Waitangi Blues or Whites

Below is an image taken at Waitangi in 1980.  The Guard and Signal Party are all in No 2’s (Blues not Whites).   It is apparent that this happened in 1978 and 79.  Are there any Communicators who were at Waitangi in 1980 who can shed some light on the reason for ordering winter uniform in the middle of summer.  Ships at Waitangi were Canterbury and Otago.

Waitangi day 1980 sunset ceremony


Here is a video clip from 1960 which some of you may even feature.  Whites were worn in 1960.  Click HERE to view.  Thank you Tony Bullock for the link.

Whites were again worn in 1970 – Courtesy of the Naval Museum.waitangi1970

1981 Blues was the order of the day.



1982 Blues were ordered

GN 80 00214 01

1983 they were in Blues again



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11 Responses to Waitangi Blues or Whites

  1. Jim D says:

    For whatever reason, Winter uniform/half blues was always worn from Waiouru south all year round. Wasn’t the wearing of winter uniform in the Auckland Command during summer at the discretion of the Commodore Auckland? Maybe February for the years mentioned was unusually cold. Blues look better than whites for ceremonial occasions anyway.

    • John Bullock says:

      I agree Jim, “Blues” was definitely a better look! I think in our day Jim, most of our kit was sub-standard tailoring, and mass produced.. Gubb & Mackie must have made a fortune altering bits n’ pieces!

  2. Tony Bullock says:

    I was Guard Commander in 1979 and the guard was definitely in Blues. Blues again in 1980 (but not my Guard – Denis Davidson that year.) From memory there was no question of wearing Whites. I’m sure Blues were also worn on the previous occasion I had been at Waitangi (1968 – Otago). I wonder if Whites have only come in since the recent recommencement of the traditional naval evening ceremony?

  3. Tony Bullock says:

    Further thoughts subsequent to my previous comment. Looking at the few photos I’ve been able to find, it seems that the ceremony may – during the 60s and 70s – have been earlier in the day than was the case in 1979/80. An example is this clip from 1960: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/video/waitangi-day-1960
    (viewers will enjoy a number of aspects of the clip, showing as it does the Navy of yester-year)

    The photo on this page http://navymuseum.co.nz/the-rn-and-the-treaty-of-waitangi/ shows whites being worn in 1970, but it is clearly during the day.
    I see that the programme for the 2008 celebration had the sunset ceremony starting at 1730 and completing at 1800, which is still daylight and much earlier than I remember it in 79 and 80.

    A definitive answer could probably be obtained from Fred Wilson.

  4. Geoff Brindle says:

    The Boys Division from Tamaki did the guard in 1953 and I have a photo of us in whites.
    Was my first sea voyage as we were taken up there on the old minesweeper Tui.
    The locals provided us with warm beer after the ceremony and we headed back to sea with expectant results !!

  5. John Titmus says:

    Waitangi Day 1966, cannot remember whether we were in “Blues or Whites” but what I do remember is the Guard, band and colour party all travelled north by bus because Royalist, Otago or Taranaki were not available. Royalist was expected to attend but everyone was to busy court martialing the engineer officers who were deemed responsible for the condensiritis on her way home from the Far East

    • gunther says:

      fm memory I was on manga as the duty sparker on loan fm the portwireless. great weekend. berthed at paihia, boozing at the pub at the end of the jetty, having a feed there.
      and a certain leading stoker who shall remain nameless flogging off reels of cordage to the fishing fraternity, and with the money we all had a jolly ol’ time..well those in the know..

  6. Frank Lewis says:

    Remember that Waitangi very well – lived in Army bell tents put up were the golf course is now – fed from Army field kitchens and had to get our No 1’s or 6’s (can’t remember either) looking smart using irons on ironing boards in the paddock.

  7. Waitangi Day 1977, HMNZS Canterbury No 6″s, Whites. Colour Party LEW R Sheenan, LSG P Aspinall. Have photo.

  8. Alan Peck says:

    There was a brief period around 1979/1980 when the RNZN decided to do away with a white ceremonial uniform. The arguments were along the line of cost and difficulty of laundering (it was before the introduction of modern easy care material). For officers it meant the demise of the “ice-cream suit” and its replacement by the bush-jacket. It didn’t last long. In 1980 I was accompanying CNS, Admiral Anderson, to a parade at Tamaki. He refused to wear a neck decoration with a bare chest and we both wore ice-cream suits. I wore a uniform of RAN origins from 1968 (they had easy care uniforms long before we did). The decision to abolish ceremonial white uniforms was reversed shortly after. I mention this because I think it accounts for the fact that a couple of Waitangi days around this time were in blues because not everyone had a white uniform. I was at Waitangi in 1980 and I think it was blues. This was just another one of the silly decisions that were made around uniform (anyone for khaki?). For many many years we failed to provide decent uniforms for our people and the tailors of Hong Kong and Singapore grew rich at our expense. I believe the system only came right when we abolished clothing allowance and made all uniforms loan clothing. That decision meant everybody dressed the same and looked smart too.
    Rant over.

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