Sea celebrations, the United States aircraft carrier TARAWA, accompanied by the U.S.S. O’BANNON (destroyer), visited Wellington. This event not only created great public interest, but also brought aircraft, which, for the first time in New Zealand, broke the sound barrier. In January 1955 another United States ship visited Wellington this time a type rarely seen-the Icebreaker U.S.S. ATKA. ATKA made Wellington her final port of call before proceeding to the Antarctic where she carried out preliminary surveys in connection with the 1957 Geophysical Year.

33. Two British submarines, both units of the 4th Submarine Flotilla, based on Sydney, Australia, visited New Zealand. H.M. Submarine TELEMACHUS in July 1954 and H.M. Submarine THOROUGH in March 1955. These two submarines provided valuable training in underwater defence for units of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force Maritime Squadrons.

34. Two Australian ships, H.M.A.S. COOTAMUNDRA and H.M.A.S. QUADRANT, as well as the Canadian cruiser H.M.C.S. ONTARIO also visited New Zealand. H.M.A.S. COOTAMUNDRA visited Auckland and took part in the Waitangi celebrations. She visited Whangarei and Wellington and finally returned to Australia via the Milford Sounds. R.M.A.S. QUADRANT visited Auckland and Wellington and took part in anti-submarine exercises in the Hauraki Gulf with New Zealand forces and H.M. Submarine THOROUGH before returning to Australia.

35. In accordance with post-war practice the Canadian cruiser H.M.C.S. ONTARIO visited New Zealand in the course of a biannual training cruise of the south-west Pacific. Auckland was the only port of call on this occasion, but the ship also spent some days in the Bay of Islands in continuation of her training.


36. Whilst the officer manning strength of the Royal New Zealand Navy is in a reasonably healthy state, there continues to be insufficient candidates for entry as Cadet Midshipman and Special Entry Cadet. During the year only 3 of the former and 4 of the latter were entered, although there were vacancies for 6 and 9 respectively. On the other hand, the number of promotions from the lower deck (11) was most satisfactory.

37. Certain new commitments undertaken by the Government have created a greater than normal demand for officers, particularly staff officers, and the policy of reduction of Royal Navy loan officers has not been implemented to the extent anticipated. Seventy-two Royal Navy officers were borne in Royal New Zealand Navy ships and establishments on 31 March 1955, as compared with 82 on 31 March 1954. Sixteen of these officers are serving on “exchange”; that is, 16 Royal New Zealand Navy officers fill equivalent posts in the Royal Navy, gaining experience and knowledge not available in our own Service.

38. During the year authority was given for the entry of a limited number of Royal Navy Branch officers into the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Admiralty having given approval for their release from the Royal Navy. Three officers were so entered.

39. The rating strength is disappointing, and unless the number of recruits increases considerably in the next year or two difficulty will be experienced in manning the Fleet.

40. The number of candidates offering for enlistment was fewer than in recent years, the proportion rejected on health and other grounds being about the same. The standard of ratings actually entered was reasonably high.

41. Although the re-engagement rate of Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers was high enough to fill requirements, relatively few ratings below the rate of Petty Officer re-engaged. One reason for the few re-engagements may be the fact that a rating completing his six-year engagement is usually in the twenty-four to twenty-six age group, whereas a man completing his second, or later engagement, is about thirty years of age and more settled in the naval service.

42. The quota of artificer apprentices was filled, the standard of recruits being above average.

(iii) W.R.N.Z.N.S.
43. The Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service has continued to give exemplary service. The authorized complement is at present 8 officers and 123 ratings, the majority of these being employed in Auckland. The over-all numbers could be increased to the advantage of the Royal New Zealand Navy, but the present accommodation, although of a very good standard, is only just sufficient for the present complement and cannot provide for any increase in numbers without further additions to the existing buildings.

