Started as Friends, Left as Family

10 May 2018

Joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) was a chance for Aircraftman Kafoa Hala to say thanks to his family’s adopted country.

“The main reason to join the Air Force was not only to build a career, but I wanted to give back to the country who gave my grandparents and my parents the opportunity to give us a new life here from Tonga,” he said.

Aircraftman Hala, 25, from Papatoetoe in South Auckland, was one of the latest graduates to complete the RNZAF recruit course. Now he will begin training in the logistics trade at Base Auckland.

Recently he marched out in front of friends and family on the parade grounds at Base Woodbourne alongside his 53 colleagues. Marking the occasion were two T-6C Texan II aircraft, which performed a flypast over the ceremony.

Aircraftman Hala made an impression during the recruitment course and at the graduation parade he was presented with the Chris Black Memorial Trophy and The Returned and Services Association coin for the best display of determination, enthusiasm and morale building.

During graduation day he experienced mixed emotions.

“There was happiness and sadness as well. Happiness was from achieving the course that I thought I would never be able to complete and the sadness from leaving the group of people who I’ve been bonding with over the past 13 weeks and growing rapport with.

“We started off as friends and we left as family.”

He is looking forward to continuing to challenge himself during his career and taking advantage of the strong sporting opportunities.

This page was last reviewed on 7 February 2019.