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the former HMNZS Canterbury F421 - New Zealand's latest artificial reef!

Click here to see the sinking

NZ's last Leander Class Frigate, the former HMNZS Canterbury (F421), has joined her retired sister ships, HMNZS Waikato (F55) and HMNZS Wellington (F69), as a world-class diver attraction and artificial reef. Canterbury sank on the 3rd November, 2007 - sinking in 2 mins 53 sec's and landing safely on the seabed. More links, the latest images, news and F421 specifications at bottom of page.

SAFETY COMES FIRST! Wreck diving is both challenging and adventurous for recreational divers, but also carries with it potential risks. The risks posed to divers include not adhering to dive tables, entrapment, getting lost, running out of air, injury from sharp protrusions, nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness (bends).

Dive NZ's premier shipwreck trail! Dive the three sisters! Dive Wellington, Dive Waikato, Dive Canterbury!

Know this shipwreck, know your depth, know your tables!

All divers must have a recognised advanced SCUBA diving qualification as most of the Canterbury exceeds 18metres sea depth. This divewreck site is not suitable for inexperienced divers without a trained guide and intending divers should satisfy themselves that they have an appropriate level of training, certification and experience to undertake the planned dive. The bridge roof is at approx 22metres.The flight deck is at approx 28metres deep and entry exit holes in side of ship at approx 30metres so this is a deep dive. Where any doubt exists, dive with Northland's licensed dive tour operator. Only divers with suitable equipment, technical training and experience, should attempt to enter the wreck. Ensure you dive safe, only dive with a buddy that is also suitably qualified. Solo diving is definitely not recommended.

See the latest news and images below: For more info about Canterbury or Waikato - Canterbury Wreck or Dive Northland!

Images sourced from Royal NZ Navy

UPDATE: November 8th, 2007: Scuttled frigate offers great opportunity for Bay Maori
By Mike Dinsdale: Source Northern Advocate
Bay of Islands Maori must take advantage of the economic opportunities provided by the sinking of the former navy frigate HMNZS Canterbury, hapu spokesman Richard Witehira says. The Canterbury has been cleared for diving after being sunk in Deep Water Cove, Bay of Islands, on Saturday in a controlled explosion.

The boat was scuttled by the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust, a collaboration between business and community leaders and the Ngati Kuta and Patukeha hapu.

Patukeha spokesman and trust chairman Mr Witehira said it was wonderful to finally have the wreck cleared for diving as it provided tremendous opportunities for both hapu and the wider Bay of Islands community.

"The opportunity for economic advancement is there for the hapu and if we fail to capitalise on that opportunity we have nobody to blame but ourselves," he said. "It was with a great deal of soul-searching that our elders gave permission to bring this project into our rohe (district). They made the decision for the economic benefit of our people."

Mr Witehira doesn't dive so sadly won't be able to explore the wreck, but he will go snorkelling over the wreck soon as it can be seen when snorkeling. "That will be pretty exciting for me, though," he said. Meanwhile, the first official public dives on the wreck were by Shane and Julie Housham, from Northland Dive and also fellow trustees.

Navy diving tender HMNZS Manawanui, containing a 10-strong Navy Operational Diving Team, explored the wreck yesterday and Tuesday to ensure that all the explosive charges had gone of and that she was safe for the diving public to enter. The team successfully completed checks that all the charges laid on the 3000-tonne vessel had gone off and have cleared her for diving.

A series of dives using detached divers on twin compressed-air cylinders, as well as using the ship's surface-supplied breathing apparatus, were required to re-buoy the wreck and delineate how it was lying, as originally only one buoy was showing.

For the dives, the Manawanui was moored close in to the wreck as gale-force winds from the south-east made laying the three anchors challenging due to the close proximity of the navigational hazards nearby. At the end of the dive, the navy divers entered the ship's recompression chamber for 37 minutes to recompress due to the depth and duration of their dive.

A series of buoys have been laid to mark where the wreck lays below the surface. The Canterbury will make up part of a chain of diving wrecks sunk off Northland's coast, including former navy frigate Waikato and navy survey vessel Tui - both sunk off Tutukaka - and the former Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, sunk off Matauri Bay. (The former HMNZS Wellington, featured on the DIVEWRECK website, is the sister ship to Canterbury and Waikato. Wellington is an excellent example of the flourishing ecosystem that Canterbury will quickly become!)

UPDATE: November 3rd, 2007: Canterbury frigate sinks in the Bay of Islands!

The frigate Canterbury made a spectacular exit today as it sank beneath the waves in the Bay of Islands.

See the video - click here

UPDATE: November 3rd, 2007: The old navy ship Canterbury has been scuttled as a dive wreck in the Bay of Islands.
The frigate, which led New Zealand's official protest against the French nuclear tests at Mururoa atoll in the 1970s, was sunk at a depth of 28 metres near Cape Brett. Thousands turned out to watch the event on Saturday. Maori elders held a farewell prayer service on board the Canterbury before it was sunk.

Police divers will check the wreck to ensure it has settled safely for diving. Sink time - 2min 53secs, 3rd Nov, 2007

UPDATE: October 31st, 2007:: The Fighting TEMERAIRE (CANTERBURY) tugged to her Last Berth to be sunk!

Some of you will recognize the title of what may be the most famous of all English paintings. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can easily find it online. While I admire Turner as one of the few great originals who also managed to be financial successes in their own lifetimes, I don’t think ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ can compare with many of his other works. My two favorites are probably ‘Sunrise with Sea Monsters” and ‘Yacht Approaching the Coast’, though there are many, many wonderful Turners.

The photo above is a modern variation on the theme. HMNZS CANTERBURY was towed from Opua Wharf yesterday morning to Deep Water Cove near Cape Brett, where she will be sunk Saturday morning, 3rd Nov, to become NZ's latest dive site.

New Zealand is becoming skilled at this. The RAINBOW WARRIOR, refloated after being sunk by the French in Auckland, was resunk in the Cavalli Islands twenty miles north of here; and another retired New Zealand Navy frigate, the former HMNZS Wellington, was sunk off the south coast of Wellington City a couple of years ago.

Nevertheless there was last minute panic when someone decreed that twenty-two additional holes had to be cut in the hull last weekend. Once cut these holes had then to be covered with plywood for insurance purposes during the ten mile tow to the ship’s final resting place, where the plywood would have to be removed. Sinking ships in peacetime is more complicated than in war. Source: http://inthepresentsea.com/blog/2007/10/31/opua-the-fighting-temeraire-canterbury-tugged-to-her-last-berth-to-be-broken-up-sunk/

UPDATE: October 17, 2007: New date for frigate sinking

The former Navy frigate Canterbury will now be scuttled as a diving and marine tourism attraction in Northland on Saturday, November 3.

The trust behind the project has confirmed the new date after it postponed the frigate's scheduled sinking just inside the entrance to the Bay of Islands last Saturday due to forecast poor weather and related safety issues.

The 113-metre Canterbury will be sunk in Deep Water Cove by a series of explosive charges but it must be correctly positioned in a wind of less than 15 knots for it to hit the seabed in a pre-planned location.

