In a “warm-up” to the International Naval Review in Auckland to celebrate the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary, the Royal New Zealand Navy Band will entertain lunchgoers and shoppers today with a public performance on Queen Street.

The band will perform at the Activation site, between Quay Street and Customs Street, from 11.30am to 1.30pm today and again on Monday 14 November, from 7am to 9am.

The Royal New Zealand Navy Band is a versatile ensemble of up to 32 full-time professional musicians. Its main role is ceremonial, such as Anzac Day commemorations and military tattoos, but it can be configured to play jazz, Dixie, concert or rock music depending on the function.

The band performs around New Zealand and internationally, including at Gallipoli, and in Korea and Japan. It has played at All Black tests and alongside artists such as Dave Dobbyn and Dame Malvina Major. In 2014 the band released its first CD, He Waiata Moana (Ocean Songs), and their second, Te Taua Moana (Warriors of the Sea), has just appeared.

Ships from Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Samoa, Singapore, South Korea, Tonga, and the United States have started arriving to help the Navy celebrate its milestone.  Brunei, France, Germany, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Timor Leste, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam are also sending representatives to the celebration but not ships.

The New Zealand contingent will feature HMNZS CANTERBURY, OTAGO, WELLINGTON, TE KAHA, TE MANA, ENDEAVOUR, and MANAWANUI, as well as two inshore patrol vessels, a P-3K2 Orion and two Seasprite helicopters. 

The Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin, said the Navy appreciated the attendance of its allies, friends and partners at its birthday celebrations.

“They have come a long way and we welcome them to New Zealand,” Rear Admiral Martin said.

From Monday 14 November to Wednesday 16 November the ships will take part in the Ngatahi and Mahi Tangaroa exercises off  the east coast of Auckland. Then, on Thursday 17 November, the fleet will enter Waitemata Harbour for the biggest single event of the Navy’s birthday celebrations, the International Naval Review.

After the fleet entry, a “1000-sailor” march down Queen Street will be held on Friday 18 November. Then on Saturday 19 November, the formal International Naval Review will be held, during which Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy will review the assembled ships, in a centuries-old naval tradition.

On Sunday 20 November, an open day will be held, during which the public will be able to board participating naval vessels.

“It’s a significant event; one that will showcase the Navy, the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand,” Rear Admiral Martin said.