Images courtesy of :New Zealand Defence Force
Creator credit:CPL Sam Shepherd

Who can become a member?

If you have ever been a serving sapper affiliated to the Corps of the Royal New Zealand Engineers then you can become a member of the Sappers Association (NZ) Inc. All you need to do to become a member is to register your name, rank, regimental number and all other relevant details on the downloadable form on the Contacts Page. The registration form is in two formats, a Word 2003 file or a PDF file. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required.)


Members of the Sappers Association can and do:


cogs icon   Network with many serving and retired Sappers, both from the regular (RF) and territorial (TF) force, plus others from kindred associations overseas;

cogs icon   Attend regular unit and Corps anniversaries, formal and informal gatherings, reunions, and a wide range of social and sporting events; 

cogs icon   Support Corps sport tournaments undertaken by the RNZE serving Sappers;

cogs icon   Keep alive the espirit d' corps and comradeship of the Sappers throughout New Zealand and overseas;

cogs icon   Assist the scholarship bursary and awards processes and prizes;

cogs icon   Receive three newsletters each year (see further below);

cogs icon   Participate and support local branch activities;

cogs icon   Maintain links with fellow Sappers throughout New Zealand and overseas;

cogs icon   Support the Engineer Corps Memorial Centre (ECMC - Library and Museum) at Linton Camp;

cogs icon   Expand and grow the Association for the benefit of future members;

cogs icon Assist with advocacy and support welfare assistance for the benefit of all members of the Association;  and

cogs icon Be part of a distinguished and proud RNZE history.

cogs icon Constitution.             



Members of the Sappers Association receive our highly popular newsletter that keeps our members current with:

cogs icon   Reunions, Anniversary's and other formal Association gatherings 

cogs icon   Up to date information on "Sapper happenings" globally 

cogs icon    Local branch meetings, parades and other information

cogs icon   Anecdotal memoirs and tales from the past

cogs icon   Lost Souls - where fellow sappers often are reunited with each other, and 

cogs icon   Roll of Honour - our mates and colleagues - We Will Remember Them

cogs icon   Constitution:  Read and print a current copy of our Constitution.


Corps History - Books:

cogs icon  The Oxford companion to New Zealand military history

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2000 - History - 653 pages
From the destructive Musket War, which culminated centuries of Maori tribal warfare, to the New Zealand wars to the world wars of the twentieth century, conflict has played a defining role in New Zealand. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History provides a fascinating look at this history. It contains more then 650 entries, written by a wide range of contributors, and covers all of the main campaigns and wars since 1800. It provides numerous profiles of key figures, including Te Rauparaha, Gustavus von Tempsky, Charles Upham, Ettie Rout, Bernard Freyberg, and John Stark. It also describes the weapons and equipment used in New Zealand's military operations, and it features substantial essays on the impact of war on religion, science, technology, and industry, as well as it influence on New Zealand's language, literature, art, and film. Comprehensive and rich in detail, with over 150 photographs and 40 maps, the book is an invaluable reference for students of military history.


cogs icon   Have you read the book?  

The Desert RailwayThe New Zealand Railway Group in North Africa and the Middle East During the Second World War

Front Cover
Penguin Group New Zealand, Limited, 2004 - Military railroads - 328 pages
This is the untold story of the hundreds of New Zealand railwaymen - shunters, builders, engine drivers, firemen, engineers - who answered the call to construct and operate a railway network in the Western Desert during the Second World War. Overlooked in other war histories, these men played a significant role in the Allied victory in North Africa. The desert railway became a crucial strategic operation, transporting soldiers, equipment and supplies to the front line, that the Germans were determined to destroy. The various challenges they faced, from relentless bombing, to the dreaded fifty-day-long khamseen winds, to the siege of Tobruk, culminated in the second Battle of El Alamein, during which Field Marshal Montgomery stated, 'Well, now it's the railway versus Rommel.' The Desert Railway is a tribute to the courage and enterprise of these railwaymen who kept the trains running no matter what.



