NZ Naval Board Report – 1964



With the passage of the Defence Act on 17 November 1964, the Naval Board established by the Navy Act 1954 was abolished and was replaced by a new body of identical membership called the Naval Board of the New Zealand Defence Council. At 31 March 1965 the composition of the new Naval Board was:
Hon. D. J. Eyre, M.P., Minister of Defence (Chairman).
Rear-Admiral R. E. Washbourn, C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E. (First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff).
Commodore B. E. Turner, O.B.E., D.S.C., RNZN (Second Naval Member and Chief of Naval Personnel).
Commodore F. T. Healy, RN (Third Naval Member and Chief of Naval Technical Services).
Mr W. Hutchings (Deputy Secretary of Defence (Navy).


The level of activity of the New Zealand naval forces during the last 12 months has been high. A relatively small force of ships and men has been employed efficiently to cover the areas, and undertake the operations, of greatest importance to New Zealand. The Navy has played a full part in carrying out the Government’s policy of support for Malaysia, and in the last year two ships have served on the Far East Station and a third sailed for duty there. Crews have left to man two coastal minesweepers for duty in Malaysian waters, several officers are serving on loan to the Royal Malaysian Navy, and a number of RMN ratings have been trained in New Zealand naval establishments. Other work has continued. Pacific islands have been visited and in two cases supplied with explosive stores not easily carried by commercial service. Antarctic operations have been supported, the coast surveyed, training continued, and all the additional tasks which fall to a Navy in peacetime, ranging in the past year from evacuating an eruption-threatened weather station to rescuing native birds from a rat-infested island, have been completed successfully.

Officer recruiting, while not yet entirely satisfactory, has been good. The Navy still needs young men of the highest standard for its career officer entry. These are cadets to whom the Navy looks to fill eventually its highest ranks and to whom it gives its longest and its most demanding training. Entry standards are therefore high and bring the Navy into competition with the established professions. However, steps have been taken to open other avenues to a naval career, principally through a short-service scheme, and training for this has begun, with some success, in New Zealand.

Rating recruiting continues to be good, and the calibre reflects credit on today’s young New Zealanders. Naval equipment has steadily increased in complexity and its operation and maintenance demand both intelligence and concentration. This equipment is being understood and: operated by young men who had no technical experience before they joined the Navy.

It is not possible to speak with the same confidence about the future position in respect of ships. In the past, most recently in last year’s report, attention has been drawn to the fact that ships deteriorate in two distinct stages. At first the equipment the ship carries becomes outdated so that, while there are many tasks it can perform, it becomes of doubtful fighting value in a modern fleet. The second stage is reached when physical deterioration of the hull and machinery limits its ability to steam far beyond reach of the shore maintenance that it needs with increasing frequency.

The first stage was reached some time ago with the last of the two Loch-class frigates in service, HMNZS ROTOITI and PUKAKI. Both were built during the war and they have been invaluable. However, for some years they have been too slow and their equipment too outdated for them to have much value as fighting units. They have been used for training and weather station duties.

The second stage of physical deterioration has now been reached more rapidly than had been expected. ROTOITI’s hull has worn to the point where she can be used only in sheltered waters close to maintenance facilities, and will be disposed of in the near future. PUKAKI is in only slightly better condition than ROTOITI but she too must be restricted in her use, and will not continue in service for more than a few months.

At the same time HMNZS ROYALIST will soon become due for a refit which, because of the age of her hull, raises serious doubts about undertaking very expensive replacement work that would not be warranted by her future value. It may accordingly be necessary to consider also withdrawing ROYALIST from service in the near future.

This means that in a time which can be measured in months rather than years the Royal New Zealand Navy will lose two frigates and could in the near future also lose a cruiser, which between them normally carry a total of800 men, more than a quarter of the Navy’s total strength. OTAGO and TARANAKI would then be the major fighting units until early 1967 when WAIKATO (at present being built) comes into service.

The situation confronting the Navy has, accordingly, been a major consideration in the review of New Zealand’s defence policies and requirements mentioned above.


Regular Forces
The strength of the RNZN on 31 March 1965 was 2,976, comprising 314 officers, 2,551 ratings, 10 RN officers and 2 RN ratings on loan, 10 WRNZNS officers, and 89 WRNZNS ratings. Four naval personnel were serving with the Defence Office at that date, giving a strength of 2,972 carried on the Navy subdivision of the Defence vote.

These figures represent an increase of 17 in the officer strength since 31 March 1964 and a decrease of 76 ratings.

