The frigate HMNZS Te Kaha arrived at its new "home port" early yesterday afternoon, although its shipmate HMNZS Endeavour's visit was called off.
The logistics ship was called away to an operational assignment.
The 180 crew on the frigate were welcomed by blue skies. The officers and ship's company will be accorded freedom of the city as part of tomorrow's charter events, which will begin at 11am at the Sound Shell colonnade with a welcome from Napier mayor Bill Dalton, speeches and a formal parade inspection. At 11.20am the Napier Pipe Band will lead the marching sailors down Emerson St to Memorial Square, where they will be formally dismissed from parade and welcomed to the Napier RSA for a light lunch.
"It will be quite an occasion and a real honour for Napier," the navy's regional liaison officer, Lieutenant Commander Neville Smith, said.
It is the first time Napier has "adopted" a frigate, having previously been home port to the inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Rotoiti. The ship's company will spend today doing drills in preparation for tomorrow's parade, and will be given Sunday off to check out their new "home port" before taking part in a series of Anzac Day services on Monday.
For one of the officers and five of the crew, it will be a quick trip home. The executive officer of Te Kaha is Te Aute College old boy Lieutenant Commander Tuijo Thompson. Also in the city for the charter event is Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin ONZM and Chief Warrant Officer Steven Bourke. Rear Admiral Martin will formally present French Legion of Honour medals to Hawke's Bay D-Day veterans Stan Douglas and John Whitehead at a special service at the RSA about noon.