13 February 2020
Turn 18, join the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).
That has been almost as regular as clockwork for the George family from Russell.
Siblings Mikayla, Lukas and Quade have, one after the other, arrived at the Devonport Naval Base gates with a large suitcase, ready to start Basic Common Training and embrace a life at sea.
Eldest sibling Mikayla, now 22 and an Able Weapons Technician, was the first.
“We are a close-knit family, so it’s been great to be around to support each other and share our experiences of being in the Navy,” Able Weapons Technician George said.
There is an even stronger family connection, with some of their cousins in Russell and an aunt and uncle all serving in the RNZN.
“I joined the Navy straight from school. My aunt, who was already in the Navy, suggested it to me because it offered a good career,” Able Weapons Technician George said.
“Moving to Auckland was quite scary at first, going from a small town where I knew everyone to a massive city I’d not seen before.”
She completed Basic Common Training at the start of 2016 and was glad of the insights from a cousin, who was in the intake before her.
“She said, ‘If I can do it, you can do it’, so that gave me some confidence.”
“I went into it very fit from the sport I was playing - 7s rugby, touch and netball - plus I knew a bit about what to expect and that helped.”
After Basic Common Training she did electronic technician training, learning the basics of the trade, and then specialised as a weapons technician, because she preferred the more hands-on work with weapons.
“I travelled on HMNZS Te Kaha in New Zealand waters and as far as Hawaii during her delivery voyage to Canada for her Weapons Systems Upgrade.”
Brother Lukas, 20, joined the RNZN in 2018 and is now a Marine Technician.
“I had attended my sister’s Basic Common Training graduation and visited the base several times and enjoyed what I saw, so that, plus the fact I was keen to travel and serve on a ship, pushed me towards a military career,” he said.
“It was good having my sister here because I came to Auckland not knowing many people. Coming from a small town it was great having family in the Navy.”
Ordinary Marine Technician George posted to his first ship, HMNZS Manawanui, in August last year and is looking forward to plenty of overseas travel this year.
Their brother Quade, who completed Basic Common Training in December, will also train as a Marine Technician.
The siblings’ mother Nicole George said it wasn’t planned that all three would join.
“They were keen to get a trade and they have already made some great friends for life,” she said.
“We’re very proud of them. They seem to have grown up very quickly in the Navy and become more independent and a lot more confident.
“When they come home we go to the local RSA, where lots of the locals know and appreciate that they are serving in the Navy.”