Boating NZ - - Vintage View -

The im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing our long coast­line from in­va­sion and our ship­ping from at­tack had al­ways been para­mount since the ‘Rus­sian scare’ of the 1870s, which set in mo­tion the Vol­un­teer move­ment and the for­ti­fi­ca­tion of our ports.

In 1903 we made a gift to the British Govern­ment of suf­fi­cient funds to build a 16,350-ton bat­tle­ship which was launched in early 1904 as HMS New Zealand. In 1909, an­other gift to Bri­tain pro­duced a new Dread­nought bat­tle­cruiser of the In­de­fati­ga­ble class, the last word in war­ships and a gen­er­a­tion ahead of the 1904 ship.

She was com­pleted in 1912 as HMS New Zealand, and the 1904 ship was re­named HMS Zealan­dia. It was in­tended that the Dread­nought would be sta­tioned in the Pa­cific on the China Sta­tion, read­ily at hand to pro­tect New Zealand.

Dur­ing 1913 HMS New Zealand car­ried out a 10-month tour of the Em­pire, spend­ing some weeks in New Zealand wa­ters where she was met with huge pa­tri­otic pride. By the out­break of war she was back in Bri­tain where the need was great­est.

Dur­ing her wartime ser­vice she took part in ev­ery ma­jor Royal Navy en­gage­ment with the Ger­man Navy. She played a vi­tal role in the Bat­tle of Jut­land in which her Cap­tain, J.F.E. Green, wore a pi­upiu and a tiki pre­sented by the Maori peo­ple for good luck. In the bat­tle she re­ceived her only hit of the war from a Ger­man shell, but with­out suf­fer­ing any ca­su­al­ties, con­firm­ing to her crew that she was in­deed a lucky ship.

In 1919 Lord Jellicoe took HMS New Zealand on an­other cruise around the Em­pire to show the flag and thank the Colonies and Do­min­ions for their help. Again, she was met with huge en­thu­si­asm when she ar­rived in New Zealand in Au­gust 1919.

Jellicoe was the hero of Jut­land and was shortly af­ter­wards ap­pointed our Gov­er­nor-general. In last month’s Vin­tage Per­spec­tives, I dealt with the huge in­flu­ence Jellicoe then had on our com­pet­i­tive dinghy rac­ing his­tory. It was all very serendip­i­tous, and heal­ing.

HMS New Zealand

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