New Zealand Cadet Forces

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Who we are

The New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) is a disciplined, uniformed organisation which provides military-based leadership, personal development and operational training to persons aged between 13 and 20 years old. Any person between the ages of 13 and 15 years may join the NZCF, but can also join if they are 12 years old and presently attending Year 9 in High School.

The Cadet Forces is made up of three branches or corps. Each corps is modeled on a corresponding branch of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Each corps has its own training curriculum, uniforms and organisational structures aligned with its parent regular force branch.

Through its three branches, the Cadet Forces provides personnel with a four-year training curriculum, while a number of unit, area and national courses provide further experience and qualifications in specific training areas. It is jointly funded by the Chief of Defence Force and four national recognised Civilian Support Organisations. The NZCF is a non-profit organisation for the youth of New Zealand and their youth leaders, and adheres to a strict Code of Conduct.

Legal Status

New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) is run in partnership with the NZDF. The NZDF provides Regular Force personnel and NZDF civilian employees in training, development, logistics and administration roles.

The NZCF is not part of the NZDF, but is maintained under the direction of the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) on behalf of the Minister of Defence and is covered by the Defence Act 1990. The Minister of Defence holds ultimate control, with the CDF in a compulsory directorial role. Aspects of the CDF delegation are then sub-delegated to the Commandant NZCF who is responsible for the strategic direction and operational functioning of the organisation.

Any unit of the Cadet Forces must be attached to the Air Training Corps, New Zealand Cadet Corps or Sea Cadet Corps.

NZCF Activities

The NZDF funds and co-ordinates several national and regional courses for the Cadet Forces, which are staffed with a mix of Regular Force (RF) and Cadet Force (CF) personnel. Tri Corps promotional courses normally are held in each area twice per year depending on requirements, and essentially hold the same format as their RF equivalents.

Units also hold recognised activities throughout the year, including outdoor and adventure training such as

All our courses and activities are designed to teach our core values of loyalty, discipline, respect and integrity in a safe and fun environment.