From the South China Sea and told re­porter

Emma Whit­taker that for him An­zac Day is all about ‘‘the here and now’’.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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