The aim of this thesis is to analyse the naval defence policies of New Zealand and, for comparative purposes, Australia, as they developed during the 1902-13 period, with the intention of outlining some of the major reasons for the policies of these two Dominions taking the form that they did. The basic theme of the argument is that the naval defence policies of Australia and New Zealand during the period were elicited by the difference between the defence perceptions of these two Dominions and that of the Admiralty. Both Dominions felt themselves to be isolated in the South Pacific and saw as enemies not only the European powers feared by Britain but also the Japanese. British levels of defence in the area were therefore seen as inadequate by the Dominions, and both reacted to the situation by attempting to strengthen Imperial defence as a whole. Where they differed was in their approach to this reinforcement. Australia directed its attention to the periphery, seeking by creating a local navy to relieve Britain of the burden of defence and at the same time to satisfy local nationalistic desires for a fleet. This approach was not received well by the Admiralty, and successive Australian proposals from 1902 to 1909 were rejected. New Zealand, by contrast, looked to the centre, seeking to strengthen the Royal Navy and thus indirectly to strengthen the peripheral defences. This policy found its expression in the government of Sir Joseph Ward when in 1908 Ward unexpectedly increased New Zealand's naval subsidy to Britain by 150%, and when in 1909 he offered to buy a dreadnought type battleship for Britain. By the terms of the 1909 Naval Agreement, New Zealand would have received some local defence in the form of several cruisers from the China ’Fleet Unit'. To this extent Ward's policy worked, but ironically it was the Australian policy which met with the greatest success in providing the local defence that both Dominions desired. By the 1909 Agreement the Australians were allowed to build a 'Fleet Unit' of their own, and thus was the only such unit ultimately completed in the Empire. In 1911, the British declared their intention not to establish the China Unit, since the ships which had been built for that squadron were now required in the North Sea to counter the German naval build-up. This left New Zealand in the position where many New Zealanders felt it to be defenceless, and the Reform government of William Massey was forced to take steps towards providing ships for New Zealand independently of Britain. This did not however represent an adoption of Australian ideas; rather, this move had been forced on the Massey government by necessity. It is nevertheless clear from their actions that both Dominions took, that they were as one with the British in their determination to act together to face their perceived enemies.