From the South China Sea and told reporter
Emma Whittaker that for him Anzac Day is all about ‘‘the here and now’’.
SUB-LIEUTENANT Regan Harris is halfway through a four-month overseas deployment on board the frigate HMNZS Te Mana.
This year the crew is spending Anzac Day at a special service in Vietnam.
‘‘It is important to remember the service and sacrifice that others made for us. Many people want to forget wars because they are terrible, but we should never forget those who fought in them.
‘‘The navy takes the day pretty seriously,’’ Mr Harris says. ‘‘Usually we would go to an RSA service in Australia or wherever we are.’’
After a month off the coast of Australia the crew is taking part in a major training exercise in South East Asia involving Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
He joined the navy three years ago after finishing university and has spent about a third of the time away from home.
‘‘This is one of the largest deployments I’ve been on. It’s one of the largest the navy does,’’ he says.
Auckland is home for the 27-year-old and his fiancee Amanda Waterman who have just bought their first house.
‘‘We were just getting settled in and then I had to go away again.
‘‘Being away means you treasure the times you are at home more. It makes you make the most of it,’’ he says.
Mr Harris is a bridge watch keeper which essentially makes him the driver.
Life on board takes some getting used to he says.
‘‘We have a few creature comforts. We don’t have a lot of connections with the outside world.’’
Sailors can talk to family and friends via email but aren’t usually able to call from sea.
‘‘Boredom is one of the big issues. You read a lot of books,’’ he says.
‘‘You’ve got to be quite tolerant of other people as well because you don’t get a lot of privacy at sea. It’s nice when you come back to have your own space.’’
Before the crew on board Te Mana left for the Anzac Day ceremony in Vietnam, they spent some time in Singapore.
Currently there are 475 New Zealand Defence Force staff on deployments and operations across 10 countries from Afghanistan to Korea and Sinai.
Maritime component commander commodore John Martin says Te Mana’s deployment is vitally important.
‘‘New Zealand relies on the sea to transport 99 per cent of its imports and exports.
‘‘Ensuring New Zealand’s ocean lifelines remain open and secure is the navy’s number one priority and maintaining strong working relationships with our partner navies is vital to achieving this,’’ he says.