44. Recruiting has been conducted with very little advertisement, although it has been necessary at times to resort to spasmodic advertising to make good the temporary deficiencies in certain branches. It is considered that a slightly wider programme for publicity envisaged for the next twelve months will assist materially in eliminating this fluctuating problem.

45. The percentage of re-engagements for the year just completed was approximately 60 per cent, a very encouraging number, and, of those discharged upon expiry of engagement, about 60 per cent planned to marry shortly after discharge.

46. The over-all training programme for W.R.N.Z.N.S. personnel has been stepped up over the past years and the results obtained there from have been more than satisfactory.

47. Typical of the work undertaken by the W.R.N.Z.N.S. is chart correcting, signals, sick berth attendants, and stores assistants.

48. The high standard of discipline has been maintained and the morale of this Service is excellent.

49. In last year’s report it was indicated that the existing recruiting procedure might be changed; that Naval Recruiters would be established in certain centres in New Zealand replacing the present Recruiting Board which travels throughout the country three times a year. In addition, the entries into H.M.N.Z.S. TAMAKI would be increased to reduce the present long delay between the time a candidate applies for entry and can actually enter the Navy.

50. The new recruiting procedure has been partially implemented this year. Recruiters have been established in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin; intakes of recruits into TAMAKI have been increased from three to five a year, and the Recruiting Board only travels in the North Island. The Naval Recruiters do all recruiting in the South Island.

51. The recruiting figures for the year show a decrease of 60 on the previous year. Nevertheless, it is considered that the new scheme, which has only been operative for six months of the year under review, has done much to prevent the numbers falling to an even greater extent.

52. While the actual numbers recruited over-all are still unsatisfactory, it is encouraging to note that four branches in the Navy are almost up to quota with recruits from New Zealand recruiting, and that the general standard of recruit accepted is good.

53. Her Majesty the Queen graciously approved the following honours and awards to Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve personnel: C.B.E., one; G.B.E., two; M.B.E., two; B.E.M., twelve.

54. With a view to improving the welfare organization in the Royal New Zealand Navy it is proposed during the coming year to establish the appointment of a Housing and Welfare Officer at Auckland. Final details of the appointment have been decided, but the officer selected for this appointment is not yet available. The duties of Housing and Welfare Officer have, hitherto, been carried out by one of PHILOMEL’s chaplains, but experience has shown that these duties absorb too much of his time.

55. Regular visits were made to Auckland hospitals whenever naval personnel or the families of naval personnel serving overseas were in-patients.

56. Although requests for grants to meet cases of genuine hardship and loans to assist ratings temporarily financially embarrassed were comparatively few, the Royal New Zealand Naval Benevolent Fund has fulfilled a most useful purpose as a standby for personnel who suffer financial hardship. The policy of granting loans to assist ratings to buy their own homes has been continued.

57. This fund was established in 1937 with money raised from various sources. Additions to the fund since that date have resulted in the accumulation of a capital of £41,708 9s. 2d. all of which is invested.

58. The income is distributed annually to ships and establishments for the purpose of providing sports equipment and paying the expenses of Navy teams taking part in inter-ship and inter-Service competitions.

59. Formal education has long been an essential part of naval training, and all new entries receive school instruction to prepare them for advancement and promotion.

60. Generally, education activities over the year have been satisfactory, but new commitments continue to arise, emphasizing the need for elasticity in staffing and appointments. Results show that the selection and initial training of electrical ratings is sound. Artificer apprentices have not found themselves at any disadvantage when transferred to the Royal Navy for further training, while the courses given to assist those who are considered to be potential officers to qualify them educationally for promotion continue to produce welcome interest and good examination results.

61. Correspondence school courses continue to be popular, and the Government Correspondence School and the Technical Correspondence School have given ready assistance with courses to meet the needs of those who are genuinely interested in furthering their technical and specialized interests, many of which are completely outside the scope of naval training.

62. The suitability of Royal Navy examination papers, which up to now have been used without change in the Royal New Zealand Navy, has been investigated, and some of these papers are now being changed and modified as necessary to meet local conditions.

63. Library borrowings and the diversity of subjects asked for still surprise, and to meet reading demands ships must buy books from their own funds. A comprehensive library service is now necessary if all library needs are to be met.

64. The health of the personnel has been satisfactory throughout the year, no deaths being recorded due to illness or disease.

65. Of 488 male recruits examined far entry, 406 or 83 per cent were medically acceptable. Of the 82 rejected on medical grounds, 42 per cent suffered from defective vision, including defective colour vision.

66. To attempt to meet our manning needs under present recruiting conditions it has been necessary to lower our pre-war physical standards, and these lowered standards have resulted in an increased invaliding rate, which at 18.69 cases per 1,000 is approximately double the Navy pre-war figure. Over 50 per cent of invalided cases are in the nervous disease group.

67. The Royal New Zealand Naval Hospital continues to fulfill an indispensable need, and the necessity for extensions must be faced in the near future. Makeshift arrangements to overcome the present difficulties have been made, but these are most inconvenient and proper facilities are essential for the well being of personnel.

68. The Admiralty, having experienced difficulty in entering sufficient youths of the required standard educationally and otherwise for Cadet (Special Entry) within the present age range of seventeen years to eighteen years eight months, have amended both the minimum and maximum ages to seventeen years and eight months and nineteen years respectively. This revision of entry conditions has been applied to candidates for entry into the Royal New Zealand Navy.

69. The Naval Board have also followed the lead of the Admiralty in abolishing the suffixes (E), (L), and (S), hitherto used to designate engineering, electrical, and supply officers respectively. The wearing of coloured distinction cloth by these officers is also being discontinued.

70. Until 1954 it had been customary for the Sick Berth Branch to provide the necessary nursing services (e.g., dental chair assistants, recorders, etc.) for the naval dental surgeons. During the period under review a Dental Assistants Branch was instituted. Ratings of this branch are required to have basic nursing training and to undergo a special course in their dental duties. It is considered that this step will do much to improve the standard of dental recording in the Royal New Zealand Navy, an already onerous task in a Service which demands virtually no dental standard of its recruits.

71. Because of the wide sphere of New Zealand naval activities, sport in the Royal New Zealand Navy has an unusual aspect. Wherever ships have visited ports, teams have been put ashore to meet local opposition where possible or to play inter-part matches. As a result they have played Rugby, association football, hockey, cricket, and a great number of other sports in Malaya, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Borneo, in isolated islands in the southwest Pacific, and in Australia.

72. In a year that was noteworthy both from the success achieved and from the behaviour of teams on and off the field, two events stand out. One was the performance of a Rugby team from the small frigate KANIERE which, reinforced by two New Zealand civilians resident in the colony, won an international Rugby tournament in Hong Kong in January; the other was the success of BLACK PRINCE and HAWEA at the Royal Hobart Regatta in February when these two New Zealand ships between them won all thirteen events in the naval section of the regatta and also took second place in most.

73. The demand for houses by naval officers and ratings is still acute.and a major factor in recruitment and re-engagement.

74. Through a shortage of builders, progress on the construction of houses this year has slowed down. Twenty-four houses only were completed in the Auckland area and at the close of the year no satisfactory tenders had been received for the multi-unit blocks of eighty-eight flats in Ngataringa Road, Auckland, which it had been hoped would be started this year. Tenders are again being called.

75. The approved housing programme is for a total of 403 units (including flats and conventional houses) at Auckland. The total completed to 31 March 1955 is 195. On present prospects it is expected more progress will be made during 1955-56 and 50 conventional houses should be completed. In addition, a further 4 houses should be completed at the Naval Wireless Station at Waiouru.

