Gerry Brownlee, Tim Keating tour international navy ships

On board the USS Sampson, Commander Tim Labenz gave caps to both Mr Brownlee and Lt Keating (Newshub.)
On board the USS Sampson, Commander Tim Labenz gave caps to both Mr Brownlee and Lt Keating (Newshub.)

Acting Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force Tim Keating are touring the navy ships helping out with relief efforts after Monday's earthquake.

The two met Kaikoura Mayor Winston Gray earlier in the day before touring the Canadian, Australian and US ships.

On board the USS Sampson, Commander Tim Labenz gave caps to both Mr Brownlee and Lt Keating.

Cmdr Labenz toured the Sampson with Mr Brownlee and Lt Keating, introducing them to Sampson sailors.

Mr Brownlee told two of them that he "very much appreciates everything they've done".

At 11:20am Mr Brownlee and Lt Keating sat down with Cmdr Labenz in his in-port cabin for a 15-minute private talk over a hot drink.

Lt Keating also collected a sword on board, which he was presented with in Hawaii during a recent trip.

The ceremonial navy sword wasn't able to be flown so was taken on the Sampson by New Zealand Navy Commander John Crighton, who left Hawaii on November 2 to travel to New Zealand.

Mr Brownlee then visited the bridge of the Sampson, where he made an announcement to the ship's crew via radio.

On the HMCS Vancouver, Mr Brownlee and Lt Keating were met by Commanding Officer Clive Butler.

"It's been a great experience for us to be able to come down and help," he says.

Cmr Butler offered Mr Brownlee an apple juice and Lt Keating a black coffee before they had a private meeting, this one lasting about 20 minutes.

On departure Cmr Butler gave Mr Brownlee a gift bag including a HMCS Vancouver cap and a commemorative coin.

Canadian sailors on deck said they were happy to be helping New Zealand, although some of them have not made it to shore yet.

The Vancouver has helped by sending teams into Kaikoura as well as utilising its one helicopter to ferry supplies and chemical toilets to shore.

The HMCS is scheduled to travel to Wellington on Sunday before heading to Auckland.

Finally the group arrived at Australian ship The Darwin just after 12:30pm.

They were greeted with an aboriginal welcome below deck by the Darwin's aboriginal cultural group.

Mr Brownlee gave a speech to Darwin personnel, thanking them for their help.

"I can't thank you enough," he said. "For [those in Kaikoura], life - it's not going to be the same."

He said it was great to have so many Navies helping, articulately our "Australian friends".

The Defence Minister said he'll be talking to his Australian counterpart in the next couple days about the Kaikoura operation.

Mr Brownlee says he expects a motion thanking the Australians and other Navies to be passed when Parliament resumes.