Early naval vessels of New Zealand


Early naval vessels of New Zealand

A range of naval vessels were used in New Zealand from its early settlement years to the formation of the New Zealand Naval Forces in 1913. In the mid-1800s, these vessels included frigates, sloops, schooners, and steam-driven paddlewheel boats. In 1846, five years after New Zealand was first proclaimed a colony, it bought its first gunboat. In the 1840s and 1850s, steam boats were used to survey the ports and the coastline. In the 1860s, New Zealand established the Waikato flotilla, its first "de facto" navy.

By the late 1800s, New Zealand was using cruisers and torpedo boats. In the 1880s, in response to the Russian scares, coastal defences were established, a mine-laying steamer was ordered, and spar torpedo boats began patrolling the main ports. In 1911, New Zealand funded the construction of a battlecruiser, and in 1913, the New Zealand Naval Forces were created as a separate division within the Royal Navy.

Early settlers

Polynesian settlers

The history of New Zealand goes back at least seven hundred years when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians. New Zealand was originally settled by Polynesians between 1000 and 1300 CE, with some evidence suggesting earlier settlement. They arrived in ocean going canoes, or waka. The descendants of these settlers became known as the Māori, forming a distinct culture centred on kinship links and land. [Sutton, Douglas G. (Ed.) (1994). The Origins of the First New Zealanders. Auckland: Auckland University Press.] The earliest war boats to operate in New Zealand were the large decorated war canoes or waka taua of the Māori. These could be over 30 metres long and were manned by up to 100 paddlers. Waka taua are no longer used in warfare, but they are still built and used for ceremonial purposes. [Barclay-Kerr (2007)] [Cowan (1930) [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-CowYest-t1-body-d1-d12.html The Māori canoe] ]

European settlers

The first European explorer came to New Zealand in 1642. From the late 18th century, the country was increasingly visited by British, French and American whaling, sealing and trading ships. In 1841 New Zealand became a British colony followed by a period of Land Wars. New Zealand gradually became more self-governing and achieved the relative independence of a dominion in 1907.

The first European known to reach New Zealand was the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who arrived in his ships, "Heemskerck" and "Zeehaen", in 1642. Over 100 years later, in 1769, the British naval captain James Cook of HM Bark "Endeavour" made the first of his three visits.

In 1788 the colony of New South Wales was founded with a commission that technically included responsibility for New Zealand. In practice this had little consequence, since the New South Wales administration was not really interested in New Zealand. From the 1790s the New Zealand coast was increasingly visited by explorers, traders and adventurers. They traded European goods, including guns and metal tools, for food, water, wood, flax and sex. [cite book|title=The Penguin History of New Zealand|last=King|first=Michael|authorlink=Michael King| isbn=0-14-301867-1| origyear=2003|pages=122] European settlement increased through the early decades of the 19th century, establishing trading stations and buying land from the Māori. However different concepts of land ownership led to increasing conflict and bitterness. Missionaries were also settling, attempting to convert Māori to Christianity and control European lawlessness.

In 1839, the New Zealand Company announced plans to establish colonies in New Zealand. This alarmed the missionaries, who called for more British control. Captain William Hobson was sent to New Zealand to persuade Māori to cede their sovereignty to the British Crown. On 6 February 1840, Hobson and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The true meaning and intent of the Treaty remains an issue to the present day.

urveying the coast

The first general charting of the New Zealand coast was done with great competence by Cook on his first visit in 1769. The chart was published in 1772 and remained current for 66 years. [Hooker, Brian [http://www.findingnz.co.nz/xk/kxk1_official_general_charts_1772_1885.htm "Official General Charts of New Zealand 1772-1885"] ]

By 1840 several Royal Navy ships were engaged in hydrographic surveys directed by the Admiralty. Captain Owen Stanley, on HMS "Britomart", drew up an Admiralty chart of the Waitemata. [Hooker, Brian [http://www.findingnz.co.nz/yg/dyg1.htm "Early New Zealand Printed Maps"] ] The "Britomart" was a "Cherokee" class brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. In this survey, he named Britomart Point after his ship. Stanley was a talented painter, but he seemed to suffer from a temporary lack of invention when he named another prominent point the Second Point. Today this is called Stanley Point. [Platts, Una (1980) "Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists" [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-PlaNine-t1-body-d1-d1120.html Stanley, Captain Owen 1811–1850] ]

A detailed survey of the New Zealand coast was essential for economic development and in 1848 HMS "Acheron", a steam paddle sloop, began the "Great Survey". HMS "Pandora" took over and continued until 1856, when the harbours and most of the coast had been freshly surveyed. In the 1890s until 1905, HMS "Penguin" updated the surveys. [Dennerly (2002) Page 4]

Land wars

From 1840 immigration, mainly from the United Kingdom, increased markedly. New Zealand became a colony in its own right on 3 May 1841, and the New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852 established central and provincial governments.

