HMNZ Canterbury returns to Lyttelton

  • 21/02/2016

Cantabrians are being given a chance to reunite with a navy vessel that helped see them through the 2011 earthquake.

The HMNZS Canterbury is visiting its home port, Lyttelton, as part of the RNZN's 75th anniversary celebrations and will be open to the public from 10am to 2pm today.

On Saturday 90 sailors from the multi-role vessel marched along Rangiora's High Street in a naval Charter Parade.

The event is taking place on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the February 22 earthquake that devastated Christchurch.

The vessel was berthed at Lyttelton on February 22, 2011 when the magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck, killing 185 people.

The New Zealand Defence Force has said Operation Christchurch Quake was its largest operation on New Zealand soil, involving more than 1700 personnel from the army, navy and air force.

Ten RNZAF aircrafts, 77 Unimogs, 47 Pinzgauer light operational vehicles, 28 light armoured vehicles and four RNZN ships were deployed to the devastated city.

The HMNZS Canterbury set up soup kitchens, serving more than 700 meals to residents.

Its sailors performed security patrols, assessed needs and guarded damaged buildings. When its stores ran out, the ship took an overnight trip to Wellington to resupply.

HMNZS Canterbury was later joined by HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Putaki.