- New Zealand Defence Force
New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua o Aotearoa
Service branches Royal New Zealand Navy
New Zealand Army
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Headquarters Wellington Leadership Commander-in-Chief Governor General
Sir Jerry Mateparae
Minister of Defence Hon. Dr Wayne Mapp Chief of Defence Force Lt-General Rhys Jones Manpower Military age 17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18 (2001) Available for
984,700 males, age 17-49 (2005),
965,170 females, age 17-49 (2005)
809,519 males, age 17-49 (2005),
802,069 females, age 17-49 (2005)
29,738 males (2005),
28,523 females (2005)
Active personnel 9,051 (ranked 129) Reserve personnel 2,240 Deployed personnel 672 (as 9 December at 2008) Expenditures Budget NZ$1.7 Billion (2006-07) Percent of GDP 1% Industry Foreign suppliers United States
Related articles History Military history of New Zealand Ranks New Zealand military ranks
The New Zealand Defence Force (Maori: Te Ope Kaatua o Aotearoa, "Line of Defence of New Zealand") consists of three services: the Royal New Zealand Navy; the New Zealand Army; and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The Commander-in-Chief of the NZDF is His Excellency Rt. Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand who exercises his power on the advice of the Minister of Defence, Hon. Dr Wayne Mapp, under the Defence Act 1990. The commander and head of the NZDF is the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones, who also acts as the primary military adviser to the Minister of Defence.
New Zealand's armed forces have three defence policy objectives; to defend New Zealand against low-level threats, to contribute to regional security; and to play a part in global security efforts. New Zealand considers its own national defence needs to be modest, due to its geographical isolation and benign relationships with neighbours. As of September 2008, approximately 600 NZDF personnel served overseas in the South Pacific, Asia and Middle East areas.
History of the armed services
After the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 New Zealand's security was dependant on British Imperial Troops deployed from Australia and other parts of the empire. By 1841 the settlers, particularly those in the New Zealand Company settlement of Wellington, were calling for local militia to be formed. In 1843 a local militia had been formed in Wellington without official sanction. This prompted the Chief Police Magistrate Major Matthew Richmond to order its immediate disbandment. Richmond's also dispatched 53 soldiers from the 96th Regiment from Auckland to Wellington.
These calls for a militia continued to grow with the Wairau Affray. The calls eventually lead to a Bill being introduced to the Legislative Assembly in 1844. Those present noted their disapproval of the Bill, unanimously deferring it for six months. On 22 March 1845 the Flagstaff War broke out, which proved to be the catalyst for passing the Bill.
On 25 March 1845 the Militia Ordinance was passed into law. 26 officers were appointed in Auckland, thereby forming the start of New Zealand's own defence force. Major Richmond was appointed commander of the Wellington Battalion of the Militia. Curiously, the newspaper article of the time notes that Wellington had a mounted Volunteer Corp. The Nelson Militia were formed about the end of May.
In June 1845 75 members of the Auckland Militia under Lieutenant Figg became the first unit to support British Imperial troops in the Flagstaff War, serving as pioneers. Seven militia were wounded in action between 30 June and 1 July 1845. One, a man named Rily later died of his wounds. The Auckland Militia was disbanded in August or early September 1845 because of budgetary constraints. Disbandment of the Nelson and Wellington Militia's followed much to the dismay of their supporters. Those at Nelson under Captain Greenwood decided, regardless of pay or not, to continue training.
Trouble in the Hutt Valley, near Wellington, early March 1846 prompted the new Lieutenant Governor George Grey to proclaim Martial Law and call out the Hutt Militia. Following on from this the local paper noted that the No 1 Company of the Wellington Militia had been called out, while the troops stationed in the town had been in the Hutt. The paper further noted that Grey intended to maintain two companies of Militia in Wellington. As problems continued in the area at least 160 Militia remained. These were supplemented by volunteers, and Maori warriors from the Te Aro pah.
On 28 October 1846, with the passing of the Armed Constabulary Ordinance in 1846, a fresh call was made by Mr Donnelly of the Legislature to do away with the Militia because of its expense. However the cost to Britain of maintaining a military force in New Zealand was considerable prompting a dispatch on 24 November 1846 from Right Hon Earl Grey to advise Lieutenant Governor George Grey that
... the formation of a well-organised Militia and of a force of Natives in the service of Her Majesty, would appear to be the measures most likely to be successfully adopted.
Further pressure in the early 1850s from Britain for removing their forces prompted pleas for them to remain as the Militia were deemed insufficient for the purpose.
