Composition and Structure



One of each corps

The Cadet Forces is made up of three branches or corps. Each corps is modeled on a corresponding branch of the 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 organizational structures aligned with its parent regular force branch.

Learn about NZCF rank structure

Sea Cadet Corps

Sea Cadet crest

The Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is the maritime arm of the NZCF, and is aligned with the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The smallest of the three branches, the SCC has 16 units spread over all three Cadet Force areas.

The SCC training focus is maritime based, with a high level of sailing time allowing personnel to develop their skills on the water including a swimming test in the beginning of service. It also includes shooting, bushcraft and other useful skills. Each area (Southern, Central, Northern) hold an annual regatta with all units, focussing on competitive application of corp skills, with the winning team from each area later in the year competing at a national competition. Many units own their own yachts and other nautical equipment.

The sailing boats that the SCC use is the ‘Crown’ which is specifically designed for the use of the units. It is the standard boat in the Regattas until recently where RS Feva was also allowed in the regattas.


New Zealand Cadet Corps

NZ Cadet Corps crest

The New Zealand Cadet Corps (NZCC) is the land force arm of the NZCF, founded in 1864 and is aligned with the NZ Army. There are 34 units nationwide.

Cadet Corps training includes drill, first aid, land based navigation, land-based Search and Rescue, survival skills and weapons safety training. A Cadet Skills competition is held annually, pitting the units from across New Zealand against each other to find the best overall. A National course in bushcraft is also offered.


Air Training Corps

ATC crest

The Air Training Corps (ATC) is the aviation arm of the NZCF, and is aligned with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). Formed in September 1941 originally for the purpose of training young pilots ready for active service. There are 49 ATC Squadrons located throughout New Zealand with a vision to foster the spirit of adventure and teamwork, and to develop those qualities of mind and body essential for good citizens and leaders.

The ATC curriculum contains aviation, bushcraft, drill commands, leadership, search and rescue (SAR), survival skills, organizational knowledge of NZDF and NZCF and weapons training. National courses are provided in powered flying, aeronautical navigation, gliding and bushcraft.


NZCF Organisational Structure

The NZDF and the NZCF work together in a combined structure to deliver the NZCF’s Mission and Core Values.

The NZDF provides 27 Regular Force personnel and six NZDF civilian employees to perform training development, administration and logistics for Cadet Force operations. These operations are commanded from HQNZCF, based in Trentham Military Camp in Wellington.

There are three Cadet Force Training Support Units (CFTSUs), each covering a Cadet Force region and operating from an NZDF establishment. Northern Area CFTSU is based at HMNZS Philomel in Auckland, Central Area CFTSU at RNZAF Base Ohakea near Palmerston North and Southern Area CFTSU at Burnham Military Camp just South of Christchurch.

New Zealand Cadet Forces is under the command of the Commandant NZCF, WGCDR Mark Henderson, RNZAF. The Commandant of the NZCF is given a three-year appointment.

Working alongside the NZDF personnel are NZCF Officers and Senior Cadets from all three Corps appointed to key strategic, operational and tactical positions.

They provide:

  • Policy advice and recommendations that will enhance both the support and training.
  • Representation to the community meeting the Government/Community partnership requirement to develop and implement strategies for growth by raising the national profile of the NZCF.
  • Quality Control for the cadets by ensuring the content of the entire training programme is relevant and suits the needs of today’s youth.
Structure chart

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