Huntly local fulfills navy dream
From small town boy to working on the world’s largest international maritime exercise, Tui Raukawa has fulfilled his dreams by joining the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The Huntly man has been able to ’’get amongst the action’’ over five weeks in Hawaii at the Exercise Rim of the Pacific [RIMPAC].
It’s a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the co-operative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
It’s held biennially during June and July from Honolulu.
RIMPAC involved 26 nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel.
As leading seaman combat specialist, Raukawa’s role involved seamanship and gunnery on the navy’s warship HMNZS Te Kaha.
‘‘The highlight was seeing all the ships involved in formation, meeting the locals, and exploring Hawaii,’’ he said.
The 26-year old joined the navy in 2008 after leaving Te Awamutu College.
Since then he has been deployed to the Persian Gulf, Australia, Gallipoli last year for the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing which he said was the highlight of his career.
But he also loves going home to Huntly.
‘‘I go home quite often to see friends and family - and there are no traffic lights,’’ he said.
Commanding officer of Te Kaha Steve Lenik said it was great for the ship to be part of the contingent representing the New Zealand Defence Force and the navy at RIMPAC.
‘‘Such a large exercise was a fantastic opportunity for my ship’s company to train for the broad spectrum of maritime tasks that Te Kaha might be asked to undertake as part of a coalition,’’ he said.
‘‘This exercise will help Te Kaha contribute to a secure and stable Pacific and the sea lanes connecting it to our global trading partners.’’
HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) is one of two serving in the the Royal New Zealand Navy.
‘‘The highlight was seeing all the ships involved in formation, meeting the locals, and exploring Hawaii’’
Leading seaman combat specialist Tui Raukawa aboard HMNZS Te Kaha during Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii.