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Tonga celebrates graduation of first female naval officer in its military history

Director Training Authority – Maritime Warfare, Captain Ren Reilly, RAN presents Sub Lieutenant Ofeina Unaloto Ki Anisi with her Maritime Warfare Officers Course graduation certificate at HMAS Watson, Sydney, NSW. Photo: LSIS Iggy Roberts

The first female naval officer in Tonga’s military history has graduated training in Australia.

The first female naval officer in Tonga’s military history has graduated training in Australia.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Ofeina Anisi completed the Maritime Warfare Officers Course over the last 18 months, after joining the New Entry Officers Course 67 in June 2022.

She had previously completed five different courses during her time with the Tongan Army as an English and recruit trainer.


“When I was told to change over to Navy for a midshipman position, I saw it as an open door for females to prove that we deserve a spot in the officer’s corps to become a leader, so I made the call to go for it,” Acting Sub-Lieutenant Anisi said.

Anisi learnt the fundamentals of the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea. These included coastal navigation by day and night, seamanship evolutions, flying operations, damage-control training and engineering familiarisation.

Serving firstly in HMAS Adelaide and then HMAS Huon, she formed part of Houn’s decommissioning crew and participated in their last freedom-of-entry march in Huonville, Tasmania.

“I’m taking the decommissioning booklet – with my name on the decommissioning crew – home with me as a keepsake,” she said.

Being away from her family over the past two years, Acting Sub-Lieutenant Anisi has embraced every opportunity and created lifelong friendships.

“The things I’ll take away from Australia are the skills and knowledge that I was taught and was able to put into practice driving a ship and getting to interact with other people and sharing our knowledge together and the friendships,” she said.

Now back in Tonga, Acting Sub-Lieutenant Anisi looks forward to meeting some of her friends at the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Tonga Royal Navy Fleet Review in July.

“I’m looking forward to also having more females come through this career and training path. It is a great experience and I really enjoyed my time in Australia,” she said.

Five other international students from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Vanuatu, Thailand, and Sri Lanka also graduated from the Maritime Warfare Officers Course.

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