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Source: New Zealand Defence Force

16 July 2019

Eketahuna woman Charlotte Carew always knew she didn’t want a “stationary” job in life, and she has certainly got the adventure she was looking for since joining the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).

Soon after commissioning, Sub-Lieutenant Charlotte Carew was part of New Zealand’s humanitarian and disaster relief effort to Fiji after Cyclone Winston struck in 2016.

“Then in the same year I did a fisheries operation in the Western Pacific, and then went down to the ice for a Southern Ocean patrol,” she said. “It made for a really busy year but I learnt so much and got to go to so many cool places.”

She is currently posted to RNZN ship HMNZS Canterbury, which is taking part in Exercise Talisman Sabre with Australian, United States and other forces near Rockhampton, Australia.

After growing up in Eketahuna, Sub-Lieutenant Carew, 22, joined the RNZN after finishing Wairarapa College.

“I didn’t want to a desk job, so I started looking at the Navy in Year 13,” she said.

The idea of joining had probably always been there, given that she has navy history on both side of her family dating back to the Second World War, and her father served in the Royal Navy for 31 years.

Her current role is Bridge Watchkeeper 3. Bridge watchkeepers do four-hour shifts, with either eight hours or 12 hours off. Effectively, millions of dollars worth of ship and equipment and 300 people come under the care of the junior officers, who keep the ship safe from collision or grounding, day and night.

“That means I am responsible for the safety of the ship at different periods during the day and night,” she said.

The hardest part of her career so far was passing the basic Watchkeeping course.

“There is a lot of information to take in and you have to work hard, but it is such a good feeling when you pass it.”

Now, going on watch gives her a buzz.

“Every time you go on watch, there’s something different happening, and anywhere you go is somewhere different, with different people.”

She is especially proud of the work the New Zealand Defence Force does in the Pacific.

“Just those few months we spent in Fiji in 2016, it was so good to see the change that we could bring to the lives of people who had pretty much lost everything,” she said.

“The fisheries patrols we do keep our oceans sustainable. Helping to prevent over-fishing or illegal fishing helps the seas and our communities survive and thrive.”

Notes to Editors: Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019

More than 600 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, 27 New Zealand Army light armoured vehicles, three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury are participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 until July 25.

This is the third time New Zealand has been invited to take part in the exercise, which is a bilateral, Australian-hosted and United States-supported combined exercise that is held every two years to improve combat readiness, exercise war fighting skills and systems and interoperability.

More than 30,000 participants are taking part this year, including personnel from Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan.