Dive and Hydrographic Vessel

The new dive and hydrographic support vessel for the Royal New Zealand Navy, HMNZS Manawanui, was commissioned in June 2019.

Defence: Approval to Buy a Dive and Hydrographic Vessel - Cabinet Documents
2.4 MB
21 Dec 2018

Navy's specialist divers and hydrographers provide vital services to New Zealand, the Pacific, and our partners, such as undertaking underwater search and rescue with the New Zealand Police, surveying the seabed following major earthquakes, and removing unexploded historical ordnance in the Pacific islands. 

An 85 metre Norwegian built multi-role offshore support vessel, the MV Edda Fonn arrived in New Zealand on 12 May 2019 as part of a project to deliver a new dive and hydrographic capability to the Royal New Zealand Navy. 

The ship was commissioned as HMNZS Manawanui - the fourth RNZN ship to sail under this name - on 7 June 2019 at a ceremony with Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, the Ship Sponsor. 

The project budget for the purchase of the ship, completion of the modifications, and the introduction into service of this dive and hydrographic capability is NZD$103 million. 

Modifying the ship 

A two-stage process was planned for modifying this former commercial vessel to meet the needs of the RNZN. Stage 1 modifications were completed in early 2019 in Denmark, prior to the vessel making the 12,000 nautical mile voyage to New Zealand. The modifications included installation of dive and hydrographic systems required by the Defence Force.

Stage 2 modifications

A second phase of modifications, undertaken in Aotearoa New Zealand, are nearing completion.


  • Introduction into service activities were completed in 2020 and the ship participated in August 2020 in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020 and made a contactless stop in Tonga on the return voyage to New Zealand to disembark medical stores.
  • In February 2021 the remote operated vehicle (ROV) capability was tested successfully down to 1000 metres, transmitting images to the ship.
  • Training in wet-bell diving was undertaken in the first half of 2021 using the moon pool on Manawanui, with the diving team operating down to a depth of 50 metres, supported by the ship's ROV.
  • Installation of Stage 2 modifications took place concurrently with maintenance work through 2021.
  • The Naval Operational Test and Evaluation process has been underway.  

See the NZDF's website for an overview of Manawanui(external link) and other ships and watercraft of the Royal New Zealand Navy(external link)

Contact: Jon Finderup, Director Maritime Domain
Email: industry@defence.govt.nz

Updated: April 2022