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HMNZS Canterbury (F421)was one of two broad beam Leander class frigates operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) from 1971 to 2005. HMNZS Canterbury was laid down on 12 June 1969 by Yarrow Shipbuilders and launched 11 months later on 6 May 1970. Commissioned on the 22 October 1971, she left from the UK for NZ 1 June 1972, arriving at her home port, Lyttelton 4 August 1972.
Her armament consisted of: 2 x 4.5” DP guns, 1 x quadruple Seacat SAM launcher, two x 20mm Oerlikons, 2 x 3 stack torpedo tubes. She was last equipped with the SH-2G Seasprite helicopter, had a top speed of 30 knots and a complement of between 245 and 260 men.
Canterbury went on to see operational service in much of Australasia and other regions like the Persian Gulf, undertaking operations like supporting UN sanctions against Iraq and peace-keeping in East Timor.
In addition, Canterbury relieved the Royal Navy frigate HMS Amazon in the Indian Ocean during the Falklands War, and later relieved the frigate HMNZS Otago at Moruroa during anti-nuclear protests.
Canterbury was decommissioned at the end of March 2005 and after extensive works to remove potentially toxic materials, she was scuttled on 3 November 2007 at Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands to provide a dive wreck.
The ex-HMNZS Canterbury was prepared with divers in mind; plenty of extra access points have been created to provide an ease of entry and exit, this makes for some particularly good penetration and swim through opportunities.
The wreck sits completely upright and fully intact, and her position in Deep Water Cove is protected in most conditions. She lies at a depth of between 12 metres at the middle funnel, and 38 metres at the stern, where visibility can range between 8 and 30 metres.
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