How do I Join?
Joining up is easy. Being part of Cadets isn’t for everyone so it is best to come along to see what it is like first.
You need to be between 13 (or in year 9 at school) and 15 years of age to join up as a cadet.
On your first visit, an officer will show you around and run through the various training and activities. You are then welcome to stay for the rest of the night if you’d like to see more.
If you decide that this might be something you’re interested in, we encourage you to try it for a few weeks first. If you’re starting with a large intake, you’ll be put into a group of many others starting at the same level as you. In the first 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll cover a basic training program that will teach you the basics of being a cadet. If you decide after completing the basic program that you’d like to carry on, then you fill out the enrolment paperwork and you’re all set to go.
If you aren’t starting with a large intake then it’s not a problem. We still run through the basic program with you and then slot you in to where the other cadets are in their training. Catching up on the topics isn’t hard and a lot of topics can be covered on weekend camps and activities.
Frequently asked questions
By being part of the ‘army cadets’ am I in the army?
No. You wear the uniform that is provided by the New Zealand Defence Force but you aren’t part of the army.
So I don’t have to go and fight anyone?
No. We teach adventure based training with an ‘army flavour.’ There isn’t any combat training
Do I have to go into the army when I leave school?
No. If you are considering a career in the New Zealand Army, Navy or Air Force, being part of cadets makes the process and adapting to military life easier. It is not expected that cadets join the Defence Force at the completion of training.
What if I’m not fit?
Fitness is not a requirement to be in cadets. We do regular physical activities and being fit makes the experiences more enjoyable.
How long do I have to be part of cadets for?
Being part of a cadet unit is voluntary. There is no minimum time so you can leave at any time. It is required however that when you leave, you return any equipment issued to you. If you decide that you like cadets so much that you want to stay even after leaving school, you can continue on as an Under Officer and then go on to be commissioned as a Cadet Force Officer.
How much does it cost?
See our costs and contributions page
What happens if I move towns?
If you’d like to stay in cadets, you can transfer to any one of over 100 units around the country
Still have questions?
Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any further questions that you might have