Following the handover of the former offshore support vessel, known as MV Edda Fonn, the ship will spend the rest of the year being fitted with military equipment.
The vessel will be utilised for disaster relief, search and recovery, and explosives disposal in the Pacific, and is expected to be officially commissioned in early June at a ceremony at the Devonport Naval Base, with its home port being Gisborne on the North Island of New Zealand.
A fortnight ago, the RNZN announced that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would be the official sponsor of the ship, and break the bottle of wine on the bow.
“For me this is not just a naming ceremony and wetting the bow of the ship, as is tradition,” PM Ardern said.
“My responsibility as the sponsor of the ship will cover the 15 years Manawanui will dedicate in the service to New Zealand, and I take that role very seriously.
“Manawanui means ‘big heart’ and ‘steadfast’ in Maori and I know this ship will live up to both meanings as she deploys on diving, search and rescue, and survey operations and exercises to aid in advancing New Zealand’s interests from the sea.”
New Zealand Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, was "delighted" the Prime Minister had accepted the invitation of his predecessor, Rear Admiral John Martin, to sponsor the ship.
“When the ship was purchased last year, RNZN senior leadership didn’t have to look too far to find the person best suited to act as sponsor,” RADM Proctor said.
“We’ve had some remarkable New Zealanders sponsor our ships over the years and I’m proud that the Prime Minister has done us this honour with Manawanui.”
The New Zealand government approved the purchase of the 84.7-metre vessel in early 2018.