UPDATE: Wednesday October 10, 2007: Sinking of frigate delayed by weather!

Bad weather has delayed the sinking of the navy's last steam warship as a dive attraction in the Bay of Islands.

Controlled explosions were to have blown about 12 holes in the hull of the 3000-tonne Leander Class frigate, the former HMNZS Canterbury (F421), in Deep Water Cove near Cape Brett at the entrance to the Bay of Islands on Saturday. However, a bad weather forecast would have made it too dangerous for the many small boats expected to witness the sinking, said the chairman of the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust, Richard Witehira.

He also said the weather in the last day or two meant it was too risky for a tug to tow the 37-year-old ship to Deep Water Cove from Opua where it was being stripped of salvageable items and cleaned of contaminants so it would be environmentally safe for sinking. "I am very, very disappointed but you can't sacrifice safety just to achieve what we want to achieve. "The gods have not been kind to us," Mr Witehira said. The ship was now likely to be sunk later this month or early next month.

Canterbury was the last steam warship in the navy when it was taken out of commission and it would join its sister ships, Waikato off Tutukaka and Wellington at Island Bay, as dive attractions. The ship was expected to add millions of dollars to the tourist economy of Northland as divers did a package tour, taking in Waikato, the former navy oceanographic ship Tui just north of Tutukaka, Canterbury and the Rainbow Warrior in Matauri Bay. - NZPA http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10469067

UPDATE: 3rd October 2007: Teenager to scuttle navy vessel!

A teenager has won the rights to sink HMNZS Canterbury on October 13. Fourteen-year-old Lucy Hamnett of Opua will press the button to send the 3182 tonne warship to the bottom of Deep Water Cove to create an artificial reef after her father won the unique opportunity at a charity auction.

The Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust has spent $600,000 stripping and cleaning the ex-navy frigate in preparation for the scuttling. A further $80,000 needs to be raised in order to sink the frigate by the deadline.

"Despite this, the Trust is confident we will meet these costs," says chairman Richard Witehira. "It's unfortunate the Far North District Council doesn?t have the funds to help us out, though they have helped us in every way they can by dropping the usual fees involved." HMNZS Canterbury will be sunk using a special form of detonation called Shaped Linear Charge, which had to be specially imported from the USA.

The detonation will have the effect of an implosion so as not to disturb dolphins resting in the vicinity. The Department of Conservation is still considering the effect this will have on the environment. The frigate will remain in sole ownership of the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust after the sinking to ensure that profits made will be put back into the community.

"The intention of sinking the frigate is to provide employment for the local hapu," says Mr Witehira. The trust is responsible for the area 500 metres around HMNZS Canterbury, including the beach and is currently in the process of applying for a ban of all fisheries above the artificial reef and a possible ban of fisheries in the vicinity. The implosion will take place at 2pm on October 13. Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/northland/4224461a22378.html

UPDATE: Sep 8, 2007: Pieces of warship up for sale

The group planning to turn the Navy's last steam-run warship into a diving attraction have come up with an explosive way to raise money for the operation.
The Frigate Canterbury is set for a watery grave in the Bay of Islands and an online auction will determine who will send it there.

The scavenging has begun and every detachable and sellable item is up for grabs. "Everything is for sale really. I mean, if you fancy a gauge or a tap it's all yours for a fee," says Deb Ryder. Even the right to blow up the ship is up for grabs.

It is hoped the online auction will help the volunteer organisation cover the huge costs of turning the ship into a dive destination. "We really, really need donations. We still need at least $80,000 to get this sunk so we are not in debt," says Ryder. Norm Greenall has been with the Canterbury from the beginning.

"For someone who hasn't worn a suit in 10 years, I haven't done too bad," says Greenall. He was part of her construction team in the 70s, served on board her for years and it is now up to him to finally lay her to rest.

"It was a very big piece of my life. I had to change my wedding date to go over there with my new wife, so it was basically a two-and-a-half-year honeymoon," he says. Greenall says sinking the old girl will be like the death of a loved one. But he will never forget life on board, even the nuclear tests near Mururoa were part of work on the ship.

"You just saw a mushroom just above the clouds. It probably wasn't one of the best trips in my life because the weather wasn't all that flash," says Greenall. He is hoping the weather will be perfect when it comes to finally laying the 2,000 tonne ship to rest in the Bay of Islands next month. (See the related video here http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411749/1337637 )

UPDATE: 3rd August: Paihia wins Canterbury propeller

The Bay Chronicle
NAVAL HISTORY: One of two propellors from the former naval frigate Canturbury, will be on permanent display in on Paihia's waterfront. It measures about 4 metres in diameter. A 4.8 tonne five-blade propeller from the former frigate Canterbury will be mounted at Paihia. Paihia fought off competition from a number of other centres. The entries were judged on the level of community support, the contribution the proposal would make to plans to sink the Canterbury as a diving attraction, the potential contribution to tourism generally, the design of the mount and the profile of the site.

The aluminium and bronze alloy propeller will be on display on the Paihia waterfront. The presence of the former frigate as a diving attraction at Deep Water Cove is expected to have a positive economic impact on the Bay of Islands. A second propeller will be on display at Kissing Point near Whangarei. The Canterbury is currently moored alongside the main wharf at Opua while the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust strips the ship in preparation for its new role as a diving attraction off Deep Water Cove.

UPDATE: 1st August, 2007: Strip almost complete as Canterbury prepares for plunge
Progress on stripping the ex-HMNZS Canterbury has been steady despite the weather problems experienced in the Far North. The Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust aims to have the stripping complete by the end of September. Target day for sinking is October 13. The trust, however, has a $50,000 to $70,000 funding shortfall and is looking for major sponsors to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the sinking.
The public and local businesses are also encouraged to donate. The trust has thanked Craig Buckland, who donated a dive computer worth $1000 that he won in a competition run by Dive HQ. The computer will be raffled at $2 a ticket with proceeds going to the project. Tickets can be bought at Dive HQ in Waipapa and Paihia.
The next public open days on the Canterbury will be Saturday, August 11 and Saturday, September 8. There will be guided tours and items for sale. A gold coin donation will be appreciated.
There is also an opportunity for people to help with the project with two volunteer work weekends planned for September 15 and 16 and 22 and 23.
Volunteers will help with cleaning and final preparation. They will receive a free t-shirt and sausage sizzle lunch. This is a great opportunity to be part of the Canterbury's final crew.

UPDATE: 29th June, 2007: NRC flags frigate bill
By Imran Ali: An $18,000 bill to cover pilotage, inspection and supervision during the sinking of the former Navy frigate Canterbury in August has been waived. Northland Regional councillors approved the fee waiver on Wednesday after a request by the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust chairman Richard Witehira. The ship, which served the nation for more than 30 years, was towed to Opua in February and is being stripped for scrap. It will be sunk as an artificial reef and dive attraction at Deep Water Cove, of Cape Brett. Its backers hope it will generate $20 million a year in tourism earnings. The council's bill to the trust included $945 for pre-arrival arrangements, $5000 for pilotage fees, $4723 for inspections and $5580 for sinking supervision, plus GST of $2031. In his letter, Mr Witehira requested that the council consider the benefits the project would bring to the region as a recreational dive site and a potential breeding ground for fish. He said apart from the sale of scrap - expected to earn the trust $300,000 to $400,000 - its sole source of revenue was from grants and sponsorship.

