Air Force Band Marks 80th Birthday with Anniversary Parade at National War Memorial in Wellington

The RNZAF Band marching down Lambton Quay during the 1942 Liberty Loan Parade.
The RNZAF Band marching down Lambton Quay during the 1942 Liberty Loan Parade.

9 May 2017

Eight decades after its first tour of duty, the Air Force Band is winging its way back home to Wellington for its 80th anniversary celebrations.

On May 12 1937, the band marched through the streets of the capital for the coronation of King George VI.

Eighty years later, the band will mark the occasion with an anniversary public parade at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Friday 12th May at 4.40pm.

“The 80th anniversary is a major achievement for the RNZAF Band,” says Director of Music Flight Lieutenant Simon Brew.

“We’re extremely proud the band has contributed so significantly to the musical life of the nation.”

Honouring distinguished overseas visitors has been a staple part of the band’s duties, performing for overseas leaders, and heads of state.

The Air Force Band has played an integral part at annual Anzac commemorations, while ceremonial occasions at Parliament and Government House have seen the band playing for dignitaries such as Prince William and Nelson Mandela.

At international sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and All Blacks tests, and major cultural events from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to the 2017 Air Tattoo at Ohakea, and even annual Santa parades, the Air Force Band has been seen by hundreds of thousands.

Brew says touring to Malaysia for the Kuala Lumpur International Military Tattoo in 2014 and performing at the Cake Tin for Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2016 are his personal highlights.

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies, will be in attendance at the anniversary parade along with decorated former members of the RNZAF Band.

The parade includes the band’s special performance of 633 Squadron and Highland Cathedral featuring bagpiper Flight Sergeant Murray Mansfield. This will be followed by an extended Last Post ceremony which includes an orchestrated version of the Last Post. The ceremony will finish at 5.10pm.

Members of the public are warmly invited to observe the parade on Friday 12th May, 4.40pm, at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Buckle Street, Wellington.

This page was last reviewed on 10 May 2017.