New Zealand Ship Joins with USS Cleaveland

The navy's multi-role ship Canterbury leaves New Zealand today for New Zealand's first real joint exercise with the United States since the Anzus rift in 1984.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has also revealed New Zealand has been invited back the next Rimpac naval exercises next year. Rimpac is full-scale maritime exercise conducted with the United States and allied navies around the Pacific Rim.

New Zealand had been excluded since the Anzus rift, the New Zealand Herald reported today.

Canterbury's crew will commemorate Anzac Day with the crew of USS Cleveland, the lead vessel in the exercise, Pacific Partnership, which involved engineering and medical work in the Pacific.

Pacific Partnership was a US-led humanitarian mission initially to Tonga and Vanuatu and which involved New Zealand, Australia, France and the United States.

Cleveland will later go to East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia.

As well as the USS Cleveland, the US Coast Guard and two Australian landing craft will take part and a French Puma helicopter will be on board Canterbury.

Rimpac was a US-led exercise in the north Pacific every two years. Participants included Australia, Japan, Chile, Peru, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, the newspaper reported.

Dr. Mapp said, "there was no doubt that the quality and tone of the relationship between America and New Zealand had changed".

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