Frequently Asked Questions

Can both girls and boys join?


What 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 New Zealand Defence Force provide cadets with?

The NZDF provides you with a uniform, except for footwear. They also supply Regular Force advisors and organise and pay for all the promotion courses you may be selected to attend. They also provide the subjects you will study.

How safe is my child?

Your child's safety has top priority accepting that no activity can be entirely risk free. Read about the risk management training that NZCF Officers undergo to minimise risk for your child while involved in NZCF activities.

X close

How safe is my child?

Your child's safety 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 have to qualify on the NZCF Field Craft Course. This course also incorporates First Aid training.

Our Sea Cadet Officers undergo Marine Activity Supervisors courses which contribute to their Yachting New Zealand Club Instructor Certificate. They are also required to qualify on the RNZ Coast Guard Day Skippers and Boat Master qualifications.

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

Regular Officer up-date training weekends are conducted to ensure officers remain current with their skills and their knowledge.

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.

Do I have to join the Armed Forces when I leave?

No, Cadet Forces is a youth development organisation and is not part of NZ Defence Forces.

How much does it cost?

Each Unit sets its own fees, payable by term or by the year. Most Unit term fees range between $15.00-$30.00. More information on possible costs can be found here. Please contact the Unit you are interested in joining for further details.

X close

What's the cost?

The cost of your child's involvement is always an item of interest to parents.

Many Unit Branch Support Committees set fees depending on their viability. These are usually based on the High School term and can range from $15 a term upwards.

Most units have additional costs for weekend activities and these range depending on what the unit is undertaking. It also depends on whether the unit's Branch Support committee is subsidising the activity.

You will be asked to fund your child's footwear; the Defence Force do not supply this. Units parade in black shoes and, as many High Schools have black shoes as part of their uniform, these can be worn on training nights.

Most cadets end up buying a second pair just for cadets because they often don't want to be seen at school in highly polished shoes. Some cadets also purchase combat style boots to go with their field clothing. A number of units can source these at competitive prices.

You are invited to approach the unit of your child's choice and ask them for their fee structure, if applicable, and what sort of additional costs that particular unit can foresee.

How old do you have to be to join Cadets and where do you join?

You can join if you are 13 (thirteen) years of age or in Year 9 at Secondary School. You join the New Zealand Cadet Forces by enrolling with your local Unit.

How long can you serve for?

The majority of cadets serve for up to four years. After that, if you are a senior cadet, you can serve as a cadet until the day before your 19th birthday.

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).

Many cadet units are incorporating NZQA unit standards from this qualification into their training programme. You can have the units you achieve placed on your NZQA record of learning after you have paid the credit recording fee.

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 Armed Forces when I leave school?

Cadet Forces is not a recruiting arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that young people who serve with Cadet Forces seem to adapt more readily to life in the Armed Forces.

Will I be sent overseas to fight?

Definitely not.

What if I'm not too fit?

There is no requirement to meet a specific level of fitness to join Cadets. However, like many activities, if you are fit you will get greater enjoyment from your experiences.

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

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

Join us now

Click the button below to find a New Zealand Cadet Forces unit in your area.

Find your nearest unit
Three crests

Related links