Poetry and Songs
|Part of the official website of the RNZA Association|
History, recollections and opinions from New Zealand's gunners. The equipment, daily life, customs and traditions, organisational structures, and images of New Zealand artillery from the 19th Century to the present during war, peacekeeping and peacetime.
Artillery in New Zealand
There was an artillery influence in NZ before most of the country was settled: gun barrels were used as ballast and as fixtures on early sailing ships and some found their way onto land and into use; some of the British troops sent to facilitate settlement were artillerymen. Maori made use of artillery, too, but their style of fighting did not lend itself to very efficient use of bulky, heavy, artillery pieces. During the 1800s and 1900s, regions had their own artillery outfits (see the reports for Auckland, Waikato, Napier, Wellington, Nelson and Canterbury).
In 1886 the Armed Constabulary was split into the NZ Police and the NZ Permanent Militia, creating the NZ Permanent Artillery, the Torpedo Corps, Engineers and Rifles. These eventually became the NZ Permanent Force which itself became the Royal New Zealand Artillery and the Royal New Zealand Engineers. Historically, New Zealand's artillery has been reorganised and restructured to meet contemporary demands. Its guns were deployed in WW1, WW2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Its personnel were deployed all over the world. Read their accounts, check out the documentary records, read about artillery hardware and find out about the actual artillery units.
In 1934, professional artillerymen from New Zealand formed an association to support each other and their families during and after their service. The New Zealand Permanent Force Old Comrades' Association had links back to the beginning of artillery in New Zealand and kept a keen interest on modern developments in their profession. Members kept in touch by newsletter and had several social events annually, especially Gunners' Day and St Barbara's Day. In 1998 they launched into cyberspace (this website). In recent years, the newsletter has become the quarterly journal, The New Zealand Gunner. Over the years, the association has blossomed and is today known as the RNZA Association, open to all New Zealand gunners and those associated with NZ's artillery. Check out the RNZA Association at www.rnzaa.org.nz.