Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury and NZDF crew return home from Vanuatu

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

A New Zealand navy ship which left for cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu, returned home to cyclone conditions in Auckland this morning. Navy Vessel HMNZS Canterbury and its NZDF crew and personnel have spent a month distributing aid to the people affected by Cyclone Pam which hit them in March.

The navy ship with more than 150 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel aboard has been assisting the cyclone-ravaged nation of Vanuatu and sailed from NZ carrying 150 tonnes of food, water and emergency supplies.                     

Pīpīwharauroa Campbell of  Ngāi Te Rangi who was part of the contingent who travelled to Vanuatu said it was sad to see the amount of devastation over there, but it was a good feeling being able to help them.

The HMNZS CANTERBURY departed New Zealand shore on 23 March with food, water and emergency supplies, the NZDF also assisted in Vanuatu by providing a Combined Task Force Headquarters to advise and assist in co-ordinating the response. Hercules flights for multiple deliveries of aid and personnel, the evacuation of New Zealand citizens, injured locals and delivery into theatre of Fijian military personnel. Health teams and Army engineers, who carried out damage assessment, clearing debris from roads, repairs to water and sanitation systems, and to critical public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

Maxine Kearns of Ngāi Tahu who also returned today said people of Vanuatu were really happy to see us and it was heart warming to do something like that.