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Joined the Navy - and still in school

Christchurch 17-year-old Tim Avery is relishing the comradeship and commitment the Navy Reserves has offered since attesting in June.

16 September, 2023

Ordinary Maritime Trade Operations Avery, in his last year at St Bede’s College in Christchurch, is part of the NRCT 23-01 cohort, the second naval reserves common training intake since training recommenced after several years in 2021.

Seeking a new challenge, OMTO Avery joined after spotting the opportunity on the NZDF website.

“After I’d started the recruitment process, I found out an uncle was a Sub Lieutenant in the Reserves about 30 years ago. My grandfather served as a wireless operator in the RNZAF in Fiji and Tonga during World War Two.”

The new Naval Reserves training programme aims to revitalise the Reserve training capability and to strengthen the contribution of the Naval Reserve to the wider NZDF. The course has been 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.

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Some of the NRCT 23/01 intake at the Memorial Wall, Devonport Naval Base.

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The NRCT reservists undertake survival training in the Fleet Pool at Devonport Naval Base.

NRCT 23/01 has 21 personnel under training, ranging in age from 17 to 26, with nine Maritime Trade Operators ratings and 12 officers in NRCT 23/01. Among the officers, nine are in the Maritime Trade Operator trade and three are Legal officers. Other trades possible for Reserve Officers are Public Affairs and Medical.

“It was really the idea of challenging myself. Physical fitness is a big thing for me and I have a general interest in the Defence Force and the skills I can get out of it. Even the smaller skills like ironing, I’ve not done much of before.

“The brotherhood and community-mindedness at St Bedes is evident in the Navy as well. My mates at school are really supportive and respect what I’m doing.

“The comradery in the intake is outstanding. It’s great how everyone just gets around each other. The first weekend training getting to know everyone was awesome, and a bit of a shock to the system. The next ten-day residential picked up where the first weekend left off and was full of fantastic experiences, including ship visits to Te Kaha and Canterbury.” 

OMTO Avery is intending to study finance at Otago University next year, and is looking forward to continued involvement with the Navy Reserve while in Dunedin at HMNZS Toroa.

“I’ve been told I can transfer, which is great, and going on deployment someday would be awesome, but that’s very much in the future,” he says.

Further weekend trainings are scheduled for NRCT 23-01 through the rest of the year, including weapons qualification and sailing. The ratings will complete training in March and graduate with the officers in June.