Western Pacific Naval Symposium’s Mine Counter Measures Exercises in New Zealand

It’s not often you get invited to spend time with a US Navy Dive Team,
so I was like an excited kid waiting for Santa to appear down the
chimney as I waited for a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) to pick me up off
the beach at Army Bay.

If you live along the outstretched arm of Whangaparaoa Peninsula that
punches out into Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf just north of Auckland, you
would have noticed a hive of naval activity comprising large vessels
such as

HMNZS Canterbury, HMNZS Manawanui

(dive support ship)  and other ships including two Australian mine
hunters! Also a scattering of black powerful RIBs zooming between these
boats and various dive sites.

What’s it all about?

It’s all to do with the Western Pacific Naval Symposium’s (WPNS) Mine Countermeasures and Diving Exercise hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy from 17 February to 7 March. This was the first time New Zealand has hosted such an exercise and the fifth one to be staged.

There were 600 people from 14 countries, comprising: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, USA and Thailand that took part.

Mine Countermeasures Exercises in New Zealand? A bit over the top I hear a few of you mumble!

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