Naval patrol boats on recreational visit
In the wake of a warship's first visit to Dunedin, another two Royal New Zealand Navy vessels will arrive in the city this morning.
HMNZS Rotoiti and HMNZS Taupo are due to berth at the Birch St wharf about 10am, just four days after HMNZS Canterburydeparted.
The two protector-class inshore patrol boats have been operating in southern waters and will spend three days at Dunedin for crew to enjoy rest and recreation, Dunedin's resident naval officer Lieutenant-commander Ian Marshall said.
On Monday morning, Rotoiti will sail for its home base of Devonport, while Taupo continues patrolling waters around Wellington.
It was common for the vessels to patrol together, Lt-cmdr Marshall said.
They had sailed from Auckland to patrol southern waters and docked at Bluff two weeks ago.
"Now they've been at sea for 12 days so they will come here for a quick break," he said.
Both Rotoiti and Taupo had visited Dunedin once before, he said.
It was unusual, however, for the city to host so many navy ships in such a short space of time.
"Normally, we get one every two or three months."
The patrol boats would not be open to the public, as they were in operation, Lt-cmdr Marshall said.
Rotoiti's maiden visit to Dunedin was in September 2010 with HMNZS Endeavour, and Taupo visited the city for the first time in April last year.
Both had a displacement of 340 tonnes, were 55m long and 9m wide, and could carry up to 36 people, including 20 crew.
Taupo was commissioned in May 2009 and Rotoiti a month earlier.
Of the navy's protector fleet, HMNZS Hawea was the first to visit Dunedin in August 2009 and HMNZS Pukaki was the only one yet to berth in the city.