The 113m Leander-class frigate, the Navy's last steam ship, was built in Scotland in 1970. It had served around the world, including leading a protest against French nuclear bombings at Mururoa Atoll in 1973. It also served in the Indian Ocean, relieving the British Navy during the Falklands War. Canterbury is Sister ship to the frigate Wellington......dive all three leander frigates! Treble dive NZ!

UPDATE: 6th June, 2007: Home needed for Canterbury prop: A final resting place is being sought for a 5-tonne propellor from the former naval frigate Canterbury. The Far North District Council is asking the community to suggest a suitable location for the propellor which it bought earlier this year. "We need ideas for an appropriate home for this magnificent representation of an important era in New Zealand's maritime history and felt the best way was to invite the public to come up with some firm proposals," council community development advisor Tania McInnes says. "We want to see the propeller mounted and on public display - the question we are asking the community is where this should happen," she says. Those bidding to have the propellor mounted in their area will have to show they have the backing of their community.
People are also asked to suggest a suitable mount for the propellor which has a diameter of 3.6 metres. The council's community development committee will select the successful bid in consultation with the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust which is preparing the frigate for scuttling as a dive attraction near Cape Brett. The council will contribute up to $7500 to cover any legal expenses, engineering and mounting costs.

UPDATE: 29th May, 2007: US explosives to sink frigate

Copper Linear Explosive......used to sink ships all over the world by Roy Gabriel, John jennings and their team!

Explosives worth about $30,000 are on their way from the United States to send the former Navy frigate Canterbury to the bottom of Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands in October as a diving and tourist attraction. The Canterbury is now being stripped of fixtures and fittings. Buyers can attend a a jumble sale during public open days this Saturday and Sunday at Opua wharf.

UPDATE: 18 May, 2007: Helping Northland communities manage growing tourism

Press Release: New Zealand Government:
Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor visited Tutukaka today and presented a cheque to help pay for infrastructure in the town. The Government grant, worth $1,297,639, to the Whangarei District Council, comes from the Tourism Demand Subsidy Scheme, an $11 million fund set up in 2004 to help small communities fund water and wastewater infrastructure needed to sustain growing tourist numbers. Mr O'Connor said: "I am delighted this wastewater scheme is now in operation and that the Government was able to contribute to its funding, along with local ratepayers and businesses."

The Government is committed to ensuring sustainable tourism development, and the subsidy scheme has been a valuable part of that, Mr O'Connor said. "Rapid growth in tourism can place pressure on smaller communities, particularly where rating bases are small, such as here in Tutukaka. The investment needed to build infrastructure to meet the needs of visitors as well as locals can be much higher per capita than in larger cities. "

Associate Tourism Minister Dover Samuels said the grant would help the area develop into a world-class tourism attraction. "Complimentary activities in the area such as the Poor Knights Marine reserve, the Waikato and Tui dive wrecks on Tutukaka's doorstep, along with the HMNZS Canterbury soon to be sunk at Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands, and the Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay all combine to make this stretch of water a very tempting choice for divers to come and experience."

New Zealand is forecast to receive an extra 17 million international and domestic visitor nights by 2012, and regardless of the added demand visitors will still expect hot showers, clean drinking water, and functional toilets.

UPDATE: 09/04/2007: Frigate to find final resting place in October

The HMNZS Canterbury is now at Opua in the Bay of Islands. File Photo / Greg Bowker
The charitable trust that has taken the decommissioned Navy frigate, the HMNZS Canterbury, to the Bay of Islands to sink as a dive attraction has decided it will be scuttled on Saturday, October 20 - two days before the 36th anniversary of the frigate's commissioning in 1971. The 113m Canterbury, now being stripped at Opua wharf in preparation for its new role, will be sunk in Deep Water Cove near the entrance to the Bay of Islands. About $400,000 is expected to be raised from the sale of scrap metal from the ship and so far, seven truckloads of metal have gone to a Whangarei-based scrap buyer.

An 18-strong wrecking crew is concentrating initially on recovering high value non-ferrous metal such as copper in the vessel's kilometres of wiring. Stripping operations manager Norm Greenall says a recent public open day produced offers to buy a number of items including the entire captain's galley, dials, gauges, telephones and signs. The Canterbury's propeller has already sold for $20,000 and there is strong demand for the crew's aluminium gear lockers which are priced at $25 each.

The trust will raise a total of about $650,000 for the entire venture. This includes around $85,000 to cover the expected costs of bringing in an overseas expert to scuttle the ship and the explosives needed to send the Canterbury to its final resting place. Licences are needed to import the explosives and the trust is negotiating with the Canadian expert who was in charge of scuttling the HMNZS Wellington several years ago.

UPDATE: 04/04/2007: Warship headed for the deep

HIGH AND DRY: The HMNZS Canterbury is being stripped down before its sinking at Deep Water Cove, in the Bay of Islands, as a diving attraction.
Photo: JOHN SELKIRK/Dominion Post

