Our Ship's History
The T.S Gambia Sea Cadet Corps was formed in May 1967, with the help of Navy League, Royal New Zealand Navy and Resident Naval Offices Auckland.
It was decided to base the unit in Otahuhu and to be open free to the youth of South Auckland. This locality was approved by the Minister of Defence.
The Otahuhu Borough Council allocated the Otahuhu Community Center as a temporary base.
Lieutenant Commander McLean was appointed Commanding Officer and it is for this reason the unit was named after H.M.S Gambia as he had severed in her during the Second World War when she was loaned to the RNZN for service in the Pacific, (85% of the ship’s company was comprised of New Zealanders). It was this ship that represented New Zealand at the signing of the peace treaty in Tokyo Bay 1945.
Initially, sixty boys formed the then new unit. There is no entrance fee made and they are supplied with uniforms by the Navy Department.
Annual camps in the North and South Island are attended by the Gambia personnel; this is also provided with no charge to the boys.
Over 700 boys have passed through this unit since its inception and at the present time 125 ratings are in training. They attend functions when called upon in an official capacity such as Hobson Grave Ceremony, Trafalgar Day and ANZAC Day.
The Otahuhu Borough Council has now provided the unit with a section in Seaside Park on which we have built, with the help of the cadets, a boat shed to house the unit’s two 17ft Naval cutters. It is now our objective to build our own permanent headquarters on this property where we can operate and instruct up to 200 ratings in all aspects of the sea, plus self discipline.