Kāpiti Student Following In Family’s Footsteps Is Named Cadet Of The Year
It’s been a steady rise through the ranks for 17-year-old Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Pyper-Alex Adams, who has been named the New Zealand Defence Force’s Cadet of the Year.
She’s following in her family’s footsteps, with her dad, mum and sister all part of the oldest youth development organisation in the country.
It was WO2 Adams’ sister who first persuaded her to join up, aged 13.
“My older sister had joined Cadet Forces and she had been really keen on it,” she said.
“I was a really quiet person at school and I liked that it gave me an opportunity to build my confidence. It meant I could make friends and get opportunities for leadership.”
After initially joining No. 49 (District of Kapiti) Squadron, an outing with her dad prompted a transfer to the City of Porirua Cadet Unit where her dad is the Unit Commander and her mum the Executive Officer.
“My dad was in the British Army as a Royal Engineer. He had joined the unit as an officer because he wanted to try and build up the unit. He was driving down to Porirua and I thought I would come along.”
During her time with her current unit, WO2 Adams has worked her way up through the ranks to her position as the unit Company Sergeant Major.
WO2 Adams’ Cadet of the Year award citation said she had displayed courage by recognising the needs concerning diversity within the organisation. She conducted an online survey of the Greater Wellington units to provide a platform for analysis.
The citation said: “Upon review she had the courage to confront the issues through the chain of command and was subsequently invited to present those findings to the NZCF Command at the National Cadet Unit Commanders’ Conference.”
Outside of cadets, WO2 Adams has further demonstrated courage at her school by founding a transgender support group to implement change and recognition for LBGTQI+ students.
The Cadet of the Year accolade comes as she finishes Year 13 at Kāpiti College.
She attributes her leadership roles at school to her time in Cadet Forces.
“Absolutely, I wouldn’t have been a Head Student and House Captain without Cadets.”
Next year she plans to start psychology studies at Victoria University. WO2 Adams said she’ll stay in cadets and plans to join the New Zealand Army after her degree, to become an Army Psychologist.
“If I was talking to others about Cadets, I would tell them about all the friends I made. I met my best friends through Cadets, and I’ve made so many friends all over the country. These will be people I will know for the rest of my life.”
New Zealand Cadet Forces
The New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) is modelled on the New Zealand Defence Force and has existed in various forms since 1864, making it the oldest youth development organisation in the country.
The voluntary, uniformed organisation provides military-style leadership, personal development opportunities and adventure-based training to youth aged between 13 and 19 years old.
Across its three branches - Navy Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Cadets - the NZCF provides young people with a hands-on, nationally coordinated training program.