In WW1 HMS New Zealand operated as part of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet, in opposition to the German High Seas Fleet. During the war, the battlecruiser participated in all three of the major North Sea battles—Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank, and Jutland—and was involved in the response to the inconclusive Raid on Scarborough, and the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight. New Zealand contributed to the destruction of two cruisers during her wartime service and was hit by enemy fire only once, sustaining no casualties; her status as a “lucky ship” was attributed by the crew to a Māori piupiu (warrior’s skirt) and hei-tiki (pendant) worn by the captain during battle.
This book tells the story of HMS New Zealand, a battlecruiser paid for by the government of New Zealand at the height of its pro-Imperial ‘jingo’ era in 1909, when Britain’s ally Japan was perceived as a threat in Australasia and the Pacific. Born of the collision between New Zealand’s patriotic dreams and European politics, the tale of HMS New Zealand is further wrapped in the turbulent power-plays at the Admiralty in the years leading up to the First World War. The ship went on to have a distinguished First World War career, when she was present in all three major naval battles – Heligoland, Dogger Bank and Jutland – in the North Sea.
The book ‘busts’ many of the myths associated with the ship and her construction, including the intent of the gift, New Zealand’s ability to pay, deployment, and the story behind the piupiu (skirt) and tiki (pendant) that, the crew believed, bestowed special protection upon the vessel.
Extensively illustrated, this is a book with appeal to a wide audience, from naval enthusiasts and historians to the general reader with a wider interest in the story of Empire. The use of archival material available only in New Zealand, including the Ship’s Book, adds a dimension and novelty not previously included in histories of this great battlecruiser.