Remembrance Day service at St Paul’s Cathedral, 2010
28 June 2016
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will march in the French Bastille Day military parade in Paris on 14 July.
Regimental colours and banners representing New Zealand units that served in the First World War will be paraded by 86 NZDF personnel on the Champs-Élysèes during the parade – the first time these flags have been paraded together outside of New Zealand.
The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Tim Keating, says it is a honour to be invited to march in one of the world’s oldest and largest military parades.
“This is an historic occasion for the New Zealand Defence Force and a fitting opportunity to reaffirm our enduring relationship with France, especially during the First World War centenary.
“There are more New Zealand service personnel with known and unknown graves buried in France than anywhere else in the world,” LTGEN Keating says.
LTGEN Keating has chosen Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Whakahoehoe to lead the contingent and wear the prestigious Ngā Tapuwae kahu huruhuru (Māori feather cloak) in recognition of his exemplary conduct and contribution to the NZDF.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force will parade their Queen’s Colour and the Royal New Zealand Navy their White Ensign. The nine New Zealand Army regimental colours, including the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles guidon, carry First World War battle honours and represent regions across New Zealand.
Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Medical Corps, the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment and the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals will parade their banners while the Royal New Zealand Engineers and the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery will parade with the New Zealand national flag.
Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Dental Corps, the Royal New Zealand Military Police and NZDF Chaplaincy will march with the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, two of whom will be wearing replica First World War New Zealand Army Nursing Service uniforms. A Māori warrior party comprised of personnel from all three services will lead the New Zealand Defence Force contingent along Champs-Élysèes.
The Australian Defence Force has also been invited to march in this year’s Bastille Day parade. Bastille Day is a French national holiday and is commemorated across the country with military parades and celebratory activities.
The New Zealand Defence Force contingent will be gathering at RNZAF Base Ohakea before travelling to Paris. Media are welcome to meet the contingent during a full dress rehearsal on Sunday 3 July at 1.30pm.