Te Kaha crew reunites with family
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 6:08p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
The crew of the New Zealand frigate Te Kaha arrived back in Devonport today to a tearful reunion with families after a four-month deployment. The Navy gave 3 News an exclusive opportunity to join them as they sailed into port.
After 20,000 nautical miles at sea, Te Kaha was home and emotions were mixed.
“There's a little bit of you that wants to turn the ship around head straight back to sea again,” says Captain Jon Beadsmoore. “The ship's company come together as a real tight group during deployment, and obviously there's great excitement at seeing friends and families.”
Te Kaha fired a 17-gun salute as it entered harbour.
“Last night was hard to sleep," says Page Jarden. I couldn't get to sleep but otherwise it has been okay. Morale has been pretty high.”
Able chef Ms Jarden can forget about cooking for 175 hungry sailors and look forward to being in the arms of her family. She says there have been “lots of cuddles today”.
During the deployment Te Kaha went to Hawaii to take part in Rimpac, the world's largest maritime warfare exercise, as relations with Washington warmed.
“The news that New Zealand ships will be going into American ports is obviously welcome but we didn't really notice any great difference," says Capt Beadsmoore. "We've always worked closely and on a very warm level with the Americans.”
Spending cuts mean Te Kaha will spend at least a year in dock. But the Defence Force says it's committed to its warships and that frigates are a vital piece of the Navy's capability.
The crew has been around the Pacific to Guam, Tonga and Hawaii, but in the next few days the focus will be back with their families in New Zealand.
As is the tradition, families gather on the wharf. Capt Beadsmoore is happy to get to see his wife and daughters. There was even a banner for Ms Jarden.
“You just kind of forget about that when she [Ms Jarden] is back home,” says father XX. “You just immediately forget about it all and she's back around with you again.”
The 18-year-old chef and the rest of the crew will spend a couple of weeks ashore and her family's promising they won't make her cook.
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