13 May 2019
Flight Lieutenant Gareth Evans says his career proves that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.
A pilot from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No.3 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Evans worked as an aircraft technician for 12 years before deciding finally to chase his childhood dream.
“I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I was a kid so it’s great to finally live my dream,” he said.
Flight Lieutenant Evans, who lives in Bulls, returned recently from Solomon Islands, where he was part of a 55-member New Zealand Defence Force contingent that provided support for the South Pacific country’s general election.
“It was my first operational deployment as a pilot and our job was to transport election officials, voting material and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force personnel to remote islands,” he said.
“Supporting the Solomon Islands authorities and working in a different environment was a great experience.”
Born and raised in Papakura in Auckland, Flight Lieutenant Evans decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and elder brother and enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 2001. After training as an aircraft technician, he was posted to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, and worked on fixed-wing aircraft.
During his time in the RAF he was deployed to Kuwait, Cyprus and Bahrain.
“We had up to 19 aircraft in our squadron, so it was quite full-on,” he said.
However, Flight Lieutenant Evans and his wife wanted their three children to grow up in New Zealand, so he resigned from the RAF, brought the family home and enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in 2007.
Over the next five years he worked as an airframes technician in the RNZAF’s No.40 Squadron, responsible for helping maintain all mechanical systems on the Boeing 757 and the C-130 Hercules aircraft.
After completing the initial officer training in 2012, he starting training as a pilot in 2013 and finished his Wings course in 2015.
“What I learnt is that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter how long it takes to realise them,” he said.