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HMAS Darwin to aid NZ quake evacuation

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

HMAS Darwin had been diverted from its planned participation in the International Naval Review in Auckland and was instead steaming to Kaikoura. © Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images HMAS Darwin had been diverted from its planned participation in the International Naval Review in Auckland and was instead steaming to Kaikoura. An Australian naval frigate has been re-routed to waters off New Zealand's earthquake-rocked South Island, where defence personnel will help airlift stranded families to safety and distribute supplies.

Defence Minister Marise Payne said on Tuesday that HMAS Darwin had been diverted from its planned participation in the International Naval Review in Auckland and was instead steaming to Kaikoura, following a request from the New Zealand government.

It would likely arrive on Wednesday evening, and its S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter would support the evacuation effort and the distribution of disaster relief stores if required.

"Having HMAS Darwin already in New Zealand has enabled us to respond quickly to this request," Senator Payne said.

"While the Naval Review is important, helping the people who have been impacted directly by the earthquake is the highest priority.

"Our thoughts are with those affected and we stand ready to provide additional support if it is requested."

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