Maori (Pioneer) Battalion flag

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.

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Maori (Pioneer) Battalion flag

What do you know?


Posted: 16 Apr 2013

Hi Tiaki - please see:

Regards, Jamie Mackay

tiaki adams

Posted: 16 Apr 2013

you need to tell us the correct number for how many maoris went to world war 1

Damien N

Posted: 20 Dec 2010

Hi, In 1993 I took part in a parade (I was a soldier in Queen Alexandra's Squadron, RNZAC)at Palmerston North show grounds in which this Colour was consecrated on drums, presented to the last surviving CO of the Bn (LtCol Sir Charles Bennett) and then 'trooped' through the ranks of the soldiers on parade. This was the second such parade I took part in the first being the presentation of a new Guidon for my squadron late in 1992. I therefore suspect that your information that the Pioneer Battalion Colour was consecrated and presented to the 28Bn in Waitangi is inaccurate. Aside from the obvious historical meaning of the parade it was also the first time since the end of W2 that all of the Guidons and Colours of the NZ Army were on parade.