Common Questions

Here are some of the more frequent questions we get asked:

Do I have to join the military when I leave?

No, the Cadet Forces is a youth development organisation and is not part of the NZ Defence Forces. There’s no obligation to join the NZDF after you leave.

How much does it cost?

Currently, our fees are set at $300 per year, that’s $75 per term. On occasion, there will be extra costs related to specific activities, such as to cover purchasing food or equipment hire. We try to keep these extra costs as low as possible.

If I move town, can I join another Unit?

Yes, there are over 100 Units across New Zealand that you could transfer to.

What does the Unit provide cadets with?

We’ll provide you with your first set of uniform, free of charge. You will need to provide your own shoes though. Your uniform is only on loan to you, and needs to be returned when you leave.

Can I get NZQA credits for my learning while in Cadets?

Yes. The New Zealand Cadet Forces has been instrumental in establishing an NZQA National Certificate in Cadet Forces – Foundation studies (Level 2).

Because it is a National Certificate you can also use the credits earned to help meet the credit requirements of your NCEA levels 1-3.

Will being a cadet help me get into the military when I leave school?

The Cadet Forces is not a recruiting arm of the New Zealand Defence Force and there is no preferential selection for cadets applying to join the military.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests that young people who serve with Cadet Forces seem to adapt more readily to life in the Armed Forces and are better prepared to complete their initial training, as they’ve already had some experience to what’s covered in Basic Training and beyond.

What if I’m not fit?

As a general rule, if you can complete a 5km walk while carrying a 5kg pack, then you’re fit enough for most of the physical tasks you might come across in the Cadet Forces. However, there is no minimum requirement for physical fitness to join, whether you’re a marathon runner or lounge lizard makes no difference.

Do I have to stay if I find Cadets is not for me?

No, you volunteer to enter Cadet Forces and so you can leave at any time.

How safe is the Cadet Forces?

The safety of our cadets has top priority. All Officers undergo formal training in risk management on their Commissioning Course. This course includes NZQA risk management unit standards.

Before they are permitted to take groups into the bush all officers must also qualify on the NZCF Field Craft Course. This course also includes First Aid training.

All officers are required to qualify on New Zealand Defence Force-run firearms safety, range safety and shooting coaching courses before they are allowed to conduct any form of firearms safety training themselves. All cadets must complete the same firearms safety training before they are allowed to handle and shoot with NZCF firearms.

However, no activity can be completely risk free. Cadet Forces officers are trained to recognise and minimise risk to a point where it does not impact negatively on your child’s learning experiences.