As more Pākehā arrived, the pressure on Māori to sell land increased. Māori initially had welcomed Pākehā for the trading opportunities, but it soon became clear that they were being overwhelmed. The Iwi (tribes) were losing their land and autonomy. Some tribes became nearly landless and others were fearful. For Māori land was not just an an economic resource but the basis of their identity and a connection with their ancestors. Land was held communally and was not given up lightly. Pākehā did not understand this and accused Māori of holding onto land they did not use properly.

This competition for land was the primary cause of the New Zealand Land Wars in the 1860s and 1870s, where the Taranaki and Waikato regions were invaded by colonial troops. The Māori lost much of their land leaving a legacy of bitterness.

Royal Navy

In the early years of European settlement, New Zealand's naval defence consisted of occasional visits by ships of the Royal Navy based on New South Wales. There was no base in New Zealand.

In the quarter century from 1845, some twenty Royal Navy ships took part in actions between Māori and Pākehā, with the colonial government taking up some commercial ships in supporting roles. Another contribution came on loan from Australia, in the form of the Victorian naval screw steam sloop "Victoria", in the first Taranaki conflict of 1860-61. They and the East Indiaman "Elphinstone" provided gun and crew, to form militia units for fighting ashore. The ships served mainly as communication, transport and supply links between places of conflict but, more importantly perhaps, also served as real symbols of British authority in areas where conflict was close to breaking out, or already had.McDougall (1989) Page 161.]

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http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/Cow01NewZ-fig-Cow01NewZ310a.html The river gunboat "Pioneer"] [Cowan (1955)]

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/Cow01NewZ-fig-Cow01NewZ319a.html The gunboat "Pioneer" at Meremere] [Cowan (1955)]
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quote= It is to be hoped that the "Calliope's" gunboat, the schooner "Caroline", the paddle-steamers "Avon" and "Sandfly", and the river-steamers "Pioneer", "Koheroa", and "Rangiriri", and the men of the British Navy who manned them, will not be forgotten in our histories— Sydney Waters [Waters (1956) [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a1.html Page 530] ]

The 300-ton "Pioneer", built in Sydney, is the first warship purpose-built for the New Zealand Government. She served the whole Waikato war. She was followed by two more purpose-built boats, the sister ships "Koheroa" and "Rangiriri".

Coastal boats

Most of the seagoing ships served first on the Waikato ( eg "Gundagai", "Lady Barkly", "Sturt") and were later used for troop and stores transport between coastal ports. A substantial naval dockyard with workshops was set up at Putataka (now Port Waikato) where the gunboats and barges were built and repaired. The dockyard and other depots were closed down and the flotilla dispersed after the land wars ended in 1867.

Late 1880s - early 1900s

Calliope Dock

An event that was to have an important bearing on New Zealand naval policy in later years was the official opening on 16 February 1888 of the Calliope graving dock. This was constructed over three years by the Auckland Harbour Board at Calliope Point on the Devonport shore.

Designed to take vessels up to 500 feet, the dock was the largest in the southern hemisphere. In 1892 the Admiralty acquired from the Harbour Board four acres of reclaimed land adjacent to the dock so they could develop naval workshops. [ [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/WH2Navy-fig-WH2Nav08a.html Opening of the Calliope Dock] ] [Bell (1962)] [ [http://www.teara.govt.nz/1966/S/ShipsFamous/Calliope/en Famous ships: "Calliope"] ]

ubsidies to the Royal Navy

For years the Royal Navy operated an imperial squadron in Australia called the "Australian Squadron". The 1887 Imperial Conference in London lead to a naval agreement that the Australian Squadron would be supplemented by another squadron, a joint Australian and New Zealand naval force of five cruisers and two torpedo gunboats. These ships would be based in Sydney and called the "Australasian Auxiliary Squadron". Two ships, one from the Imperial squadron and one from the new squadron, would be stationed in New Zealand waters. An annual subsidy of £120,000 was to be paid to London by Australia and New Zealand, of which New Zealand's share was £20,000.

This policy of subsidising Imperial navy forces allowed the Admiralty to retain central control over the navies, yet for New Zealand it guaranteed a cruiser presence in their waters. It also allowed New Zealanders direct entry into the Royal Navy. This arrangement suited both parties and remained in force for the next twenty years. The 1902 Imperial Conference modified the Naval Agreement and New Zealand's annual subsidy increased to £40,000. [Dennerly (2002) Page 7] The subsidy was further increased in 1908 to £100,000.