Recruitment for both the RNZN and WRNZNS during the year was generally satisfactory, although there is a continuing need for improved officer recruiting.

Non-regular Forces
The number of RNZNR officers remained at 11. The numbers of RNZNVR officers and ratings were 130 and 358 respectively, as against 121 and 397 the previous year and an approved strength of 140 and 600. Recruiting improved slightly towards the end of the year. The strength – of the inactive reserves comprised 534 officers and 2,720 ratings, compared with 588 and 2,882 in the previous year.

The shortage in some categories of workmen persisted, and a strong effort to recruit in vital trades is essential to prepare for HMNZS OTAGO’s first long refit in 1966. Recruiting of apprentices was satisfactory and 140 were employed at the end of the year.


Visits and Duty Overseas
HMNZS ROYALIST sailed in April 1964 from Auckland with the Governor-General, Lady Fergusson, and their party for a four-week tour of 17 southwest Pacific islands. The ship then proceeded to the Far East where she took part in exercise “LIGTAS” and visited Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore before returning to New Zealand via Darwin and Brisbane in August. The ship then refitted at Auckland until November, and in March 1965 sailed for Pearl Harbour for refresher training with the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Training Group.

HMNZS OTAGO completed an annual refit in May 1964 and after trials and working-up exercises in the Hauraki Gulf proceeded on a cruise round New Zealand and a series of anti-submarine exercises with other ships, three Royal Navy submarines, and RNZAF Sunderland aircraft. The exercises were curtailed on 24 June 1964 when OTAGO and HMNZS PUKAKI were ordered to sail south with all dispatch for search and rescue duties during an emergency air evacuation from McMurdo Sound.

Afterwards OTAGO returned to Auckland to prepare for passage to Pearl Harbour and the Far East Station. OTAGO carried out refresher training at Pearl Harbour and was graded “excellent”. On 31 August 1964 while the ship was testing the main engines before proceeding to sea she moved forward from her berth, parted her lines, and collided with U.S. ships WALKER and JENKINS which were lying ahead. Repairs were completed at Pearl Harbour and OTAGO sailed for the Far East, where she has engaged in anti-infiltration patrols and exercised with the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve.

HMNZS TARANAKI began the year serving as New Zealand’s naval contribution to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. In May 1964 she visited Japan, and in June and July took part in exercises “LIGTAS” and “FOTEX”. She sailed from Singapore for Auckland in August calling at Darwin and Cairns. Leave was taken and TARANAKI then visited Wellington and New Plymouth before sailing for Sydney for anti-submarine exercises. She returned to Auckland in October and in December 1964 began her second main refit.

HMNZS PUKAKI took part in anti-submarine training with units of the Royal Australian Navy during May 1964, and with HMNZS OTAGO and Royal Navy submarines in the Hauraki Gulf in June. In July 1964 she visited Newcastle and Brisbane and carried out exercises before sailing for Auckland with HMNZS ROYALIST. From October to February PUKAKI served as a weather reporting ship at latitude 60∞ south, alternating with U.S.S. MILLS, and in March 1965 underwent a structural survey at HMNZS Dockyard, Auckland.

HMNZS ROTOITI continued to act as the Navy’s sea training ship during the year, introducing trainees to life at sea. Her programme included a cruise to the Kermadec and Fiji Islands in June and July 1964 and a New Zealand cruise in September and October. Afterwards ROTOITI began a refit, during which it was found that her hull was fast becoming unseaworthy because of her age. She resumed training cruises in January 1965 but her operational area has been confined to sheltered waters around Auckland.

HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, on completing a refit after the previous season’s Antarctic support activities, carried out trials during August and in September began an oceanographic and supply cruise to the Pacific islands, including the Kermadecs, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, and the Cooks. She returned to Auckland in October. ENDEAVOUR sailed from Lyttelton in December for her third Antarctic season, during which two supply voyages were made to McMurdo Sound. In addition she made an oceanographic cruise in the Southern Ocean in January and February on behalf of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Hydrographic Activities
The Hydrographic Branch continued its task of surveying New Zealand waters, publishing and distributing navigational charts and books, and providing hydrographic information for defence purposes and for the development of resources, which in many cases lie in relatively uncharted areas.

Three new and three provisional charts were published, 13 revised and reprinted, and nine British charts reprinted under the 1963 reciprocal agreement. Over 40,000 copies of Notices to Mariners were distributed.

The Hydrographic Supplies Depot at Auckland assumed responsibility for the British and Australian chart agencies on I July 1964 in place of the Marine Department. During the year 13,194 charts and 618 books were sold for £5,995.