The navy's last steam warship will begin its final voyage this year when it is sunk in the Bay of Islands. Ian Stuart of NZPA talks to a man who already has three navy ship notches on his belt. Former navy man Norm Greenall has developed a reputation around navy ships he is a little unsure about. At a reunion of his former navy colleagues at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland recently he learnt of an email circulating about him. "They said to watch out for this Norm Greenall fellow. He has sunk more of our navy ships than the enemy did in the whole of the Second World War," he said.
Later this year he will add the fourth Royal New Zealand Navy ship to his tally when carefully placed plastic explosives are simultaneously set off to blow about 12 holes in the thin steel hull below the waterline of the navy's last steam warship, the Leander-class frigate Canterbury. The water pressure will force the one-metre by one-metre steel plates cut by the explosive charges back inside the hull and within two minutes the 37-year-old frigate will sink 28 metres to its new home as a dive attraction on the seabed at Deep Water Cove, near Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands. A former navy chief petty officer, Mr Greenall, 66, has been preparing the ship for sinking since it arrived last month at the same wharf at Opua, Northland, where he also prepared a sister ship, the former HMNZS Waikato, for sinking at Ngunguru, near Tutukaka, north of Whangarei, in 2000.
He also took on the same role for HMNZS Wellington, which was sunk at Island Bay in Cook Strait in 2005, and the navy research ship, HMNZS Tui, which was sunk just north of Tutukaka in 1999. The 2900-tonne Canterbury was bought by the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust for $1 from the Government earlier this year and for the next six months will be at Opua as a team of Work and Income Task Force Green workers remove contaminants, ferrous metal, and anything of value before it is sunk, probably at the end of winter.
Mr Greenall was at the Glasgow yard of Yarrow and Co in Scotland in 1969 when the keel was laid for the 2900-tonne ship. He was there for the building and fitting out of the ship and served three years as a shipwright after it was launched in 1970. He said it was always a happy ship.
"Even though now I am pulling it to bits, I feel comfortable on it." After it was commissioned in 1971 he sailed to New Zealand on the delivery trip in 1972 and was on board when the then Labour government sent MP Fraser Coleman on it to Mururoa Atoll the following year to protest at French nuclear tests. "He (Coleman) was good because he always came to our mess to drink his scotch," Mr Greenall said.
In the 1970s the navy still issued its sailors with a tot of rum, which was one eighth of a pint of overproof spirits. It was watered down for junior ratings who drank it under supervision as soon as it was issued, but petty officers were issued with neat rum. Britain's Royal Navy phased out the tot in 1970, but in New Zealand the last tot was issued in 1990. The rum is still issued on special occasions when the "splice the mainbrace" order is issued.
Mr Greenall said the Mururoa trip was not a highlight of his navy career. "We had people up there we were rescuing off unseaworthy yachts that should never have been there. Good on them for protesting but it put our guys' lives at risk." The crew was not allowed ashore at Mururoa and stayed outside the 12 nautical mile limit.
In spite of his ties to the old ship, he felt comfortable preparing it for sinking, he said, though he would probably find a quiet corner to be alone to deal with the emotions of sending a ship he served on for three years to the bottom of the sea. "I am not sure how I will be able to handle it," said Mr Greenall, a 30-year navy veteran. As a chief petty officer (shipwright) he was responsible for the hull maintenance and its fittings and said he knew the ship inside out.
"At this stage of the operation we are probably ahead of the others (Waikato and Wellington)." The propellers had been removed and sold and the main gun was removed before it left Devonport. A lot of interest had been shown by former crew members who wanted items such as kit lockers, bunks and other memorabilia. The public was also expressing a strong interest in parts, he said.
One of the most prized finds so far was some documents presented to a sailor with his bravery award. "All the documentation for it was down behind a locker." The documents were being safely stored till they could be handed back to Bjorn MacRae, the young electrician who may have saved the ship from being lost at sea to a fire – a sailor's worst nightmare. He was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his bravery after fire broke out in the ship's auxiliary switchboard near the Chatham Islands in October, 2003.
Mr MacRae and another electrician, Dale Bradly fought the fire. Mr MacRae struggled through thick, black, acrid smoke and attacked the fire with an extinguisher in spite of his difficulty breathing. At the time, the ship's captain, Commander Lance Cook, said had it not been for the quick-thinking and instinctive reaction of Mr MacRae and Mr Bradly the fire could have spread throughout the ship. In the "ultimate extreme," the ship could have been lost, he said. Repairs cost more than $1 million.
Mr Greenall said they had found the citations and papers extolling Mr MacRae's bravery and they would be kept till he could be found and they were returned to him. One of Mr Greenall's scariest moments on the Canterbury was soon after the ship was launched. During sea trials off England the steering gear failed as they were about to go through a breakwater as they left port. The ship was controlled by changing the speed of the port and starboard engines or reversing them but for a few minutes there were some nervous people on the bridge and in the damage control headquarters where Mr Greenall was on duty.
"We lost power to the steering. There are processes in place to overcome that but it is not a very good look." For Mr Greenall there were mostly good times to remember, particularly on the British designed and built Leander-class frigates. They were originally built to operate around England, and in the unforgiving North Atlantic Ocean.
"They were a particularly good sea boat," he said. However, the Leander-class frigates were known to have a hull weakness just forward of the bridge and the frigates that have already been sunk, Waikato and Wellington, had broken in half at the weak point.
Mr Greenall hoped that would not happen when Canterbury was sunk at Deep Water Cove. The sinking site had a flat, sandy bottom and if the ship could be sunk on an even keel it could sit on the bottom in one piece for many years as a drive attraction, he said. The tentative sinking date has been set for October 20, almost 36 years to the day after the ship was commissioned.

UPDATE: 30/03/2007: Women gear up for frigate work
. Women's status in society may have improved since the days when feminists rallied behind slogans like 'girls can do anything'. But there are still many professions in which women are underrepresented and the scrap metal business is arguably one of them. Three of the 20 labourers and their supervisors stripping the frigate Canterbury for scuttling near Cape Brett are women, and two of them are new to this type of work.
Natasha Fussell of Rawhiti was unemployed before working on the frigate, but seized the chance to be a part of the project that is important to her partner's hapu. "It's an experience of a lifetime," she says.
The job has involved ripping out interior fittings and electrical wiring in poorly lit compartments below deck. Previously a stranger to spanners, screwdrivers and socket sets, Natasha is considering a career in the scrap metal business when the Work and Income subsidised job ends in six months. Holly Rewha, also of Rawhiti, was a fulltime mum before joining the Canterbury crew.
Like Natasha, the experience has opened her mind to new career opportunities. "I'm thinking of becoming a mechanic, because I've got the hands to fit into small gaps and, by the time I start the training, I will have the muscles too," she says. Supervisor Trudy Perry of Whangarei is treating the job as another chapter in a varied work history that includes light engineering, landscape gardening and building. "It will be another adventure wherever I go in six months. The world's our oyster," she says

UPDATE: 18/03/2007: Frigate Canterbury Preparing For Sinking

The old navy frigate HMS Canterbury has become a tourist attraction in the Bay of Islands months before it is due to be sunk as a dive wreck.

The ship was towed to from Auckland to Opua last month and is now being stripped and cleaned in preparation for sinking in October. Kelly Weeds, from the Canterbury Charitable Trust, says visitors and community groups are queuing up to be shown over the Canterbury.

He predicts there will be mixed emotions when it is finally sunk. Mr Weeds says the Canterbury will be open to the public at Easter, in exchange for a gold coin donation towards the project.

UPDATE: 21/02/2007: Old frigate scrubs up well for a new adventure in the deep

The Canterbury gets a clean-up in Auckland yesterday. Photo / Greg Bowker
The former frigate HMNZS Canterbury stopped in Auckland yesterday for a scrub before heading up to the Bay of Islands to become a dive attraction. The clean-up, which saw the 113.4m frigate waterblasted clean on a dry dock, was done to prevent sea squirt from being transferred into Northland's waters. It is believed the pest established itself on the frigate's hull while she spent two years sitting tied up in Canterbury after being decommissioned.

Conditions of the resource consent granted to sink the frigate in Deepwater Cove, Cape Brett, required that it be free of unwanted organisms such as sea squirt. Biosecurity NZ senior marine adviser Peter Stratford applauded the frigate's new owners, the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust, in having the vessel thoroughly cleaned out of the water.

"They are taking very seriously the responsibility we all have to protect the marine environment," he said. "This whole process is a good example of everyone working together to protect our waters from harmful marine pests. "This cleaning will ensure no unwanted organisms are moved into the Northland waters, ultimately making the Canterbury diving attraction even more fantastic."

Biosecurity NZ is working to educate all boaties, particularly those with vessels that are permanently moored, about good hull cleaning and anti-fouling practices as an essential part of preserving the marine environment. "The cleaning of the Canterbury is an example on a large scale of the kind of responsibility we'd like to see all vessel owners taking," said Mr Stratford. The Canterbury was launched by Princess Anne on May 6, 1970, and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on October 22, 1971.

