Final flags fly for Navy vessels

Two of the Navy's remaining three inshore patrol craft will enter Auckland Harbour for the final time this morning, flying their decommissioning pennants.

HMNZS Wakakura and HMNZS Kiwi are being decommissioned, with four new ships being built to replace them.

The ships will enter the harbour at 7.30am, where they will carry out ceremonial manoeuvres in the Stanley Bay Basin before berthing alongside the Devonport Naval Base at 8.05am.

Navy public relations manager Lieutenant Commander Barbara Cassin said it would be the final task for the crews of the two vessels.

Both ships will formally be decommissioned from operational service on December 11. Sister ships Hinau and Moa were decommissioned in January.

A fifth in-shore patrol craft, HMNZS Kahu, will remain in service as the navigational and seamanship training ship.

Named after World War II minesweepers of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Kiwi and Wakakura were attached to the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions in Christchurch and Wellington respectively until April 2005.

Built in Whangarei in the 1970s, the ships were used for basic seamanship and navigation training.

The new vessels being built - Rotoiti, Hawea, Pukaki and Taupo - will be commissioned next year.

- NZPA

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