Manawatu man gets command

Last updated 12:00 29/11/2012

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Palmerston North-raised naval lieutenant Kerry Driver has just taken on a 911-tonne challenge.

This morning Lieutenant Driver, 35, was promoted to commander and takes the helm of the HMNZS Manawanui, a navy diving support ship, at a ceremony at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

Lieutenant Commander Driver takes over from Lieutenant Commander Gavin Henry, and will be in charge of a crew of about 20.

The new role is a challenge for the self-proclaimed "Manawatu to the core" man, who joined the navy 10 years ago after doing a degree in media studies at Massey in Palmerston North.

During his time in the navy, he has served in the Persian Gulf and on the old HMNZS Canterbury, the Endeavour, Resolution, Te Kaha and Te Mana.

He has also served as an executive officer on the HMNZS Manawanui in the past.

Having spent the past year in a shore-based role in Wellington in a crew management role, Lieutenant Commander Driver said the promotion was a "fantastic opportunity and a challenge", and something to which he had always aspired to.

The promotion was based on performance, and he was asked if he would like to become a commanding officer, rather than applying for the position.

It was a lot of responsibility, because "the buck stops with you".

"It's going to be a challenge, but nothing worthwhile is easy."

After being landlocked for so long, he was looking forward to getting back out to sea, but was still hoping to keep up with his home team the Turbos as much as he could.

He had spent last week on board the ship completing handover and getting back into on-board routine, but doesn't expect to set sail until early next year.

He hopes to visit family and friends in Palmerston North over the summer.

His partner and newborn son will attend the change of command ceremony.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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