A training ship

In 1907 the Marine Department acquired an 805 ton gun boat and converted her to New Zealand's first training ship NZS "Amokura". Over the next 14 years, 527 boys trained in her, 25 of them going on to naval service and most of the others into the merchant marine. [McDougall (1989) Page 170.] [NZ Maritime record: [http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/amokura.htm NZS "Amokura" 1906–1955] ] [Waters (1956): Appendix IX: [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a9.html Training ship Amokura] ]

The boat was originally a three masted auxiliary barquentine, square rigged on the foremast, fore-and-aft on the after masts. Her hull was composite; carvel teak planking on steel frames.

Gift of battlecruiser

In 1909 Great Britain was having a naval and political crisis; Germany had expanded her naval programme and was speeding up the building of ships of all classes. On 22 March 1909 the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir Joseph Ward, made an offer to fund "one first-class battleship, and if need be, two" as a gift to the Royal Navy. This offer was accepted by the British Government and the battlecruiser HMS "New Zealand" was built by Fairfield for £1,783,190. [Waters (1956) Appendix VII: [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a7.html Record of HMS "New Zealand"] ]

The "New Zealand" was commissioned on 23 November 1912 with three New Zealand officers. After being inspected by the King, she sailed on a ten month world cruise, arriving in Wellington in April 1913. For ten weeks she called at every port and was inspected by nearly half the population.

She was 590 feet long, weighed 19,000 tons, and had four propellers connected to turbine engines of 44,000 hp which drove her at 26 knots. "New Zealand" took part in all three major naval actions in the North Sea: at Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland. She also contributed to the sinking of two cruisers. [McDougall (1989) Page 15.]

Throughout these battles the captain wore a Māori piupiu (a warriors's skirt of rolled flax) and a greenstone tiki, given to the ship by an old chieftain in 1913 with the injunction that they were always to be worn by the captain of the "New Zealand" when she was fighting. The seamen showed much faith in these Māori mascots. According to lower deck legend, the gift included the prophecy that the ship would one day be in action and be hit in three places, but her casualties would not be heavy (this turned out to be true). [Wright (2001) Page 37]

The "New Zealand" was scrapped in 1923. Her 4 inch guns came to New Zealand [ [http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/local/nthd4in.htm 4 inch gun from HMS "New Zealand"] ] and were used at Fort Dorset and Godley Head. The piupiu also came back to New Zealand and is now in the possession of the Royal New Zealand Naval Museum. [Royal New Zealand Naval Museum Journal: "The White Ensign" (2007) Issue 2: A Charmed Life]

Timeline

* c. 1300: War canoes or waka taua of the Māori
* 1642: Abel Tasman visits in his ships "Heemskerck" and "Zeehaen"
* 1769: James Cook visits in his barque HM Bark "Endeavour"
* 1788: The colony of New South Wales is founded with a technical responsibility for New Zealand. In practice they had little interest and the responsibility was withdrawn in 1841
* 1790s: British, French and American whaling, sealing and trading ships start arriving in numbers.
* 1840: The Treaty of Waitangi is signed bringing New Zealand into the British Empire and giving Māori equal rights with British citizens.
* 1840: Auckland becomes the capital
* 1840: Captain Owen Stanley on HMS "Britomart" draws up an Admiralty Chart of the Waitemata
* 1840s: The rate of European settlement, primarily from the United Kingdom, becomes considerable.
* 1841: New Zealand is proclaimed a colony, independent of New South Wales, and divided into provinces.
* 1846: First steam warship to visit New Zealand, HMS "Driver", 20 Jan 1846
* 1846: First gunboat purchased by a governing authority in New Zealand
* 1848: HMS "Acheron", a steam paddle sloop, begins the "Great Survey" of the New Zealand coast
* 1852: The New Zealand Constitution Act is passed establishing a colonial government.
* 1856: First detailed hydrographic survey of New Zealand ports and the coastline completed.
* 1859: The number of white settlers (Pākehā) exceeds the number of Māori.
* 1860: Naval help is sought from Australia as land wars escalate.
* 1862-1870: To assist in the land wars a temporary navy is established. This is the Waikato flotilla, New Zealand's first de facto navy, comprising eight river boats, four armoured barges, five coastal boats and a naval dockyard.
* 1863: The 300 ton stern wheel gunboat "Pioneer", built in Sydney, is the first warship purpose-built for the New Zealand Government. She is followed by two sister ships, "Koheroa" and "Rangiriri".
* 1880s: In response to Russian scares coastal defences are established in the main ports.
* 1882: The first submarine mining steamer is ordered.
* 1884: A spar torpedo boat is attached to each of the main ports.
* 1885–88: Calliope Dock, 500 feet long, is constructed. It is the largest in the southern hemisphere.
* 1887: The Imperial Conference in London establishes the Australasian Auxiliary Squadron. New Zealand agrees to pay an annual subsidy of £20,000.
* 1904: The Imperial Conference in London increases the annual subsidy to £40,000.
* 1907: New Zealand changes from being a colony to a separate dominion within the commonwealth.
* 1907: The Marine Department acquires an 800 ton gun boat and converts her to the New Zealand's first training ship, NZS "Amokura".
* 1908: The dreadnought battleship race with Germany starts and the Imperial Conference in London increases the annual subsidy to £100,000.
* 1908: Construction of a naval wharf and workshops at "Calliope Point" begins, funded by the Admiralty.
* 1911: New Zealand gives the battlecruiser, HMS "New Zealand", to Britain.
* 1911: The number of white settlers ("Pākehā") reaches one million
* 1913: New Zealand Naval Forces are created as a separate division within the Royal Navy, and marks the end of this article.

