The crew at the HMNZS Otago charter parade stood in
silence in the Octagon on Saturday morning.
''Is this a minute of silence?'' a man among the crowd of
about 100 whispered.
''No. We're waiting on the dignitaries,'' another replied.
Most of the crew's eyes looked forward but some glanced
beyond their bayonets towards the council chambers.
Some time later, Mayor Dave Cull and HMNZS Otago,
Lieutenant-commander Rob McCaw (32) walked to the Octagon and
Mr Cull inspected and talked to the crew.
He then took to the stage to officially welcome them to
''Its your city. So welcome home.''
The ship had visited Dunedin six times.
This was the second charter parade in the city, Mr Cull said,
''but the first on my watch''.
The crew's ''largely unseen work'' was appreciated and they
had earned a deserved break on their return to Devonport.
''You will always be welcome to Dunedin.''
Lt-cmdr McCaw spoke about how the 85m-long ship had ''copped
a bit of flak'', but he assured the crowd of its
HMNZS Otago had travelled 15,000 nautical miles, the
distance of about seven times around New Zealand, Lt-cmdr
''You can be rightly proud.''
The ship was like the province it was named after, he said.
''Honest, hard-working, committed and strong.''