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Great White Fleet’s 100th Anniversary.

Press Release

NZ National Maritime Museum celebrates the Great White Fleet’s 100th Anniversary.

On 12 August one hundred years ago (1908) The Great White Fleet berthed in Auckland. The New Zealand National Maritime Museum is to celebrate this centenary on 12 August (2008), with a special evening featuring an address by Dr. James Recknor who will tell the story of this amazing journey, and the impact the visit had at the time on New Zealanders.

Dr. James Recknor is the Executive Director of the Institute of Modern Conflict, Diplomacy and Reconciliation at Texas Tech University, U.S.A. Dr. Recknor’s publications include a book, ‘Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet’. Dr. Recknor attended Auckland University from 1979 – 1985.

United States President, Teddy Roosevelt sent the so called Great White Fleet, 16 great battleships with smaller escort vessels, around the world to demonstrate America’s naval strength. He wanted to show his countrymen and the rest of the world that the United States Navy was capable of operating globally, particularly in the Pacific, at a time when America’s relations with Japan were becoming uneasy. The voyage took 14 months, visiting 32 ports in 26 countries.

Painted in their peacetime livery of white and gold scrollwork and banners of red, white and blue on their bows, the ships made a magnificent sight. The visit had profound social implications for New Zealanders. Public holidays were declared and thousands of people flocked to see the ships and the American sailors on parade.

The Maritime Museum in conjunction with the RNZ Navy Museum will stage an exhibition to celebrate the Centenary of this remarkable voyage and to coincide with Dr. Recknor’s address.

The Great White Fleet: A Centennial Celebration exhibition will feature in the Sanford Theatre at the NZ National Maritime Museum from 1 - 17 August in conjunction with the lecture. A selection of medallions and ephemera from the Navy collections and items from the personal collection of William Stewart, an American amateur historian and enthusiast on the topic of the Great White Fleet will be on display. An extensive collection of original images, also owned by Stewart will be included in the exhibition.

Dr. Recknor’s address, The Great White Fleet – A Centennial Celebration, will be held on Tuesday, 12 August from 7pm, in the Maritime Room at the Maritime Museum. Admission $15

For further information please or bookings call 373 0800 or


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