16 November, 2023
Leading Chef Chris Treacher joined the Navy in 1975 straight from school. After a career in the Navy he entered civilian life, then went through basic training again in 2018 – the oldest in his intake - to serve as a reservist, based out of HMNZS Olphert in Wellington. Now, in taking on this new recruiter role, he’s back in regular Navy.
“I got a call in late 2021, asking me to come and help with recruiting for five weeks, and I’m still here! But in my new role as Navy Reserves recruiter. I’m the only one in this role, so it’s important to me that I do it right for our Navy. I am so lucky to be working with an amazing team from around New Zealand.”
He returned to the Navy in 2018 because he wanted “that piece of awesome” that comes with serving. It’s something he wants others to experience.
In 2018 it was sufficient for people like LCH Treacher to do the first five weeks of the 16-week Basic Common Training course for regular Navy sailors. Today, prospective reserve forces sailors and officers undertake the more structured Naval Reserve Common Training course, a part-time course designed to ensure reservists are trained to the same standard as their Regular Force counterparts, but in a way that works around their civilian employment.
“I jumped at this opportunity to become a recruiter. I was helped when I was recruiting and serving, and I want to be that person helping others.”
Many people he deals with want to serve part-time and experience the pride in wearing a uniform. They want to be part of something good. “Giving back is important to people, and that’s why I love this role. I have people coming to me, thinking they are too old or not qualified. I tell them my story and how I did it. It’s giving them faith, so they can sell the idea to themselves. If people have that belief, that’s half the battle won.”
He gets enquires from citizens who are from other countries, who want to repay New Zealand for providing them a home. “We have people in careers who are looking for another challenge in their lives. Some people are connected to the sea, either practical like fishing or boating, or in a romantic way – the Navy just appeals to them. Some have relatives who have served in the past and there’s a familial tie. Or it’s something they saw on TV and it resonated with them.”
He guides people through the recruiting process and stays in touch. “I’m the person putting a face on their process. I tell them, just ring me if you need anything. It’s part of the service, dealing respectfully and considerately with people, letting them know you care and are monitoring the process.”
LCH Treacher has a message for those who are debating joining the Reserve Force.
“If you think you’re too old, if you think you’re not up to it, think again. You don’t know how good you can be. We will give you the opportunity, as an individual, as a person who’s part of a team. I mean this from the heart and I know it because I’m living it myself. I’m just getting started again in the Navy, and it’s hopefully going to be a long and successful journey.”