Ded­i­ca­tion to forces re­warded

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS/OPINION - By KELVIN TEIX­EIRA

The New Zealand Cadet Forces have been a part of Grant te Tau’s life for 32 years.

te Tau has been of­fi­cially recog­nised with the pre­sen­ta­tion of a sec­ond ded­i­cated ser­vice ‘‘clasp’’ to the Cadet Forces Medal he was awarded in 1996 af­ter 12 years’ qual­i­fied ser­vice.

He re­ceived the first clasp to the medal for an ad­di­tional eight years’ ser­vice in 2004.

A squadron leader, the high­est rank in the cadet forces, Mr te Tau is the train­ing of­fi­cer with Levin’s ‘‘Train­ing Ship Tu­tira’’ Sea Cadets Corps. He be­gan his 32- year involvement with the cadet forces in 1980 when he joined the Air Train­ing Corps Kapi-Mana squadron in Porirua as a re­cruit.

‘‘I didn’t join be­cause I liked planes and fly­ing. I joined be­cause my best friend did,’’ he said.

Over the years he pro­gressed through the ranks of cadet cor­po­ral, sergeant, flight sergeant, un­der of­fi­cer, pi­lot of­fi­cer, fly­ing of­fi­cer and flight lieu­tenant.

In 1994 he was ap­pointed unit com­man­der and in 2000 pro­moted to squadron leader.

In 2009, af­ter 17 years lead­ing the now- named Air Train­ing Corps Porirua squadron, he re­lin­quished com­mand.

Mr te Tau trans­ferred to the T.S. Tu­tira Sea Cadets Corps in De­cem­ber 2011. This fol­lowed his move to Levin where he works as deputy reg­is­trar at the District Court, con­tin­u­ing his long ca­reer with the Min­istry of Jus­tice, his em­ployer since he was aged 16.

Mr te Tau said he did not ex­pect to be in­volved with the cadet forces for 32 years.

‘‘Why I stayed was be­cause I en­joyed the at­mos­phere and the struc­ture, the ca­ma­raderie and ac­tiv­i­ties we did.

‘‘ I learned a lot about self­dis­ci­pline, gained con­fi­dence, learned the val­ues of team­work, and the skills of lead­er­ship and in­struct­ing.

‘‘The stan­dards are rea­son­ably high, but they’re ob­tain­able. I know, be­cause I did it. Yes, the or­gan­i­sa­tion can be se­ri­ous, but I’ve had a lot of fun along the way.’’

Mr te Tau said trans­fer­ring to the sea cadet unit had been like a ‘‘ fresh start’’, with ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing ri­fle-range shoot­ing and bushcraft, as well as sail­ing and row­ing.

‘‘Boat­ing is new to me so I’m learn­ing again and how can I stop en­joy­ing some­thing when I’m learn­ing some­thing new?’’

‘‘ Also, train­ing of­fi­cer is my favourite job in the cadet forces, be­cause you’re really work­ing with the young peo­ple in­volved. I en­joy it more than be­ing in com­mand – now I just in­flu­ence those in com­mand.’’

Mr te Tau en­cour­ages any teenager to join the cadet forces, which, with an­nual fees of $25, is af­ford­able, he said.

‘‘You even get your uni­form for free. ‘‘The only other place which comes to mind where you get a uni­form for free is prison.’’

Horowhenua Mayor Bren­dan Duffy pre­sented Mr te Tau with the sec­ond clasp to his Cadet Force Medal at the Levin Sea Cadet Corps’ re­cent an­nual awards cer­e­mony.

Long ser­vice: New Zealand Cadet Forces squadron leader Grant te Tau.

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