8 October 1769
Lieutenant James Cook in command of HMS Endeavour lands at Kaiti Beach (near Gisborne) with a party of sailors and Royal Marines.
30 January 1840
Captain Hobson arrives in the Bay of Islands aboard the frigate HMS Herald, commanded by Captain Joseph Nias RN. After consultation, Hobson drafts the English language version of the Treaty of Waitangi to be signed 6 February, 1840.
13 September 1841
Governor Hobson established a permanent naval presence at Devonport. Lieutenant Snow, a member of Hobson’s staff was given charge. He took up residence in a raupō whare.
16 February 1888
Drydock built at Devonport for the Auckland Harbour Board, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere – HMS Calliope the first vessel to enter.
22 March 1909
Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward offers to the Royal Navy the gift of a battlecruiser to be named HMS New Zealand.
23 November 1912
HMS New Zealand commissioned.
12 April 1913
HMS New Zealand makes her first visit to New Zealand. By tour’s end over 500,000 people (almost half New Zealand’s population in 1912) visit the ship at the ports she visits.
11 December 1913
Government passes the Naval Defence Act establishing the New Zealand Naval Forces – on paper only, there were no ships.
15 July 1914
HMS Philomel was commissioned for New Zealand service at Wellington. Her commanding officer Captain Hall-Thompson was appointed Naval Advisor to New Zealand.
4 August 1914
The First World War Begins.
15 August 1914
HMS Philomel was placed under Admiralty operational control and escorts New Zealand occupational force to Samoa.
28 August 1914
Battle of Heliogoland Bight – HMS New Zealand participates in the battle and sinks the German cruiser Köln using her torpedoes.
24 January 1915
Battle of Dogger Bank – HMS New Zealand participates in the battle. Her gunfire cripples the German heavy cruiser Blücher.
31 May 1916
Battle of Jutland – HMS New Zealand participates in the battle. She is hit only once in her aft turret with no loss of life and no major damage.
30 April 1917
HMS Prize encounters U-93. William Sanders is awarded the Victoria Cross and is promoted to Lieutenant Commander for his actions. He is killed in action later in 1917.
22-23 April 1918
Chief Petty officer Roy Alexander wins a Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) serving aboard a motor launch during the raid on Zeebrugge. He died of wounds sustained during the action after returning from the raid.
11 November 1918
World War One Ends.
26 January 1921
HMS Chatham arrives in New Zealand. She is to be the flagship for the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.
14 March 1921
By Order-In-Council the New Zealand Naval Board is constituted for the overall direction and administration of the Navy. The New Zealand Naval Forces were renamed the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.
World War Two Begins
1 September 1939.
13 December 1939
Battle of the River Plate – German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee is taken on by HMS Exeter, Ajax and Achilles. Find out more.
27 January 1941
HMS Leander sinks the German Raider Ramb I.
Royal New Zealand Navy is born.
1 October 1941 – King George VI grants New Zealand Naval Forces the title of Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), in recognition of New Zealand’s larger, essentially self-sufficient, Navy.
19 December 1941
HMS Neptune, sister ship to HMNZS Leander and Achilles, is sunk by mines off Tripoli and 150 New Zealanders are lost. Read more.
11 April 1942
The Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service (WRNZNS) known as the Wrens, was approved by the War Cabinet.
29-30 January 1943
Corvettes HMNZS Kiwi and Moa, on patrol off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands fight a successful action against the large Japanese Submarine – I1. Read about the action.
13 July 1943
Battle of Kolombangara – HMNZS Leander was struck by a Japanese torpedo killing 28 crew and injuring a further 15.
31 July 1945
Operation Struggle – Lieutenant William ‘Kiwi’ Smith XO of the midget submarine XE-3 sinks the Japanese cruiser Takao by laying mines underneath her in Singapore Harbour. His two crewmates win the VC for their actions.
World War Two Ends
2 September 1945.
2 September 1945
HMNZS Gambia represents New Zealand at the Japanese surrender ceremony in Tokyo Harbour.
3 July 1950
Loch-Class frigates HMNZS Tutira and pukaki leave Auckland for duty off South Korea – all six Loch-Class frigates would be deployed to Korea during 1950-53.
11 July 1951
HMNZS Rotoiti puts a landing party ashore at Sogon-Ni Point that engages with North Korean Forces. Two North Korean soldiers are captured by RNZN personnel involved in the raid.
30 October 1951
The Naval Wireless Telegraphy Station established at Waiouru is commissioned as HMNZS Irirangi.
20 February 1952
HMNZS Taupō with USS Endicott stops an attempted North Korean landing on Yang-Do Island.
15 June 1953
HMNZS Black Prince represents New Zealand at the Coronation Review for Queen Elizabeth II.
15 May 1957
Operation Grapple begins – first test off Malden Island. HMNZS Pukaki and Rotoiti observe as weather ships.
11 September 1958
HMNZS Pukaki is present for the final test in the Grapple series of British nuclear tests.
1 January 1964
The New Zealand Naval Board becomes part of the Ministry of Defence.
28 June 1966
HMNZS Hickleton fires the last shots (fired in anger) to date during the Indonesian Confrontation.
16 September 1966
The Leander Class fridate HMNZS Waikato is commissioned into RNZN service. This is the first use of helicopters on RNZN ships – WASP helicopter is standard with frigates.
20 June 1968
Royal Assent for the White New Zealand Ensign was granted to the Royal New Zealand Navy. It replaced the cross of St George with the four stars of the Southern Cross.
28 June 1973
HMNZS Otago sails to Mururoa Atoll under orders from the Government, to protest the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons by France.
21 July 1973
HMNZS Otago arrives at Mururoa and observes the first test.
25 July 1973
HMNZS Otago is replaced on station by HMNZS Canterbury who observes the second test.
29 July 1977
Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service is formally disbanded.
22 July 1997
The first ANZAC-Class frigate HMNZS Te Kaha is commissioned.
Te Mana – Anzac Class Frigate is commissioned into RNZN.
6 May 2009
Pukaki is delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy.
29 May 2009
Taupo is the last of the four IPVs that was delivered to the Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy.
26 June 2020
Aotearoa RNZNs new Polar Class support vessel built in Korea arrives in Auckland.