The treatment and transfer of severely wounded from the battle site to somewhere they can be properly treated often requires transport by sea. This is done in hospital ships and during the First World War New Zealand provided two of these vessels, funded by a combination of Government finance and voluntary donations. They were the brainchild of the Governor, Lord Liverpool, who played a major part in their inception and took a personal interest in both ships.
Following the landings at Gallipoli and receipt of the casualty lists, The Governor, Lord Liverpool, suggested that New Zealand should provide a fully equipped hospital ship, a suggestion that was immediately accepted by the British Government. With much optimism it was anticipated that the ship would be ready to leave New Zealand within a month. To fit-out and equip the ship a plea for public donations was launched, with the Bank of New Zealand accepting donations and the Order of St John accepting donations in kind.