Huntly lo­cal ful­fills navy dream

North Waikato News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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