The fact the Royal New Zealand Engineers regard 15 October as their Corps Day speaks volumes to the history of the service. On 15 October 1902, No. 2 Service Company New Zealand Permanent Militia was re-designated as the Royal New Zealand Engineers. This ‘first’ Engineer Corps was short-lived and would not officially be formed again (in its current form) until 1947. However, the role of Engineers was vital from before 1902 (as a volunteer force) and throughout both World Wars. Their mottoes (yes, two) reinforce this and symbolise their service throughout the world and their countless battle honours: Ubique (Everywhere), and Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt (Where Right and Glory Lead).
The role of an Engineer is varied, including ammunition technicians, armourers, combat engineers, electrical fitters, electronic technicians, firefighters, maintenance fitters, and plant operators. These roles often times mean working in challenging environments, on complex problems needing time-critical solutions, and requiring vast technical skill and knowledge. Engineers maintain the NZ Army’s ability to move, manoeuvre, and operate on the battlefield, they maintain a vast array of equipment from night goggles to LAVs, and keep the NZ Army armed. Engineers really are ‘everywhere’.The role of an Engineer is varied and often times exciting, including combat engineers, firefighters, and plant operators. Engineers train to operate in challenging environments on complex problems, needing time-critical solutions. Engineers require technical skills and knowledge, such as in explosives, bridge construction/demolition, field surveying, mine clearance, booby traps, explosives search, boating, water supply, tree felling, sawmill operation, minor construction, rigging, small engines, operating heavy construction vehicles such as bull-dozers and cranes, as well as military bridging systems and combat tractors, and train as world-class firefighters. Obviously, no one Engineer does all of the above, but it goes to show the variety of the roles of the Royal New Zealand Engineers and the level of technical skill required to maintain the NZ Army’s ability to move and manoeuvre on the battlefield without interference from hostile forces. Engineers really are ‘everywhere’!
Pictured is an Engineers corps badge that we have found embedded in the concrete foundation of our Kippenberger Pavilion. The Engineers built our museum in 1978, and have helped build its further stages since. We assume this badge was placed into the concrete at the time the Kippenberger Pavilion was built in the 1990s, but no one here knows anything about it. Do you know anything about it? Can you tell us a little bit more about this wonderful piece of history? We would be thrilled to hear from you!