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11 Squadron Official Opening

Issue date: 
Thursday, 4 December 2014
Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.  Kia ora tātou katoa.

I specifically acknowledge: the Minister of the Crown, Hon Craig Foss; the Mayor of Hastings, His Worship Lawrence Yule; the Commandant of New Zealand Cadet Forces, Commander Glen Stokes; and 11 Squadron Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Mike Wills.  Tēnā koutou katoa.

Distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; officers and cadets, I am pleased to be here to share this big day with No 11 Squadron.

Opening this facility is a most appropriate way for the cadets and officers of 11 Squadron to mark the 150th anniversary of cadet forces training in New Zealand, and the 75th anniversary of the formation of this Squadron.

In my role, I give special support organisations that reflect five key themes: service, excellence, rangatahi, volunteerism and enterprise.  These form the acronym SERVE.

Cadet force training pretty much ticks all those boxes, starting with the spirit of service.  As cadets past and present can attest, cadet force training benefits the people taking part in it – cadets, officers and supporters.  Cadets gain skills and knowledge, leadership opportunities and self-discipline which will be relevant now and in their later lives. 

The Squadron officers, parents and supporters gain the satisfaction of assisting the cadets to be the best they can be.  Overall, cadet force training also benefits the wider community.

The first E is for Excellence which is very much part of cadet force training.  When members of a team depend on each other, everybody needs to do and be their best.

The R is for Rangatahi – young people.  Clearly, young people are the focus of cadet force training.  Initiatives that encourage our rangatahi to develop and grow; to have fun with their mates; to learn some self-discipline and to find out just what they are capable of achieving are what makes for confident, capable and responsible young citizens.

The V is for volunteerism.  Volunteering is very much present in cadet force training.  We are indebted to the people here today who freely and willingly give their time and expertise to the cadets – whether it be as officers or in other supporting roles.

The second E is for Enterprise.  On this occasion, the long list of organisations that have supported the building of this new Headquarters and Drill Hall shows that there’s plenty of energy and vision – enterprise - in this community.  I acknowledge all of those trusts, organisations and the Hastings District Council for your part.

And as an aside, it’s good to see that the Army Engineers have done their bit, helping to put up the building.

I noted before that this is the 150th anniversary of cadets in New Zealand.  This year, 2014 is also the centenary of the beginning of the First World War and the departure of the main body of New Zealand’s forces for the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East.

In 1914, New Zealand was well prepared in terms of a citizen army – and this was due, in part, to New Zealand’s 50-year cadet tradition.  The first unit at Otago Boys’ High started in 1864.  In 1902, most secondary schools had cadet units.

During the war, many soldiers and officers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force had been cadets.  Cadet officers in Wellington stepped up to fulfil the Aide de Camp role for the Governor-General of the day, Lord Liverpool, when his own Aide de Camp enlisted and went to war.

Today, cadet force training continues because young New Zealanders and their parents remain committed to the values that underpin the Cadet Forces – respect, integrity, loyalty and discipline.

Training has evolved with the times, and so have the people involved.  It’s good to see young women and young men here, and to know that cadet numbers are increasing.  New buildings like this one complement the values and purpose of our cadet forces and ensure they are in good heart and well on the way to being New Zealand’s youth organisation of choice.

I would like to finish by quoting a remarkable humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr Albert Schweitzer, who spent much of his life in remote regions of Gabon, in Africa.  He said “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve”.

The cadets who are here today have started on their own journey of service.  I hope you will continue to honour that spirit of service in whatever career path you take.

Congratulations.  I know everyone associated with 11 Squadron will enjoy having this permanent home at last.

I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday season.

Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa

Last updated: 
Thursday, 4 December 2014

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