76. Sufficient land has now been obtained for all but one of the sections required to complete the approved programme.

(a) Basic
77. In spite of inadequate accommodation and facilities and in many cases outmoded instructional equipment, H.M.N.Z.S. TAMAKI, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s basic training establishment at Motuihi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, has again achieved a high level of training. Here, adult entries spend up to six months, boy entries one year, and compulsory reservists fourteen weeks on first joining. Every effort is now being made to implement the Government’s decision to rebuild H.M.N.Z.S. TAMAKI, and it is confidently anticipated that the increased facilities will be reflected not only in improved training results, but also in a better recruiting response, particularly with regard to compulsory reservists transferring to the Regular Service.

78. During the year 192 continuous service adult entries and 166 continuous service boy entries carried out initial training. In addition, 272 compulsory naval reserve ratings carried out their initial fourteen weeks required by the Military Training Act.


(b) Specialist
79. While it is yet early to comment with assurance it would appear that the decision to do some specialist training in New Zealand for which personnel were previously sent to Australia has been fully justified, and the possibility of undertaking more of this training locally is continually in mind. The major problem in doing so is the lack of classroom space and the shortage of instructors.

80. Although the equipment at present available falls short of the ideal, it has not unduly impeded training and a good standard has been maintained.

81. The year under review saw the introduction of nine new commitments in this field of training. Four of these previously required the sending of personnel to Australia.

82. The specialist training of first and second-class gunnery ratings and of seamen of all other branches is carried out in Australia because facilities cannot be provided in New Zealand.

83. The initial training of artificers is carried out in New Zealand for a period of sixteen months, but their final period of two years and eight months under training is spent in the United Kingdom since no facilities for this training exist either in New Zealand or in Australia.

84. For similar reasons the training of electrical ratings is carried out initially in New Zealand but is completed in Australia.

85. This year saw the initiation of a new scheme for the training of physical training instructors for all three Services at one Royal New Zealand Air Force Establishment.

86. The training of artificer apprentices has continued along sound lines, but the increased numbers entered as apprentices has confirmed the need to extend the mechanical training establishment planned to be undertaken in the 1956-57 financial year.

87. During the year 34 artificer apprentices carried out Part I training in PHILOMEL, these being in seven classes in various stages of apprenticeship. Ten of these apprentices are now in the United Kingdom undergoing Part II training. Of the 17 apprentices now undergoing training in the United Kingdom, it is expected that the first group will return to New Zealand in January 1958 fully trained.

88. Merchant Navy defence courses, held in Navy Office, Wellington, were continued during the year the syllabus being revised and new subjects introduced to bring the course up to date with modern conditions. These lectures are arranged to ensure that masters and officers of the Merchant Navy are informed of the part they must play in securing the maximum degree of safety to their ships and also the measures that will be taken by the Royal New Zealand Navy for their protection in time of war.

89. Five courses were held during the year and a total of 107 Merchant Navy officers attended, of whom 100 were from New Zealand registered ships and 7 from British overseas vessels. The total number of officers who completed the course was 27. This is satisfactory and compares favourably with the previous year’s results.

90. At 31 March 1955 the total strength of the reserves of the Royal New Zealand Navy was 590 officers and 3,807 men.

91. Entry into the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve is restricted to officers of the Merchant Navy who are following the sea as their profession and, in addition, who provide an undertaking that they intend to make the sea their career. As the field of recruitment in New Zealand is necessarily restricted, the Reserve is small with a total strength of 26 officers. As all members of this Reserve are highly qualified and experienced practical seamen, they provide a most useful part of the Navy’s Reserve potential.

92. The Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve has maintained a high standard of efficiency and training and producing, as it does, a steady flow of fully trained reservists, it can be considered to-day as a most important source of reserve manpower.

93. The training of the compulsory naval reservists, who have been recruited under the provisions of the Military Training Act 1949 and its amendments, continues to be satisfactory and it is noteworthy that a number of compulsory naval reservists have already been promoted to officer rank in the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. A small and valuable percentage of compulsory naval reservists on completion of their four years training obligation are re-enrolled as volunteers for a further period of service with the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve.

