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New Zealand Army Band

New Zealand Army Band

The New Zealand Army Band has earned international recognition as one of the finest marching bands in the world with its thrilling, entertaining and highly choreographed displays of music and movement.

Formed in 1964 as a traditional brass band to perform at state and ceremonial occasions the New Zealand Army Band has evolved into one of the world’s most diverse entertainment organisations, performing in a wide variety of genres and settings. The incorporation of a rhythm section and vocalists in the 1970’s enabled the band to broaden its repertoire to include swing, jazz, pop and rock, and evolve a series of smaller ensembles to provide specific musical support to a wide variety of activities, events and audiences. This has seen the band develop as the primary link between New Zealand’s Army and the civilian population, as well as becoming a major recruiting tool for the New Zealand Defence Force.

Over the past five decades the New Zealand Army Band has also toured internationally, performing in England, Scotland, Australia, the United States of America, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Tonga and Vanuatu. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been a particularly popular destination with the band attending in 2002, 2006 and 2010, as well as participation in the performances when the Tattoo was staged in New Zealand in 2000 and Australia in 2005 and 2010. This travelogue has allowed the New Zealand Army Band to represent the New Zealand Defence Force and promote New Zealand to audiences throughout the world.

The band is based at Burnham Military Camp in the South Island. When not touring domestically or internationally this is where the band maintain their international reputation with a rigorous regime of music and drill rehearsal.
The history of the New Zealand Army Band dates back to the formation of Battalion Bands during World War One. These bands were made up of Infantrymen who had some musical background, and it was the task of each unit Bandmaster to meld this collection of individuals into an efficient musical group.
In 1964 the New Zealand Army Band was established as a fully professional musical unit. With active recruitment of experienced musicians from throughout New Zealand this soon became a musical force to be reckoned with.
From 1965 members of the New Zealand Army Band were posted to the Band of the 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, initially based in Malaya and later in Singapore. These bi-annual postings continued until December 1988 when the 1 RNZIR Band was disestablished and members returned to the New Zealand Army Band.