top of page


Can both girls and boys join?
We welcome cadets of any gender to join us.

How old do you have to be to join Cadets and where do you join?

You can join if you are 13 - 15 years of age, or 12 years old but in Year 9 at Secondary School. You join the New Zealand Cadet Forces by enrolling with your local Unit.


What if I move town, can I join another Unit?
Yes, there are over 100 Units across New Zealand that you could transfer to.

How much does it cost?

Basic 1 Flight/first year is $350 (incl t-shirt and cap), Basic 2 Second Year Cadets $200, Proficiency 3rd Year Cadets $160, Advanced 4th Year Cadets $140, NCOs (post Advanced) $100. Camps and Tramps may be free or have a small cost of $10 - 30 per activity. Any difficulties in paying this fee may be discussed with the Cadet Unit Commander or Unit Adjutant, in the strictest confidence. 

How safe is my child?
Your child's safety has top priority accepting that no activity can be entirely risk free. Read about the risk management training that NZCF Officers undergo to minimise risk for your child while involved in NZCF activities.

How is bullying and harassment managed?

The NZCF does not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any kind. All cadets and staff have basic rights and obligations to participate in activities free of harassment and discrimination, and operate in a non-discriminatory, fair and safe environment. The NZCF Code of Conduct defines appropriate codes of ethical behaviour and provides guidelines for preventing, managing and reporting breaches of these codes. All Cadets and Staff sign up to a Code of Conduct.

Do I have to stay if I find Cadets is not for me?

No, you volunteer to enter Cadet Forces and you can leave at any time.

Do you have to wear a uniform?

Yes. Uniforms are issued at no cost, although some units may charge a uniform bond. All items are supplied a few weeks after joining, and must be returned at the completion of your cadet career.

What opportunities do the New Zealand Cadet Forces offer?

Cadets take part in unique adventurous, fulfilling and educational activities in a military-like environment. Through these activities, cadets get the chance to develop a sense of purpose, responsibility, self confidence, self respect, self discipline, self reliance, leadership ability, and commitment to voluntary service.

Many former cadets comment that the cadet experience helped to develop them as an individual, achieve personal growth, leadership qualities and provide them with a sense of community service.

How long can you serve for?
The majority of cadets serve for up to four years. After that, if you are a senior cadet who has qualified on your leadership courses, you can serve as a cadet until the day before your 20th birthday, provided you hold and maintain a valid NZ Police and NZDF Security Vetting Clearance prior to your 18th birthday. However, you can then become a commissioned officer and serve as long as you like after.

Do I have to join the Armed Forces when I leave?

No, Cadet Forces is a youth development organisation and is not part of NZ Defense Forces.

Will being a cadet help me get into the Defense Forces when I leave school?

Cadet Forces is not a recruiting arm of the New Zealand Defense Force. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that young people who serve with Cadet Forces seem to adapt more readily to life in the Armed Forces. The Defense Force also recognizes Cadet Forces as an advantage in the application process.

Can I get NZQA credits for my learning while in Cadets?
We incorporate NZQA unit standards from this qualification into their training programme. You can have the units you achieve placed on your NZQA record of learning after you have paid the credit recording fee. These credits can help you to meet the credit requirements of your NCEA levels 1-3.

What if I'm not too fit?
There is no requirement to meet a specific level of fitness to join Cadets. However, like many activities, if you are fit you will get greater enjoyment from your experiences.

What does the New Zealand Defence Force provide cadets with?

The NZDF provides you with a uniform, except for footwear. They also supply Regular Force advisors and organise and pay for all the promotion courses you may be selected to attend. They also provide the subjects you will study.

Will I be sent overseas to fight?

Definitely not. However, there are a few opportunities to travel abroad throughout your cadet journey.

bottom of page