Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. - Photo: Supplied / NZDF.
With the breaking of a wine bottle and an official word from the prime minister, the country's newest military vessel has been officially commissioned.
"I name this ship, Her Majesty's New Zealand ship, Manawanui," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the Devonport Naval Base yesterday.
HMNZS Manawanui is the fourth ship of the Royal New Zealand Navy to hold the name.
Manawanui's predecessor had a long history of service, including clearing unexploded ordnance from World War II in the Pacific, undertaking search and recovery, and inspecting hazards in sea lanes.
"From this moment, Manawanui will come to represent our country and through the actions of the ship's company, will represent our values as a nation," Ms Ardern said.
Defence Minister Ron Mark, who also attended the commissioning, said the new vessel was a game changer for the South Pacific region.
"Its commissioning comes at a time when we have raised the priority for operating in the South Pacific to the same level as our own territory."
It is the latest procurement for the military. Mr Mark last year announced the purchase of P8 Poseidon planes to replace the old Orion fleet in a few years' time.
Next week, he releases his long-awaited Capability Plan - and after that he will announce the replacement for the old Hercules fleet.