18 July, 2022
Flying Officer Challies-Kolk, 44, originally from Nelson, joined the RNZAF in 2006 where she served as a supply specialist until her release in 2013. She went to work in the manufacturing industry.
However, the last two years with COVID-19 lockdowns really made her reflect on what she was doing.
“I really felt the need to come back to the RNZAF and a more meaningful career.”
She has now completed the 16-week Officer Commissioning Course at RNZAF Base Woodbourne and will head to RNZAF Base Auckland to take up a role as a Flight Commander at the Aviation Refuelling Section.
Flying Officer Challies-Kolk said she has enjoyed the deep friendships she has made while on commissioning course, and also the in-the-field exercises.
“I love being outside and we had a day while on exercise at Nelson Lakes where we woke up to snow and sleet, then the sun came out on our last day with the snow on the hills around us.
“It was just one of those moments when I was incredibly grateful to be with the people I was with, in the absolutely stunning part of the country.”
She said the 16 weeks were a challenge, especially with COVID-19, but the support of her peers meant that everyone could keep the momentum going and support each other.
“What was unexpected was the level of self-reflection and the amount of peer-to-peer feedback that we did. I really found this one of the most valuable ways to accelerate my learning and growth,” Flying Officer Challies-Kolk said.
She is looking forward to her new role at RNZAF Base Auckland.
“I’m so excited to get to know my new team and make a positive contribution there.
“Right now I am just looking forward to learning as much as I can, and make an impact.
“Longer term I am really keen to be involved operationally, whether that is through operations or continuing to Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief efforts.”
Flying Officer Challies-Kolk said that anyone thinking of joining should take all of the opportunities that come their way.
“You will make lifetime friends and find that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought.”
To learn more about a career in the Air Force visit www.defencecareers.mil.nz.