Topic: Largest naval force since 1864 enters harbour

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Escorted by four motor launches of the Fishery Protection Squadron, the Loch class anti-submarine frigate HMNZS Pukaki arrived in the Tauranga Harbour today from Auckland and berthed at the Tauranga wharf. This article appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on Tuesday, 28 April 1964, and is reproduced here with their permission.

The Pukaki and the motor launches Paea, Mako, Manga and Haku are visiting Tauranga for the commemoration of the centennary of the Battle of Gate Pa.

It is the largest naval force to visit Tauranga since HMS Esk, Miranda, Curacoa and Harrier arrived in 1864 with troops and artillery for the Battle of Gate Pa.

The naval contingent will be completed tomorrow morning when Rear-Admiral R. E. Washbourne, CB, DSO, OBE, chief of the NZ naval staff and first naval member of the Naval Board will arrive by air.

Late this morning Lieutenant-Commander A. G. Rhodes, captain of the Pukaki, and Lieutenant-Commander D. H. Davies, senior officer of the fishery squadron, accompanied by the naval relations officer in Tauranga, Lieutenant-Commander G. R. Curtis, visited the chairman of the Tauranga Harbour Board, Mr H. E. Carter.

Built in March 1944, the Pukaki is one of six Loch class frigates purchased by the NZ Government in 1948. She is 307ft long, 38ft beam and displaces 1435 tons. She has a speed of 19.5 knots and carries one four-inch and six 40mm anti-aircraft guns.

Many roles

Since joining the RNZN in 1949 she has served with the United Nations forces in the Korean War, on the Far East Station, in the Antarctic Circle, as an escort for the Royal Yacht Britannia when the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Chatham Islands in 1956 and as a weather ship during British nuclear tests in 1957-58.

Lieutenant-Commander Rhodes transferred from the Royal Navy to the RNZN in 1951 and served in HMNZS Kaniere during the Korean War. He was appointed First Lieutenant of HMNZS Kiwi in 1955 and a year later took command of HMNZS Paea.

He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in 1957 and served in HMNZS Rotoiti, as Director of Naval Reserves in Navy Office and as First Lieutenant of HMNZS Otago. He took command of the Pukaki in 1963.

The Pukaki will sail for Auckland on Sunday night and the fishery launches on Monday morning.

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