17 October 2012
CDTWO2 Tahlia Howard (centre) briefs her team ahead of a leadership exercise at the recent Northern Area Skills competition in Auckland.
Mangawhai local, Cadet Warrant Officer Class Two (CDTWO2), Tahlia Howard with her team from Mangawhai Cadet Unit competed in closely fought battles against 12 other units from Opotiki to Kerikeri to win first place, at the annual Northern Area Skills Competition in Auckland.
The 16 year old swim instructor and Otamatea High School student led her team to first place in a series of competitive activities from shooting to first aid to casualty evacuation and physical endurance exercises last week.
‘Skills’, short for Skill-at-Arms, is an annual skills based competition of the New Zealand Cadet Forces between all the Cadet Corps units in New Zealand. Regional competitions are run in the three areas, Northern, Central and Southern with the winners from each area returning in November to compete for the national title.
Competing at skills for the first time in 2009 in a team led by her older brother, CDTWO2 Howard has since made her way up the ranks, and travelled around New Zealand with the Cadet Forces. "I’ve been lucky enough to visit different Navy, Army and Air Force Bases, been bungee jumping, black water rafting, jet boating and flying in a Red Checker aircraft during a practice for an air show event and now come back to lead the Mangawhai team at skills."
CDTWO2 Howard says the competition involves a range of physically and mentally straining activities. "The best part is over the weeks leading up to the competition you spend so much time with your team mates that you learn the strengths and weaknesses of every person and become a solid family.
"When you are determined to succeed at the competition you are not just determined for yourself but for the achievement of your team-mates as well, and then with that hard work comes well deserved success" she says.
Later in December CDTWO2 Howard will be taking part in the yearly International Cadet Exchange Programme to Singapore with 10 other cadets from around New Zealand and other countries around the world.
To other people thinking about joining the New Zealand Cadet Forces she says "definitely give it a go. It may not be for everybody but you wont know whether or not it is for you until you understand the life skills it gives you, the exciting stories you get to pass on, the life long friends you meet and share these memorable moments with and the lessons of how hard work can pay off and bring such great rewards."
For more information contact Todd O’Hara, Defence Communications Group on 021 626 578