For a week last month, Base Ohakea’s Tūrangawaewae was home to tā moko expert Heemi Te Peeti, who created moko for any personnel who wanted one.

During the week 17 people, defence personnel, and two dependents, took up the opportunity to receive a moko. Doors were also open to those who wanted to support their loved ones and colleagues going through the process. Songs were sung, children played and the calm, welcoming spirit of the building was an ideal venue for the event.

Sergeant (SGT) Nare Whittaker wanted to get a moko to represent his whānau and his whakapapa (genealogy).

“I don’t have any tattoos yet, because I wanted to learn how to speak te reo before I got one. It was important to do it…


The Royal New Zealand Navy’s multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury regularly deploys on overseas operations, but what is it like to live on board months at a time? Here are some things you may not know about life on HMNZS Canterbury, from laundry to recreation and exercise.

1. Hands to bathe

At the end of a working day during a summer deployment the ship may call a hands to bathe, where everyone gets to jump off the cargo deck into the ocean and go for a swim. Popping manus and backflips are encouraged.

Fun fact: Hands to bathe is an old tradition from before our…


Student getting an understanding of technical aviation trades through hands-on learning during School to Skies 2020

Forty female secondary school students will get a taste of life in the Royal New Zealand Air Force these April school holidays.

Now in its fifth year, School to Skies will offer technical and aviation-focussed experience for young women from all over New Zealand at Base Ohakea from 17–24 April 2021.

School to Skies will give them a unique exposure to, and detailed understanding of, technical aviation trades through hands-on learning.

The week-long immersion camp shows young women how maths, science, engineering and technology can translate to a real-life career. …


Nelson man Lieutenant Fletcher Slierendrecht has been given command of his first vessel, HMNZS Taupo, seven years after joining the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Nelson man Fletcher Slierendrecht is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s newest ship’s captain for 2021, taking command of HMNZS Taupo.

Lieutenant Slierendrecht, 26, assumed command of the 55-metre Inshore Patrol Vessel in a ceremony at Devonport Naval Base on 29 January.

He was asked if he would like to have his name put forward for the job, and it was a question that made him stop and think, he said.

“You picture yourself as a Commanding Officer. You ask: are you ready for it? I wasn’t expecting a nomination for another year or two. …


The love of the outdoors and the desire for something new led Whangarei born Private (PTE) Matthew Young to join the New Zealand Army Reserves.

PTE Young is a fourth year engineering student at the University of Canterbury and soldier in Alpha Company, 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR), based in Christchurch.

PTE Young said after a few years at university he felt like he was missing something, so in 2018 he joined the Army Reserves.

“I had always been into sports and the outdoors, and I had previously considered joining the Army full-time.

“By joining the Reserves…


A group of students has today been repatriated to Timor-Leste after they were stranded in New Zealand by the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 30 students were among passengers on a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130H(NZ) Hercules flight to Dili.

The New Zealand Defence Force has been working with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Government of Timor-Leste to get the students home.


Living the student lifestyle and having a taste of military life is why the Army Reserves is a perfect balance for Private (PTE) Harry Lloyd.

A quantity surveying student at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, PTE Lloyd, aged 20, joined in 2018 straight out of high school having always had an interest and admiration for the military.

He is a soldier in Bravo Company, 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNIZR), based in Dunedin.

PTE Lloyd said the reserve life was perfect for him because he wanted to be able to help others.

“Civil Defence is currently our most likely…


The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has taken a major step towards reducing its carbon bootprint by purchasing its first electric vehicle (EV) and installing EV charging stations at Trentham Military Camp.

The Hyundai Ioniq will join the fleet at Trentham, where the two Delta 7kW slow charging stations are also available for personnel to charge their private EVs.

It is part of the Defence Force’s wider programme towards a more sustainable operation, which fits with the Government’s drive to put more EVs on the roads.

The Trentham trial will determine how many chargers might be needed and how best…


The chance to gain life experience while learning as much as possible were big drawcards for Cook Islander Lance Corporal (LCPL) Thomas Harrison when he was considering joining the New Zealand Army.

LCPL Harrison grew up in Amuri on Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands, before moving to New Zealand in late 2013 on a rugby scholarship with Rangiora High School. He enlisted into the Army in February 2015 and is based at 2nd/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment at Burnham Military Camp.

He had dreamed of joining the Police but found he couldn’t without a New Zealand driver’s licence; that led to the discovery that not only could he get his licence but he could also learn a trade and study if he joined the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

LCPL…


Aircraftman (AC) Suhailjeet Singh

Former Rosehill College student Aircraftman (AC) Suhailjeet Singh, hadn’t considered a future in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) when his family immigrated to New Zealand from New Delhi, India in 2003. However, encouragement from family led to him choosing a career involving aircraft.

AC Singh, aged 20, is studying the Aircraft Technician trade, which includes working on airframes, engines, structure, modifications and troubleshooting of aircraft.

“I am a hands-on person with interest in cars and motorbikes. My cousin, who is a mechanical engineer, suggested that I should find out about careers in the RNZAF and apply. …

New Zealand Defence Force

We are the New Zealand Defence Force. We are a Force for New Zealand. This is our official account. nzdf.mil.nz

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