Our Origins

No 13 (City of Napier) Squadron is one of New Zealand’s oldest Air Training Corps (ATC) units. The unit was formed in 1941, when New Zealand was considered at risk of invasion by the Japanese and a shortage of aircrew was predicted for the Pacific Campaign. The ATCs original purpose was to train boys who were not yet old enough for military enlistment. Once old enough the young men would go on to serve with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). This direct link to the military ended when the organisation was restructured in the 1970s.

New Zealand Herald, Vol. 78, Issue 24118, 10 November 1941.

Recruiting Poster, New Zealand Government, 1941.

The Army Drill Hall

The Squadron has paraded at its current location since its formation in 1941. The Army Drill Hall, formally a NZDF establishment, housed an RNZAF recruiting office until the 1990s.

The original hall was designed by prominent Napier architect Walter Finch and built by volunteer forces in 1886-1887 as a drill shed for the Napier Naval Brigade at Port Ahuriri. It was relocated in parts to the current site, on land excavated by prisoners at the Napier Prison, in 1889. The hall has been closely tied to local military history, including the deployment of troops for the South African and World Wars I and II.

In 2021 the hall was given Category 2 historic place status by Heritage New Zealand. More information can be found on the Historic Places Register.

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