In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s New Zealand did not have naval forces of her own. Naval defence in the South Pacific was provided by the Royal Navy under an Australasian naval agreement between New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain signed in 1887.
Under the agreement Great Britain would provide five second class cruisers and two torpedo boats for the Australian station with New Zealand and Australia sharing the cost of maintaining the squadron on station. The cost share was apportioned based on population. The agreement came in to effect with the arrival of the Australian Auxiliary Squadron in Sydney in 1891.