The Defence Force is spending almost $500 million on a new naval tanker, specifically designed for operations in Antarctica.
It will replace the 30-year-old tanker HMNZS Endeavour which currently provides fuel to New Zealand navy and partner nation ships.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the new vessel would undertake a similar role, and would also have ice-strengthening and winterisation features that will allow it to make deliveries to Scott Base and McMurdo Station in Antartica.
The recently released Defence White Paper has put greater emphasis on the protection of Southern Ocean resources and supporting New Zealand's civilian presence in Antarctica.
The new $493 million naval tanker would be significantly larger than the Endeavour, and would be able to refuel two ships at a time, as well as carry and refuel Defence Force helicopters
"The Defence Force can't operate without fuel, water, ammunition and other bulk goods, and the most effective way to deliver fuel to ships, aircraft and vehicles deployed overseas is by tanker," Mr Brownlee said.
"It is important that New Zealand has a significant asset capable of supporting our presence in Antarctica and our interests in the Southern Ocean more generally," he said.
The vessel will be built by South Korean firm Hyundai Heavy Industries and is expected to be delivered in 2020.
HMNZS Endeavour is due to retire in 2018.