Maori Pioneer Battalion flag

A King's Colour awarded to the New Zealand (Maori) Pioneer Battalion by King George V in 1919. 

The King's Colour

The King's Colour awarded to the New Zealand (Maori) Pioneer Battalion symbolises 'the honour of the battalion, and the blood of soldiers killed and wounded in battle'. It was one of the 13 flags awarded to units of the NZEF of the First World War. As the Pioneer Battalion was disbanded shortly after its arrival back in New Zealand, and was not recalled, the King's Colour was not consecrated, presented or paraded by the Battalion. It was stored by the last commander of the Battalion. In 1939 his widow presented the King's Colour to the Minister of Native Affairs, hoping that it could be used by the newly formed 28th (Maori) Battalion. But as military protocol would not allow one unit to take up another unit's colours, the flag ended up in the Dominion Museum.

The flag lay at the museum until 1988 when the last commander of the 28th Maori Battalion, Sir James Henare, and others initiated a search for it. After it was recovered it was embroidered with the number and title of the Pioneer Battalion. It was consecrated and paraded before members of the 28th Maori Battalion Association in 1993.

Read more:

  • 'Better late than never', Mana Magazine, No. 3, Aug/Sept 1993, pp. 86-89.
  • 'Kings Colour flies at Waitangi', Te Maori News, 4, 2, Feb 1995, p. 3.

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Maori Pioneer Battalion flag

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admin

Posted: 16 Apr 2013

Hi Tiaki - please see: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/maori-units-nzef

Regards, Jamie Mackay

tiaki adams

Posted: 16 Apr 2013

you need to tell us the correct number for how many maoris went to world war 1

Damien N

Posted: 20 Dec 2010

Hi, In 1993 I took part in a parade (I was a soldier in Queen Alexandra's Squadron, RNZAC)at Palmerston North show grounds in which this Colour was consecrated on drums, presented to the last surviving CO of the Bn (LtCol Sir Charles Bennett) and then 'trooped' through the ranks of the soldiers on parade. This was the second such parade I took part in the first being the presentation of a new Guidon for my squadron late in 1992. I therefore suspect that your information that the Pioneer Battalion Colour was consecrated and presented to the 28Bn in Waitangi is inaccurate. Aside from the obvious historical meaning of the parade it was also the first time since the end of W2 that all of the Guidons and Colours of the NZ Army were on parade.