Families and friends of the Army's newest soldiers braved the elements recently to watch the 131 young men and women of the All Arms Recruit Course 361 "RAFAH Company" graduate after sixteen weeks of gruelling training.
It was just the second time that a 'march out' included displays of the skills recruits had learned on course. Parade Commander, Major Billy Vince said the graduation demonstrations were included so families could see first hand the skills that had been learned.
"We included as many aspects of their training as we could in the graduation," said Major Vince.
The display included recruits demonstrating Close Quarter Battle, patrolling and conventional aspects of drill. The recruits staged a platoon patrol and mock attack, and an urban operations scenario where they searched buildings and apprehended people.
Major Vince said everything that was taught on the recruit course was based on the Army's ethos of Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and Integrity.
"Our course is split into four parts. In the first four weeks our discipline is an imposed discipline so that the recruits can come to terms with what the Army is about. We teach them how everything we do is based around teamwork - them, the section and the platoon. The second four weeks is focused on weapons and weapons drill, and applying field skills", he said.
The latter six weeks were devoted to advanced work ending in a final exercise at week 14 known as Exercise Warrior.
"This is a skill at arms exercise that lasts for 36 hours and is very demanding. It covers everything the recruits have learned since day one".
The exercise was designed to test recruits' physical and mental robustness, their resilience and how they handle sharing adversity.
"Exercise Warrior was very, very cold. It was hard for them at the start but they developed a sense of achievement. They will always look back on that exercise and remember it. They learn their strengths and weaknesses and they help each other out with things they are not so good at or confident about".
All the recruits now head to Burnham or Linton Military camps where they will receive further training in their chosen trade.
Top Recruit, All Arms Recruit & Top Recruit, Crichton Platoon
F1030980 PTE Arno Bekker
20 years old
Before attending Basic training, Pte Bekker was working in the building industry. He had also had a go at running his own business.
"For me, the highlight of the course was learning to fire the N203 grenade launcher", said PTE Bekker. "Definitely the most important thing I am taking away from training is the ability to push myself. I know now that I can always push myself that little bit further'.
PTE Bekker said the most challenging thing was Exercise Warrior. "Two days without eating or sleeping was quite rough but its quite rewarding when you've finished".
After graduation he is off to Burnham for Corps Training where he also hopes to be posted.
Sergeant Major of the Army Award
V1031086 PTE Teariki Ama
18 years old
Pte Ama came to Basic training after finishing high school last year.
"For me, the highlight of the course was going on the helicopters", said PTE Ama.
"The most important things I am taking away from training are all skills I've learned along the way, meeting new friends and all the ethos and values of the NZ Army".
PTE Ama said the most challenging thing of his training was Exercise Warrior. "Having to Stand To for three or four hours was pretty hard going".
After graduation PTE Ama is off to Burnham for Corps Training.
Top Shot, All Arms Recruit Course
U1030993 PTE Christopher Fletcher
24 years old
Pte Fletcher came to Basic training after finishing his degree in Human Anatomy at Otago University.
"I decided that I didn't want to be in a lab for the rest of my life, so I decided that becoming a medic was a good idea and I joined the Army. So far it's been good".
"For me, the highlight of the course was the final function when all the awards were announced for the simple fact that my section pretty much clean swept the awards. It was a big highlight and was a great night", said PTE Fletcher.
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is the whole attitude and perspective that's been drilled in to us for the last 16 weeks".
After graduation PTE Fletcher is off to the Health School in Burnham for two and a half years for further training.
Top Platoon, All Arms Recruit Course
K1031007 PTE Jennie Holmes (collected award on behalf of Crichton)
19 years old
PTE Holmes, originally from Lancaster England, came to Basic training after working for The Ashburton Guardian advertising sales rep.
"I've always wanted to be in the Army", she said.
"For me, the highlight of the course was all the training and work out in the field and building on my physical fitness", said PTE Holmes.
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is the discipline and the need to be organised, getting everything squared away, making sure you're ready for anything that happens. The Army drills in to you the need to be physically and mentally ready for any situation".
PTE Holmes said the most challenging aspect was getting used to all the physical training and really having to push herself to keep up with the male recruits.
After graduation PTE Holmes is off to the Health School in Burnham for further training.
Winning Section, Skill at Arms competition
G1031004 SIG Johny Herangi (collected award on behalf of 3 Section Crichton)
18 years old
SIG Herangi came to Basic training after finishing high school at Wairoa College last year.
"For me, the highlight of the course was going on the helicopters with no doors on them", said PTE Herangi.
"The most important thing I am taking away from training are the values I've been taught, Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and Integrity".
