A fascination with the human body and a desire to help others were the drivers behind Private Alafaga Lagaaia joining the New Zealand Army as a medic.

He has just completed two-and-a-half years of training and study at Defence Health School based at Burnham Military Camp. 

Private Lagaaia, 25, from Wellington, decided to because “I love helping others and I am fascinated by the intricacies of the human body”.

“I didn’t want to be a nurse or paramedic as I wanted to do something that was both trauma and primary health care,” he said.

It was difficult to pinpoint his favourite part of the course.

“I’d say my highlights are all the friends I made at Defence Health School and the times I got to spend with them. 

“While there were challenges, I found that making scheduled breaks and sticking to routines helped.”

Private Lagaaia said he was “very much looking forward to finally starting my job as a fully competent medic” and was looking forward to the future.

He said if people were thinking about joining to “just give it a go”.

“It’s a privilege to work for the New Zealand Defence Force and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that doesn’t get offered to many people.

“I understand that it isn’t a lifestyle for everybody but you won’t know until you try.”

New Zealand Defence Force medics train in a tri-service environment at Defence Health School. The training takes two-and-a-half years and is a mixture of theory and practical based.

They also experience on the job training at Health Centres across Defence Force camps, ships and bases around New Zealand.  On graduating, medics are deployable and able to operate interdependently within Defence Medical Treatment Protocols.

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