Junior Officers Graduate From New Zealand Cadet School

Three RFMF soldiers attended officer cadet school in 2019 at Waiouru, New Zealand.
28 Jun 2020 11:36
Junior Officers Graduate From New Zealand Cadet School
From left: Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, Second Lieutenant Lasarusa Nukutabu, Second Lieutenant Litiana Mareko, Second Lieutenant Alipate Cakaunivere and New Zealand Defence Adviser to Fiji Lieutenant Colonel Josh Wineera on June 26, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media Cell

Three junior officers of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) who trained at the New Zealand Army’s Officer Cadet School, received their graduation certificates in Suva on Friday.

They were; Second Lieutenant Lasarusa Nukutabu, Second Lieutenant Litiana Mareko,and Second Lieutenant Alipate Cakaunivere.

They attended the Officer Cadet School in 2019 at Waiouru in New Zealand.

Lieutenant Mareko said the journey in New Zealand was challenging.

“The main challenge was the weather itself, and being away from family, she said.

“I’m a very family driven person, and I love being surrounded by my family. Being away from them was quite difficult, but it also taught me how to be independent, and how to thrive by myself without the help of my family.

“I enjoyed the course, and it was a memorable one. We built long lasting friendships while in New Zealand.”

As the youngest of 10 siblings, Lieutenant Mareko wanted to become a doctor when she was younger.

“While in Natabua High School, I found out that this will be a boring field for me.

“In 2018 I applied as a female recruit for officers, so I was enlisted, so I grabbed the opportunity.

“Some of my family members told me that it’s going to be a hard journey. The fact that people thought that this was going to be hard did not deter me.

“The second thing that drove me was the death of my dad; it was a week before my passing-out parade.”

She said while in New Zealand: “What I also learned there is for us Fijians, the will to keep pushing. We know the struggle our country is facing, and the struggle our people face. And that was something that kept us going, we didn’t want other cadets to look down on us, and we had to prove ourselves that we deserved to be there, and we were as capable as they were.”

Lieutenant Nukutabu, resigned from the Fiji Corrections Service at the end of 2017.

“Being a military officer is something I always wanted when I left Marist High School in 2015,” he said.

“I loved the training in New Zealand; the weather was the only major setback. I’m the eldest of four siblings, and I’m thankful for the support from my family. But most of the time I really had to push myself to get there.

“I believe, to be a good leader, one needs to be a good follower. In order to lead your men you must first learn to follow. This is the key to becoming a good leader.”

Lieutenant Cakaunivere said the course was interesting.

“We meet people who come from different backgrounds, and the course was interesting, where we meet our limits.”

He said someone who leads in the military needs to genuinely care about others.

The officers were thankful to the RFMF and the New Zealand government for sending them abroad for the course, and they are looking forward to other courses which may be provided.

RFMF Commander Rear Admiral, Viliame Naupoto, while speaking to the officers, said the journey that they had started in New Zealand was giving way to the best part of their lives, which is to serve.

“As a leader we need to serve others before self,” Rear Admiral Naupoto said.

He told them that learning didn’t stop here, and advised them to keep learning and commit to military life.

“It’s a life of learning, keep learning and keep growing. In addition to the academic learning that you will learn from the tactics of the game you are going to play as military officers, there is an additional big learning on how to lead people.

“When we made our oath the day we joined, you’ve really sworn to give out the best in you. We get to eat the bitter end and the sweetest part given away. And that is the best time of your life, and is always given away to the service that you do.”

New Zealand Defence Adviser to Fiji Lieutenant Colonel Josh Wineera thanked the officers for their dedication and sacrifices in completing the course.

“For one year we had you in our care and Fiji sacrificed by taking you out of the country into a foreign land. Your country has sacrificed your service, in training in New Zealand,” Lieutenant Colonel Wineera said.

“We all know once we join the forces, and we deploy, we expect that aspiration. We hope that you will all serve proudly and lead wisely, six months after you have graduated, we are entrusted to your care.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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