When we think of New Zealand’s top team, our thoughts go immediately to the ‘men in black’, but there is another team well worthy of mention – the Mangawhai Cadets.
This team works in army fatigues and camouflage gear and performs a number of exercises and tasks similar to rugby that include high levels of fitness, a tight planning schedule and constructive teamwork.
As another exciting year for the Mangawhai Cadet Unit comes to a close, the team can reflect on some notable achievements.
The year has included Sam Bridge attending an Under Officers course at the NZ Police College, a big trip up to Paihia and Cape Reinga, bush craft camps and long walks during the Cancer Society 24 hour Relay for Life.
“We don’t work to the clock or according to the weather,” says team Commander Lt. Sandra Grayson. “We hosted the Auckland North NZ Cadet Corps Sports Day, where we won every event. We proudly attended ANZAC parades in Wellsford, Maungaturoto and Hakaru, and we had cadet Amalie Brown filmed by TV3 for live ANZAC Day coverage.”
The camp at Tangihua is a real winter experience followed by an ‘Amazing Race’ run along the beach from Pakiri to Mangawhai. The cadets also played a security role for the Tractor Cavalcade, and even assisted with the Maranui kiwi release, naming a pair ANZAC and Poppy.
Firearms education is an essential part of their training and they attended six shooting schools at Whangarei and were then put through their paces at the Matakana Confidence Course.
The selected Skills Team trained for 10 weekends and for the sixth year in a row, won the Regional Skills competition then continued training for the National Competition where Tahlia Howard won Top Leadership trophy for the second consecutive year. The team were flown to Christchurch for the nationals against Nelson and New Plymouth Cadet Units, where they were closely beaten by Nelson.
“Coming second in NZ is still a massive achievement and the team have returned with the desire to bring back the trophy next year,” says Grayson.
Cadets attended leadership courses at Whangaparoa, Whenuapui and Waiouru. Emma Bennetto has just returned from a 10-day cadet exchange in Singapore. And the cadets have also just been to Mimiwhangata Coastal Park for a survival camp – no food or shelter for 24 hours except what they can gather from the sea or land with no equipment.
The prizegiving dinner on December 11 at Hakaru headquarters will now be followed by a well-earned break before starting again early February with the resumption of the school year. Registrations are open for new recruits so if you turn 13 or are starting college and keen for a challenge you would be a welcome addition.
“We don’t want or expect them to be necessarily leaders of industry but simply good, upright, honest hardworking citizens. They know the value of hard work and effort and what is required to achieve goals both from an individual perspective and also the value of their participation within a team,” says a very proud Grayson. “They are here because they want to be and the more success they have the more they want to be there. They’re simply a great unit.”
And who could deny them their place in the sun? There are changes to the squad on an annual basis but the dedication is evident in the continued success.
TOP TEAM: The Mangawhai Cadets snap a photo on their Far North trip. Activities create an important bond between the group.