THE DIRECTORATE RNZA
by Brig (Rtd) G D Birch, MBE
The Directorate RNZA existed in one form or another from 1885 to 1990. It was the office of the senior artillery staff officer serving at Army Headquarters, who was primarily responsible to the Chief of General Staff for all technical and professional matters pertaining to artillery.
Between 1885 and 1914 the officer heading the Directorate was variously known as Staff Officer Artillery, Director of Artillery, Staff Officer Artillery and Inspector of Ordnance Stores & Equipment, Director of Ordnance and/or Inspector of Artillery. From 1914 to 1918 there were simultaneously two Directors, one each covering Garrison and Field Artillery. From 1919 to 1936 the term Director of Artillery was used, and the office bearer was also the Commander RNZA. During this period the NZ Army consisted primarily of the Staff Corps, the Permanent Staff and the RNZA. The term Director was generally used from 1942 to 1990. From 1966 onwards the Director RNZA (DRNZA) was also the Director of the Army Air Corps. This army aviation linkage stemmed from the earlier air observation post (AOP) officer role filled by artillery officers flying light fixed wing aircraft, primarily with an observation and fire control function. When the more widely based army air corps was formed the staff function logically remained with the RNZA Directorate. See a list of officers holding this senior artillery staff appointment.
In its later years the Directorate was headed by a Lt Col Director (the DRNZA), assisted by one or two Major level staff officers (SO2 RNZA) and a WO1 Clerk (WO RNZA). The role of the Directorate was to:
On joining the RNZA gunners join much more than just a Regiment. They also join a close family of gunners with links throughout the Commonwealth and the USA. Our history, traditions and customs are shared with this wider family and helps distinguish us from all other corps. Within NZ the Directorate was at the head of the serving family. The Director was normally the senior Regular Force Officer holding a Regimental appointment, and the Director and his staff maintained a fatherly eye on all matters within their jurisdiction, looking to the spirit and well being of the Regiment and the development of its personnel. This closeness and family atmosphere was lost when Army General Staff was downsized in 1989; the equipment function going to Plans and Development Branch, officer appointments becoming completely the responsibility of the Military Secretary, other rank appointments to Manning Branch, and domestic Regimental matters to the Regimental Colonel, (a senior serving gunner, but as a secondary role to his established appointment), in association with the Colonel Commandant. From a RNZA point of view the Directorate's demise was a retrograde step.
Graham Birch, Dec 2003
See the List of Directors