1854 brought a new threat to the attention of the colony, because up to that time the military focus had been upon internal conflicts between settlers and the native population. War had broken out between Russia and Turkey. This war began to involve the major European powers and exposed New Zealand and Australia to a possible external threat from Russian naval forces. Parliament discussed providing guns at ports around the country for use in the event of a war with a foreign power.
By 1858 attention had swung back to local issues with a land dispute in New Plymouth prompting Governor Thomas Gore Brown to call out its Militia under Captain Charles Brown. A prelude to what was to become the First Taranaki War and a period of conflict in the North Island until 1872.
Parliament revised and expanded the Militia Ordinance, replacing it with the Militia Act 1858. Some of the main changes were clauses enabling volunteer's to be included under such terms and conditions as the Governor may specify. The Act also outlined the purposes under which Militia could be called upon, including invasion. Debates in Parliament had included expressions of concern about Russian naval expansion in the northern Pacific, pointed out that the sole naval defence consisted of one 24 gun frigate, and the time it would take for Britain to come to the colonies aid.
The Defence Act 1886, reclassified the militia as Volunteers. These were the forerunners of the Territorials.
Although there were informal volunteer units as early as 1845, the appropriate approval and regulation of the units did not occur until The Militia Act 1858. Those who signed up for these units were exempt from militia duty, but had to be prepared to serve anywhere in New Zealand. One of the earliest gazetted units (13 January 1859) was the Taranaki Volunteer Rifle Company.
To the Volunteer Rifle Corps were added Volunteer Artillery Corps in mid 1859. The first of these Volunteer Artillery Corps were based in Acukland.
By late 1859 the number of Volunteer units were so great that Captain H C Balneavis was appointed Deputy Adjunct-General, based at Auckland.
Colonial Defence Force (1862–1867)
In 1863 the Government passed the Colonial Defence Force Act 1862 creating the first Regular Force. This was to be a mounted body of not more than 500 troops, with both Maori and settlers, and costing no more than 30,000 pounds per annum. All were volunteers and expected to serve for three years.
Formation of the first unit did not commence until early April 1863, with 100 men being sought at New Plymouth under Captain Atkinson. Hawke's Bay was to have the next unit. By late April, papers were reported few had enlisted in New Plymouth.
Formation of an Auckland unit under Colonel Nixon commenced in July and by the 14th had 30 men.
Authorised units by July 1863
Location Authorised Actual Commander Auckland 100 50 Lieutenant Colonel Marmaduke George Nixon Ahuriri (Hawke's Bay) 100 100 Major George Stoddart Whitmore New Plymouth 100 - Captain Harry Albert Atkinson Otago 50 Mr Branigan Wairarapa 50 Wellington 100 James Townsend Edwards
By October 1863 there was no Wairarapa based Defence force, and 50 were based in Wanganui. The Otago force had earlier been moved to Wellington, with further Otago volunteers heading for the Auckland and Hawke's Bay Units. The total Defence Force numbered 375 by 3 November 1863.
In October 1864 the Government decided to reduce the numbers in the Colonial Defence Force to 75 with three units of 25 members each in Wellington, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki. By this time there were about 10,000 British Imperial troops in New Zealand, supplemented by about as many New Zealand volunteer and militia forces. There were calls, particularly from South Island papers, for the British Imperial troops to be replaced by local forces. Parliamentary debates in late 1864 also supported this view, especially as the cost of maintaining the Imperial troops was becoming a greater financial burden on the colony.
Defence review, March 1865
At the request of the Governor in January 1865 a formal statement on the defence of the Colony was presented on 20 March 1865. This proposed an armed constabulary force supported by friendly natives, volunteer units, and militia as the case may require be established to take the place of the Imperial troops. The proposed force was to consist of 1,350 Europeans and 150 Maori - 1,500 in total. They were to be divided in 30 companies of 50 men each based as follows:
Province Location Number Auckland Queens Redoubt south, between the Waikato and Waipa Rivers 6 From the Bluff to Pukorokoro 3 In reserve at Papakura or vicinity 3 Tauranga 1 Taranaki and Wellington Taranaki and Wanganui Districts 12 Wellington 1 Hawke's Bay Napier 4
The total Defence budget, which included purchasing a steamer for use on the Waikato, Patea, and Wanganui rivers, was 187,000 pounds per annum. The budget's focus was solely on internal conflict. The issue of external conflict did not begin to resurface until the following year, with thought being given again to coastal defences.
The Colonial Defence Force was disbanded in October 1867 by the Armed Constabulary Act 1867. Its members transferred to the Armed Constabulary.
