NZ Army - 175 Years of Service

On the 25th of March 1845, the Legislative Council passed New Zealand’s first Militia Ordinance – which provided that able-bodied males between 18 and 65 years of age were to hold themselves ready for service and for a period of 28 days' training annually.

This signalled the foundation for what would become our modern New Zealand Army.

As our country changed and grew, so did our Army – evolving from a rudimental militia to a proudly bicultural organisation with Ngāti Tūmatauenga at its core – blending the best of our military heritage with a strong Māori warrior ethos.

There is no doubt that the origins of our Army were complex and divisive to New Zealand – but the NZ Army has become a proudly inclusive organisation that works to support and protect all New Zealanders. Today’s Army would be unrecognisable to those who first answered the call to arms from the Crown.

We are a modern, agile and highly-adaptive, light combat force, made up of dedicated and professional men and women from across New Zealand – reflecting our country’s diverse regions, backgrounds, cultures and religions. Kiwis from all communities make up our Regular and Reserve Forces, alongside civilian staff who are integral to our Army’s efforts.

From that first call to arms, through the tumultuous New Zealand Wars, countless international conflicts, two world wars, numerous peacekeeping missions and humanitarian assistance operations, here at home within our pacific region and further afield – Kiwis from all communities continue to serve in our Army to uphold our ideals and freedoms, and reflect the country we have grown to become.

NZ Army - 175 years of service to New Zealand.

This page was last amended on 20 March 2020