Traditionally the New Zealand Army has not been an army that has embraced trade embellishments. The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) and its predecessors, despite a variety of trades, only issued trade embellishments for the Ammunition Trade in the form of a stylised “Flaming A” in 1971.
It was not until ten years after the passing of the RNZAOC that the Supply Trade of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) moved to adopt a Top of Trade badge for its Supply personnel.
Pre WW1 Badges
The only supply trade embellishment authorised for use prior to the introduction of the RNZALR Supply Badge was an eight-pointed star that was worn by Regimental or Company Quartermaster Sergeants from 1905. These Quartermaster Stars were discontinued in 1917.
Based on the recommendations of the 1960 District and Formation Commanders conference, the New Zealand Army carried out a comprehensive review of Dress Embellishments, including trade badges for each of the army trade groups. In examining the British and Canadian systems of trade badges, it was determined that the British system of grouping unlisted trades under an “A” of “B” badge was an unsatisfactory system that provided no incentive for soldiers. In examining the Canadian system, it was found the Canadians had departed from traditional lines and produced designs that better represented the individual trades, for example, the Canadian storemans “Crossed Keys” badge was more indicative of the trade the British “Star” badge for drivers.
As a result of this study, the recommendation was made that trade badges based on the Canadian design be adapted for wear by the New Zealand Army, including for Storemen and Storekeepers (all corps), Crossed Keys Badge.
However, due to financial constraints and pushback from traditionalists, the recommendation for adopting trade badges made in 1960 was not followed through, and the New Zealand Army missed the opportunity to provide a practical means of identifying individual tradesmen.
Progression in the 2000s
Until 1994 the New Zealand Army supply system consisted of two trade steams.
- Quartermaster Staff (Storeman All Arms), and
- RNZAOC Suppliers
Because of the 1993 re-balancing of the New Zealand Army, the All Arms Store-man trade and the RNZAOC Supplier trade were merged into one trade known as the Supply-Quartermaster Trade (Sup/QM). In 1996 all members of the Sup/QM Trade were transferred into the RNZALR on its formation.
Given the diverse nature of the Sup/QM Trade, with members drawn from each Corps and represented in every unit of the New Zealand Army, the amalgamation of the two trades was difficult and took time to consolidate.
In an effort to ease the transition and bring together senior trade members, the Trade Training School at Trentham hosted an annual seminar each year. By 2005 this annual seminar had become a one-way forum of presentations on supply matters with much discussion between participants but little action happening on moving the trade forward with the value of the seminar being questioned and its future in doubt.
Late in 2006, prior to the annual seminar, the S4 of 2 Logistic Battalion (2 Log Bn), Staff Sergeant Rob Mckie and the Officer Commanding of 21 Supply Company, Major Patricia Hilliam-Kareko prepared the 2 Log Bn contribution to the seminar on behalf of the 2 Log Bn Sup/QM Pers and initiate the change of the Sup/Q trade name and the creation of a Supply Trade Top of Trade Badge.
The 2 Log Bn presentation to the seminar included a brief on the following:
- A submission was raised by 2 Lon Bn on changing the Sup/QM trade name.
- Submission of proposed changes to the Jnr Sup/QM Course
- A proposal to instigate a trade newsletter/magazine amongst the trade
- A proposal and discussion on a Sup/QM Managers badge to be issued when a per qualifies on the Sup/QM RNZALR Managers Course.
Of all the items briefed by 2 Log Bn, the proposal to change the trade name was endorsed by the seminar participants. The 2 Log Bn submission was submitted and approved through the command chain, and the Supply-Quartermaster Trade was renamed as the RNZALR Supply Technician (Sup Tech) Trade in October 2007. Additionally, the proposal for a Sup/QM Top of Trade dress embellishment was endorsed by the seminar, to be followed up by the Trade Training School.
During the 2007 Seminar Staff Sergeant Wagstaff of the Trade Training School briefed the seminar participants on the dress embellishment and the proposed course of action with a vote conducted amongst the Twenty-Seven seminar participants to determine whether a Top of Trade embellishment was a promising idea with draft designs to also be submitted. Votes for the top of trade embellishment were 
- 23 Yes
- 4 No
With the vote concluded and the majority in favour, Staff Sergeant Wagstaff then displayed the Twenty-Two designs that had been submitted as follows.
- Staff Sergeant Read – Board of Ordnance Badge, (2 x variations)
- Staff Sergeant Cook – Pataka, (Māori Storehouse) (3 x variations)
- Warrant Officer Class 2 Whitton – Board of Ordnance/Pataka combo
- Staff Sergeant McKie – Steyr/Taiaha/Key combo
- Warrant Officer Class 2 Donaldson – Combat Supplies design
- Sergeant Tawhara – Taiaha/Key/Southern Cross combo, (2 x variations)
- Staff Sergeant Murphy – Distribution/Rickshaw/Acorn combo, (8 x variations)
- Staff Sergeant Pullen – Fern/Key/Sword/Quill combo, (3 x variations) and
- MR Dennistoun–Wood – Star/Flower emblem.
Following a series of votes, the design by Sergeant Tawhara was selected as the Top of Trade Badge. The winning design consisted of a taiaha and brass key diagonally crossed, with the four stars of the Southern Cross between each point. The badge is to be worn by any senior NCO, Warrant Officer or Officer qualified at the Supply Technician Management Course or an equivalent course previously such as the Band 5 Senior Supply course.
Submitted through the Army Dress committee, the Supply Technician Badge was approved in 2009 to wear with Service and Mess Dress uniforms.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2020
 New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington1905), Para 601.
 Gary Ridley, “Quartermaster Origins,” Pataka Magazine (1993): 51.
 “1180/1 Minutes of the Meeting of Supply/Quartermaster Trade Seminar Held at the Trade Training School on 14-16 November 2006,” in ( 2006).
 “1180/1 Minutes of the Meeting of Supply/Quartermaster Trade Seminar Held at the Trade Training School on 13-15 November 2007,” (2007).
 Part 2 New Zealand Army Orders for Dress NZ P23, Chap 6, Sect 3, Supply Technician Badge (2018).