From 1863 to 1867 Forest Ranger volunteer units were formed, tasked with searching out Maori war parties, acting as scouts, and protecting lines of communication. They arose out of the need to prevent ambushes and random attacks on civilians near forest areas.
The Rangers were well armed and more highly paid. These units used guerrilla style tactics, moving through areas under cover of darkness and ambushing war parties. The Forest Rangers were disbanded on 1 October 1867.
Armed Constabulary (1846–1886)
Alongside the militia and the British Imperial forces were the Armed Constabulary. The Armed Constabulary were formed in 1846 with the passage of the Armed Constabulary Ordinance. The Constabulary's role was both regular law enforcement and during the New Zealand Wars militia support. From 1867 to 1886 the Armed Constabulary were the only permanent force in New Zealand. In 1886 the militia functions of the Armed Constabulary were transferred to the New Zealand Permanent Militia by the Defence Act 1886.
New Zealand Permanent Militia (1886–1902)
Permanent force (1902– ) and Territorials (1909– )
The Defence Act 1909 replaced the Volunteer forces with a Territorial force and compulsory military training, a regime that remained until the late 1960s, with breaks from 1918 to 1921, 1930 to 194?, and 194? to 1948.
Separate services (1909– )
Independent New Zealand armed forces developed in the early twentieth century; the Royal New Zealand Navy was the last to emerge as an independent service in 1941. Prior to that time it had been the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy. New Zealand forces served alongside the British and other Empire and Commonwealth nations in World War I and World War II.
The fall of Singapore in 1942 showed that Britain could no longer protect its far-flung Dominions. Closer military ties were therefore necessary for New Zealand's defence. With United States entering the war, they were an obvious choice. Links with Australia had also been developed earlier; both nations sent troops to the Anglo-Boer War and New Zealand officer candidates had trained at Australia's Royal Military College, Duntroon since 1911, a practice that continues to this day. A combined Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was formed for the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I, and its exploits are key events in the military history of both countries.
The NZDF came into existence under the Defence Act 1990. Under previous legislation, the three services were part of the Ministry of Defence. Post-1990, the Ministry of Defence is a separate, policy-making body under a Secretary of Defence, who is equal in status to the Chief of Defence Force.
Higher direction of the armed services
A new HQNZDF facility was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark in March 2007. The new facility on Aitken St in the Wellington CBD replaced the premises on Stout St that had been the headquarters of NZDF for nearly 75 years. The Aitken St facility is home to around 900 employees of the NZDF, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service and the New Zealand Ministry of Defence.
HQNZDF operates as the administrative and support headquarters for the New Zealand Defence Force, with operational forces under the separate administrative command and control of HQJFNZ.
Joint Forces headquarters
The operational forces of the three services are directed from Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand on the opposite side of a road from Trentham Military Camp in Upper Hutt. From this building, a former NZ government computer centre that used to house the Army's Land Command, the Air Component Commander, Maritime Component Commander, and Land Component Commander exercise command over their forces. Commander Joint Forces New Zealand (COMJFNZ), controls all overseas operational deployments and most overseas exercises.
Current senior officers
New Zealand's Army consists of around 4,500 full-time and 2,500 part-time troops. It is a small but well-regarded and professional force consisting of light infantry and motorised infantry equipped with 105 Canadian-manufactured LAV III Light Armoured Vehicles, known as the NZLAV. There are also armoured reconnaissance, artillery, logistic, communications, medical and intelligence elements. The New Zealand Special Air Service is the NZDF's special forces capability which operates in both conventional warfare and counter-terrorist roles. The Corps and Regiments of the New Zealand Army include:
- Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
- Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps
- Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery
- Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers
- Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals
- Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
- Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps
- Royal New Zealand Army Nursing Corps
- Royal New Zealand Army Dental Corps
- Corps of Royal New Zealand Military Police
- New Zealand Intelligence Corps
- New Zealand Army Legal Services
The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) includes two Anzac class frigates, developed in conjunction with Australia, and based on the German MEKO 200 design. Eight other vessels are in use, consisting of patrol vessels and logistics vessels. In 2010, the RNZN completed the acquisition of seven new vessels: one large Multi-Role Vessel named the HMNZS Canterbury, two Offshore Patrol Vessels, and four Inshore Patrol Vessels. All of these new vessels were acquired under Project Protector, and were built to commercial, not naval, standards.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force consists of 50 aircraft, consisting of P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and Lockheed C-130 Hercules and other transport aircraft. The RNZAF does not have an air combat force following the retirement without replacement of its A-4 Skyhawk and Aermacchi MB-339 squadrons. A plan to acquire 28 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft was controversially cancelled by the Labour Government in 2000. The NH90 helicopter has recently been ordered to replace Bell UH-1 Iroquois. The PAC CT/4 Airtrainer is locally produced.
