NZ Defence Force to march in Bastille Day Parade in France military parades

A Maori soldier runs as New Zealand's soldiers march down the Champs Elysees in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade. Photo / Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images
A Maori soldier runs as New Zealand's soldiers march down the Champs Elysees in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade. Photo / Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will march in the French Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14.

Bastille Day is a French national holiday and is commemorated across the country with military parades and celebratory activities.

Regimental colours and banners representing New Zealand units that served in World War I will be paraded by 86 NZDF personnel on the Champs-Elysees, the first time the flags have been paraded together outside New Zealand.

Defence Force chief, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, says it is a honour to be invited to march in one of the world's oldest and largest military parades.

"This is an historic occasion for the New Zealand Defence Force and a fitting opportunity to reaffirm our enduring relationship with France, especially during the First World War centenary," he said.

Mr Keating said New Zealand service personnel are buried in France than anywhere else in the world.

Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Whakahoehoe will lead the contingent and wear the prestigious Nga Tapuwae kahu huruhuru (feather cloak) in recognition of his exemplary conduct and contribution to the defence force.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force will parade their Queen's Colour and the Royal New Zealand Navy their White Ensign. The nine New Zealand Army regimental colours, including the Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles guidon, carry World War I battle honours and represent regions across New Zealand.

Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Medical Corps, the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment and the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals will parade their banners, and the Royal New Zealand Engineers and the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery will parade with the New Zealand flag.

Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Dental Corps, the Royal New Zealand Military Police and NZDF Chaplaincy will march with the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, two of whom will be wearing replica World War I New Zealand Army Nursing Service uniforms.

A Maori warrior party comprised of personnel from all three services will lead the New Zealand Defence Force contingent along Champs-Elysees.

The Australian Defence Force has also been invited to march in this year's Bastille Day parade.

- NZ Herald

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