UPDATE: 19/02/2007: Frigate off to the cleaners

The Canterbury will become a dive attraction. File Photo / Paul Estcourt
The old Navy frigate Canterbury begins its final preparations today before its last voyage north. It is due to go into dry dock at the Devonport naval base to have its hull cleaned before being towed to the Bay of Islands and sunk as a dive attraction. The 3000-tonne Leander-class frigate, which was the last steam ship in the Navy, will be sunk in Deepwater Cove at Cape Brett. It will spend four days in dry dock to have the marine pest seasquirt cleaned off the stern hull and have the propellers removed and lashed to the deck. It is due out on Thursday.

Kelly Weeds from the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust said that if the weather was right the tow north would begin immediately. The ship would be berthed at Opua for about six months to allow salvageable material to be removed and sold. He said the two bronze propellers were worth about $14,000 each for scrap but could be sold for a lot more for their sentimental value. The trust would like to keep one and have it mounted as a memorial to the ship. - NZPA

UPDATE: Monday, 2nd Feb, 2007: Last steam frigate sold for a dollar

The New Zealand Navy's last steam warship has been sold for a single dollar.The Canterbury's new owners, the Bay of Islands Trust, plan to sink the frigate in Deepwater Cove where it will become a diving attraction. The trust says the $1 investment is the best they have made.

The Canterbury is the last Leander class frigate to serve in the navy and it will end up in a watery grave off the Northland coast. Those who served on the frigate are sorry to see it go but pleased it will serve another purpose. It carried a complement of 250 people and served New Zealand for 33 years. The frigate's guns have been removed and it has been stripped and cleaned before being taken to its new resting place.

UPDATE: Monday, 2nd Feb , 2007: Buy a frigate for $1
The Press: Kelly Weeds will fossick around in the ashtray of his car today for a $1 coin to buy a warship.
The navy's last steam warship, the Leander-class frigate Canterbury, will be formally handed over to the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust after Weeds pays the $1 asking price set by the Government for the 3000-tonne, 37-year-old ship. The ship was taken out of commission in 2005 as the last of several Leander-class frigates to serve in the New Zealand navy. It was tied up at Auckland's Devonport Naval Base until the Government announced it would be sold to the Bay of Islands Trust and sunk as a dive attraction at Deepwater Cove, Cape Brett.

The trust had hoped to tow it out of the naval base before Christmas but that was delayed when the marine pest, sea squirt, was found on the hull and Biosecurity New Zealand ordered it to be cleaned so the pest would not be transferred to the Far North. A Biosecurity New Zealand move to wrap the hull in plastic and kill the pest failed when the plastic developed too many holes, said Weeds. The ship will now go into dry dock in Auckland on February 18 for the hull to be cleaned. That will last four or five days and the ship will then be towed to Opua near Russell where it will be stripped of gear and valuable materials, and sunk in August or September. Weeds said Deepwater Cove was "hands down one of the best sinking sites in New Zealand", with little current and shelter for dive boats.

UPDATE: Monday, 15th Jan, 2007: Sea squirts to die in plastic wrap
By Mike Dinsdale: Wanted: Several thousand metres of plastic wrap. It may sound strange, but that's what's needed before the former frigate HMNZS Canterbury can be sunk in the Bay of Islands. The hull of the ship will need to be swathed in plastic wrap to kill off unwanted sea squirts stuck to the undersides. In December The Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust was granted resource consent to sink the frigate as an artificial reef and dive attraction in 30 metres of water at Deep Water Cove, near Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands.

Picture: the unwanted Sea Squirt

Part of the consent conditions were that old 3000-tonne Leander-class frigate had to be cleaned of all contaminants, including oil, and unwanted organisms. But the discovery of sea squirts on the hull late last month delayed the vessel being towed to Opua to be prepared for sinking as the consent says it cannot even be towed into Northland waters until it is totally clean.
Now, Biosecurity New Zealand has come up with the unique method of wrapping the hull in plastic in an experimental procedure to rid the vessel of the potentially devastating marine pest.

The frigate is docked at Devonport Naval Base and trust spokesman Kelly Weeds said the cost of getting the hull clean was an issue. "Biosecurity are wrapping the hull in plastic, which is to suffocate the organisms attached to it," Mr Weeds said. "It's an experiment on their part, they've never done it on a major scale before." However, even with the plastic wrap the frigate would still have to be dry docked, so it could be cleaned. While this would take less than a week the unexpected cost of about $70,000 was a setback for the trust.

"About $21,000 of that is to move it about 100 metres to the dry dock, so we are meeting with the company to see if there is flexibility with the cost, so there is enough margin for them to make a profit but for us as a trust to be able to meet the costs," Mr Weeds said. A docking date for the procedure was available in February, which the trust was keen to take advantage of, he said. Sea squirt poses a potential risk to New Zealand's aquaculture industry and biodiversity. It competes for space and can blanket oyster and mussel lines, suffocating shellfish. The Department of Conservation initially opposed the sinking, citing the potential effects on marine mammals and the risk of introducing unwarranted organisms or contaminants. The trust needs about $600,000 for the entire project, including $30,000 for the tow north.

UPDATE: Friday, 12th Jan, 2007: Frigate to be dry-docked with confirmation of sea squirt

NZPA: Plans to sink HMNZS Canterbury off the Bay of Islands have been delayed with the confirmation that the potentially devastating sea squirt is on the frigate's hull. Resource consent was granted in December to sink the old warship off the Bay of Islands on condition the frigate would not be towed to Northland until it was clear of unwanted marine organisms. The Government sold the old 3000-tonne Leander-class frigate to the Bay of Islands Trust which planned to sink it in Deep Water Cove at Cape Brett. Trust spokesman Kelly Weeds told NZPA today the discovery of the pest meant the frigate would be dry-docked in Devonport until it was given the all-clear by Biosecurity New Zealand. Sea squirt poses a potential risk to New Zealand's aquaculture industry and biodiversity. It competes for space and can blanket oyster and mussel lines, suffocating shellfish.
In 2005 a fleet of racing yachts in the Waitemata Harbour were targeted by Biosecurity New Zealand checks to help prevent the spread of sea squirt. Mr Weeds said the pest was known to exist in the Waitemata Harbour but not in the Bay of Islands. "We don't want to be the ones responsible for bringing it here." Mr Weeds said trust members were meeting Biosecurity New Zealand officials in Auckland today to determine a way forward. "Either way it will be dry-docked at Devonport."
A meeting between Biosecurity New Zealand and the Navy would also be held this afternoon to discuss the technology to be used to clean the hull, he said. "We are using new technology to get the sea squirt off the bottom of the ship." The trust had hoped to have the ship towed to Opua before Christmas to be prepared for sinking later this year but it was now looking at a $30,000 bill to clean the hull. Mr Weeds said the setback was a disappointment for the trust as the frigate had been ready to tow to the Bay of Islands. It was now aiming to have the frigate in Northland by February 24 in time for the Opua Primary School fair.

UPDATE: Friday, 29th Dec, 2006: Cash needed to rid hull of weed!