Foreign defence relations
New Zealand states it maintains a "credible minimum force," although critics (including the New Zealand National Party while in opposition) maintain that the country's defence forces have fallen below this standard. With a claimed area of direct strategic concern that extends from Australia to Southeast Asia to the South Pacific, and with defence expenditures that total around 1% of GDP, New Zealand necessarily places substantial reliance on co-operating with other countries, in particular Australia.
Acknowledging the need to improve its defence capabilities, the government in 2005 announced the Defence Sustainability Initiative allocating an additional NZ$4.6 billion over 10 years to modernise the country's defence equipment and infrastructure and increase its military personnel. The funding represented a 51% increase in defence spending since the Labour government took office in 1999.
New Zealand is an active participant in multilateral peacekeeping. It has taken a leading role in seeking to bring peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction to the Solomon Islands and the neighbouring island of Bougainville. New Zealand maintains a contingent in the Multinational Force and Observers and has contributed to United Nations and other peacekeeping operations in Angola, Cambodia, Somalia, Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia. It also participated in the Multilateral Interception Force in the Persian Gulf. New Zealand has an ongoing peacekeeping commitment to East Timor, where it participated in the INTERFET, UNTAET and UMAMET missions from 1999–2002, with an infantry battalion which was withdrawn in late 2002. In response to renewed conflict in 2006 more troops were deployed as part of an international force. New Zealand troops currently maintains an infantry company and supporting elements in East Timor. New Zealand has participated in 2 NATO-led coalitions; SFOR in the Former Yugoslavia (until December 2004) and an ongoing one in Afghanistan (which took over from a US-led coalition in 2006). New Zealand also participated in the European Union EUFOR operation in the former Yugoslavia from December 2004 until New Zealand ended its 15-year continuous contribution there on 30 June 2007.
New Zealand participates in sharing training facilities, personnel exchanges, and joint exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Tonga, and South Pacific states. It also exercises with its Five Power Defence Arrangement partners - Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Singapore. New Zealand military personnel also participate in a wide variety of training exercises, conferences and visits as part of military diplomacy.
New Zealand is a signatory of the ANZUS treaty, a defence pact between it, Australia and the United States dating from 1951. After the 1986 anti-nuclear legislation that refused access of nuclear powered or armed vessels to ports, the USA withdrew its obligations to New Zealand under ANZUS, and ANZUS exercises are now bi-lateral between Australia and the United States. Under anti-nuclear legislation, any ship must declare whether it is nuclear propelled or carrying nuclear weapons before entering New Zealand waters. Due to the US policy at that time of "neither confirm nor deny", ship visits ceased. Despite the Presidential Directive of 27 September 1991 that removed tactical nuclear weapons from U.S. surface ships, attack submarines, and naval aircraft, ship visits have not resumed. Despite signs of rapprochement in recent years, military relationships with the US remain limited, although senior US officials have been complimentary about New Zealand's contributions to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. New Zealand retains a close bi-lateral defence relationship with Australia.
Due to New Zealand's antinuclear policy, defence cooperation with the U.S., including training exercises, has been significantly restricted since 1986, when the ANZUS treaty defence obligations to NZ were suspended by the USA. However, New Zealand and the USA remain 'very, very good friends'. On 26 July 2008 during a visit to New Zealand, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice upgraded this status and said "New Zealand is now a friend and an ally". The NZDF has served alongside NATO led forces in Afghanistan in recent times, and in 2004 the NZSAS was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation by US President George W Bush for "extraordinary heroism" in action.
New Zealand is a member of the ABCA Armies standardisation programme, the naval AUSCANNZUKUS forum, the Air and Space Interoperability Council (ASIC, the former ASCC, which, among other tasks, allocates NATO reporting names) and other Western 'Five Eyes' fora for sharing information and achieving interoperability with like-minded armed forces, such as The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP).
- List of New Zealand military bases
- List of individual weapons of the New Zealand armed forces
- New Zealand Defence College
- Current Royal New Zealand Navy ships
- List of ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy
- Royal New Zealand Navy plans
- List of aircraft of the RNZAF and RNZN
- List of squadrons of the RNZAF
- New Zealand Cadet Forces
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- New Zealand Defence Force
New Zealand Defence Force Military history of New Zealand
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