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Able Seaman Combat Specialist William Paratini Delamere, the New Zealand sailor who died in Rarotonga on Saturday, arrived back in New Zealand on Tuesday afternoon.
The Commanding Officer of HMNZS OTAGO Commander David McEwan said, “Able Seaman Combat Specialist William Delamere was farewelled by the crew of OTAGO in a moving ramp ceremony this morning. Navy personnel from OTAGO accompanied William on a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 back to Whenuapai Air Force Base where he was met by the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Tony Parr, Navy personnel, family and friends.
“The real tragedy of this sad event is that William was a fantastic young man with a very bright future.
“He embodied the very spirit of a young sailor enjoying life at sea performing a role that offered him friendship, exciting times and rewarding moments. He was a wonderful part of the youth and vibrancy which makes HMNZS OTAGO such a special ship to serve on and he will be deeply missed.”
The ship will now sail from Rarotonga and continue with its operations around the South Pacific, returning home to Devonport Naval Base, Auckland in August.
STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF ABLE SEAMAN COMBAT SPECIALIST DELAMERE:
“It has been an extremely difficult last few days for our family, but we are encouraged by the wonderful support we have received from William’s friends and the wider community, and we are very relieved that he is now back in New Zealand.
“William was a cheeky, intelligent young man who lived for his life in the Navy and his family. His partner, who is also in the Navy, had a very strong relationship with William and is devastated by her loss.
“We are all extremely proud of what William has achieved during his four years in the Navy, and our focus now is to make sure that he gets the farewell that he deserves.
“Once he is back in our arms, we will take him back to Whitianga Marae where he will lie in state on the family marae. This will be followed by a private tangi. We ask that media continue to respect our privacy during this difficult period.”