By Imran Ali - Northern Advocate: A cash shortfall has delayed the sinking of an old Navy frigate aimed at attracting tourists to the Bay of Islands.
The Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust needs at least $30,000 - $60,000 for dry docking and about the same amount for towing the HMNZS Canterbury to her final resting place - and is appealing for financial help. The former navy frigate will be sunk as an artificial reef and dive attraction at Deep Water Cove, near Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands.

But the trust needs to first clean her sea squirt-infested hull - a requirement under the Biosecurity Act 1993. Trust spokesman Kelly Weeds said the Government and Navy officials wanted the frigate to be handed over in a formal ceremony, but it wasn't possible at this time of year. "The hull needs to be cleaned. We couldn't do that before Christmas. A firm employed by us has done a survey of the vessel and recommended that it needs a little bit more of a clean-up," Mr Weeds said.

"The vessel has to be dry docked to remove the sea squirt which we don't want to carry to the Bay of Islands."

He said the dry dock facility in Auckland would be available from February 14 at a cost of about $30,000. "Two weeks back, we didn't think we'd have to do this, but now it's a requirement." Mr Weeds said it was likely the vessel would be towed to the Bay of Islands by the end of January - money permitting. The Department of Conservation initially opposed the sinking, citing the potential effects on marine mammals and the risk of introducing unwarranted organisms or contaminants. The consent allows the trust to "place, use and occupy space with a ship in the coastal marine area", install two mooring buoys and a special marker.

UPDATE: Weds, 17th Dec, 2006: Consent Granted To Sink Naval Wreck!

The Northland Regional Council has granted resource consent for the sinking of a former naval frigate, the HMNZS Canterbury, in the outer Bay of Islands. The Department of Conservation had raised concerns about the potential damage the project would have on marine mammals in the area. But the Council's consents manager, Dave Roke, says the risks are minor and the sinking, expected next year, will be carefully planned and monitored. He says turning the ship into an artificial reef will be positive for the local economy. Mr Roke says three other large vessels, including the Rainbow Warrior, have already been sunk along Northland's east coast.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 5th December 2006: Path clears for Canterbury

By RICHARD EDMONDSON: The Canterbury promises to bring millions of tourism dollars to the Far North and boost marine biodiversity and it could be in the Bay of Islands before Christmas. The Northland Regional Council is close to granting the Canterbury Trust a resource consent to sink the naval frigate at Deepwater Cove near Cape Brett.

The trust's plan to scuttle the 113-metre-long frigate as a recreational dive attraction and artificial reef struck a snag in September when the Conservation Department opposed it. The department claimed the trust had not explained how it would reduce adverse effects on the marine environment. Regional council consents manager Dave Roke says the department, the trust and the council reached a verbal agreement over conditions at a meeting last week. "It's the fine-tuning of the words that is yet to be completed. There is an expectation and a hope that signatures will be attached to a document in good time before Christmas."

The council won't hold an official hearing of the consent application provided the Conservation Department and the trust formalise their agreement in writing and it meets the council's approval. "It takes the licking of a stamp and a signature to issue a resource consent so I expect it will be turned around very quickly," Mr Roke says. While the public may appeal the council's decision to grant the consent, he believes it's unlikely.

Bay of Islands conservation manager John Beachman says the Conservation Department's main concern going into last Thursday's meeting was the frigate's impact on biosecurity and marine mammals. "We're satisfied that if the coastal permit conditions reflect the discussions we had at the meeting then DOC won't wish to be heard when the Northland Regional Council considers the permit application," he says. The trust proposed to clean the boat hull in Auckland and at Opua before sinking it to minimise the risk of introducing marine pests to the cove. "The biosecurity issue is in the hands of Biosecurity New Zealand, so if they sign off we'll be happy."

The department was also satisfied with measures to minimise disruption to dolphins that use the cove as a resting area. "The trust has proposed corridor access for commercial boats visiting the wreck and they've got a code of conduct which they hope boats will comply with when they're at the cove," Mr Beachman says. Trust spokesman Kelly Weeds says the prospect of the Conservation Department withdrawing its objection is fantastic news.

"We were trying to work with DOC so that we didn't have to go to a hearing and because some of their points were valid and we needed their help sorting them out." A towing firm is on standby to bring the frigate north from Devonport Naval Base as soon as the council issues the consent and weather allows, he says. "We hope to have the frigate tied up at Opua before Christmas or just after the New Year if that isn't possible. "It would be a great Christmas present for the Bay of Islands."

UPDATE: MON, 23 NOVEMBER 2006: Frigate's fate to be decided today!

A big hurdle to a new underwater home in Northland for the rusting old navy frigate Canterbury is likely to be removed today.

By IAN STUART: The Department of Conservation (DOC), which had opposed a plan to sink the 3000-tonne frigate in Deep Water Cove, Cape Brett, was to meet the Bay of Islands Trust today and said there was a good chance the sinking plan would be approved. That would mean the Northland Regional Council had only to grant a resource consent and without an objection from DOC, the trust said there was nothing to stop the consent being approved. Trust spokesman Kelly Weeds said if DOC withdrew its objection then the council granted the consent, Canterbury could be towed to Opua from the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland before Christmas.

The 36-year-old Leander class frigate was taken out of service in March last year and sold to the Bay of Islands Trust, which planned to sink it as a dive attraction in Deep Water Cove. However, DOC said the underwater wreck could harm the fragile marine environment, including the bottlenose dolphins which used the cove as a resting area. Now the trust said it had hoped all DOC's objections had been satisfied by a stringent set of rules to protect the marine environment.

Mr Weeds said the old ship would spend at least six months in Opua being stripped and cleaned before it was sunk. Mr Weeds said the trust had about $50,000 available but would raise about $400,000 from the sale of souvenirs and bits and spares from the ship. The balance of the $600,000 sinking cost would come from corporate sponsorship and marketing, such as selling the right to push the button to sink the ship. He said the trust was "pretty close" to an agreement with DOC. The trust had talked with DOC about using a small area of the cove as a boat lane to and from the wreck site.

They had also provided a code of conduct to DOC to protect the dolphins and the marine environment.
DOC Bay of Islands area manager John Beachman said he was confident DOC and the trust would agree on conditions. "They are putting Canterbury into an area of extraordinarily high conservation value," Mr Beachman said. He said after talking with the trust DOC now had little concern. "If they are going to work to Bio Security New Zealand standards we will be happy to withdraw (the objection)," Mr Beachman said. Mr Weeds said the navy had paid an estimated $300,000 to prepare and tow Canterbury's sister ship, Wellington, to the capital for sinking but it would not pay to tow Canterbury to the Bay of Islands. Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Barbara Cassin, said the navy made it clear early in the disposal process it would not be involved in the costs.

Another organisation, the Tutukaka Coast Promotions Society said it already had resource consent and would sink the ship in Ngunguru, just south of Tutukaka, if the Bay of Islands site did not go ahead. Another Leander class frigate, the former HMNZS Waikato, was sunk as a dive attraction in Ngunguru, off Northland, in 2000. Two other ships sent to the bottom off Northland were former navy oceanographic research ship Tui - sunk just north of Tutukaka in 1999 - and the Rainbow Warrior, sunk in Matauri Bay in 1987, two years after it was blown up in Auckland by French saboteurs.

