National Library of New Zealand
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War Service Records

Archives New Zealand holds military service records for many New Zealand soldiers who served prior to World War 1. These records cover many different military units including the British regiments and local militia who fought in the New Zealand Wars, Armed Constabulary, the volunteer corps and the New Zealand troops who served in the Boer War.

The New Zealand War Medal was awarded to all British troops who served in New Zealand and to New Zealand colonial troops who could prove they had come under enemy fire. To access other military records you will need to know the military unit the person you are researching actually fought in.

In 2005 the Chief of Defence Force and the Chief Archivist of Archives New Zealand signed an agreement to transfer all files of personnel who served in the New Zealand forces overseas up to and including 31 December 1920 into the permanent care of Archives New Zealand. To date we hold records for the South Africa (Boer) War, and World War 1. You should apply directly to the New Zealand Defence Force for any other later records including those from World War 2. Where an individual served in both world wars, their records will be held in the World War 2 files. The contact details for researchers wishing to obtain these records are as follows:

New Zealand Defence Force
Base Records
Private Bag 905
Upper Hutt
New Zealand

For details as to where the transfer is at any given time, you should refer to the NZDF web information page (external link).

The New Zealand Defense Force Personnel files are some of our most frequently consulted records but unfortunately because of their format we are not able to provide access to the originals. Copies are therefore produced for researchers. The nature of the original records, the large number of orders and the relatively poor quality of the copies has prompted us to look at alternative copying methods and we will now be providing digital copies which can be received electronically.

Digital versions of the files will be attached to the individual Archway reference within 15 working days of request.

Please note that we do not hold records of overseas armed forces.

The Archives New Zealand War Research Guide can help researchers with this type of enquiry.