19 June 2019
Hawke’s Bay brothers Nathaniel and Isaiah Panirau achieved a notable feat at the weekend when they graduated together from Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Basic Common Training.
They proudly took part in the Graduation Parade at Devonport on Saturday of the RNZN’s first Basic Common Training course of 2019.
They saw little of each at first during training – they were in different mess desks and different classes – but that changed as time went on.
And they are likely to stay close for the foreseeable future, because they have both embarked on Electrical Technician training.
“We have got a few tips from our Dad, who is an electrician, but I’m not sure how much that will count in our Navy work,” Isaiah, 18 said.
They entered the same training course more by chance than anything. Nathaniel, 19, left Hastings Boys’ High School a year earlier than his brother and worked for Wattie’s for a while, unsure of what career to pursue.
Ultimately it was the opportunities provided by the RNZN that convinced him to sign up.
“I like the life experience and travelling the world, and not having to worry about paying off student loans for any future study,” he said.
By contrast, Isaiah joined straight from high school, having wanted to join the RNZN since he was 16.
“I went to a Defence Careers roadshow when I was at high school a few years ago, plus some friends of my Dad were in the Navy and they told us a lot of good stories,” he said.
“I liked that in the Navy you get paid to do all this training, travelling the world, and getting posted to different ships.”
The 5am starts and military methods took some adjusting to, and the brothers being on the same course led to some confusion.
“Like when there was a message for Recruit Panirau to report to the instructors’ office, and we would both show up,” Isaiah said.
However, overall the pair thrived.
“It was a steep learning curve in those first few weeks especially,” Isaiah said. “However, there are huge benefits from the discipline and leadership training in the Navy, not just for the Navy but for life outside too.”
Nathaniel said having structure and a good work ethic had really paid off for him – he lost 10 kilograms during the course.
“If all of Navy life is like Basic Common Training – surrounded by good people and working towards a common goal – then I look forward to the future,” he said.
The brothers said their parents and whanau were very proud to have them both serving in the RNZN.
“Our family came up from Hawke’s Bay for the Church Service at Devonport after our first six weeks of training and Mum and Dad were very happy,” Isaiah said.
“Mum had tears in her eyes, she was so proud.”