A small contingent of Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) officers and sailors returned home after spending almost three months deployed in HMAS Canberra as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE 19).

Lieutenant Matthew Gajzago, the senior RNZN officer deployed in Canberra , said it was an amazing opportunity to further build on the already strong ties between Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s always really great integrating, networking and forming new friendships with Aussies,” Lieutenant Gajzago said.

“This trip has given us a great opportunity to gain more experience in how our respective navies operate.

“It’s also great to work in the joint environment as part of a joint task force.”

“It’s been great for our junior members to spend some time at sea and travel to places we wouldn’t traditionally go with the New Zealand Navy."

The IPE joint task force consisted of four ships, maritime patrol aircraft and more than 1200 Australian Defence Force  and New Zealand Defence Force personnel who conducted engagements with a number of key regional partners in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

“Travel is why you join the Navy,” Lieutenant Gajzago said.

“It’s been great for our junior members to spend some time at sea and travel to places we wouldn’t traditionally go with the New Zealand Navy.

“We’re really lucky to live in New Zealand and Australia and this trip has been a great reminder of that.

“It’s also great to see that as we’ve progressed through the trip we are making a difference and engaging with our regional partners.”