The survey ship HMNZS LACHLAN worked during the season in waters west of Cape Egmont and east of Cape Brett. She evacuated and later returned personnel from Raoul Island at the time of volcanic disturbances there, and visited Whangarei to take part in the city status celebrations.

The surveying tenders HMNZ Ships TAKAPU and TARAPUNGA worked mainly in the Hauraki Gulf area in bringing century-old surveys up to date.

The Fishery Protection Squadron
The Fishery Protection Squadron carried out fishery protection patrols from North Cape to Bluff throughout the year. Its strength was increased in August with the commissioning of HMNZS MARORO.

Assistance was also given to Government Departments and other agencies on many occasions. In August 1964 the Squadron assisted the Wildlife Division of the Department of Internal Affairs to transfer species of birds threatened by rats in the Mutton bird Islands to other rat-free islands. In January and February 1965 it participated in the Japanese fishing demonstrations arranged at Tauranga and Timaru by the Marine Department and the Fishing Industry Board, and in February assistance was given to the Lands and Survey Department in the survey of Stewart Island.

Training is being undertaken in New Zealand to the limits of the building and equipment, which are available. However, considerable capital investment is required for the provision of modern training facilities before overseas training can be further reduced.

Supplementary List Officers
A new pilot scheme for training Supplementary List officers has been commenced this year in HMNZS TAMAKI. These officers were formerly given their initial training in the United Kingdom.

Numbers Trained
A total of 368 ratings received disciplinary and technical training in HMNZS TAMAKI and HMNZS PHILOMEL during the year and 240 officers and 1,297 ratings underwent advanced training at PHILOMEL.

At 31 March 1965, 59 artificer apprentices were under training in Royal Navy establishments and HMNZS PHILOMEL.

Training of Malaysian Personnel
The limitations of New Zealand training facilities have restricted the amount of training, which the RNZN has been able to provide for ratings of the Royal Malaysian Navy. However, several direct-entry RMN Engineroom Artificers are under training and are making good progress.

Ships of the RNZN took part in the following exercises during the year:
“LIGTAS” (May-June 1964): A SEATO combined land, sea, and air exercise in the Philippines – HMNZ Ships ROYALIST and TARANAKI.
“NEWS EX” (June 1964): An anti-submarine exercise in the Hauraki Gulf with HM Submarines TRUMP, TACITURN, and TABARD and RNZAF aircraft – HMNZ Ships OTAGO and PUKAKI.
“FOTEX 64” (July-August 1964): A Commonwealth naval exercise off Singapore involving 40 warships – HMNZS TARANAKI.
“RADIATOR CAP” (October-November 1964): A naval control of shipping exercise in the New Zealand area.
“SHOPWINDOW” (November 1964): A demonstration in Hauraki Gulf – HMNZ Ships TARANAKI and PUKAKI.
“HAURAKI” (December-January 1965): The annual tactical exercise for RNZNVR personnel – motor launches from all four divisions and the Fishery Protection Squadron.
“FOTEX 65” (March 1965): Commonwealth exercise off Singapore – HMNZS OTAGO.

The age and condition of ROYALIST and the two Loch-class frigates give cause for concern. These factors limit severely the operational and even the training value of the ships while imposing heavy demands on the financial and maintenance resources of the RNZN.

During the year the second main refit of OTAGO was completed and that of TARANAKI begun. Defects were remedied, minor structural alterations effected, and new equipment installed.

The survey ship LACHLAN and the Antarctic support ship ENDEAVOUR were both refitted and continue to operate effectively.

Maintenance and conversion of minor vessels and small craft continued.

New patterns of radio equipment have been obtained for fitting in OTAGO and TARANAKI, and the very latest equipment has been ordered for WAIKATO, under construction in Northern Ireland. Limited modernisation of the communication equipment of older ships continued.

A standby power plant for the receiver station at IRIRANGI was installed, providing independence from the local main supply, and new receiving equipment was ordered to replace worn out sets, which have been used for many years. Work continued on a very-high-frequency control link between IRIRANGI and the Naval Communications Centre at Wellington. During the year some 81,000 naval and 65,000 commercial messages were handled.

Cataloguing of electrical and engineering spare parts for ships proceeded most satisfactorily and a punched-card system of assessing victualling costs was introduced.

During the year Navy Office arranged the supply to the Royal Navy at Singapore of £66,000 worth of meat.
The routine replenishment and maintenance of armament stores has continued according to schedule.

