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Local Defence

Throughout the war the defence of the country’s harbours was ever in the mind of the Government. This saw the establishment of a Yachtsman’s Naval Defence Force, a motor boat section of the Motor Service Corps, an Examination Service and an attempt to develop an aerial maritime reconnaissance capability.

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Minesweeper Simplon

Minesweeping in New Zealand

When the necessity to deal with German mines laid off the coast arose a small organisation had to be developed, the requisite equipment found and the expertise learned. This home-grown force was able to satisfactorily sweep the two minefields laid by the raider SMS Wolf such that when a check sweep was made by Royal Navy minesweepers after the war, no further mines were swept.

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Hoisting the Union Jack in Samoa 1914

Naval Intelligence

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.

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Public appeals in 1915 got many New Zealanders behind ‘their’ hospital ships. This souvenir programme is a memento of a patriotic sports carnival held on 3 July 1915. Reference: Ehp-A-WAR-WI-Patriotic-1915-01-front 
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa,

Practical Patriotism

New Zealanders in World War One were very patriotic. This patriotism was clearly demonstrated in the numerous means by which those at home could support the war effort and the extent to which contributions were made throughout the war and indeed beyond.

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HMS New Zealand Arriving in Auckland 1913

Coal

During World War One the main source of fuel for ships of all types was coal and there was a need to ensure a regular supply of coal for the ships of the fleet, in all corners of the globe. The mines of Westport produced some of the best coal for maritime use which was in demand by the Admiralty and also the Commonwealth Naval Board for the Royal Australian Navy. So much coal was exported for naval usage that there was a severe shortage of coal for domestic use in New Zealand during the years 1917-19.

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