Army regiment celebrates 150 years of service
8 June 2009
New Zealand’s premier Territorial Force unit, the 2nd Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast Battalion Group (2 CANT NMWC) and the oldest unit in the South Island will be marking its 150th year of service to New Zealand over the weekend of 26 – 28 June 2009 with a series of activities in Christchurch. The commemorations will include a Charter Parade through the city of Christchurch and a church service at the Christchurch Cathedral.
When: 12.00 Saturday 27 June 2009
Where: Starting at Christ College at midday, working down Worchester Boulevard and into the Christchurch Square by 1.00pm. There will be Static displays of current and historical soldiers and weapons equipment in the Square from 08.00 am through to 3.00pm.
Cathedral Service of Remembrance
When: 10.00 on 28 June 2009
Where: Christchurch Cathedral
Attendance: Open to all
Media are invited to attend the above events. Interviews with serving and retired soldiers and officers can be arranged if requested before the weekend. Media wishing to attend must register with Defence Communications Advisor Jane Mortlock on 021 224 8658 to ensure access.
The 2nd (Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast) Battalion Group (2 CANT NMWC) holds two very important records –one for the longest unit title and the other for being the South Island's senior (length of service) unit. The unit motto is AKE AKE KIA KAHA – Forever and ever be strong.
This year the Unit commemorates their 150th Anniversary of the formation of Nelson Militia that was raised under the Militia Act in 1854.The Battalion traces its linage through various battalions and units all the way back to the original Nelson Militia.
The current unit was formed in 1964 when both the 1 Canterbury and 1 Nelson Marlborough West Coast Battalions were amalgamated to form 2 CANT NMWC, RNZIR with the current colours being issued in 1972. In the 1990’s TF regionalisation occurred with all TF soldiers in an area being amalgamated into one unit regardless of corps or trades. This resulted in a renaming of the unit to reflect the different mix of corps and became the 2nd Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast Battalion Group.
In its ranks notable men such as Sir Charles Upham, VC and bar, Jack Hinton, VC, and Sergeant Eric Bachelor, DCM and bar have served. The unit maintains strong links with the past, having a Regimental Association that runs the Regimental Museum located in Burnham Camp and maintains regular contact with the affiliated units from overseas.
The role of the 2 CANT NMWC is to produce trained Territorial Force (TF) soldiers to reinforce and round out Regular Force (RF) units and Operational Force elements in order to assist 3rd Land Force Group to meet directed outputs.
Training is conducted on a regular basis with one training weekend per month consisting of special trade or corps training and an average of two night parades a month. The nature and content of the training varies from blank firing tactical training through the use of simulation to live field firing training.
Personnel from the unit have, and continue to be deployed on operational missions in support of the New Zealand Government commitments overseas and have served in places such as the Sinai, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. Deploying with their with RF counterparts or as, in the case of the Solomon Islands mission as a self contained Territorial Force platoon group, with this mission likely to be an ongoing commitment for the unit for the immediate future.
The unit also provides a NZ Army presence at significant events in the local community (ANZAC and Armistice days) and the unit has links with communities throughout Canterbury having been conferred charters by the cities of Christchurch, Nelson, Blenheim, Timaru and Greymouth that allow the unit to exercise its right to the freedom of the city. This freedom of the city is conducted as a charter parade once a year in one of the cities, and for 2009 the unit will exercise the Charter for Christchurch as part of the 150 commemorations.
The unit area of operations is based on the top half of the South Island extending North from the Waitaki River on both sides of the great divide. Battalion Headquarters is based in Burnham camp with sub-units based in Christchurch, Timaru, Nelson, Blenheim and Greymouth.