94. The Sea Cadet organization has now reached a satisfactory standard of efficiency and at 31 March 1955 there was a total of 53 officers and 920 Sea Cadets enrolled in the Corps.

95. The school units, which were established in 1952, have continued to progress and it is satisfactory to note that a large proportion of boys who are now applying for cadetships in the Royal New Zealand Navy are from the school cadet units.


96. The Naval Shore Communications organization revolves principally around the Naval Wireless/Telegraph Station at Waiouru (H.M.N.Z.S. IRIRANGI) and the Naval Communications Centre in Wellington.

97. This latter centre has recently been redesigned and modernized and the value of the flexibility of control now obtained over Royal New Zealand Navy communications is very much in evidence. Communications in all the major sea and air exercises are now controlled from the Maritime Headquarters in Wellington.

98. Full advantage of this new system cannot, however, be taken until more living accommodation for naval personnel is available in Wellington and alternative control facilities to IRIRANGI have been provided.

99. With most valuable assistance and advice from the Post and Telegraph Department, naval technical officers have been able to plan the modernization of naval shore communications in detail. Plans for the replacement of obsolete transmitters by those employing modern technique, redesign of aerial arrays in the light of modern experience, and general improvements calculated to increase efficiency have all been planned after full discussions with the Post and Telegraph engineers.

100. It is hoped that the practical implementation of these plans will commence shortly as the need for an active, efficient, and reliable overseas wireless station is vital to enable communications to be handled swiftly between New Zealand naval authorities and other naval authorities, particularly in Commonwealth or Allied Treaty Organizations.

101. The modern development of ship borne communications has progressed rapidly since the war. Entirely new techniques have been developed to the stage where these, when applied to ships, constitute a great advance on old methods. All Royal New Zealand Navy ships in commission have been modified with these new sets to the same standard as other Commonwealth navies. The Reserve Fleet ships will be modernized as soon as stores are to hand. However, a new mode of operation on the high-frequency bands is envisaged in the near future. This latest development is at present being fitted in the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and plans for its adoption in the Royal New Zealand Navy are being studied.

102. Since November 1954 regular Wireless/Telegraphy exercises have been carried out between all reserve divisions and the Naval Communications Centre, Wellington. A special reserve broadcast has also been instituted, morse training broadcasts are radiated for reception by reservists using their normal home broadcast receivers, and exercises between reserve divisions and ships at sea have been instituted. These are the main examples of advances in communications training developed this past year.
103. A marked improvement in the efficiency of the communication ratings of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve has resulted.


104. While the shortage in certain trades, particularly boilermakers and electricians continues, the manning situation in the Dockyard has enabled all major commitments to be met during the year.

105. Every endeavour has been made to effect improvements in working conditions and, though in some respects progress has been slower than desired, it has been possible to provide extra and more up-to-date facilities and, by the redesign of old shops and extension of existing shops, to ameliorate to some degree the congested conditions previously existing. A new paint shop was completed during the year. Much remains, however, to be done to bring the Dockyard completely up to date.

106. Dockyard craft continued to service lighthouses in the Hauraki Gulf area on behalf of the Marine Department. Most of this work was undertaken by the ENDEAVOUR, relieved on occasions by the Dockyard tug, ARATAKI.

107. A suggestions campaign was conducted during November over a period of a fortnight, and it was gratifying that a total of 557 suggestions were received. Of these, some 84 qualified for an award, and a total of approximately £150 was paid out to the staff.