UPDATE: 02 September 2006: Minor hiccups create delay for diving fans

By Mike Dinsdale. Northern Advocate: It's full steam ahead for plans to sink the decommissioned frigate Canterbury in the Bay of Islands - despite the group behind the plan having to stump up $50,000 to get her towed from Devonport. The Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust last month won the tender for the Canterbury and plans to sink the ship in Deep Water Cove, near Cape Brett, as a diving attraction. The tender document stated that the successful bidder would have to cover the costs of transporting the vessel to its final resting place, but the trust had hoped the Navy would tow the vessel for free - as it did when the HMNZS Wellington was given to a dive trust in the capital.

The Canterbury could bring $20 million to the local dive industry within "a couple of years", trust chairman Kelly Weeds said. Mr Weeds said it was disappointing, but not a major impediment, that the Navy had decided to leave the towing job to the trust. It would cost about $35,000 to tow the Canterbury north and another $15,000 to insure it. Mr Weeds said the trust had budgeted for the expenditure, but it was still hoping that the Navy would "do the same for us as they did for the Wellington. And we are a bit closer to Devonport than Wellington." Far North Holdings Ltd has stepped up to the plate with an undertaking to waive close to $80,000 in berthing fees when the Canterbury berthed at Opua Wharf for stripping.

Of more concern to the trust is that the formal handover of the Canterbury has been put on hold. The Navy now requires the trust to have resource consent to sink the ship first. "It wasn't part of the original agreement that we have resource consent first, just that we had to be committed to getting it, which we have applied for," he said. "Again, it's not really too big a problem and won't stop us. It just would have been nice to have had it up here earlier." The trust has applied to the Northland Regional Council for resource consent to sink the frigate.

Mr Weeds said apart from those two hiccups everyone had been "really supportive and positive". The project is expected to cost about $600,000, much of which Mr Weeds hopes will be recouped from the sale of scrap metal and equipment stripped from the ship. If all goes to plan the vessel could be sent to its watery grave in June.

Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Barbara Cassin said the sale of the Wellington had exposed the Navy to "significant cost". As a result the Navy had been clear from the outset that preparation costs, including towing, would be paid by the new owner this time. A sale agreement would be signed about 10 days after a resource consent was granted, and the ship would leave Devonport three weeks later. She said discussions with the trust had been "very, very positive, and apart from the delay caused by the resource consent process, the sale process has proceeded very smoothly". http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3699720&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=&thesecondsubsection

UPDATE: 16 August 2006: Frigate project opportunity for Far North

Northern News:
Community and business leaders in the Far North are fizzing over the news that the district has won the right to scuttle the decommissioned naval frigate HMNZS Canterbury in the Bay of Islands. "The news that the district has been successful is just overwhelming," Far North Mayor Yvonne Sharp said last week.

"Congratulations to everyone involved. This is an example of how partnerships can work in the best interests of the wider community. This is a great result and we have triumphed against the odds." Mayor Sharp said Minister of Defence Phil Goff had told her that it was the strength of community support for the trust's bid that had impressed him and, at the end of the day, won the frigate for the Far North.

"With strong support from the Far North District Council, the community and local iwi, we were able to tip the scales in our favour," she said. The council has agreed to underwrite the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust's resource consent application costs for the scuttling project conditional upon the trust repaying the money to the council.

Northland Regional Council chair Mark Farnsworth said he was "really pleased" to see the frigate come north. Mr Farnsworth said the council would do everything it could to assist the trust, but was unable to say if the council would waive its $40,000 consent fees. "It's not an easy answer to give. I would love to waive the consent fees," he said.

"We will have to look at what they want and the constraints and everything around that." Mr Farnsworth said the council was not able to offer the trust the free use of Port of Whangarei tug boats to tow the frigate from Auckland to Opua, because it had no control over Ports of Auckland who held the tug boat contract at the port.

Destination Northland general manager Robyn Bolton said the minister's decision was "excellent news" for the district's tourism industry. Ms Bolton said sinking the frigate as a dive attraction at Deep Water Cove provided a link between Tutukaka, which was well established internationally as New Zealand's premier dive destination, and Matauri Bay where the Rainbow Warrior was sunk. "Our biggest aim at Destination Northland is to get better distribution of visitors around the region. Having a dive trail like this goes a long way towards achieving that," she said.

Ms Bolton said, while the proposed trail only included dive sites on the east coast at this point, it still encouraged people to spend more time and travel more widely in Northland. "I can definitely say that the benefits will multiply right out into the community. When visitors stay longer and travel more widely, they're taking beds, eating food and putting petrol in their cars. The benefits to communities around Northland will be really big."

source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3767647a11,00.html

CANTERBURY UPDATE: 16/06/2006: Samuels unites Northland MP'S to get RNZ Frigate Canterbury sunk at Deep Water Cove-Te Rawhiti
Northlands iconic MP Dover Samuels united the seven members of parliament from the North to get the RNZ Frigate Canterbury sunk at Deep Water Cove-Te Rawhiti "Northlands M.P's are united in making a representation to the Minister of Defence, Hon Phil Goff to get the RNZ Frigate Canterbury sunk at Manawahuna Bay, Deep Water Cove-Te Rawhiti," said Dover Samuels

The representation that was made to the minister of defence highlighted the Far North District Council's desire for this to happen along with a strongly supported tautoko letter from Nga Kuia, Kaumatua o Ngati Kuta me Patukeha, Te Rawhiti. Dover Samuels was instrumental in getting The Rainbow Warrior sunk off Matauri Bay, twenty one years ago…"thousands of tourist have come to Northland to dive the Rainbow Warrior, and of late the Waikato and Tui at Tutukaka, we now have a great opportunity to complete a dive trail of international appeal, by securing the RNZ Frigate Canterbury to be sunk at Deep Water Cove," said Dover. Dover further added," with the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, the Waikato and Tui at Tutakaka, the Canterbury at Deep Water Cove and the Rainbow Warrior off Matauri, we have an opportunity stitch together a spectacular dive trail that will benefit all of the North." The Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust will be the organisation that will drive this initiative, Nga Kuia, Kaumatua o Ngati Kuta me Patukeha, Te Rawhiti make up 50% of the trusts participants.

CANTERBURY UPDATE: August 7, 2006: Former Navy Frigate to be sunk in Bay of Islands

Defense Minister Phil Goff today announced that the former Royal New Zealand Navy frigate, HMNZS Canterbury will be sunk as a dive wreck at Deepwater Cove, Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands.

"The disposal of the Canterbury for scrap was examined as an option but the greater long term economic benefit to the country was thought to come from the sinking of the frigate as a dive wreck", Mr Goff said. "A number of registrations of interest for disposal of the Canterbury were received from the North Auckland area. The strongest case was that put forward by the Bay of Islands Trust which will be given responsibility for sinking the vessel.

