From the beginning of the war, New Zealand played a key role in naval intelligence and was responsible for the gathering and dissemination of intelligence for the Central Pacific area.
Understanding the importance of intelligence in war, the Senior Naval Officer, New Zealand Division, Captain J.M. Marshall RN, appointed a retired officer in the capacity of Naval Intelligence Officer (NIO) on 4 August 1914. Commander Robert Newton established a Naval Intelligence Centre, in Wellington, reporting to the Commander in Chief China Station and other centres, such as those at Melbourne, Esquimalt (Canada) and the Cape of Good Hope. In addition to intelligence he was also responsible for other matters, such as arranging supplies of New Zealand coal for the Admiralty.