(a) Major Vessels
108. Work continued at a steady level on all refits, and though only restricted overtime was worked in general, it was necessary for a considerable amount to be worked on the refit and communications conversion of BLACK PRINCE. This was the biggest refit carried out during the year though the refitting of PUKAKI was also a major task. The refit of LACHLAN was completed and that of ROTOITI was progressed.
(b) Minor Vessels
109. Refits of KIWI and TUI were undertaken, and towards the end of the year KIAMA was taken in hand for modernization and STAWELL for partial modernization and conversion for use as a training ship.
(c) Auxiliary Craft
110. The landing craft LANDER 1 was fitted with engines during the year and has proved invaluable for transporting stores around Hauraki Gulf. All other Dockyard craft and seaward defence motor launches and fairmiles were refitted and maintained during the year.


(a) General
111. With the disposal by sale of the hulks HINAU and RIMU and of the Fleet tug TOlA early in 1955; the number of ships in the Reserve Fleet has been reduced to twelve.

112. Maintenance and preservation of these vessels has continued to be the main concern of the Reserve Fleet organization. Fullest use of labour and timesaving equipment has been employed.

113. This ship has continued as the headquarters ship and living ship for Reserve Fleet personnel. Training of some technical ratings of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve has also been undertaken. A high standard of maintenance and seagoing efficiency for this vessel has been maintained. After refit in April 1954, BELLONA was taken to sea in the Hauraki Gulf and carried out a very successful series of machinery trials.

114. Having been refitted, these ships have undergone trials at sea and are now in a very good state of preservation. The armament and interior of TAUPO has been treated by the cocooning process. All compartments are sealed and a dehumidifying machine keeps the air at a low humidity percentage. Rust and deterioration is prevented, and weapons and machinery are ready for near immediate operation. This state of preparedness is maintained at little labour or financial cost. TUTIRA has been partially cocooned and dehumidified.

(d) Cathodic Protection of H.M.N.Z.S. INVERELL
115. With the assistance of officers of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research trials have been carried out for protection of hulls of ships in reserve. It has been found that the passing of a small electric current through the hull of a ship secured alongside, arrests underwater rusting to a marked degree. This has been successfully demonstrated in H.M.N.Z.S. INVERELL. With the use of this protective measure it may now be necessary to dock ships only every three to five years as opposed to six-monthly as at present. The initial outlay to effect cathodic protection is not large and the ultimate financial saving would be considerable. Plans are in hand to extend the process to other units of the Reserve Fleet.

116. Apart from normal manufacture, maintenance, and repair of Dockyard plant and naval stores, work was undertaken for other Government Departments and for private firms. In the majority of cases this work was restricted to that where outside firms were unable to carry it out themselves through lack of the necessary machines or facilities.

117. The Naval Store organization was hard pressed during the year to cope with all demands made upon it. The position has been aggravated by shortage of senior staff, but it is hoped that this will be overcome in the ensuing year.

118. With most helpful co-operation from the Government Stores Board, good progress has been made in the surveying of obsolescent stores, and this should relieve considerably the present congestion of storage space.

119. The preservation, identification, and packaging section has been operating throughout the year on a considerable range of naval stores. The stage has now been reached where as soon as additional staff is appointed a much more extensive programme of preservation can be carried out.

120. The three armament depots continued with normal work of supply, inspection, and testing of all armament stores.

121. The construction of the new laboratory group at Kauri Point has been progressed and it should be ready for occupation in the next few months. This will enable additional inspection and testing to be carried .out on armament stores.

122. Dockyard development has not kept pace with the expansion of the Navy and a great deal of capital expenditure will be necessary in order to provide the facilities essential to the proper maintenance of ships.

123. Two new workshops are planned, one for the maintenance and repair of the gun mountings associated with modern cruisers and frigates, and another to provide improved facilities for the repair and overhaul of diesel engines.

124. Now that ROYALIST will join the Navy in place of BELLONA, the gunnery equipment shop is more urgent than ever.


125. Departmental administration during the year under review, as in previous years, has been aimed at providing for the naval Service the secretarial services it requires. The administration machinery has been developed for this purpose. Since the establishment of the Navy Department as a separate entity the constant objective has been the provision of an efficient naval administration. Any service of a secretarial nature which can with over-all advantage to the naval Service be carried out by civilians is transferred to the civilian staff in a manner that makes for maximum efficiency and in a way that does not detract from effective control by naval authorities.

