The Royal Navy museum in Britain is displaying the "lucky" Māori piupiu worn by the captain of HMS New Zealand during the Battle of Jutland 100 years ago.
A series of commemorations have begun for the centenary of the battle in which no lives were lost on a key battleship paid for by the people of New Zealand.
New Zealand chief of navy Rear Admiral John Martin told Morning Report the captain had worn the piupiu during the ship's battles, and was credited with protecting its crew.
"The story goes that the person that gave the piupiu and tiki to the captain, Captain Halsey, said that if it was worn in battle no harm would come. And so Captain Halsey wore it in Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank.
"She [HMS New Zealand] was uniquely lucky in that she participated in all those battles without the loss of a single person."
Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank were two of the three main naval battles of World War I, the third, and arguably most important, being Jutland.
HMS New Zealand participated in all three and none of her crew was ever killed in the battles.
The Jutland battle in the North Sea was waged for 36 hours over 31 May and 1 June 1916 and cost nearly 9000 lives.
During the battle, 14 British and 11 German ships were sunk. It significantly weakened the German navy and changed the course of the war.
Rear Admiral Martin was one of those going to Britain to represent New Zealand in remembering the battle, "and the hunters and sailors who have no known grave and instead lie below the North Sea".
The ship was paid for as a gift from the dominion of New Zealand in 1909. The piupiu remained on board the battlecruiser until the surrender of the German fleet in 1918.
The piupiu and tiki were returned to New Zealand, the tiki to be held in the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.
A series of commemorations would culminate on Tuesday in the United Kingdom, 100 years from when the battle began.