In 2018, when veteran Otago wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder told media he needed to think about life after cricket, he had set up a move to Wellington to work in finance. But by the second half of 2019 he was starting officer training with the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Today, Sub Lieutenant de Boorder is assistant supply officer on board offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington. From July 12, he was on a three-week, 5,000-nautical mile deployment to deliver Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to Tokelau and the Cook Islands.

His move to the Navy, after working as a relationship service manager for ANZ Bank in Wellington, came after he found he was missing the kind of team environment he had with sports. “I also realised that to get up to a leadership position, I’d be competing against people with a lot of banking experience. I wanted an opportunity that gave me more variety, as well as leadership training and responsibility. The Navy ticked all those boxes. You get a lot of responsibility at an early stage. Their leadership training is second to none. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

His father-in-law had been in the Navy for 20 years and was able to provide some insight. The move to Auckland, to be closer to family, was also attractive.

He was 34 when he joined the Junior Officer Common Training 19/02 intake at Devonport Naval Base, for 22 weeks of officer training. “I wasn’t the oldest but I was one of the oldest. It was really enjoyable. I hadn’t long since retired from cricket and I was reasonably fit which helped. I have always liked the outdoors and we had a good bunch of people on my intake, which made it a lot of fun.”

Sub Lieutenant de Boorder had a finance degree under his belt, thanks to part-time study and assistance from the New Zealand Cricket Players Association. “They look after you well, and make sure you have a plan for the future.” When he graduated as a midshipman, his degree meant a promotion to sub lieutenant.

His finance skills were put to use in short order after graduation, working on the engineering training reform with the Navy Strategic Personnel Planning Cell. He then posted to HMNZS Otago in late 2020, moving to sister ship Wellington this year.

“Before we sail, it’s my job to assist the supply officer tracking our mission-critical items for our deployment to the islands, to make sure all our stores are on board. We did a shakedown for a week, practising delivering the vaccines and our non-contact procedures, making sure the social distancing is maintained.

“I’m definitely enjoying this. I was working in a project role straight after training, and now I’m off on a ship for something completely different. It’s the variety I enjoy about this job.”

To learn more about a career in the Navy visit www.defencecareers.mil.nz(external link).

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