NZ Army Equipment
The National Army Museum’s extensive NZ army equipment collection includes scout vehicles, tanks, trucks and field guns used by the New Zealand Army. Explore the history of a selection of our military hardware on display or currently in restoration at our unique museum.
- UH-1H Iroquois Helicopter
- NZ Wars Armstrong 40 Pounder Gun
- The Indian Motorcycle
- Stuart (Honey) Tank
- Universal Carrier
- M41 Walker Bulldog Tank
- Valentine Mark V Tank
- Ferret Scout Car
- 28th Maori Battalion Canteen Truck
- Breech Loading 5.5 Inch Medium Gun
- Ordnance, Quick Firing 25 Pound Mk II
The Iroquois helicopter known as the Huey was made famous during the Vietnam War carrying soldiers in and out of battle, airlifting the shot and wounded to hospital and delivering fresh food and ammunition.
After almost 50 years of service the fleet of RNZAF Iroquois helicopters have been retired and one has been donated to the National Army Museum collection to recognise and preserve the long history of this important aircraft.
A reporter from the Westport News recently contacted the National Army Museum in the pursuit of trying to find out what ever happened to a 40 pounder artillery gun that used to stand in Victoria Park in Westport. Much to their delight we realised it was in fact the same gun that now sits in front of the museum here in Waiouru.
In 1863 two 40-pounder Rifled Breech Loading (RBL) Armstrong field guns were landed in New Zealand along with their 6, 9 and 12 pound contemporaries. These guns equipped 3 Battery, 4 Brigade of the Royal Artillery. The Armstrong 40 Pounder guns first saw action at the battle for Mere Mere and were in the process of being moved to the siege at Rangiriri when they became stuck. Because of their weight they were both moved to Auckland and in 1870 were sold to the New Zealand Government, rather than be taken back to England.
The Indian motorcycle was used extensively by New Zealand forces during and after World War II. The bikes were built as a modified version of the civilian model, Indian Scout by the Indian Motorcycle Company in the USA between 1941 and 1944. Over 18,000 of these bikes were produced, many of them being sent to Britain or Commonwealth countries as part of the American Lend-Lease programme.
The M3 Hybrid Light Stuart Tank was an American tank used by the New Zealand Division as a battle tank in North Africa during World War II. In fact, after the 1st Battle of El Alamein came to an end in July 1942, at General Freyberg’s request, a command Stuart tank (“Poly III”) and special protective troop of Stuarts was set up and used until the end of the North African campaign.
The first 24 Stuart tanks arrived in New Zealand on 22 June 1942, lacking some parts and manuals, and were modified several times over the years. In all, 381 Stuart and Hybrid tanks served in New Zealand between 1942 and 1955. The Stuarts were eventually disposed of from 1952 with the first 300 sold for scrap in favour of the Valentine tank.
Commonly referred to as Bren Gun Carriers the Universal Carrier was a small, fast, fully tracked general purpose vehicle developed by the British in 1936. These carriers were used by both the Divisional Cavalry and infantry and saw action in nearly every theatre of World War II and the Korean War.
The first examples used in New Zealand were imported from Britain in April 1939 and later from Australia, but as the war continued locally produced carriers were built by the New Zealand Railway Workshops in and around Wellington. They remained in service with the New Zealand Army until 1958.
M41A1 WALKER BULLDOG LIGHT TANK
Developed in the USA in 1950 as the Little Bulldog, the M41 Light Tank first saw action in the Korean War. The M41A1 Walker Bulldog first entered service with the New Zealand Army in 1960, where it replaced the World War II vintage Stuart and Valentine tanks. During the 1970’s and early 1980’s the Walker Bulldog was the New Zealand Army’s only tank and they were used in training exercises all over New Zealand. The Walker Bulldog was replaced in the mid 1980’s by the British Scorpion tracked reconnaissance vehicle.
VALENTINE MARK V
The first Valentines in New Zealand were equipped with a 2 pounder (37mm) gun which could only fire armour piercing rounds. Because the New Zealand Army wanted a close support tank to fight with infantry, eighteen of New Zealand’s 255 Valentines were converted to carry a 3 inch howitzer which could fire high explosive shells.
Of the 255 Valentine tanks, 100 were Mark II, 74 were Mark III and 81 were Mark V. There were also 11 Valentine bridge layers in service.
DAIMLER FERRET MKI SCOUT CAR 4X4
The Ferret was a standard light reconnaissance vehicle developed shortly after World War II and used by both armour and infantry. It was to prove very successful, with over 35 armies throughout the world using the Ferret in service.
New Zealanders used British MKI Ferrets in both the Malaya Emergency and Confrontation for forward observation tasks. The MKI Ferret was withdrawn from New Zealand service in 1978.
Te Rau Aroha
During World War II Te Rau Aroha was driven and looked after throughout the North African and Italian Campaigns by the legendary canteen keeper Charlie Bennet MBE. Charlie, a Pakeha serviceman, was affectionately known by the soldiers as “Charlie Y.M.” (The Y.M. coming from the initials YMCA). The truck was a gift to the 28th Maori Battalion from children of the Native Schools of New Zealand. When the Maori community decided to send their men to war with a special gift, an appeal for funds went around the schools. The target was 850 pounds, (about $1700 at the time). The response was magnificent. In just six months the schools grew vegetables for sale and ran concerts and stalls; children also dug into their moneyboxes. The final total was 1000 pounds ($2000 at the time), a lot of money in those days.
The BL 5.5 inch Medium Gun, known in New Zealand as the 5-5 gun, was first developed during the early part of World War Two, but was only of 4.5 inch calibre. By 1941 the barrel had been ‘enlarged’ and the 5.5 inch gun was introduced into the British Artillery, where it first saw action in North Africa. At that time the New Zealand Divisional Artillery did not have a Medium Battery as part of its organisation, so it did not officially use the 5-5 gun during the Second World War. However during the assault across the Sangro River in Italy some New Zealand Gunners were attached to a British Medium Artillery Regiment firing 5.5in guns in support of the New Zealand infantry.
The 25 Pounder – as it is more commonly known – began its life on the drawing boards of the British Royal Artillery in 1936, however it did not go into production until the start of the Second World War. The first New Zealand Artillery unit to receive the 25 Pounder was 5 Field Regiment, RNZA, who gladly exchanged their World War One vintage 18 Pounders in England in August of 1940. With the 25 Pounder being mass-produced in England and Canada it very soon became the standard field gun of all of the British and Commonwealth forces. By the end of the Second World War over 12,000 had been manufactured.
View some of the military equipment restoration projects being undertaken by the Army Museum with the assistance of a dedicated group of volunteers.