13 Jul 2016

NZDF rehearse for Bastille Day march

5:38 pm on 13 July 2016

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is rehearsing in Paris for its part in the French Bastille Day military parade on 14 July.

New Zealand Defence Force personnel march down the Champs Elysees in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade.

NZDF personnel march down the Champs-Élysèes in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade. Photo: AFP

Regimental colours and banners representing New Zealand units that served in World War I will be paraded by 86 NZDF personnel on the Champs-Élysèes during the parade.

It is the first time these flags have been paraded together outside of New Zealand.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said it was an honour 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.

Lieutenant General Keating said there were more New Zealand service personnel with known and unknown graves buried in France than anywhere else in the world.

Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Whakahoehoe will lead the contingent and wear the Ngā Tapuwae kahu huruhuru Māori feather cloak in recognition of his exemplary conduct and contribution to the NZDF.

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Regimental colours and banners representing units that served in World War I will be together for the first time outside of New Zealand. Photo: AFP

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, will carry World War I battle honours and represent regions across New Zealand.

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