News from Across the Tasman – APDR


Irirangi – NZDF HF radio station (Credit: Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand/RNZN Communicators) Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand


The NZDF communicates from New Zealand to its deployed aircraft and ships using HF radio or satellite communications. HF radio is the primary communications medium for smaller ships, aircraft, and for deployed forces when the satellite is unavailable. The NZDF’s need to retain the ability to communicate with ships and aircraft close to New Zealand and to access global communications when satellite links are unavailable has triggered an NZ Ministry of Defence project to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NZDF’s high-frequency radio capability.

NZDF elements deployed around the world on ground operations, from Antarctica to Iraq, can be reached by choice through multiple communications bearers – geosynchronous satellites, low earth orbit satellites, HF radio, cable and telecommunications networks.

Each has advantages and disadvantages, but the most important high data capacity bearer for the NZDF is the satellite, with backup by HF radio when satellite communications are denied or inaccessible, for example, by platforms working below of 60 degrees South in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. The NZDF HF radio capability is also used as an emergency standby for Maritime New Zealand.

The current fixed high-frequency radio system was installed in the 1980s and a limited upgrade was undertaken in 2005. As a result, the system is becoming more difficult to maintain.

The NZ Ministry of Defence’s Capability Delivery Division has initiated a Fixed High-Frequency Radio Refresh project. They state ‘HF radio complements satellite or terrestrial communications systems helping to manage the risk of communications

disruption or failure. NZDF’s current New Zealand based fixed high-frequency radio infrastructure was installed in the 1980s, with some parts of the infrastructure upgraded in 2005. The Fixed High-Frequency Radio Refresh Project seeks to upgrade and consolidate this infrastructure to deliver value for money HF capability that will support the NZDF’s deployed and domestic operations in a sustainable manner.

‘The scope of the project includes, but is not limited to:

• Upgrading land-based infrastructure in New Zealand (including transmitters, receivers, and other equipment);

• Updating the Joint Remote-Control System to control all NZDF HF equipment;

• The introduction of frequency management and prediction system;

• The introduction of Automatic Link Establishment/ Management;

• Integration of the new HF System into the NZDF’s network command and control system; and

• Installation of supplied cryptographic equipment.’ APDR has had the opportunity to access a redacted NZ Cabinet Government Administration and Expenditure Review Committee minutes, where the result of Minister of Defence Ron Mark’s submission was approval to release a Request for Proposal in the Government Electronic Tenders Service within a capital cost of up to NZ $0.445 million operating and an NZ $0.475 million allowance for pre-acquisition capital costs.

The Request for Proposals for the Fixed High-Frequency Radio Refresh project was released on 6 August 2018 and closed on 23 November. Recommendations are expected to be completed this quarter and it is anticipated that a contract will be awarded later this year.

At a time when alternative means of communication are required to counter potential adversary’s jamming radio signals, knocking out satellite systems, or cutting undersea cables, HF radio has assumed increased importance.

HQJFNZ need to be able to reach all deployed elements 24/7 so an analysis of available bearer options is quite revealing.

Cable can only be used from a fixed location, while cellular telecommunications need to be line-of-sight to cell sites. While high-altitude geosynchronous satellites have limited polar coverage and are not available to all force elements, they are the preferred primary channel because of their high data rates enabling a mix of data types to be transmitted and received rapidly. Low earth satellite orbits, for example, launched by Rocket Lab from New Zealand, can have excellent polar coverage, read the Southern Ocean, Ross Seas and Antarctica, but have the lowest capacity.

Where does this leave HF radio? It can offer global coverage depending on the time of day, the state and height of the ionosphere between transmitting and receiving sites, and while having lower data capacity than geosynchronous satellites is a great alternate channel although not always usable 24/7. Occasional solar activity, including solar flares, can cause problems.

The MOD’s project team position is ‘High-Frequency Radio is a critical communications capability for the New Zealand Defence Force’s smaller platforms, as an essential fall-back option for larger platforms and for platforms working south of 60 degrees South including the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. As such, this capability will be needed for the foreseeable future.

The NZDF’s Network Enabled Army Program is in the process of updating the Army’s communications equipment. The radios being purchased as part of this update allow the Army to be interoperable with Police, emergency services and the High-Frequency radio network, if and when they are deployed in a domestic emergency.