Eight years it took for eight railway servicemen to write their stories, collect the stories of their comrades, remembering the many they left buried in the sands of the desert. They wrote this book so their grandchildren and great grandchildren would be proud of their heritage. They left their beloved country as volunteers, with the second and third echelons, returning after the end of the desert conflict, then they were quietly absorbed into the NZ war needs of the country. ONLY TO BE FORGOTTEN. Many people knew little of this "specialized" unit that caused Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (German Commander) to state in his memoirs "The Greatest Asset the Eighth Army had was The Desert Railway" and after the battle of Alamein, General Montgomery (British Commander) said "Now it is the Railways versus Rommel."

Seventy five of these men can proudly call themselves "THE RATS OF TOBRUK" for they manned the supply barges in Tobruk for the Australians. Lord Haw Haw (the German announcer) broadcasting from Germany referred to them as " The poor colonial boys that would be crushed like Rats In A Trap".

After printing 1000 copies (sold in seven weeks) the requests for a reprint amounted to several hundreds so the rights for world-wide distribution were handed over to Penguin Books and the control to The Sappers Assoc. (Only three of the committee survive.) The book is sold in all reputable bookshops and the ISBN is 0-143-01915-5. RRP $29.95.

So read the book and support your Association, - the royalties go to them.

Norm Leaf

Ex Chairman of the Book Committee


Footnote by Association President (Joe Hollander):

"The Desert Railway" is a great read and an excellent record, a tribute to the Sappers of the various Railway Construction, Operating and Survey units, known as the NZ Railway Group. The Association is indebted to the Book Committee for their generous offer of book royalties and the handing over of control of the book to the Sappers Association of NZ. This is a fitting acknowledgement and recognition of the sterling service provided by the NZ Railway Group during World War II and a memorial to the members of the Group now passed on.


A company that created a place for itself in the annals of New Zealand history.



Currently, the project is attempting to record the official history of the RNZE from the early 1860s, right up until 2010 !  Some of the existing official history publications already record the early NZ and Maori Wars, World War 1 and World War 2.  However, there is no complete history of the RNZE which encompasses those early campaigns, as well as the more recent involvement of the Corps in Korea, Malaya/Borneo, Vietnam, the SW Pacific, SE Asia, Afghanistan, Iraq and so on.

The first phase of this exercise is to record by audio and video means, interviews with selected retired and serving Sappers, to ensure that we have a pool of anecdotal and factual history for the future compilation of a full written history of the Corps.  This project was initiated in 1980 and several attempts have been made to compile suitable transcripts for further development into a history publication.  The book 'Kiwi Sappers' by historian Dr Ian McGibbon, was commissioned to release a 'coffee table' book on the Corps, especially for the Corps Centenary in 2002-03.  The official history project will build on that experience and more of a pictorial record, to ensure that the history of the RNZE is not lost to future generations.

More  information will be provided on this project both on this website and in regular newsletters from the Association. If you are able to assist with this project, either in the form of providing key historical records or financial support, please contact the Association Secretary.

If you would like to become a member of the New Zealand Sappers Association Inc, please complete an application form found on the Contacts Page and post it to the secretary. Alternatively, if you would like to be kept up to date with information about reunions etc by being on the Sappers Database, email the Secretary on the admin email link below.



President: Vail ‘Hub’ Hubner, Mt Maunganui 3116 (07) 575 3787

“Immediate Past President – Joe Hollander, Palmerston North 4412,  06 3575497

Hon Secretary: Yet too be appointed

Hon Treasurer Chris Aimers Dunedin 9091 (03) 455 6718

Serving Sappers: Lyall Mooney, Palmerston North 4472 (06) 325 8885

Property: Yet to be appointed

Reunions: Yet to be appointed

Membership: Vail Hubner, Mt Maunganui 3116 (07) 575 3787

Website: Vail Hubner, Mt Maunganui 3116 (07) 575 3787

Face book: Rowen McKeany, Hamilton  (07) 850 1805