This project originated as a research report conducted for the Royal Australian Navy’s Sea Power Centre – Australia. Its intent is not to reprise well‐worn ideas of sea power or maritime strategy, but to address conceptually what is meant by the term “maritime security” in the context of contemporary ideas of the meaning of “security” itself. In doing so, I have purposefully delved into some of the often quite dense and sometimes arcane literature and ideas regarding conceptual treatments of security. This is important, because the ideas inherent in different perspectives on maritime security often have an intellectual or political lineage linking directly to perspectives on security, in general. The analysis inevitably reflects my own bias as an academic strategist, and treats the conceptual debate with what one hopes is a healthy scepticism. Indeed, despite the conceptual nature of the subject matter, I have attempted to link the analysis to real world strategic issues of relevance. Ultimately, the discussion paper offers some practical implications for both policymakers and navies, keeping in mind the important injunction that strategy, ultimately, is a practical matter, with real world consequences. Because it was originally drafted for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), there are a number of Australian examples used throughout. In the main, I have revised the original work with a new emphasis upon its relevance to the New Zealand situation. During the revision, however, it became clear that much of the Australian policy experience with maritime security and management issues remains relevant to New Zealand, and it is hoped that there will be opportunities for lessons to be learned both from Australia’s policy advances and its missteps.