Another good day out for 29 Squadron in Rotorua


After being postponed – like many other events this year – Rotorua finally managed to host the Tough Guy and Gal mud run at Lakes Ranch.  And like the years before,  29 Squadron turn up to keep competitors safe.

We get the best seats in the house watching the fit, the fun, and the fabulous step out of their comfort zones. 

As a fundraiser this is one of the highlights on our calendar with cadets looking forward to coming back the next year.

Thanks to the cadets and whanau for supporting 29 SQN on Labour Day in the middle of a long weekend.  It was a big ask and you all came through!

On the 11th day, at the 11th hour…

Magazine Image part of The War Poppy Collection by Jacqueline Hurley

Under the kind but relentless training of Major Breen of Rotorua District Cadet Unit, our Non Commissioned Officers received catafalque refresher training in preparation for Rotorua’s Armistice Day commemorations.

Cadets from RDCU and 29 Squadron will join the Returned Services Association, Rotorua Lakes City Council, and Te Arawa Returned Services League at Government Gardens to commemorate Armistice Day.

With Anzac Day and Battle of Britain commemorations changed by Covid-19, this is Rotorua’s first opportunity to come together as a community.  The public are invited to join us at the Cenotaph in Government Gardens. Please be there at 10:30 am to be in place in time for the 10:40 start.

Ka maumahara tonu tātau ki a rātau. We will remember them.

CPL Tahana and others from Rotorua's Cadet Forces at Armistice Day commemorations in Government Gardens Rotorua

29’s Rotorua Cadets used to own its own plane

ZK-DAM, 1944 De Havilland New Zealand DH-82A Tiger Moth, C/N: DHNZ165
ZK-DAM, 1944 De Havilland New Zealand DH-82A Tiger Moth, C/N: DHNZ165 - Photo by Peter Lewis - used with permission.

“Do you know that 29 Squadron used to own its own plane?”, asked Unit Commander Flying Officer Poihaere Knight.

And what do you know? We did! In fact, a genuine New Zealand-assembled Tigermoth as seen at the Masterton Aerodrome Airport in the photo above.

According to, the aircraft was assembled in Rongotai in May 1944, two and a half years after 29 Squadron started in Rotorua.  It started off as an active RNZAF aircraft in Hobsonville but was removed from active service and changed for flight training in 1951.  It bounced around New Zealand a bit until it was rebuilt and registered as a NZ civilian aircraft (ZK-DAM) in late 1969.

This is when 29 Squadron Air Training Corps in Rotorua took ownership of it until late 1974 when it was purchased by two men in Hawkes Bay.

It is currently still thought to be flying in Australia, where it was transferred to in 1986.

A Canadian design, Tiger moths were primarily owned and flown by Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

According to Te Papa, our national museum in Wellington who also own a Tigermoth (no longer on display), the aircraft served an equally essential role post-war:  “The widespread use of aerial topdressing, especially in hill country, was a hugely important factor in New Zealand’s postwar economic development. The increased agricultural productivity which resulted did much to lay the basis for New Zealand’s prosperity during the 1950s and ’60s.”

29 Squadron thanks Peter Lewis for allowing the use of his photo for this article.  Peter also did a stretch with Air Cadets up in Auckland a long time ago.  Longer than Peter would probably care to admit to.


Rotorua Marathon and Rotorua Cadets: A winning combination

About a third of the Cadets and support crew from 29 Squadron at the Rotorua 2020 Marathon - via Rotorua Marathon 2020 Official Instagram

Rotorua made world news today as the Rotorua Marathon 2020 was the first major recognised marathon world-wide to start after Covid restrictions have been imposed. Another first was the win by a Rotorua runner – something that hasn’t occurred since 1975.  And both first male and female runners were from Rotorua as well.  Congratulations to Michael Voss and Alice Mason.

Rotorua District Cadet Unit and 29 Squadron Air Cadets were there as part of the crew running the marathon on the day. More specifically, 29 Squadron were tasked with guarding the bag drop area as well as the very rewarding job of meeting every runner personally as they come through the finish line to hand them their medal.

Cadets and staff of 29 Squadron look forward to this fixture every year as it is a great way to help locals and visitors to experience the best we can offer.

One couple who were recovering after the race commented that they had run every marathon in the country, and Rotorua’s support from the community along the course and the staff at the start/finish line were by far the most friendly and welcoming they have experienced.

Kia ora!   See you all next year.

