The 5WWCT Regimental Association
The Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiment was a Territorial Force unit of the New Zealand Army. The 5WWCT Regimental Association was formally incorporated on the 29th of April, 2020.
The Association’s purpose is to support activities and events involving those who have served with 5WWCT and their families, and to promote and support the welfare of the members and ex-members and their families whether presently financial members or not.
The Association will act for the members in all matters in which the members as a group are interested and arrange and control social functions
Annual membership is $10. To become a member of the 5WWCT Regimental Association click here.
The Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiment was a Territorial Force unit of the New Zealand Army. It was originally formed in 1948 by the amalgamation of two separate regiments:
- Wellington West Coast Regiment (previously the 7th (Wellington West Coast Rifles) Regiment)
- Taranaki Regiment (previously the 11th (Taranaki Rifles) Regiment)
The 5th Battalion (Wellington West Coast and Taranaki) RNZIR (5WWCT) is considered the oldest unit in the New Zealand Army as it traces its history from the early years of New Zealand. It comes from two broad pathways, namely that of the Wellington West Coast Regiment and the Taranaki Regiment, both of which claim an ancestry pre-dating the official raising of armed forces in New Zealand.
The Taranaki Regiment’s forbearers include the Taranaki Rifle Volunteer Corps, which is believed to have been the first unit formally raised in New Zealand. This Corps took part in the New Zealand Land Wars and so distinguished itself at the battle of Waireka (being the first British Empire reservist unit ever committed to battle) that it was granted the Battle Honour ‘New Zealand’. This is a unique distinction. No other unit has ever been given its country’s name as a Battle Honour in the long and colourful history of Britain, her Empire and the Commonwealth. This battle honour was subsequently adopted by the Regular Force Infantry battalions in the 1960s to demonstrate their lineage to the Territorial Force units.
The Wanganui Rifle Volunteers, renamed the Victoria Rifles, the Wanganui Bushranger Volunteers, and the Royal Rangitikei Rifles are a few of the many ancestral units associated with the Wellington West Coast Regiment, a number of which were involved in the New Zealand Wars.
In the First World War men from the Wellington West Coast and the Taranaki Regiments took part in composite battalions due to the government policy that no regiment would fight as a unit. A similar system applied in the Second World War with soldiers taking part in 19th, 22nd, 25th and 36th Battalions. It was members of this unit, lead by Colonel Malone of the Wellington Regiment that made the now famous stand at Chunuk Bair.
In 1948 The Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiments were combined to form the Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiment. The regiment became a TF battalion of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in 1964 during the reorganisation of the army.
At this point the Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiment became 5th Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (5 RNZIR). In 1974 the name was changed to 5th Battalion (Wellington West Coast and Taranaki) (5 WWCT) in order to recognise the territorial affiliations of the unit.
This was until the later reorganisation of 1999, which saw the TF battalions split from the RNZIR to become multi-function battalion groups. The Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Regiment became the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion Group, with the following unit types:
- Engineers – 1 Field Squadron, RNZE
- Pipes and Drums of the Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Regiment
In December 2012 the regiment was amalgamated with the 7th Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Battalion to form the 5th/7th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (5/7 RNZIR).