PTE Herangi said the most challenging thing of his training was Exercise Warrior. "No food and sleep for while was really stressful but I felt pretty good when I'd finished it".
After graduation PTE Herangi is off to Burnham for Corps Training.
Top Recruit, Brown VC Platoon
D1031001 PTE Ihipera Hakiaha
19 years old
PTE Hakiaha decided to join the Army after spending too much time hanging out with the wrong crowd back home.
"For me, the highlight of the course was finishing the last day of Exercise Warrior", said PTE Hakiaha.
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is comradeship", she said.
PTE Hakiaha said the most challenging thing of training was being the only female in her platoon. "Other girls started the training but dropped out. For about four weeks I was the only girl doing all the physical training with the boys. It was tough going but when we got to train with all the other platoons where there were other women it was a lot easier".
After graduation PTE Hakiaha is off to Burnham for training at the Health School.
Top Recruit, Forsyth VC Platoon
Y1031135 PTE Joel Bradley
PTE Bradley left behind a job mowing 60 lawns a week with Jim's Mowing for a career with the Army. PTE Bradley found out just three days before training started that he'd been accepted on to the course.
"For me, the highlight of the course was making new mates", said PTE Bradley. "Meeting new people and working with them so closely has been really good".
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is the importance of listening", he said. "You can't act like you know everything and have to really listen to your instructors and make sure you do everything right".
PTE Bradley said the most challenging thing of training was making sure everyone in the platoon motivated themselves to finish the task. "We weren't all at the same level of fitness or strength, so really had to push others and help them make it for the good of the platoon".
After graduation PTE Bradley is off to corps training in Burnham.
Top Recruit, Freyberg VC Platoon
A1024190 PTE Antony Wright
Auckland - Howick
20 years old
PTE Wright was studying towards his NCEA Level 3 and doing odd jobs before joining the NZ Army.
"For me, the highlight of the course was experiencing new things", said PTE Wright. "I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone".
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is to never give up. There are times where you just want to give up and it'll be all over, but you just have to push yourself through it and the reward after completion is amazing".
PTE Wright said the most challenging thing of training was to keep pushing himself mentally. "There were times when I was cold and hungry but I just had to keep pushing myself to keep going."
After graduation PTE Wright is off to corps training in Burnham.
Most Improved Recruit, Brown VC Platoon
U1031016 PTE Raniera King
19 Years Old
PTE King was at Tamatea High School before joining the Army.
"For me, the highlight of the course was Exercise Warrior", said PTE King. "I had to maintain high standards of a Kiwi soldier especially with a lack of sleep, lack of food and fatigue. We had to carry out all the weapon skills like a professional".
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is the skills in the field and the comradeship between my peers".
After graduation PTE Bradley is off to Linton Military camp.
Most Improved Recruit, Crichton VC Platoon
Q1031012 TPR Dylan Kairau
20 years old
PTE Kairau left a job in the painting industry to join the NZ Army.
"For me, the highlight of the course was going in the helicopters", said PTE Kairau.
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is discipline".
PTE Kairau said the most challenging thing of training was going out in the field. "Having to Stand To in the cold was hard work but I'm pleased I hung in there and finished my training".
After graduation PTE Kairau is off to corps training in Burnham.
Most Improved Recruit, Forsyth VC Platoon
X1031088 SIG James Potter
20 years old
SIG Potter had finished James Cook High School and was spending his time training in preparation for starting his Basic training.
"For me, the highlight of the course was making new friends and really getting to know them", said SIG Potter. "I know them better than most of the friends I had before coming here. I feel more connected to them. We've shared a lot of highs and lows".
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is to be myself and making sure everything I do is to a high standard".
SIG Potter said the most challenging thing about Basic was the physical training. "It's really hard work but is an essential part of our training", he said.
After graduation SIG Potter is off to Linton Military Camp for further training.
Most Improved Recruit, Freyberg VC Platoon
P1031103 PTE Jarred Segedin
20 years old
PTE Segedin had started a course at WinTec in Mechanical Engineering one week before joining the NZ Army.
"For me, the highlight of the course was meeting lots of new people and forming a brotherhood with my comrades", said PTE Segedin. "I've learned so much through my course".
"The most important thing I am taking away from training is the values of Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and Integrity. I've learned a lot about being honest with myself and other people. One of the most important attributes I've learned is discipline. It's very different to Civvy Street".
PTE Segedin said the most challenging thing of training was getting over the initial panic he felt about how much he had to learn. "Once I got the gist of it though it was much easier", he said.
After graduation PTE Segedin is off to Burnham where he is going in to the driving trade.