New Zealand sailors honour Humboldt


Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

The tragedy of the Humboldt bus crash has extended beyond Canadians to members of the Royal New Zealand Navy stationed here at CFB Esquimalt.

Sailors from HMNZS Te Kaha collected just over $290 to show their support to the families of the dead and those injured in the April 6 accident.

Te Kaha’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Stephen Lenik said the tragedy hit home for members of his crew who he said could truly relate to the plight of the people of Humboldt.

“We keep in touch with the news all the time and when we heard about the incident it was shocking,” said Cdr Lenik. “A lot of our sailors come from a small-town environment too, and can truly appreciate how something like this is magnified so much more in a smaller community. We empathize with how these people must be feeling.”

He credits his ship’s Steward, Petty Officer Ane Pahulu for spearheading the Humboldt fundraising drive onboard Te Kaha. Those funds will be donated to the Humboldt Broncos.

Capt(Navy) Boyd graciously accepted the donation on behalf of the base and expressed his appreciation to Cdr Lenik and the Te Kaha.

“We are very touched by the support and the generosity of HMNZS Te Kaha. While this tragedy has impacted Canadians very deeply, it’s encouraging to see the support that has been flooding in from our international friends, of whom I count New Zealand to be among our greatest.”

Te Kaha means fighting prowess or strength in New Zealand’s Mˉaori language. The ship will undergo a year-long upgrade starting next month. Most of the frigate’s crew of 108, including Cdr Lenik, returned to New Zealand last week, while a small compliment of 20 remain in Esquimalt for the summer months as the upgrade continues.

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