A member of the British Commonwealth and an active participant in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War, New Zealand did produce a camouflaged jungle uniform for issue to members of its 3rd Division during the war. The uniforms were hand-produced in limited numbers, and few have survived to the present era, but their fabrication marked the first use of camouflage by New Zealand military forces.
In the 1960s, members of the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in support of the government and its allies in SEATO (Southeast Atlantic Treaty Organization). Although olive green was the standard work and combat uniform of the New Zealand Army at the time, the SAS rapidly came to appreciate the effectiveness of the American and South Vietnamese combat uniforms, many of which were printed in camouflage designs. New Zealanders coveted whatever numbers they could lay their hands on of the American ERDL jungle uniforms as well as the South Vietnamese tiger stripe pattern fatigues.
Beginning in the 1980s, and following the British example, New Zealand adopted DPM camouflage for its combat clothing. Initial production runs of the clothing were made using imported British fabric, but subsequently New Zealand sourced its own fabric from a variety of sources. For the next sixteen years or so, the Ministry of Defense would issue several types of DPM camouflage uniform, each with a different coloration from the previous. Around 1996 the NZ DPM camouflage pattern became essentially standardized, and this remains the universal combat pattern of the New Zealand Armed Forces today.
As the standard combat uniform of the New Zealand Army was khaki drill during the Second World War, largely ineffective as camouflage in a jungle environment, the need for a better suited uniform was addressed in 1942. Standard khaki drill uniforms were modified at three different camouflage sections in Aukland, Christchurch, and Wellington, by manually applying a camouflage pattern using spray equipment, producing random dark green, dark brown, and light green shapes. The resulting pattern was a mottled scheme with little recognizable design, but which functioned more effectively than the plain khaki drill in the jungle combat zones of the Pacific theater. Several thousand of these uniforms were in service by 1943 and saw action with the 3rd Division/2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific. Specifically, the camouflage uniforms were worn by the 8th Brigade in the battle of the Treasury Islands, and by the 14th Brigade in the battle of Vella Lavella - both in the Solomon Islands. When the 3rd Division was disbanded in 1944, no further use was made of these expedient combat suits. Very few have survived into the present and they were never issued again to New Zealand forces.