Looming Navy stint ‘exciting and scary’
Taelar Samuel and Liam McLean admit nerves are only natural as they begin a huge chapter in their lives this week.
The former Mana College duo, who came through the school’s services academy, depart for Devonport for basic training in the New Zealand Navy soon. Not everyone will make it through the 13 weeks, but the academy’s director Dave Prosser has complete faith in them.
‘‘There are people who don’t make it but these guys have shown the commitment and the skills to do well.’’
Taelar, 19, a former Wellington region hockey representative, is not long back from overseas, where she spent time as a nanny and coaching Italy’s burgeoning waka ama paddlers.
Once through basic training, she will become a communications operator.
‘‘In my last year at school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
‘‘The academy gave me focus and I really enjoyed myself, I’m so thankful for the support they’ve given me. I like the ethic of the Navy, it is helping keep our community safe.’’
Taelar and Liam are among just four from this region to be accepted in an intake of 60. The application process was lengthy, involving rigorous tests and clearances.
Liam, 18, who is fluent in te reo Maori, says joining the armed forces is something he has wanted since he was a year 11, when a Navy recruiter came to the college.
‘‘I wanted to join because of the lifestyle and the pay, travelling the world and staying fit.’’
He says having his mother announce his acceptance to basic training in front of all his friends was an emotional moment. He will train to become a stores accountant.
Taelar and Liam have both achieved NCEA level three and have their feet on the ground. They know the coming weeks won’t be easy, as they make the leap from civilians to members of our Defence Force.
‘‘ It’s exciting and scary,’’ Taelar says. ‘‘I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and of the fact we’re from Porirua. We’ll be sure to let everyone [at basic] know where we’re from.’’
Navy newbies: Porirua teenagers Liam McLean and Taelar Samuel will start basic training for the New Zealand Navy this week.