The Malayan Emergency wasn’t just a British affair. In 1955, as part of New Zealand’s contribution to the war, the Kiwi government ordered the creation of a special operations unit. Enter the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS).
Major Frank Rennie, a WWII veteran, was tasked with creating the outfit. A selection course took place at Waiouru Military Camp, located in a mountainous section of New Zealand’s north island. Applicants had to be single, under six-foot, weigh less than 185lbs, have their own teeth, good eyesight, and no criminal record.
Almost 1000 applied, both soldiers and civilians. Major Rennie had limited room and budget for his new unit. So, naturally, everything turned into a contest. Training never ceased.