Anzac warrior welcome sight

By Roger Moroney

1 comment
The HMNZS Te Kaha will use Napier as its home port during Anzac Day.
The HMNZS Te Kaha will use Napier as its home port during Anzac Day.

Napier is set to become "home port" for the navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha which is scheduled to arrive in the Bay as part of a major naval presence for Anzac Day.

The arrival of the frigate along with the logistics and support ship HMNZS Endeavour on April 21 will be the largest naval presence in the Bay for an Anzac Day with a major charter parade to officially declare the frigate's link with Napier set to be a highlight of the visit.

There will be about 250 total naval personnel involved with the visit which is part of the 75th anniversary commemorations of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Napier had previously been a home port charter link with the HMNZS Rotoiti but this will be the first time the city has "adopted" a frigate.

Royal New Zealand Navy liaison regional officer Lieutenant Commander Neville Smith said it was a "huge honour" for Napier to be taken aboard as the frigate's home port and the around 180 officers and ships company will be accorded the 'Freedom of the City' as part of the parade on April 23 as a build-up to Anzac Day.

"Hawke's Bay has a very strong linkage with the navy," LT CDR Smith said.

As well as the region being one of the top recruiting areas it also had a long history - going back to when the crew of the HMS Veronica, which had been tied up in Napier, were pressed into action after the 1931 earthquake struck.

Lieutenant Commander Smith said the frigates were seen as the pride of the fleet and to gain an association with one of them was a notable event.

"And the fact this (charter) is taking place at Anzac weekend makes it even more special."

HMNZS Endeavour will tie up at 10am with HMNZS Te Kaha scheduled to tie up at 2pm.

On Saturday, April 23, the officers and ships company of HMNZS Te Kaha will assemble at the Veronica Bay at the Sound Shell colonnade at 11am where they will be welcomed by Napier Mayor Bill Dalton.

Mr Dalton will also inspect the parade and there will be formal speeches.

At 11.20am the officers and ship's company will then march down Emerson St to Memorial Square in a formal charter parade which will be led by the Napier Pipe Band.

Lieutenant Commander Smith said the first moves to create the association between the city and the frigate were first sparked about 18 months ago when naval personnel approached him with the plan.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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