The Malayan Emergency (1948–60) arose out of an attempt by the Malayan Communist Party to overthrow the British colonial administration of Malaya. Over the twelve years that the conflict took place, New Zealand soldiers, sailors and airmen made a significant contribution to the Commonwealth effort to defeat the communist insurgency.
Twenty-two New Zealand servicemen lost their lives during the Emergency - three as a result of enemy action. For the New Zealand Army, with its experience of jungle warfare limited to a few small actions during the Second World War, the operations in Malaya marked a new departure. They were an important stage in the movement of New Zealand military forces from a non-regular to a regular framework of organisation. They also offered an opportunity to develop professional skills, and laid the basis for effective service in the Vietnam War.