NZ Navy sails hi-tech wave to lure new recruits

The New Zealand Navy launches a new frigate on Monday - a 'virtual' model with wheels. But far from being a government cutback, the new frigate is an e-recruitment tool.

The New Zealand Navy launches a new frigate on Monday - a “virtual” model with wheels.

But far from being a government cutback, the new frigate is an e-recruitment tool.

The Navy's Recruitment Display Unit, a 1998 Hiino bus, has been redesigned and refitted to look and feel like a seagoing ship.

On the outside is a single image of the frigate, Te Kaha, running on each side of the vehicle.

Inside the “multimedia display vehicle” is a video display unit, a precision scale model of Te Kaha, and other features to recall ship board life.

"The virtual frigate on our Web site has been a huge hit with recruit prospects," says LT CDR Susan Christie, Staff Officer Recruiting.

"Direct recruitment inquiry through the Net has really taken off in the last 12 months, so what we've tried to do is bring some of that look and feel into the Display Unit."

The Navy Web site was launched two years ago and features careers, naval history, operations, where the ships are, “meet the people”, plus a virtual tour of Te Kaha featuring 360 degree scenes.

Now, the Navy says it can find all the sailors it needs, though it still wants ever more technicians and officers.

The new display unit is officially launched on Monday at the Devonport Naval College before making its first appearance at next week's Coca Cola Careers Expo in Auckland.

Then it will visit at least 185 schools and a further 15 exhibitions and events next year. The bus covers around 14,000km each year with a crew of two.

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