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:

Rotorua Air Cadets selected for Officer training


Over the school holidays, three of 29 Squadron’s NCOs are going for further training to become officers.  LAC Belt was selected for the Junior NCO course, while CPL Swinburne and CPL Coveney have been selected for the Senior NCO course.

Hosted at Whangaparāoa and Whenuapai military bases in Auckland, our cadets will spend a week on-base receiving training in leadership, squad handling, and building skills and confidence in oral presentations.

These courses are fully funded by the New Zealand Defence Force.  To be selected is a recognition of hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to LAC Belt, CPL Swinburne, and CPL Coveney.  We know you will do well.

Air Cadets Rotorua thanks its volunteers


Although well-supported by New Zealand Defence Forces, Cadet Forces is completely run by volunteers.  All its officers, the support committees, and everyone else that helps out from time to time is what makes Air Cadets tick.

Thank you.

Thank you for your selfless dedication to ensuring young people get training, challenges, and victories along the way to becoming more confident, upstanding, and successful young adults.

We always need more volunteers.

If you like the idea of Cadets, or you used to be a Cadet and you like the idea of coming back and helping run 29 Squadron for Rotorua’s youth, then please get in touch.

Volunteers!!!  You ROCK!

If can’t do, you train #CadetsRotorua


While we await NZCF HQ permission to be allowed to host and attend external exercises, Rotorua Air Cadets are taking the opportunity to train, train, and train some more.

Recent topics covered Firearm Safety, Code of Conduct, and Leadership training.

Four of our non-commissioned officers (NCOs) will soon live on-base at the Tamaki Leadership Centre in Whangaparaoa where they will receive Junior and Senior non-commissioned officer leadership training.

These courses are eagerly competed for at unit level as Cadets get to add experiences not available to anyone else.

29 Squadron is always looking for people interested in taking the Air Cadet journey with us.  Watching young people grow is extremely rewarding.