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Taranaki man patrols home province with new skills

Taranaki’s Gian Squatriti thoroughly enjoyed returning to his home province in uniform, especially showing his former neighbours and schoolmates what the New Zealand Army can do.

10 November, 2022

The 24-year-old grew up in Ōakura, about 45 minutes away.

“I saw someone I went to primary school with and high school,” he said.

It was “extra special” to be able to work on an exercise in his home region, showing the local community what the NZ Army could do, such as providing food distribution centres, setting up cordons and vehicle checkpoints, as well as its military capability.

Training in an urban environment was very different to the open and close country exercises they were used to in Waiouru, Officer Cadet Squatriti said.

“There are a lot of human factors you have to consider when planning these operations.”

In one scenario, a food distribution point was set up, with other NZ Army personnel playing the role of civilians from a country where they had lack of access to food and water.

“How will you react to people when they get angry or annoyed at you, and how you would control that situation and make sure you were still providing support?”

It was exciting learning such new skills, Officer Cadet Squatriti said.

Operating in Stratford had also garnered a bit of interest and the locals enjoyed seeing the NZ Army train in public, he said.

“A lot of people were coming up and taking photos with us. When we are patrolling we get questions and they enjoy seeing us out there doing our job.”