HMS NEW ZEALAND

HMS NEW ZEALAND.
HMS NEW ZEALAND.
 

A Royal Navy capital ship was paid for and presented to Britain as a gesture of patriotism and loyalty to the Crown from the New Zealand Government.  In honour of the gift the new ship was named NEW ZEALAND, causing the existing battleship of that name to be renamed ZEALANDIA.

  • Tonnage: 18,800 tons
  • Dimensions: 179.8 x 169.2 x 24.4 x 9.1 m max. (590 x 555 x 80 x 30 ft)
  • Machinery: 4-shaft turbine, coal (later oil), hp 44,000 (21,800 kW) - 26 kts
  • Armament: 8-12 in. (305 mm), 16-4 in. (102 mm), some later removed, and 2-3 in.  AA guns (76 mm) added; 2-21 in. TT (533 mm, submerged); 1 aircraft in 1917-19.
  • Complement: 800
  • Class: Indefatigable, battle-cruiser
  • Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd, Govan, Glasgow.
  • Laid down: 20/6/10; 11/7/11; commissioned 23/11/12.

HMS NEW ZEALAND took part in all three major North Sea battles with German ships: Heligoland Bight 28/8/14, Dogger Bank 24/1/15 and Jutland 31/5/16.  She contributed to sinking two cruisers.  She was hit only once, at Jutland, with no casualties.  Her good fortune was attributed by some to the Captain having worn a sacred tiki and piu-piu presented to the ship by an old Maori Chief at Rotorua in 1913, with the advice always to wear them in battle. 

HMS NEW ZEALAND made two visits to New Zealand, both in the course of world cruises.  During the first, she arrived at Wellington 12 April 1913 and sailed from Auckland 25 June 1913.  This was to 'show the flag' and 'what the 1909 Government offer paid for'.  The ship visited many ports, harbours and coastal localities around the country. 

The second visit was in 1919, bringing Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Jellicoe and his report to the New Zealand Government.  The report was adopted in part and led to the formal establishment of the HMS New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1921.  HMS NEW ZEALAND arrived at Wellington 20 August 1919 and departed Auckland 3 October 1919, having again visited several ports and harbours.  HMS NEW ZEALAND returned to Spithead, then Plymouth in February 1920, she was moored at Devonport under  care and maintenance, paying off into reserve soon after this.

As a direct consequence of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, which set severe limits on nations' naval strength, HMS NEW ZEALAND was sold 19 January 1922 to A.J. Purves and resold in 1923 to Rosyth Shipbreaking Co. Ltd for demolition.  Her 4-inch guns came to New Zealand, later to be used at Fort Dorset and Godley Head.

[Some references taken from McDougall, R.J. New Zealand Naval Vessels . Wellington: G.P. Books, 1989]