New Zealand Cadet Forces

New Zealand Cadet Forces is a voluntary youth organisation which provides military-style leadership, development opportunities and adventure based training.


The New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF or Cadet Forces) provides leadership, personal development and training to youth aged between 13 and 20 years old. Anyone between the ages of 13 and 15 years old may join Cadet Forces, but can also join if they are 12 years old and presently attending Year 9 in High School.

Cadet Forces is made up of three branches, similar to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF):

  • the Navy Cadets,
  • the Army Cadets and,
  • the Air Cadets.

Each branch is modeled on a branch of the NZDF, and has its own training curriculum, uniforms and organisational structures.

Through its three branches, the Cadet Forces provides youth with a four year training curriculum, while a number of unit, area and national courses provide further experience and qualifications in different training areas.

NZCF Activities

Air cadets gliding

Aside from all the great experiences you'll have as a cadet, you will also take away training, leadership and discipline skills that will set you apart from the crowd when you head to university or begin your chosen career.

Cadet Forces provides challenges and opportunities that no other organisation can, every Cadet is given the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop skills in a variety of different areas. The training is designed to take cadets from an introductory level of knowledge and skills, to an advanced level of knowledge and skills in a wide range of areas and subjects.

Cadets will typically learn the theory of each subject on their Parade Night (meeting night), with cadets meeting weekly during the school term, usually in the early evening for three hours. Cadet Units will hold weekend activities and camps throughout the year, so that the Cadets can further test and develop their skills in a practical environment.

Our training is broken down into two basic parts- Common Training and Corps Training. The common training is designed so that every cadet nationwide gets the same level of knowledge.

NZCF Common Training includes, but is not limited to: 

  • First Aid, 
  • Drill and Ceremonial Training, 
  • Firearms Safety and Marksmanship Training, 
  • Leadership, 
  • Physical Training and Fitness, 
  • Uniform Care and Maintenance, 
  • Teamwork Skills, 
  • Navigation, 
  • Radio Usage and Drones, 
  • Cadet Forces and General Service Knowledge, 
  • Risk Management and Safety and, 
  • Community Involvement, including at Commemorative Events such as ANZAC Day.

Each Corps also has some training that is specific to them, and this makes up the Corps training part of our programme: 

  • Navy Cadet specific training includes sailing, pulling, ropework such as knots and use of pulleys, and other seamanship skills such as coxswain skills and navigating on open water. 
  • Army Cadet specific training includes fieldcraft-based skills such as camouflage and concealment, section and platoon skills, and outdoor activities such as tramping and patrolling. 
  • Air Cadet specific training includes power flying, gliding, air navigation and other aviation related content such as the parts of an aircraft and theory of flight.


You can contact the New Zealand Cadet Forces by emailing or phone (04) 816 8678.

NZ Cadet Forces logo