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NZ Military Music per 1nd May 2013
On 30th June 2012 the New Zealand Defence Force disestablished seven of its Reserve Force military bands and withdrew all public funding. From that date New Zealand has had only three military bands, one for each of the main Services.
The Royal New Zealand NAVY has a 29-strong full-time Military Brass/Wind Band in Devonport, Auckland, and also has a Pipes & Drums Club.
The New Zealand ARMY has a 35-strong Brass Band, famous for its spectacular Tattoo displays, based at Burnham, near Christchurch. The Army Band, formed in 1964, will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2014.
The Royal New Zealand AIR FORCE has a large 65-strong Reserve Force full Symphonic Band, led by a full-time Director of Music and Regular Force Bandmaster, based in Wellington, which performs much of the ceremonial in the capital city.
The New Zealand POLICE have two volunteer Pipe Bands, based in Wellington (who were the New Zealand Grade 1 national champions in 2007) and Auckland (who took part in the Edinburgh Military Tattoos 2007 and 2009, and the Basel Tattoo 2012).
Of the seven former Reserve Force bands, four were Army and three Air Force. The Navy did not have a Reserve Band. These bands were allowed to retain their regimental names, instruments, uniforms and ranks and to continue to use their bandrooms on military bases, and were encouraged to continue to perform military-style duties, but now have to be entirely self-supporting financially. The Band of the 2nd Battalion, based in Christchurch has since been disbanded, although a few buglers re-enlisted as Reservist riflemen to perform ceremonial duties.
The 7th Battalion Band in Trentham, near Wellington and the 5th Battalion Pipes & Drums in Wanganui are both endeavouring to continue as military-style volunteer bands.
The Band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, based in Auckland, is the oldest band in New Zealand with an unbroken history dating back to 1864, and will celebrate its 150th Anniversary in 2014. The Band, which is supported by its own charitable band association, is continuing to perform commemorative, ceremonial and civic events throughout Greater Auckland and beyond.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force has, at this stage, retained its three Reserve Brass Bands on a limited basis on the operational Air Bases located near Auckland, Palmerston North and Blenheim.
In addition, overseas military bands to visit New Zealand in the new Millennium have included The Scots Guards, The Italian Navy, The Lowland Regiment, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, The Life Guards, The Irish Guards, The Tongan Royal Corps of Musicians, The Royal Australian Air Force Command , The Chinese PLA Navy Band, HM Royal Marines Plymouth, The Republic of Korea Navy Band, The Tongan Police Band, The Marechaussee Fanfare Band (Royal Netherlands Military Police), The Tasmanian Police Pipe Band and the US Marine Corps Pacific Band. Also, a first-ever overseas tour by the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was held in Wellington in 2000, featuring a host of local and visiting bands.
New Zealand became the smallest nation by population (now 4.47 million) to achieve National Branch status, in September 2004 and is now IMMS’ 7th largest Branch. Bob Davis, formerly an enthusiastic member of UK (Founder) Branch, who retired to New Zealand in 2002, was the Chairman of the International Committee 2010/11, and is now an International Vice-President. He would welcome enquiries from prospective members at email@example.com, and exchanges of correspondence with IMMS members around the world.
The New Zealand Branch is very active, with frequent News Updates, band concerts, get-togethers and occasional overseas trips. A small group, including members from NZ, USA and Holland, visited the military music festival and tattoo to mark the 400th Anniversary of the City of Quebec in August 2008, and a 29-strong IMMS/NZ group attended the Edinburgh Military Tattoo when it returned to Sydney in February 2010 (a group of 35 also attended Sydney in 2005).
2009 saw the centenary of New Zealand’s most famous march “Invercargill”, dedicated by the composer Alex Lithgow in 1909 “to Invercargill, the southernmost city in New Zealand (the end of the world) and its citizens, as a memento of many pleasant years spent there in my boyhood”. IMMS/NZ played a significant part in the various commemorations of this centenary.
The NZ Branch was also instrumental in arranging the Bands element in October 2009 of extensive commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele, including a Massed Bands Concert, Parade & Review, and Sunset Ceremony, attended by the son of the composer of ‘Sunset’.
Each year IMMS/NZ organises a spectacular Massed Bands Commemorative Concert in Auckland, and has been able to donate over NZ$24,000 to the Ranfurly Trust Veterans’ Home since 2004. In October 2010 a similar concert was organised for the first time at Paraparaumu, near Wellington, and again in 2011, which together raised $2,400 for local charities.
Updated 1nd May 2013