ee also

*Coastal fortifications of New Zealand

Notes

References

* Baillie, Herbert (1919) [http://rsnz.natlib.govt.nz/volume/rsnz_53/rsnz_53_00_000500.html "The First New Zealand Navy"] Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Volume 53.
* Barclay-Kerr, Hoturoa (2007) [http://www.teara.govt.nz/EarthSeaAndSky/SeaAndAirTransport/WakaCanoes/3/en "Waka taua - The largest waka"] , Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21-Sep-2007
* Bell, J A (1962) [http://www.rnzncomms.net.nz/navy/documents/history/navalrepairfacilities.html Development of naval repair facilities at Auckland, 1841-1962]
* Cowan, James (1930) [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-CowYest.html "The Māori: Yesterday and Today"] Whitcombe and Tombs
* Cowan, James] (1955) "The New Zealand wars" [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cow01NewZ.html Volumes I] 2 volumes, R E Owen, Wellington (originally published 1922) ISBN 978-0404006006
* Dennerly, Peter (2002) "The Development of New Zealand's Navy", 6th Ed ISBN 0477019382
* Glen, Frank G (1982) [http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-conflicts-periods/other/glory-farm.htm "For Glory and a Farm : Australian involvement during the New Zealand Wars"] , Journals of the NZ Military Historical Society, 1982-83
* Lawn, C A (1977) [http://www.surveyors.org.nz/Documents/parts%201_3_THE%20PIONEER%20LAND%20SURVEYORS%20OF%20NEW%20ZEALAND.pdf "The Pioneer Land Surveyors of New Zealand"] New Zealand Institute of Surveyors
* McDougall, R J (1989) "New Zealand Naval Vessels." Government Printing Office. ISBN 9780477013994
* Rusden, George William (1883) History of New Zealand, Vol I, [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Rus01Hist-t1-body-d8.html#n442 Page 442] ISBN 978-1402144578 ?
* Waters, Sydney David (1956) "The Royal New Zealand Navy." Historical Publications Branch, Wellington::* Chapter 1: [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-c1.html Genesis of Royal New Zealand Navy] :* Appendix I: [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a1.html The first New Zealand Navy] :* Appendix VII: [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a7.html Record of HMS "New Zealand"] :* Appendix IX: [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a9.html New Zealand Training Ship "Amokura"]
* Wright, Matthew (2001) "Blue water Kiwis : New Zealand's naval story." Reed. ISBN 0790008173 [http://www.rsa.org.nz/review/bs2002april/bookshelf_5.html Review]

External links

* New Zealand Navy Museum: [http://www.navymuseum.mil.nz/collections/ship-it/fig.htm Figurehead, HMS "Eclipse"]
* Baillie, Herbert [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Navy-a1.html "The First New Zealand Navy" (eText)]
* Baigent, A J (1959) [http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/baigent1.htm Coast Artillery Defences]
* [http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~Sxmitch/Earlylife.html Flotilla of the Waikato River]
* Otago Library: [http://www.library.otago.ac.nz/pdf/hoc_fr_bulletins/17_bulletin.pdf 75 Years of the New Zealand Navy]
* NZ Maritime record: [http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/hin1.htm "Hinemoa" 1875–1944]
* NZ Maritime record: [http://www.nzmaritime.co.nz/thornycroft.htm Spar torpedo boat "Defender"]
* Best, Elsdon (1914) [http://www.tawahistory.wellington.net.nz/projects/best_article_porirua_war.html The Shadow of War]


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