Currently, the NZDF HF radio network has assets in six locations. This project will consolidate two of these existing centres – Irirangi in the Waiouru area of the central North Island and Weedons in the Christchurch area of the South Island.

Posted in General Updates | 4 Comments

NOW!! it all makes Sense

Nothing to do with Communications but this little presentation makes it all clear.


Posted in General Updates | Leave a comment

NGAPONA Newsletter


15 March 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Waiheke RSA
23 March 19 – Kumeu Militaria Show
6 April 19 – HMNZS Otago Reunion, Birkenhead RSA
18 April 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Henderson RSA (Thursday)
19 – 22 April 19 – Easter Weekend
25 April 19 – ANZAC Day
10 May – Navy Club Lunch, Remuera Club
17 May – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Pt Chevalier RSA
1-3 June – Queen’s Birthday Weekend
1-3 June – RNZN Antarctic Veterans Reunion, Rangiora RSA


Our annual lunch at Waiheke RSA is this Friday 15 March. This is one of the Association’s major events for the year. It is always a good day out and the RSA makes us very welcome. Invite your partner and friends – you do not have to be a member of the Association to enjoy good company, food and a trip on the harbour. The ferry leaves the downtown ferry building on the half hour. Suggest we catch the 1100 boat as this also calls at Devonport on the way so ‘Northern Folk’ don’t need to come into town. It’s good to get to the ferry building early and have a coffee before boarding the ferry. The return sailings are on the half hour with the 1400 and 1600 sailings calling at Devonport.


The Rock Reunion page now has its own website which can be found at All details are now on this site. The “Survivors of the Rock” reunion will be held on 14-16th February 2020. Visit the website for further details.


The Maori sailor has been a part of the RNZN from day one of its inception. There was never any discrimination and both Pakeha and Maori sailors have lived and fought together in harmony. In those early years, the top navy hierarchy was predominately ex Royal Navy (RN) senior naval officers who promoted the RN traditions, customs and principles.

Although Maori customs and practices were never forbidden in the RNZN, the Maori matelots formed their own ships Maori Concert Party (MCP) in order to honour and promote their culture whenever their ships deployed overseas. Practicing when at sea and performing in harbour for cocktail parties, schools, civilian clubs, hospitals, TV and any locations that they were invited to. They were real amateurs but performed with enthusiasm, pride and pure joy for their tipuna (ancestors) their ship and themselves.

They didn’t have the support of their wahine (women) to assist with harmonising or poi (ball on a rope) on ships in those early days. Most ships could ‘outfit’ their MCP’s with the traditional Maori puipui (flax skirt) and many of the sailors would have their own taiaha (close-1/4’s weapon) or patu (striking club) Their ta-moko (face tattoo) were simply drawn on by utilising whatever marking pens were available at the time.

Some said that they were nothing but performing ‘puppets’ for the wardroom at cocktail parties who were rewarded with cartons of beer, but that statement could not be further from the truth. The main focus of a cocktail party was to promote our country and an integral part of that was to showcase our culture. The MCP were genuine ambassador’s and always received accolades and compliments for their performances around the world.

The names of tutors such as, “Pop’ Pokai, Bert McLean, Bruce Pukepuke, “Choc” Kingi, ‘Tweeny’ Dennis, Dennis Newdick, Chris Kauta and Percy Poe are names that will forever be etched in Maori naval history as matelots who pioneered and forged the promotion of their Maori culture. If ever the history of the matelot in the RNZN is written, stories of the Maori Concert Parties should be told.

(Supplied by Jack Donnelly)

MCP Royalist 1965 – MAORI HAKA PARTY – As they preferred to be known.


On 14th March 1991, Elizabeth House, 5 King Edward Parade, Devonport was sold by the RNZN for $800,000. In July 1951, the Ventor Hotel was purchased by the RNZN to be the barracks for the WRNZNS. A year was taken up with refurbishment and the first group of 71 Wrens arrived in July 1952. This was christened as Elizabeth House. The original kauri house was destroyed by fire, rumoured to be started by a defaulting guest. The plastered brick replacement was built in 1914. The building sold again in 2009 for $1,450,000 and again in 2016 for $3,000,000.


