Six armoured light operational vehicles, four Unimog trucks and 150 army personnel will make their way through central Hamilton as part of an Army Charter Parade this Saturday, 14 March.
The Waikato Mounted Rifles and 11/4 Battery will be exercising their rights to parade with arms through Hamilton as outlined in their Freedom of the City Charters. The parade will also be an opportunity to renew these Charters and reissue them to both units in their modern names, as well as recognise the 30 Army Reserve soldiers from Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty on parade who will be deploying on Operation Rata to the Solomon Islands later this month.
Both army units have undergone name changes since Hamilton City Council originally presented them with Freedom of the City Charters on 10 August 1960. Formerly known as the 4th Medium Battery RNZA, the unit updated its name to 11/4 Battery in 1999 when it merged with 11(A) Battery in Auckland, while the Waikato Mounted Rifles changed its name from the Queen Alexandra's Waikato/Wellington East Coast Squadron RNZAC in 2003 to reflect its ties to its 19th century predecessors.
Mr Simcock said Saturday's parade will be a unique spectacle for the city, and he hopes the public will take the opportunity to witness parade proceedings and show their respect for those soldiers about to depart for the Solomon Islands.
"It is a privilege for Hamilton to have such a strong relationship with the Waikato Mounted Rifles and 11/4 Battery, and to host an event of this kind in the city," he said.
Col Jon Broadley, Deputy Commander 2nd Land Force Group, said it is an honour for the units to be able to march through the streets of Hamilton and reconfirm their relationship with the city.
"We have a number of soldiers that hail from the Waikato and are keen to see more of the men and women of this area consider a full or part-time role with the NZ Army," he said.
"The parade is an opportunity to recognise those current Army Territorial Force soldiers from Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty who have recently returned from a three-month operational deployment to the Solomon Islands, and to formally farewell the next contingent deploying in a few days time.
"It is also an opportunity to sincerely thank the families and employers for their support which enables these soldiers to be able to contribute effectively in the service of our country."
Starting from Grantham Street at 10.35am, the parade will move north along Victoria Street, before turning left onto Collingwood Street and right onto Alexandra Street where the units will receive a challenge from the NZ Police. The Charters will then be re-affirmed to allow the parade to continue through on to Civic Square in Garden Place at 10.45am. There the formal parade proceedings will occur and will include a parade inspection by Mr Simcock and Parade Commander Colonel Broadly, and speech by Minister of Defence Hon Dr. Wayne Mapp. Honorary Colonel Dame Cath Tizard (Auckland/Northland Regiment) and Honorary Colonel Judge Chris McGuire (6th Hauraki Regiment) will also be in attendance.
The parade will conclude at 11.30am.