The New Zealand Defence Force, marking its first participation in Rim of the Pacific naval exercises in 28 years, has sent a frigate, a tanker and other war-fighting elements to Honolulu for the world’s largest international naval exercises.
“They are certainly integrated into all the events. They are hosting a reception — just like many of the other ships are,” said RIMPAC spokesman U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charlie Brown.
Just not in Pearl Harbor, where the rest of the 42 participating surface ships from 11 nations will be.
Altogether, 22 nations, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the largest RIMPAC ever, running through July and into early August.
But a nearly three-decade quarrel over New Zealand’s anti-nuclear posture still prevents the Kiwi frigate Te Kaha and tanker Endeavour from stopping in Pearl Harbor, just as U.S. Navy ships are not allowed to make port calls in New Zealand.
Those poor Kiwis, having to tie up in downtown Honolulu instead of Pearl…
Still, while New Zealand and the US have a long history of shared sacrifice and goodwill, there have been times when that goodwill has been strained. Not broken, not bent, just strained.