Warships conclude New Zealand earthquake relief efforts

Three international warships helping New Zealand in the earthquake aftermath concluded their relief effort on November 19 and headed for Wellington Harbor where they met up with New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and tanker Endeavour.

USS Sampson, HMAS Darwin and HMCS Vancouver with their embarked helicopters supported the government of New Zealand onsite at Kaikoura from Nov. 17-19.

Warships and maritime surveillance aircraft from Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States, in the country to take part in the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary, were diverted to Kaikoura to support the disaster relief operation.

Four maritime helicopters from the warships helped offload about 216 tonnes of aid supplies from the amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury. Surveillance aircraft from Japan and the US conducted surveys of quake-damaged areas.

About 120 sailors from Australia, Canada and the US joined colleagues from local frigate HMNZS Te Kaha to form a multinational team that went ashore in Kaikoura to support relief efforts.
In an exceptionally Kiwi way, the New Zealand Defence Force thanked a multinational crew of Australian, Canadian and US military personnel for supporting its disaster relief operation during a traditional powhiri at Kaikoura’s local marae.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Tim Gall, said the show of support was fantastic.

“Our closest partners offered support without question and quickly mobilised to stand with our sailors, soldiers and airmen to provide support to the people of Kaikoura,” he said.

“I would also like to acknowledge the offers of assistance from the other visiting navies. These offers of support are testament to the strength of camaraderie that exists among these nations, all of whom have experienced their own national tragedies in recent years.”