126. The fusion of naval and civilian staffs for the common objective of an efficient naval Service calls for a co-operative attitude from both sides, and it is gratifying to record that throughout the years it has been secured with the greatest of harmony.

127. On 30 September 1954, the Navy Act 1954, which consolidates and brings up to date the legislation governing the New Zealand naval forces, was passed by Parliament.

128. Regulations under this Act are now in course of preparation and as soon as these have been approved and gazetted the Act will be brought into force by Proclamation.

129. During the year under review the needs of a growing Department and an expanding naval Service called for some adjustments in the structure of the civilian staff and for some additional appointments. The main changes were in the store organizations where the staff both in the Dockyard and in Navy Office have been realigned and strengthened with senior appointments to obtain a more expeditious handling of naval store needs and a greater sensitivity to present and future store requirements. Arrangements have been concluded for the establishment of a more senior stores procurement post in London. A full-time Staff Training Officer was appointed. Civilian complements were regarded and expanded to the extent necessary, but the over-all number of civilians employed reduced by some thirty during the year.

130. The over-all needs of the Department for trades staff in the Dockyard (apart from electrical, boilermaking, and plumbing tradesmen) have been reasonably well met.

131. The shortage of junior clerical staff, however, has persisted as in previous years, particularly in Wellington. The problems consequent upon this, now, but more particularly for the future, are a matter of concern.

132. At the close of the year under review arrangements have been concluded with Admiralty for the replacement on loan of the Constructive Manager. The Constructive Manager and the Foreman of the Yard are now the only two civilian posts in the Dockyard manned by Admiralty civil servants on loan. It will be some years before the New Zealand personnel undergoing special training in the United Kingdom are available to obviate the need for having Admiralty officers for these posts.

133. The urgent need still exists for certain specialist officers in technical fields. Two officers from the electrical department and one from the engineering department are in the United Kingdom on courses of training. Measures were taken to recruit two electrical draughtsmen and one constructive draughtsman in the United Kingdom, but only one appointment has been made. In these fields it will be some years before the need for recruitment and/or training overseas ceases.

134. Last year it was reported that a group of some fifty casual tradesmen had been transferred to the permanent staff. This measure provided an encouraging success and contributed a greater measure of stability in the general staffing of the Dockyard. It is intended to explore fully the possibility of having the permanent staff tradesmen complement built up in this way.

135. The outstanding claims from conciliation held in the previous year on Government Service Tribunal Order No. 8 were dealt with by the Government Service Tribunal. Discussions were held subsequently on the bringing up to date of Government Service Tribunal Order No. 8, which is long overdue. It is hoped agreement will be reached early in the next financial year. This consolidation should make the administrative burden much lighter, as well as enabling all employees concerned to have a much clearer picture of their entitlements.

136. The permanent staff tradesmen’s representatives were met in conciliation on Order No. 54 during the year. Amendments to this Government Service Tribunal Order were agreed at conciliation, and a new order was issued by the Tribunal, embodying up-to-date rates of pay and allowances.

137. Advertising in the United Kingdom was undertaken for a limited number of tradesmen in short supply in New Zealand, but to date it is not known if this recruitment has been successful.

138. Overtime has been limited mainly to essential work to maintain refit programmes and to achieve better balance as between trades. In addition, the docking position in Calliope Dock has necessitated overtime on a number of occasions.

139. Relations with the staff and workmen’s representatives, both permanent and casual, have been extremely good throughout the year, and the amount of time lost due to disputes has been practically negligible.

140. A total of 22 apprentices was entered during the year. Two apprentices resigned, and 1 terminated his apprenticeship on medical advice. One apprentice was discharged for non-compliance with the terms of his indentures.

