Before the 1st World War, there was no Ordnance Organisation in the New Zealand Army, responsibility for Ordnance Services were split between the Defence Stores Department, a civilian organisation and the Royal New Zealand Artillery. Need for an Ordnance Organisation has been identified as early as 1901  and again in 1907 , but it wasn’t until 1917 that a formal Ordnance organisation would be established in New Zealand.
Based on the British Ordnance model (which itself was abolished on 28 November 1918 with the formation of the RAOC)  , two separate organisations would be established for the supply, maintenance and repair of equipment, small arms and all stores required for the Defence Force.
- An Ordnance Department for Officers, and
- An Ordnance Corps for Warrant officer, SNCO’s and Other ranks
The regulations establishing the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) were published in the New Zealand Gazette on the 7th of June 1917. Established under the authority of the Defence Act,1909 the NZAOC was constituted and created as part of the Permanent Staff of the Defence Forces of New Zealand as of the 1st of February 1917. Superseding the New Zealand Defence Stores Department, absorbing its existing staff and those handling military equipment and stores in the districts and training camps. Previously the Defence Stores Department had been under the control of the Public Service Commission, the NZAOC was now under the direction of the Quartermaster General. The establishment of the new Ordnance organisations, ended the anomaly of having civilians in the army who are outside it, and were not subject to military discipline and control, and placed staff who had worn civilian clothes into uniform and under army discipline  .
The Gazetted regulations that established the NZAOC laid out the foundation of the Corps, the same Gazette also detailed the establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department, which was a separate organisation made up only of Officers.
The NZAOC Establishment as of 7 June 1917 was :
To complement the creation of the new Ordnance Services, new regulations for the management of the equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces were published in the New Zealand Gazette on the 14th of June 1917 .
The NZAOC in conjunction with the NZAOD in New Zealand and the NZEF NZAOC would continue to support New Zealand’s war effort up to the end of the war, and then play a significant role in the demobilisation of New Zealand’s Forces, and the return, inspection, repair and redistribution of equipment. As the NZEF demobilised, the NZAOC absorbed some of the men who had served with the NZEF NZAOC providing much operation experience which became invaluable as both the NZAOD and NZAOC consolidated their position and started to centralise themselves as an organisation in Trentham, Burnham and Auckland.
Badges of the NZAOC are covered in detail at Ordnance Badges of New Zealand 1916-1996.
On 27th of June 1924, the regulations establishing the NZAOD and NZAOC on the 7th of June 1917 were revoked, and the NZAOD was reconstituted as part of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps resulting in one Ordnance organisation for the New Zealand Permanent Forces .
|||J. Babington, “Defence Forces of New Zealand,” House of Representatives, Wellington, 1904.|
|||J. Ward, “Defence Forces of New Zealand,” House of Representatives, Wellington, 1907.|
|||F. Steer, To The Warrior his Arms, Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books, 2005.|
|||A. Fernyhough, A short history of the RAOC, London: C B Printers Ltd, 1965.|
|||J. Bolton, A History of the RNZAOC, Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992.|
|||“Defence Stores,” Otago Daily Times, no. 17033, p. 6, 18 June 1917.|
|||New Zealand Gazette, p. 2292, 7 June 1917.|
|||“Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette, no. 99, pp. 2369-2498, 14 June 1917.|
|||“NZAOD and NZAOC,” New Zealand Gazette, p. 1605, 3 July 1924.|
|||“New Zealand Army,” Evening Post, vol. XCIV, no. 24, p. 7, 28 July 1917.|
|||“Ordnance Services,” Evening Post, vol. XCIX, no. 38, p. 5, 14 February February 1920.|
Copyright © Robert McKie 2017