New Zealand disruptive pattern material

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NZ DPM with Webbing

The New Zealand disruptive pattern material, also known as New Zealand DPM, was the official camouflage pattern on uniforms used by the New Zealand Armed Forces until 2013. It was replaced with a new pattern called Multi Terrain Camouflage[1] which is exclusive to the New Zealand Defence Force. New Zealand DPM is derived from British DPM and is identical to Dutch DPM in colouration with the exception of the dithering which is absent in the Dutch pattern.

Historically, New Zealand's armed forces used British military uniforms in British DPM camouflage, with the first issues of 1968 Pattern smock and trousers being made in 1980. These were replaced with the first of the New Zealand pattern DPM in 1984–1985, and there have been several iterations since. In the mid-1990s a quantity of British windproof smocks were purchased as the indigenously developed DPM camouflage woollen "Swanndri" had never really found favour due to its weight (especially when wet), bulk and impractical cut.


This dress was worn by all ranks of the New Zealand Army and NZDF for most forms of training and on operations. Medals and medal ribbons were never worn with this uniform as its main purpose was camouflage. Those deployed on operations and peacekeeping missions wear a black and white Kiwi badge and New Zealand flag badge on their left arms to identify them as New Zealanders, as well as multinational force identification badges and headwear as appropriate, including the United Nations, International Security Assistance Force or Multinational Force and Observers badges. When worn in the field, the sleeves were rolled down, and camouflage face paint was worn.

1997 Pattern[edit]

After a series of cheaply made shirt and trouser iterations, a new pattern was issued in 1997; it resembled in DPM colour and cut the British jungle DPM shirt and trousers used until the late 1990s which were lighter in colour than the British "Combat Soldier 95" pattern. Of high-quality manufacture, the shirt and trousers feature double knees, elbows and seat. Rank slides were worn on the shoulders. A lightweight 100% cotton DPM windproof smock was issued, which had a rank slide on the front, covered buttons and an integral hood.

2008 Pattern[edit]

In late 2008, New Zealand Army commenced issue of a new combat uniform. It was still in New Zealand DPM camouflage, but made in ripstop material and in a new cut which was somewhat similar to the Australian combat uniform, US Army Combat Uniform and British PCS MTP uniforms, in that the patch pockets on the shirt are replaced by internal, vertical closure pockets and the shirt is cut for wear outside the trousers, and a camouflaged rank slide is worn on the front tab.

New Zealand Desert DPM[edit]

The first NZDF contingents deployed to Afghanistan wore the 1997 pattern standard temperate DPM. A desert version of the 1997 pattern uniform first appeared in 2003 with the deployment to Iraq. The pattern is very similar to British two-colour desert DPM. A desert DPM version of the 2008 combat uniform was issued for use in Afghanistan, the Sinai and Lebanon. As of 2014 the pattern has been replaced with the New Zealand Multi-Terrain Pattern. New Zealand Special Forces operating in Afghanistan have been using Multicam camo uniforms as with Australian, U.S and other allied forces.

New Zealand Multi Terrain Camouflage Uniform (MCU pattern)[edit]

On July 27, 2012, the New Zealand Army formally announced new uniforms and a new camouflage pattern for NZDF personnel. It was announced that the new pattern would replace the NZDPM and NZDDPM patterns.[2]The cut of the uniform shirt is similar to the U.S Army's ACU and the pants are similar to Crye Precision's Gen 3 pants[3][4], also in use by U.S forces. The camouflage pattern is called Multi Terrain Camouflage Uniform and is unique to the NZDF. The pattern is a variant of the Ghostex family of camouflage patterns by Canadian company Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp. The initial rollout phase for the MCU uniform was concluded on June 16, 2013 with 1st NZArmy Brigade being the first to be issued it.[5] Completion of the transition occurred in 2014[6] and all branches and divisions of the NZDF now wear this uniform and pattern.

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