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Leadership skills gained through Cadets

The Cadet of the Year is Warrant Officer Class 2 Pyper-Alex Adams.

22 November, 2023

Warrant Officer Class 2 Pyper-Alex Adams, 17, says the confidence and leadership gained in Cadet Forces helped her transition from a quiet student to a champion for diversity in both her school and organisation.

Her citation commends her courage in recognising the needs concerning diversity within the organisation. She conducted an online survey of the Greater Wellington units to provide a platform for analysis. “Upon review she had the courage to confront the issues through the chain of command and was subsequently invited to present those findings to the NZCF Command at the National Cadet Unit Commanders’ Conference.”

Outside of cadets WO2 Adams has further demonstrated courage at her school by founding the transgender support group to implement change and recognition to queer students.

WO2 Adams, who has just finished year-13 at Kapiti College, says she followed her sister into the Cadet Forces.

“She had been really keen on it. I was a really quiet person at school and I liked that it gave me an opportunity to build my confidence. It meant I could make friends and get opportunities for leadership.”

At age 13 she initially joined No. 49 District of Kapiti Squadron, then transferred to the City of Porirua Cadet Unit. “I enjoyed the cadet training part but I’m afraid of heights,” she says. “My dad was in the British Army as a Royal Engineer. He had joined the unit as an officer because he wanted to try and build up the unit. He was driving down to Porirua and I thought I would come along.” Her father is the Unit Commander and her mother is the Executive Officer.

Through this time with cadets she has worked her way up through the ranks to her current position as the unit Company Sergeant Major.

She attributes her leadership roles at Kapiti College to her time in Cadet Forces. “Absolutely, I wouldn’t have been a Head Student and House Captain without cadets.”

Next year she plans to start psychology studies at Victoria University. She’ll stay in cadets and plans to join the Army after her degree, to become an Army Psychologist.

“If I was talking to others about Cadets, I would tell them about all the friends I made. I met my best friend through Cadets, and I’ve made so many friends all over the country. These will be people I will know for the rest of my life.”

New Zealand Cadet Forces

The New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) is modelled on the New Zealand Defence Force and has existed in various forms since 1864, making it the oldest youth development organisation in the country.

The voluntary, uniformed organisation provides military-style leadership, personal development opportunities and adventure-based training to youth aged between 13 and 19 years old.

Across its three branches - Navy Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Cadets - the NZCF provides young people with a hands-on, nationally coordinated training program.