A former soldier and SAS member says food served at the
Waiouru Army camp was so bad, he and fellow soldiers broke
the rules to cook their own food in their barracks.
Earlier this week APNZ reported some Defence Force troops
based at the camp were so frustrated by "disgusting" meals
they set up a Facebook page to highlight what they're served.
The page, titled 'Waiouru's delectable delights', has now
been taken down from the social network website, but it
showed pre-packaged meals with stews and mashed foods and one
soup that appeared to be vegetables immersed in a watery
Mike Ledingham, who served as a corporal in the army infantry
and as an SAS soldier between 1970 and 1985, said during his
time it was well-known that if troops were eating at Waiouru,
they would normally be served "fatty meat and bubble and
He has written a book about his time in the Defence Force,
titled Once A Grunt, and devoted a chapter to the food
served at Waiouru.
While on a training course there, Mr Ledingham and others in
his unit bought a gas cooker and cooked a bacon bones in the
They were caught by the Orderly Officer who threatened to put
the group on charge, before asking what was wrong with the
One of the soldiers told the officer he had complained twice
about the food.
"The officer said 'What happened then?' and the soldier said
'It got worse'," Mr Ledingham said.
Food served to the SAS troops was better than what the
Waiouru soldiers were provided with, because there weren't so
many to cook for, he said.
It was "probably" not good enough to serve unappetising meals
to the troops, he said.
"But if you think about the logistics of trying to feed some
many men at once, something's got to fall off somewhere."
A disgruntled soldier who did not want to be named said food
at the camp was "disgusting" and thought prisoners were
probably fed better than the troops.
The Defence Force budgets $12.86 per day for each Defence
Force members' meal, while the Corrections Department has a
budget of $4.50 per day for each inmate.
A spokesman said the meals on the Facebook page were what
troops ate while they were in the field training or on
exercise as opposed to the food provided when soldiers dine
in the camp messes.
"These meals allow troops to continue with their training
without having to return to camp."
There was a minimum nutritional standard for the three core
meals, which required provision of 13,000 kJ of total energy
with more than 50 per cent total energy form carbohydrates,
more than 31 per cent total energy from total fat and between
15-20 per cent from protein.
The meal budget remained the same regardless of rank, the
Typical Defence Force menu
Breakfast: Yoghurt, Fruit, Cereal, Eggs, Choice of Bacon,
Sausage, Saveloys or Mince, Choice of Beans, Spaghetti,
Tomato or mushrooms, Toast with spreads, Choice of hot and
Lunch: Soup, Samosas (vegetarian option), Peri Peri Chicken,
Pork and Apple Roll, Macaroni Cheese with Bacon, Vegetables,
Dinner: Soup, Steamed Lemon Pepper Fish, Pork Stir Fry, Beef
Stroganoff, Lemon Chicken, Vegetarian (made to order), Kumara
Rosti with Brie & Chutney, Vegetables, Steamed Rice,
Typical Corrections Department menu
Breakfast: Two Weetbix with milk, three slices of toast with
spread and a cup of tea.
Lunch: Three sandwiches, a piece of fruit and tea.
Dinner: Sausages with gravy, potatoes and two seasonal
vegetables, a piece of fruit and tea.
Specific dietary needs are noted and the food is adjusted