Posted in General Updates | 3 Comments

A Yeoman with Longevity

Gregory Terence Hanson V21248 joined the RNZN on the 9th of January 1974 as an Ordinary Signalman and eventually rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer Yeoman of Signals.  Greg has served at sea as a Signalman and Yeoman on HMNZS TARANAKI, HMNZS WAIKATO and HMNZS PUKAKI. He also had numerous shore postings to PHILOMEL,  TAMAKI, NGAPONA as Caretaker/Instructor and as Senior Instructor at the RNZN New Entry Training School.

In 2010, Greg took up an out of branch posting to the Youth Development Unit at Hobsonville Airbase and Trade Changed to a Youth Development Instructor (CPOYDI).
2017 saw Greg return to the operations world when he was posted to his current position as Operations Officer at No 6 Squadron, RNZAF Base Whenuapai which operates the Navy’s SH-2G Seasprite helicopters.

Greg was awarded the LSGCM on 17 January 1989, the 1st Clasp to the LSGCM on 23 Jan 2004 and the 2nd Clasp to the LSGCM  with effect 23 January 2019.
He has now served a total of 45 years and 2 Months, is the longest-serving communicator and second longest serving person in the RNZN. He continues to provide exemplary service to the RNZN and the Association congratulates him on this incredible milestone. BZ Greg

Posted in General Updates | 5 Comments

Looking for – John Milliken

Does anyone know the whereabouts of John Milliken who was and ORD in 1957.  Gerald O’Sullivan is looking for him.  Leave a message to this post if you know his whereabouts.

Posted in General Updates | 1 Comment


The Rock Reunion page now has its own website which can be found at All details will now be moved to this site.



Posted in General Updates | Leave a comment

I was on my Own – Willie Apiata

Nearly seven years after leaving the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), Victoria Cross recipient Willie Apiata is going back into battle.  Click HERE

This time, the former SAS soldier is fighting for the welfare and futures of the men and women who leave the services who, in his words, currently get nothing.

It says something about the pulling power of Willie Apiata VC that the launch of Post Transition at the Auckland War Memorial attracted so much interest on Thursday.

Post Transition is an organisation Apiata and partner Jen Martin have created to fill the void so many of our servicemen and women feel when they leave the NZDF.

In a launch video, Apiata talked openly about his service, and most tellingly, what happened next.

“I’ve lived it, I’ve experienced it and something needs to change,” he said.

“I left, I had the highest award you could ever imagine that can be awarded to any serving person, and the day I walked out the gate I got nothing.

“I was on my own. No support from anybody.”

He says if that happened to him then, how does a private soldier feel who’s only done six years and wants to leave?

Among the things he’s going into battle, for now, is better welfare and care for former NZDF personnel, particularly around the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“You can’t unsee what you see,” he told Newshub. “The tragedy, things are torn in front of you, the horrors. Even for the incident that I was a part of, I will never forget that. It will live with me until I die.”

There’s a saying that what happens in the country stays in the country, but Apiata says that’s “the biggest myth I’ve ever heard”.

“Nothing ever stays there, it always comes home, and it comes home in here.”

He says his family gave him the stability he needed to get through, and now with his partner, they’re hoping to help others.

“We’ve made a very conscious decision with this process that actually, the way that we can get some healing and share the story of bravery is to go out and use the platform to help other people feel like they are not on their own,” Ms Martin says.

So how big a problem is PTSD and mental health for servicemen and women in New Zealand? Apiata and Ms Martin anecdotally say it’s huge, but it’s hard to be accurate because there is no measure.

A recent report in the UK found 50 serving or former military personnel took their own lives in 2012, more than the number killed in action in Afghanistan.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” Apiata says.

“The thing I was most scared of was my mate, and that’s what this is about. We never leave anyone behind, we’ve got to go back and help them more, in one way or another.”

Breaking in wild horses is therapy for Apiata, as he says you need to be calm to gain their trust.

Crucially, he’s hoping to gain the trust of employers; to get them to look beyond the stereotypes and give former servicemen and women a chance.

“[It] takes our men and women from the battlefield and into business and being purposeful people in the civilian population again.”

Once named New Zealand’s most trusted and honoured for valour, he’s never been comfortable in the limelight. This might be his most courageous role yet.

“You talk about brave… I have to be brave to hop back in front of that camera and talk to you, which I don’t do because I don’t like it. But I’m putting myself out here and my family, because this is so important.

“There are so many of our brothers and sisters that need all of us – not just me and Jen, but for us all.”

Newshub. 7 March 2019

Posted in General Updates | Leave a comment