29 Squadron lined up (in orange) at the start of the Rotorua Marathon - Image credit

Think positive


29 Squadron just completed Term Three and it has been a good one.  While other organisations have struggled under Covid 19 limitations, 29 Squadron with the unfailing support of its parents and extended families has put extra effort into preparing for a world without Covid restrictions.

Congratulations go to SGT Swinburne, LAC Morley, and LAC Sands for their well-earned promotions.  

This term we also welcomed PLTOFF Peacock, SS Morgan, and Cadet Recruits Beehre, Boag, Graham, Haines, Stephenson, and Van den Eng to Rotorua’s 29 Squadron Air Cadets.

It would be fair to say we are all suffering from cabin fever, and now,  under Covid Level 1 rules, we can get back out there.  Term Four will be a busy one with fundraising, activities, and for some: exams.  We will be at the End of Year Parade before we know it.

Term Four is also a great time for 12- and 13-year olds that are interested in joining Rotorua Air Cadets to come along to a few 29 Squadron Parade Nights. This allows for time to get the idea of what happens, join, get issued a uniform, and be ready to hit 2021 completely prepared.

79 years young: 29 (Rotorua) Squadron

Portrait of K Deacon and I Libeay ATC Rotorua 29 Squadron in Royal NZ. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-00843-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/30631542

Next year, a year from now, 29 Squadron Air Training Corps will celebrate its 80th  year of operation in Rotorua. 

New Zealand’s Air Training Corps was formed in September 1941, at a time when New Zealand was considered to be at risk from Japanese invasion and the British were not in a position to help. Its purpose was to train potential airmen in basic airmanship and provide an insight into Air Force work to prepare young men for the RNZAF when they became of age.

With war thankfully no longer the driving force behind the existence of the Cadet Corps, the 1971 Defence Act established the New Zealand Cadet Forces as a volunteer organisation, and since 1978 girls have been able to join also.

It goes to show how valuable and important a youth organisation that operates along military principles continues to be that we  prosper  in the face of competing interests via the devices and the Internet. 

Young people and their families see the fun and benefit of getting involved in “preparing New Zealand’s successful leaders of tomorrow”.

Teens still thrive in Air Cadets

Air Cadets visited Volcanic Air at Rotorua Airport earlier this year

29 Squadron Air Cadets are still parading during Covid Level 2 lockdown, because you can’t contain the energy and enthusiasm of young people who want to do something different to sitting at home on devices.

Rotorua Air Cadets are also ready if the country raises the lockdown level to level 3 or higher: our Parade Nights online were successful last time, and this time we won’t be taken by surprise!  Our cadets love it, because they get to parade with Air Cadets and be on their devices sitting on their couch!

An increasing amount of families recognise that Cadets is a great way to extend the growth of their children.  Cadets will get them off the couch, into the community, and turn them into confident, respectful, and employable young adults.

There hasn’t been a single night this term where we haven’t hosted a new family that has come along to see what 29 Squadron is all about.  Our group of new recruits has grown to be the largest for a number of years.

It’s no coincidence:  parents are looking for wholesome out-of-school activities that will challenge, grow, and inspire their children, and the reputation and history of 29 Squadron (since 1941!) speaks for itself.

Come check us out.  6:30 pm on Wednesday nights, 23 Geddes Road, Koutu (Behind Big Save Furniture)

Rotorua Cadets value community support


They say, “you get out what you put in”, and 29 Squadron have a significant commitment to Rotorua’s community.  The most visible parts are around Anzac Day when we perform a front-line role at the dawn and civic parades.  But you can also find us helping Rotorua Council, selling poppies for the RSA, and cleaning graves of servicemen and women.

But last week the community said “Thank you!” in the form of a large donated TV screen.  A call went out to equip a training room and Fiona G. of Nongotaha answered the call.

Thank you Fiona!  Very generous.

Some intense fundraising will be happening to fund other parts of our training program.  You’ll see us at the Tough Guy & Gal Challenge at Lakes Ranch and the Rotorua Marathon finish line as marshals, and in a few weeks our own community Garage Sale will be held at the Cadet Unit.

Rotorua Air Cadets go bowling

29 Rotorua Squadron Air Training Corps at Motion Entertainment

The last Parade Night of every term is usually time to let our hair down.  29 Squadron hosted a bowling night at Motion Entertainment and invited RDCU and 75 Squadron to join us.

The invitation to attend was also extended to family, and we took out 5 lanes to settle who was the best on the night.

During the game some wonderful hot food came out on shared platters and our sneaky plan to slow down the cadets with the insanely hot jalapeño poppers seemed to have some success.

Thank you to the families and Cadets of 75SQN for joining our annual event.

Here are some photos of the night: