After World War II, a number of the Chinese who had fought against the Japanese decided to fight for their independence from Britain. Britain wanted to give Malaya its independence but not on the terms of the communist rebels, so they fought to subdue the rebels and eventually Malaya gained independence on British terms. Britain requested help from New Zealand, and the Government sent an Infantry Battalion and SAS troops to assist the British to put down the rebels. This conflict was called the Emergency.

When Malaya joined with Singapore and 2 states on the island of Borneo to form Malaysia, Indonesia – in an effort to divert attention from internal problems – decided that all of Malaysia belonged to Indonesia. No war was declared, but Indonesia launched a low level insurgency to hamper and disrupt the fledgling state. New Zealand contributed infantry and SAS troops again to fight the Indonesians in what became known as the Confrontation. After this fighting ended, New Zealand stationed an infantry battalion first in Malaysia and later in Singapore. This battalion came home in 1989.