National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Khaki & Black coming soon

Khaki & Black coming soon

Rugby is religion for many New Zealanders and our soldiers found time to play the national game when they weren’t fighting in the trenches.

During World War One many of New Zealand’s rugby players signed up to serve their country at a time when rugby was suspended at both club and national level in most countries. From war there emerged a great rugby team; the New Zealand Army Team.

The NZ Army Rugby Team took on teams from the other expeditionary forces’, from countries such as South Africa, England, Wales, Canada, Australia, and France, in games held at the end of World War I before the troops came home.

This world tour of sorts ended with a world cup competition between the British forces, South Africa, Australia and Canada in 1919 for the prized King’s Cup. Many of these countries remain our main competitors on the rugby field today.

His Majesty King George V presented the Kings Cup for this competition following the Armistice and some great rugby matches were played involving some of the game’s greatest players.

At a time when no rugby was being played at home these soldiers represented our country and won this coveted cup. They then went on to play an internationally recognised match against the Welsh national side and toured France and South Africa as they made their weary journey home. Eighteen of the NZ Army Rugby Team would go on to become All Blacks in the years following the war.

In time for the Rugby World Cup 2011, the National Army Museum will be running an exhibition looking at the history of rugby during times of war when the kiwis ‘took the game overseas’. Learn about and come and see one of the first big trophies in world rugby, the Kings Cup, and about the great 1945/46 Kiwis team which would go on to produce 16 All Blacks. Visitors will also be able to test their skills and knowledge in our interactive rugby zone.