"The Bay of Islands Trust's proposal was seen as having the best potential to deliver the greatest overall economic benefit to the community and the country. "The addition of a dive wreck will add to the attraction the Bay of Islands has to domestic and international visitors, in what is one of the country's most visited tourist destinations. "The strong support of regional MPs, local government, iwi and tourism operators made the Bay of Islands Trust's proposal the strongest we received. "While this vessel will be sunk, the ships name and its honour board will live on with the newly constructed multi role vessel, due to enter service in early 2007, which will have the same name and same home port", said Mr Goff.

The frigate HMNZS Canterbury was commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in October 1971 and de-commissioned in March 2005. HMNZS Canterbury was the last of the Leander-class frigates in the Royal New Zealand Navy. HMNZS Canterbury carried a crew of 240 Officers and Ratings.

The main 4.5-inch gun, shown below after it was removed from Canterbury's foredeck, will go to the new naval museum in Auckland.

CANTERBURY UPDATE: 25 May 2006: Council Endorses Canterbury Bid
The Bay of Islands has formally launched its bid to secure the decommissioned navy frigate “Canterbury” for use as an artificial reef and recreational diving mecca at Deep Water Cove. A tender and business plan was lodged by the Bay of Islands Canterbury Trust with the Royal New Zealand Navy at the Devonport naval base last week.

Far North Mayor Yvonne Sharp said today the council fully endorsed the trust’s proposal to bring the Canterbury north for use as a recreational dive site, recognizing the economic impact a project of this nature could have on the Bay of Islands and the Far North. “I am particularly impressed with the approach that is being taken by the trust. Local iwi and community support has been enlisted from the beginning- an excellent example of how partnerships can work in the best interests of the wider community.

“The Far North has a strong case. However there is likely to be stiff competition from other districts and we need to show our support and work together as a community to make sure that the Canterbury’s final resting place is the Bay of Islands,” she said. “What makes the proposed site near Deep Water Cove quite different is that it is a sheltered location with clear and relatively shallow water easily accessible to amateur divers. When it comes to dive wrecks, this is not generally the case,” she said. “This is going to create a real offshore dive trail for the Northland coast, building on the wreck sites already established off Tutukaka, at Matauri Bay and potentially in Doubtless Bay.

“Apart from the obvious economic benefits to the district, there is also likely to be ancillary benefits including the potential for skill training opportunities for our young people during the process of decommissioning and striping the frigate at Opua before it is towed to its final resting place at Deep Water Cove,” Mayor Sharp said. The trust envoy to lodge the tender and business plan at Auckland last Friday was Ngati Kuta kaumatua Matuera Clendon, supported by representatives of the Patu Keha and Ngati Kuta iwi, Far North District Council and business and support organizations behind the bid to bring the frigate to the Bay of Islands. The council was represented at Auckland by Deputy Mayor Laurie Byers and Cr Garry Weeds.

CANTERBURY UPDATE: March 31, 2005 : Crew farewell the HMNZS Canterbury!

The HMNZS Canterbury was finally decommissioned after 34 years of service.

In a moving ceremony at Auckland's Devonport naval base, the old ship was farewelled by current and former crew.

Most the current crew were not even born when the frigate was commissioned in 1971.

Commander Peter Kempster says there were a few tears shed.

"But there was one last job to do and we've achieved that, so now we can move on," says Kempster.

Canterbury's celebrated naval career saw her serve in a range of roles from search and rescue and peacekeeping, to cyclone relief and navy training.

The frigate will be replaced with a new fleet of vessels more suited to coastguard duties, leaving the New Zealand navy with just two combat frigates - not enough for some.

"It is irresponsible of this wealthy nation to not be able to contribute to the protection of our sea lines of communication, which in an increasingly unsafe world, are under threat. And to say that others will do the job is just a cop out and we get branded as bludgers yet again in the defence area," says a former commanding officer, Rear Admiral Jack Welch.

But former commanding officer Ian Bradley say the country can't afford to run a modern frigate navy.

"The era of the frigate navy I'm afraid is over and we don't have combat aircraft in the airforce because it's the 21st century" says a former commanding officer, Ian Bradley.

The final fate of the HMNZS Canterbury will be decided by tender. Suggestions so far range from sinking her at a popular diving spot to keeping her for use as spare parts.

below are some other images of F421.....

F421 gets her last paint job below, Devonport Naval Base drydock.

minus gun...destined for Navy Museum!

empty gun bay now that F421 gun has gone....

Portholes have also been removed......

One of F421's two Torpedo Tubes, destined for one of the Navy's new ships!!

Where the gun used to be....


The former HMNZS CANTERBURY was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Scotstoun, Yard No 1001

The former HMNZS Canterbury (F421) was one of two broad beam Leander class frigates operated by the RNZN from 1971 to 2005. The other was the former HMNZS Wellington (F69) , now a reef and world class diver attraction off the south coast of the City of Wellington.

HMNZS Canterbury was laid down on 12 June 1969 and launched 11 months later on 6 May 1970 . Commissioned on the 22 October 1971, Canterbury went onto see operational service in the Persian Gulf, supporting UN sanctions against Iraq and in East Timor. In addition Canterbury relieved a Royal Navy Frigate,HMS Amazon(F169), in the Indian Ocean, during the Falklands War, relieved the frigate HMNZS Otago at Murorua Atoll during anti nuclear protests.

Canterbury decommissioned in 2005.


Displacement: 2945 Tonnes (Full Load)

Dimensions: 113.4m x 13.1m x 5.5m

Endurance: 30 days or 5500nm @ 15kts: Max speed 28kts

Complement: 245: 15 Officers

Machinery: 2 Babcock & Wilcox Boilers - 38.7 cm sq, 454oC, 22.4 MW, 2 Diesel Generators


Both vessels were extensively modernized from the 1980's. The sensors listed below were those fitted to the vessel at the time the vessels were withdrawn from service.

Air Search Radar: Signaal LW-08 D Band: Range 265km for 2m2 Target

Air Surface Search Radar: Plessey Type 993 E/F Band

Navigation Radar: Kelvin Hughes Type 1006 I band

Hull Sonar: Graseby Type 750 Medium Frequency Active

Electronic Surveillance: Argo Phoenix intercept and Jammer, Telegon PST 1288 HVU

IFF system: Cossor Mk XII

Data System: Plessey/Marconi Nautis F with Link 11

Weapons Control: RCA TR-76 I Band


Guns: 2 x 1 Vickers 114mm Mk 6 - 20rpm to 19km, 1 x Phalanx CIWS - 3000 rpm to 1.5km, 4 x 12.7mm.

Missiles: Seacat Missile system removed early 1990's and replaced by Phalanx.

Anti Submarine: Mk 46 Mod 5 ASW torpedo in Mk 32 Tubes

Helicopter Launched M46 Mod 2 ASW torpedo, Maverick AGM-65 (NZ) Air to surface missile,

Depth Charges, M-60 Machine Gun,

Countermeasures 2 SRBOC Mk 36 Mod 1 launchers

Orginally fitted to operate the Wasp helicopter but both vessels later operated the Kaman SH-2G Helicopter.

Sources: Jane's Fighting Ships (Various Editions), Royal New Zealand Navy

Far North District Council


More images of F421



some more links about F421





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