large navy vessel specifically prepared for adventure diving before being sunk at diver friendly depths. Purpose cut access and exit points allow exploration of guns, bridges, control areas, helicopter hangar, engine rooms, cabins and crew areas.
The frigate ex HMNZS Waikato was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland, launched on February 18 1966, and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on September 5, 1966.
At 113.4m long, 12.5m beam and a draft of 5.5m she was the first of the Leander class frigates built for the navy. She had a top speed of 30 knots, and was powered by twin steam turbines developing 30,000hp.
The Waikato was armed to the teeth, sporting twin 4.5in guns in the turret, two 20mm Orlikeon machine guns on the wings, a quad Seacat anti-aircraft missile launcher, six 12.75m anti-submarine torpedo tubes, one anti-submarine warfare Limbo mortar Mark 10 and a Wasp Helicopter capable of delivering depth charges and the Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedo.
She served the RNZ Navy until decommissioning in 1998. Tutukaka Coast won the tender and prepared the ship for divers during 1999/2000. Finally the ship was sent to her final resting place on the 25th of November 2000 in a world record time of 2 min 40 seconds.
She now rests in water 28m deep on 35,39.165 South and 174,32.670 East. The Waikato is the only purpose-sunk frigate in the Southern Hemisphere. Her turret and one propeller were left on the ship.