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The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment is the main combat unit in the regular New Zealand Army. It was formed January 9, 1947 as the New Zealand Regiment with a single infantry battalion as part of the newly created infantry corps.

By August 1, 1947 the regiment was augmented by the reorganisation of the Jayforce (the occupation force of Japanmarker):
  • 1st Battalion - redesignation of original regiment
  • 2nd Battalion - redesignation of 22nd Battalion, NZEF
  • 3rd Battalion - redesignation of 27th Battalion, NZEF

The 2nd and 3rd Battalions were disbanded in 1948 following their return to New Zealand. The honours and traditions of the 22nd Battalion, NZEF were then perpetuated through the Wellington Regiment, the Hawke's Bay Regiment and the Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiment. The 2nd Battalion was raised again in 1959 and saw service in Malayamarker before converting to a depot for the 1st Battalion in 1963. The regiment received its present name on April 1, 1964, when all of the Territorial Force battalions were absorbed into its structure, receiving battalion numbers:

In 1973, the regiment gained an additional regular battalion, when the Regimental Depot was redesignated as 2/1st Battalion, RNZIR. This structure was in place until 1999, when the TF regiments resumed their separate identities following the re-organisation of the army structure. Today, the RNZIR has two battalions:
  • 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (mechanised infantry) - the original battalion formed in 1947.
  • 2/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (light infantry) - originally the 2nd Battalion, this was given its current name in 1973.

The 3/1st Battalion, RNZIR was a planned TF mobilisation unit, a concept which arose during 1990s reorganisation planning which did not go beyond 'paper' status. Previously, under the three-battalion plan, upon mobilisation of TF infantry units from the six battalion groups, each of the regular battalions would be augmented by a company, while the remaining four would be used to form 3/1st Battalion.

In addition, the RNZIR contributed two companies to the ANZAC Battalion in Vietnam between 1968 and 1971. It is this that has provided the RNZIR with its only battle honour thus far, which is the only battle honour awarded to a New Zealand unit since World War II.


In the New Zealand Army, an Infantry Platoon is commanded by a 2nd Lieutenant or a Lieutenant with a Platoon Sergeant (holding the rank of Sergeant), a Platoon Signaller and a medic (where relevant) comprising the Platoon Headquarters. The Platoon is sub-divided into three section of between 7-10 soldiers, each commanded by a Corporal with a Lance-Corporal as the Section second-in-command (Section 2iC). Each section can be sub-divided into two fire-teams, commanded by the Section Commander and 2iC respectively, as well as normal two man Scout, Rifle and Gun Teams.

There are three Platoons in a Rifle Company, which is commanded by a Major, and Three Rifle Companies within an Infantry Battalion, which is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. An Infantry Battalion will also contain an organic Support Company (Mortars, Machine-Guns etc) and a Logistics Company (Transport and Stores).

Battle honours

Because it is recruited on a nation wide basis, and has no specific regional links, the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment claims descent from, as well as the old New Zealand Regiment and all previous Territorial Infantry Regiments of the New Zealand Army. As a consequence, it is permitted to display a selection of 105 battle honours awarded to ten separate regiments:
  • New Zealand, South Africa 1900-02
  • The Great War: Somme 1916 '18, Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, Polygon Wood, Passchendaele, Arras 1918, Hindenburg Line, France and Flanders 1916-18, Anzac, Gallipoli 1915
  • The Second World War: Greece 1941, Crete, Minqar Qaim, El Alamein, Takrouna, North Africa 1940-43, Cassino I, The Senio, Italy 1943-44, South Pacific 1942-44
  • South Vietnam 1967-70
  • only battle honour awarded to a New Zealand unit since 1945.

Current deployments

  • Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment personnel along with other New Zealand defence personnel are attached to the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, Afghanistanmarker.
  • One company from the 2/1st Battalion is currently deployed on overseas operations in conjunction with Australian forces - stationed in East Timor/Timor Lestemarker
  • One platoon from 3 Auck North Regiment is in the Solomon Islandsmarker. This is a rotational operation, called Op Rata, and involves a rotation of Territorial troops from throughout New Zealand, usually alternating between North Island and South Island units.


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