At the end of the year proposals were under study for the purchase of WASP helicopters for operation with anti-submarine weapons from WAIKATO.


Of the average complement of 2,900 officers and men in the Regular Force, 1,848 members received medical treatment at some period during the year. These cases lost an average of 8.47 days per man through sickness. There have been five deaths during the year, three being due to accident and two to natural causes. Forty-eight cases were invalided from all causes.

The RNZN Hospital treated 1,606 patients including Army, Navy, and Air personnel and civilians, and 323 major operations were performed, 191 being done for Army, Air, and civilian dependants and pensioners. The inter-Service character of the hospital is demonstrated by the fact that more operations were done for the other two Services than for Navy.


School Certificate Course
For the first time a special School Certificate course approved by the Director of Education was conducted by the RNZN. The course commenced in HMNZS PHILOMEL in March 1964, and nine out of 15 candidates passed the examination. The candidates selected were young ratings considered to be capable of becoming senior ratings or officers at an early stage in their careers.

Correspondence Courses
Interest in the correspondence courses conducted by the Government Correspondence School and the Technical Correspondence Institute continued to increase, and a record number of ratings undertook part-time study for technical qualifications.

Apprentice Training
An investigation into the training of apprentices wholly in New Zealand was begun, with the aim of making use of courses and qualifications controlled by the New Zealand Trade Certification Authority.


HMNZ Dockyard
Major works which were nearing completion at the end of the year included the new combined engineering workshop, to house the machine shop, tool room, and apprentice training workshop with associated lecture rooms; an extension to the electrical workshop; and a new electrical substation to meet the electrical load in the Naval Hospital and Wardroom area.

Site clearance, involving the resiting of the Ministry of Works workshop in Shoal Bay, was begun to permit construction of the proposed new metallurgical laboratory as an extension of the Naval Research Laboratory.

An extension to the Wardroom was begun, the main galley was re-roofed, and plans were made to modernise the galley, servery and dining facilities.

Work progressed steadily on the development of facilities following the move to Narrow Neck. Two barrack blocks were moved from. Papakura Military Camp, the existing barrack blocks renovated, and an ablution block to service them commenced.

Construction of a new Establishment Building was planned but the preparation of working drawings was unfortunately delayed and work has not progressed.

During the year no housing units were completed but at 31 March 1965 there were 11 under construction, six in the Bishops Block, North Shore, and five at Fort Cautley. These latter five are for the use of Army personnel at present living in what will be an administration block for Navy.

Visits by Distinguished Persons
Vice-Admiral J. T. Hayward, USN, Commander Anti-Submarine Warfare Force, United States Pacific ‘Fleet, visited Wellington in April 1964.

Mr A. L. M. Cary, Second Permanent Under-Secretary of State (Royal Navy), visited New Zealand in August 1964.

Vice-Admiral J. F. Bush, C.B., D.S.C., British Naval Attache in Washington, visited Wellington in December 1964.

Rear-Admiral F. L. George, C.B.E., Technical Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board, visited New Zealand in February 1965.

Visits by Commonwealth Warships
HM Submarines TRUMP, TACITURN, and TABARD visited New Zealand in June 1964 for exercises.
HMAS ANZAC, an Australian destroyer, visited New Zealand in August and September 1964 during a training cruise.

Visits by Other Warships
FS LA LORIENTAISE, a French minesweeper, visited Auckland and Whangarei in April 1964.
USS LONG BEACH, a nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser, and USS BAINBRIDGE, a nuclear-powered guided-missile frigate, visited Wellington on 8 September 1964 during a world tour. Rear-Admiral B. M. Strean, USN, Flag Officer, Task Force One, also visited Wellington. LONG BEACH and BAINBRIDGE rendezvoused with the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE off Kapiti Island on 9 September and demonstration exercises were carried out. Air displays over Wellington and Christchurch were also given.

USS ARCHERFISH, a conventionally powered submarine visited Auckland and Wellington in September and October 1964.

United States ships attached to operation “DEEPFREEZE” visited Wellington, Lyttelton, and Dunedin during the 1964-65 Antarctic season.

FS AMIRAL CHARNIER, a French escort sloop, visited Lyttelton, Bluff, and Auckland in December 1964.

FS JEANNE D’ARC, a helicopter carrier, and FS VICTOR SCHOELCHER, an escort sloop, visited Wellington from 11 to 15 January 1965 and later Milford Sound during a training cruise.

USNS ELTANIN, an oceanographic research vessel visited Auckland and Wellington from December to February 1965.