MML has recently been recognised at the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Awards. Nominated for Best Initiative by a Contractor, the selection reflected MML’s performance in delivering innovative security solutions enabling a heavily reduced uniformed staff to complete maintenance of HMNZS Te Mana during a mid-life upgrade.

De-classified material released by the NZDF states that MML resourced and managed a small and dedicated team to provide safety, security and technical management functions to ensure all work could be effectively conducted to support a complex and intensive project and ensuring safety became an enabling function rather than a constraint.

HMNZS Te Mana Commanding Officer Kelvin Wishart says MML’s innovation was imperative to successfully executing the complex upgrade. “Up until now, we’ve always used a lot of people to secure the ship, but our aim was to reduce the amount of manpower to maintain the safety and security of the Te Mana,” says Commander Wishart. “Using innovative technology solutions, MML have provided a solution to reduce that number, while still maintaining high levels of safety and security. This allowed the ship’s engineers to undertake maintenance rather than be tied up with day to day security of the vessel.”

To secure the ship using as few resources as possible, swipe card access was utilised and a dedicated CCTV system was installed rather than a manned brow. 

With extensive planning, consideration and development going into ensuring a safe and successful upgrade – the first of its type on an ANZAC frigate – Commander Wishart praised MML’s pioneering work. “We’d absolutely work with MML on future projects,” says Commander Wishart.

Tag-out management was undertaken capitalising on an electronic tag-out log to ensure 100% audit functionality. This has proven highly successful in ensuring tags (up to 2000 active at any one time) are managed and applied correctly thereby significantly reducing the opportunity for a breech of safety. The safety of electrical and mechanical systems was further enhanced by instigating a full lockout system, an achievement that until now has not been possible with the type of breakers fitted to the ANZACs.

As this was the first application of a Commercial Management of Ships in Maintenance (CMSM) package on an ANZAC frigate, the plan required a large amount of investigation and process development to ensure the upgrade was efficiently carried out in the required time frame with minimal uniformed personnel. While the ship’s systems were being replaced, MML provided temporary monitoring equipment to ensure continued security throughout the process, which allowed uniformed personnel to concentrate on the maintenance effort.

"The New Zealand Ministry of Defence require the highest possible standards,” says MML director Pat Heelas. “We are extremely honoured to be recognised for our understanding of the complexities of military requirements and their application. We look forward to continuing our work with the NZDF for many years to come.”

Drawn from years spent within navies around the world, MML’s extensive knowledge of naval vessels and complex industry demands allows it to fully understand and provide necessary support to ensure the comprehensive range of naval engineering projects they have been involved in are completed successfully. 

The official NZDF release goes on to state that MML utilised ex-Service personnel where possible, enabling a good understanding of the business and culture requirements. The providers have shown strong leadership and developed into an integral part of the team. They have been proactive in the promotion of safety procedures and the development of sustainable management systems.

“The nomination for this award is well-deserved recognition of all the hard work and professionalism displayed by MML’s team under the direction of Project Manager Matt Penny” says MML business development manager Matt Liddell. “The successful delivery of the Commercial Management of Ships in Maintenance (CMSM) package is just part of the suite of consultancy, project and technical management services that MML provides as enduring support to both the Royal New Zealand Navy and Babcock (NZ) Ltd as well as a variety of commercial and superyacht clients."


MML was recently selected to carry out ship management for the Royal Navy’s HMS Protector. The Royal Navy’s only ice breaker, the Antarctic patrol vessel was under MML’s management during recent visits to Hobart, Australia and Lyttelton, New Zealand.

The selection of the New Zealand based company by AW Ship Management Ltd. speaks to a growing understanding that New Zealand marine management is amongst the best in the world and reflects a stamp of approval from the UK Royal Navy. 

A team holding experience within navies internationally and polar vessels specifically, MML’s business development manager was also the chief engineer on board HMS Endurance – an earlier iteration of Antarctic patrol vessel used by the UK Royal Navy. As both vessels were from the same shipyard, Liddell’s understanding and grasp of the real issues behind defects were seen as key to successful ship management. 

Acting British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Helen Smith, recently commented that the ship’s shared stewardship between Britain and New Zealand “reinforced ties between the two nations.” A parallel which can also be drawn in the selection of the New Zealand based authority. MML’s managing director, Pat Heelas, is a New Zealander who also holds UK citizenship. 

“Although our offices are based in Auckland” says Heelas “the nature of the experience both my team and I hold ensures we are able to offer a greater depth of understanding to any project we are involved in. We see this as being instrumental to delivering on quality in the globally operative context in which we work. We’re proud to be involved in a project that has an incredible impact on both the environment and conservation.”