Cadet troop in urgent need
Started ten years ago by Mangawhai local Sandra Grayson, the Mangawhai Cadet unit at one point numbered up to 50 cadets.
Recently numbers have fallen to just a third of that and with commander of two years Rachel Elliott resigning at the end of the year, the unit is in danger of folding if a new unit commander and officers cannot be found to continue what has been arguably one of New Zealand’s most successful Cadet Corp units.
“Pressure of work and travel means I can no longer dedicate the time needed to do justice to the position as leader of the unit, a unit who have from day one competed and succeeded at a national level,” says Elliott.
“We do have lots of support from our area office but Mangawhai Cadets badly need a commander with the knowledge and dedication to take a leading role in the group that will, for many, be a turning point in their lives giving them purpose and direction as both individuals and as a team players.”
In the past 10 years, no team has been more successful than the Mangawhai Cadet Unit and therein lies a challenge for a new commander.
The group has won the Northern Area Skills at Arms competition for nine consecutive years and the national competitions on several occasions winning both team and individual awards in several instances with the girls out-pointing the lads.
Competition encompasses fitness, shooting, leadership and teamwork giving the cadets and their leaders a tremendous sense of achievement and just reward for hard work and dedication.
Mangawhai Cadet Unit has also twice been the recipient of the RNZRSA’s National Community Services Trophy.
A number of families have had two or three siblings go through the cadet system which also attracts NZQA credits Levels 1 to 3.
The unit parades weekly at their base at the Hakaru RSA with a number of weekend activities so the job is not one to be taken lightly. Cadets are a voluntary group. Rachel Elliott paid tribute to her helpers, some of whom had been associated with the unit for six or seven years and, though some duties may appear minor, are integral to the success of the unit.
“It takes time and lots of work and fundraising but is lots of fun and delivers immense satisfaction through the efforts of the cadets,” she says.