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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 13 flags awarded to units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. As the Pioneer Battalion was disbanded shortly after its arrival back in New Zealand in early 1919, the King's Colour was not consecrated, presented or paraded. 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 did 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/Sep 1993, pp. 86-9.
  • 'Kings Colour flies at Waitangi', Te Maori News, vol. 4, no. 2, Feb 1995, p. 3.

Image from Christopher Pugsley, Te Hokowhitu a Tu: the Maori Pioneer Battalion in the First World War, Reed, Auckland, 1995

How to cite this page

Maori (Pioneer) Battalion flag, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated