Full-time student, part-time soldier

New Zealand Defence Force
3 min readOct 7, 2020

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 I could get outdoors, learn to operate some cool weapons systems and test my limits, all while still finishing my studies.”

PTE Young said he gained a number of things from being part of the Reserves.

“You learn not only the skills necessary to be a soldier but you will also meet like-minded people and make some great friends and memories.

“Being in the Army Reserves means that you could be called up to help out communities locally in times of need, or even overseas.”

He said the highlight of his military career so far was the recent 2/4 RNZIR Battalion exercise in Tekapo.

“I met some great people and learnt so much from being the gunner for my section. Some of the poor weather conditions we operated in also provided us with a good opportunity to put our soldiering skills to the test.”

PTE Young said with a little time management it was fairly easy to keep a good balance between student and military life.

“There are a number of students in my unit and most of us manage to get to training without getting behind in our university work. The University is really supportive of the Army Reserves,” PTE Young said.

For those considering joining the reserves PTE Young said to “just do it”.

“Some of the best time and memories I’ve made have been with the people I met during basic training and on exercises with the Army.

“You’ll make some great friends and have some awesome experiences. What you put into the Army is what you get out of it, so go hard and enjoy yourself.”

The New Zealand Army Reserve are a valued and skilled part of the New Zealand Army. They are a part-time component and are essential in supporting the New Zealand Army as a modern, agile and highly adaptive light combat force.

To learn more about joining the New Zealand Army Reserves visit the Defence Careers website here(external link)(external link).



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