Cadets celebrate 150 years

Otago sea, army and air cadets (from left) Petty Officer Tyler Stenton-Martin (17), of Dunedin, Sergeant Jesse Wilson (16), of Dunedin, and Cadet Brit Wilson (15), of Mosgiel, prepare to board a Royal New Zealand Air Force 757, bound for Ohakea, at Dunedin International Airport yesterday, on their way to New Zealand Cadet Force 150th anniversary celebrations in Waiouru. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Otago sea, army and air cadets (from left) Petty Officer Tyler Stenton-Martin (17), of Dunedin, Sergeant Jesse Wilson (16), of Dunedin, and Cadet Brit Wilson (15), of Mosgiel, prepare to board a Royal New Zealand Air Force 757, bound for Ohakea, at Dunedin International Airport yesterday, on their way to New Zealand Cadet Force 150th anniversary celebrations in Waiouru. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Sea, air and army cadets from throughout Otago are among 1200 others celebrating the force's Dunedin origins.

About 80 Otago cadets and several adult officers left Dunedin yesterday in a Royal New Zealand Air Force 757, bound for Ohakea.

They were selected to be part of a week-long celebration in Waiouru, marking the 150th anniversary of the first cadet unit in New Zealand, established at Otago Boys' High School. in 1864.

One thousand New Zealand cadets and 200 from Australia, Canada and Hong Kong were allocated space at the anniversary event, organised with the New Zealand Defence Force.

Units from Dunedin, Alexandra, Oamaru and Timaru joined those from Invercargill on yesterday's air force flight, while others were transported to Waiouru from all over New Zealand.

Air cadet Flying Officer Tony Hollows, of Alexandra, said taking into account all adult officers and Defence Force staff, about 1500 people would be involved in the celebrations.

He was one of several officers planning to lead tramping expeditions over the Tongariro Crossing, while others would take cadets flying and sailing.

The event provided cadets with the opportunity to try various activities, such as firing assault rifles and archery.

''It's going to be a fun week,'' he said.

Cadets, aged between 13 and 18, were staying in cabins and tents that had been set up on Waiouru army base.

Army cadet Second Lieutenant Wendy Ross, of Dunedin, said planning for the anniversary celebrations started about two years ago.

It was believed to be the largest gathering of cadets in New Zealand.

The defence force helped transport cadets to and from the event, and individual units raised funds for other costs.

Otago cadets will return to Dunedin on Thursday.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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