The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) has commissioned its latest dive and hydrographic vessel HMNZS Manawanui during a ceremony at Devonport Naval Base.

The ceremony was attended by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Defence Minister Ron Mark.

Speaking during the event, Mark said: “Manawanui is a highly capable ship, and will be a game changer domestically and for our South Pacific region, where it will operate frequently.

“Its commissioning comes at a time when we have raised the priority for operating in the South Pacific to the same level as our own territory, commensurate with the coalition government’s Pacific reset.”

The 84.7m ship is the fourth RNZN vessel under the Manawanui name.

Procured from Norway in August last year for NZD103m ($67.3m), the support vessel will be deployed to perform operations such as disaster relief, underwater search and recovery and explosives disposal in the Pacific, and limited mine countermeasures.

In addition, Manawanui will be used in support of surveying of the coastline and harbours.

The dive and hydrographic vessel arrived in New Zealand last month following a 46-day voyage from Denmark where it underwent modification work and sea trials.

HMNZS Manawanui is sponsored by Ardern. It previously operated as an offshore support vessel MV Edda Fonn.

The RZNZ will use the vessel to conduct a range of specialist diving, salvage and hydrography tasks around New Zealand and across the South West Pacific.

With a displacement of 5,741m, HMNZS Manawanui will have a range of 7,000nm and a maximum speed of 13k. The ship will be home-ported at Gisborne.

Mark added: “The ship will now undergo a second stage of modifications in New Zealand to install defence specific equipment. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.”