Navy Entering Uncharted Waters

Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Captain Fred Keating

Captain Fred Keating

Captain Fred Keating painted a picture of uncertainty and change for the Devonport Naval Base in his recent presentation to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board (DTLB).

While the Navy remains busy in delivering on New Zealand’s international commitments with many of the ships currently involved in operations in South East Asia, the Pacific and Operation Deep Sea, back at base the organisation is about to undergo some significant changes.

As the recommendations from the recent Defence White Paper are implemented, Devonportians can expect to see more Army and Air Force personnel around the village, as some functions within the three armed forces are centralised, and some of those functions are centralised in the Naval Base.

Conversely, much of the military training activities will be shifted to central Manawatu, which will lead to the closing of some of the facilities at the base. This, coupled with the “civilianisation” of hitherto military roles and a net reduction in existing Naval roles will lead to an overall decrease in naval personnel around Devonport.

Captain Keating responded to two questions concerning  the Navy in the community. The first was in regard to Polly’s Glade; Board member Dianne Hale asked if there were any chance of the Navy completing the glade as a way to commemorate Polly’s contribution to the site. However, the Navy is currently caught up in a substantial Treaty settlement with local iwi, and Captain Keating made it clear that this made it impossible for the Navy to make any plans for Polly’s Glade.

The other question pertained to the abandoned housing site at Wakakura, on Ngataringa Rd, and whether the Navy had any plans to develop or reuse the site. Captain Keating stated that under the recommendations of the White Paper, it was considered that Naval housing should be reduced, making it unlikely the Navy would have any use for the site in the foreseeable future.

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