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Hei Tiki: HMS New Zealand

Hei Tiki: HMS New Zealand

Originally commissioned as a gift from New Zealand to Britain, HMS New Zealand was launched in 1911. Two years later the ship embarked on a ten month tour of the British dominions which included a stop at its name sake country. Numerous items were gifted to HMS New Zealand along its journey [] including a piu-piu now held by the New Zealand Royal Navy Museum in Auckland [] and this hei tiki. The hei tiki and piu-piu were intended as good luck charms to be worn by the Captain whenever the ship went into action to protect the vessel and its crew.

By the outbreak of the First World War, the ship was back in Britain. During her military service HMS New Zealand managed to destroy two cruisers and was only hit by enemy fire once, escaping without any casualties. The Captain has worn the hei tiki and the piu-piu whenever he went into battle and many attributed the ship’s good fortune to this fact.

As a condition of the gift, the hei tiki was to remain with the ship’s Captain as long as the ship was in service. The ship was scrapped in 1922 and the pendant came to Canterbury Museum a decade later.

For more details on the HMS New Zealand 1913 tour check out the Auckland Museum’s website ‘The 1913 Voyage of the HMS New Zealand’ [ ]