141. Of 20 apprentices who completed their apprenticeships during the year, 14 remained in Dockyard employment as permanent staff tradesmen.

142. Recruitment this year proved somewhat easier than in the past, and it was possible to be more selective in most trade groups.

143. One ex-Dockyard apprentice proceeded to the United Kingdom for specialized training in naval electrical work.

144. Results in outside examinations were satisfactory, 5 electrical fitter apprentices completing the Registration Examination, 4 fitters the Third Marine Certificate, 1 plumber the Registration Examination, and a total of 10 apprentices the First Qualifying Examination in various trades conducted .by the New Zealand Trades Certification Board.

145. A Dockyard school was set up on a small scale, giving theoretical training to the apprentices, ancillary to the normal theoretical training received from the Seddon Memorial Technical College.

146. In general, the subjects taught were those more directly related to work in the Dockyard, and the results were very encouraging.

147. A considerable improvement in stores accounting in ships and naval establishments was achieved during the year despite a continuing shortage of trained stores ratings in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

148. The Department’s inspectors completed their first round of examinations of naval store accounts and then maintained approximately an eighteen months cycle on this work. Other store accounts are checked regularly in Navy Office while the store depots are subject to inspection by Government auditors.

149. With the steady increase in the range and quantity of stores which must be carried by ships and establishments to support modern complicated equipments, there is a constant need to ensure that there is no relaxation in these standards.


150. The total amount voted for the services of the Navy for the 1954-55 financial year was £6,452,000. This was made up of £5,852,000 for ship replacement and routine expenditure and £600,000 for construction and maintenance of shore establishments.

151. The expenditure from vote “Navy” amounted to £6,019,748 showing an over-expenditure of £167,748. This was accounted for in the main by delayed claims for supplies and services for the frigates serving in Korea amounting to some £120,400.

152. The expenditure also included an amount of £1,000,000 set aside as a first installment for the ship replacement programme. The operational life of all the ships is fast running out. A very close examination of the position has led to the conclusion that an annual renewal figure of at least £1,500,000 is necessary to meet minimum requirements if the Navy is to play an effective part in the defence of the Commonwealth. It is also essential to retain interest and maintain morale, that personnel be trained on the most modern and up-to-date equipment. It should not be overlooked, however, that while the contribution to this programme of £1,500,000 per annum may appear adequate today, the continuing tendency for costs of ship construction to rise may well necessitate an increase in this amount in later years.

153. Good progress was made during the year in building up the equipment necessary for the defence of the main ports, and some £258,655 was spent in this connection. Satisfactory progress was also made in the installation of improved wireless equipment in ships and £46,358 was expended on the stores necessary for this work.

154. Of the £600,000 voted for construction and maintenance of shore establishments £310,000 was allocated for the construction of houses. Due to the present shortage of labour in the building industry the expenditure on housing amounted to £113,071 only. The expenditure on miscellaneous buildings and maintenance amounted to £164,028, leaving the total amount voted under expended by £322,901. The expenditure of only 46 per cent of the amount voted is most disturbing and the consistent shortfall of expenditure on approved programmes proves them to be quite unrealistic with a consequent effect on any planning based on this programme.

(a) Constitution. -The New Zealand Naval Board is constituted under the Naval Defence Amendment Act 1950.
(b) Members as at 31 March 1955:
The Hon. T. L. Macdonald, M.P., Minister of Defence (Chairman).
Commodore Sir Charles Madden, Bt. (Chief of Naval Staff and First Naval Member).
Captain V. J. H. Van der Byl, D.S.c., R.N. (Second Naval Member).
Captain R. A. J. Owen, RN. (Third Naval Member).
D. A. Wraight, Esquire (Navy Secretary and Member and Permanent Head of the Navy Department).
Note -The appointment of Chief of Naval Staff has now been raised from that of Commodore to Rear Admiral. The present Chief of Naval Staff will be relieved by a Rear Admiral early in the coming year.