Cadet Handbook

The following information has been compiled to assist you in getting to know the Squadron, its staff, and the obligations of cadets and parents. If you require any more information please don’t hesitate to contact the Unit Commander or a Unit Officer for more clarification or assistance.

Contact Details

We parade (meet) every Thursday night (excl. school holidays) 6.30pm to 9.15pm.
To get in contact with us visit our Contact Us page.

About Us

To learn more about who we are visit the About page.

Joining 17 Squadron

To find out more about joining the unit see the Recruiting page

New Zealand Cadet Forces

The New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) is a voluntary, disciplined, uniformed organisation which provides military-based leadership, personal development and operational training to persons aged between 13 and 20 years old.It is not part of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). It is supported by the NZDF in partnership with the community and gets its military emphasis from the NZDF.

We are part of the wider NZCF family. The NZCF consists of the Sea Cadet
Corps (“Navy Cadets”), the NZ Cadet Corps (“Army Cadets”), and the Air
Training Corps (“Air Cadets”). The NZCF is staffed by Regular Force Navy, Army and Air Force personnel. They co-ordinate activities, provide assistance to units, and generally ensure the aims of the NZCF are achieved.

The national commanding officer of the NZCF is the Commandant. The current Commandant is Wing Commander Bruce Creedy (Royal New Zealand Air Force.).

The NZCF is broken into 3 regions: Northern, Central and Southern. We are part of Southern Area, which is administered from Burnham Military Camp. The Area Commander (Southern) is Flight Lieutenant Lauryn Stephens, Royal New Zealand Air Force.

More information about the NZCF is available at

NZCF Mission
“To develop and enable self-disciplined, confident and responsible young
New Zealanders.”

NZCF Values
Courage – Commitment – Comradeship – Integrity

Code of Conduct
The NZCF Code of Conduct applies to all NZCF members, from the time you leave your house to go to an activity until you arrive home from an activity. It also applies whenever you are wearing your uniform or identifiable to the public as a NZCF member. Breaches of the Code of Conduct are dealt with by the CUCDR. The NZCF Code of Conduct is taught when you first join and reiterated often. It is displayed around the Unit.


We ask that all transactions are completed through our Online Shop.

The only funding we receive is via Annual Subscriptions and fundraising. Fundraising is limited both in Christchurch and from the institutions we apply to – we are open to suggestions for funding ideas. The Support Committee can provide details of the type of fundraising we undertake.

Subscription Fee
Subscription Fees (Subs) are due annually by the end of Term One or by alternative arrangement.

The Squadron fees are made up of the following:
Basic Subs (admin, equipment purchase & repairs)
Building Maintenance
Building insurance component

If you have any concerns about these fees, or find it difficult to finance your cadet’s membership, please talk to either the Support Committee or the Unit Commander, as there are options available.

Activity Fees
Activities must be paid for no later than 6:30pm on the parade night before the activity or you will not be able to attend. Electronic payments are the only way we can accept payment.

Fees are payable at the Online Shop on our website.


Our website is our main source of information It is kept up to date with all the various activities, permission slips and event details.

On the website is our Unit Noticeboard which you will be subscribed to when you join. A weekly summery will be emailed to you every Tuesday.

We encourage you to follow our social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.

We endeavor to communicate all key information via our online Noticeboard. However some information will be given directly to the cadets on a Thursday evening (often verbally). We are in the business of turning young people into tomorrow’s leaders, and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves by paying attention to the information we provide (and to pass it on to you as necessary).

If you cannot attend a unit parade night, you are required to contact the unit. You can do this by:
– Filling out a leave request online via our Leave Request page on the website
– Calling us on (03) 347 5206 and leave a message stating: your Surname, year level (Basic 1 / Basic 2 / Prof / Adv) and the duration of leave required.
If you are absent from a unit night parade and have not requested leave, then the unit may call your parent/guardian to confirm your absence.
If you miss three consecutive parade nights or activities without explanation you will be dismissed from the Unit.

If you cannot attend an activity, you are to let the Adjutant know on the Thursday before or you are to call the Officer In Charge of the activity before the activity starts.
The contact details for the Officer in Charge for each activity can be found on the information sheet given out before the activity or can be found on the unit’s website under forms.
As a last resort you can call the Unit Commander (SQNLDR Kendyl Cole) on 021 852 461 before the start of that activity.

If you no longer wish to stay in the ATC you can resign on any parade night. To do this you need to return your (clean and complete) uniform as soon as possible. Bring your Record of Service Book (NZCF 3822) with you when you return your uniform to have it signed off by the Stores Officer and Unit Commander.

As a new cadet, you will be enrolled in the NZCF online system called CadetNet. CadetNet is a web-based database which Cadet Forces use to record personnel details, emergency contact information, and attendance. It is also the system you will need to use to apply to attend activities, and which your next of kin will need to use to approve your attendance. If you run into problems, please come ask the Adjutant on a Thursday, or email

CadetNet guide


After your subs are paid, you will be issued with your uniform. We will provide you with two different uniforms:

What we issue:

CWD (Cadet Working Dress)

  • Trousers
  • Belt
  • Dark blue long sleeve shirt
  • Rank square (velcro)
  • Baseball cap
  • Name badge (velcro)
  • Boots

3B Working Dress “Blues”

  • Trousers
  • Belt
  • Light blue Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Jersey (wool)
  • Brassard
  • Rank slides
  • Head-dress (“FS Cap”)
  • Name badge

This is your default uniform you will wear on parade nights and most activities.

This is your formal uniform, reserved for events such as ANZAC Day and Final Parade. We also wear this on the first week of each month.

You will be required to provide your own black lace-up shoes to wear with your 3B uniform, and your own black/navy socks.

You are required to wear your uniform to all ATC activities and parade nights, unless told otherwise. The uniforms are worth over $700, so it is extremely important that it is well looked after and kept in good repair. If you outgrow your uniform or parts become unserviceable you can go to the Stores of our unit and exchange parts of your uniform free of charge.

Cadets can choose to wear any gender’s uniform, and can have their uniform preferences accommodated either when they collect their uniform or on parade nights in the future. (The only difference in uniform is in the 3B uniform, which have different head-dress and shirts for males and females. The CWD uniform is the same for all.)

Uniform Presentation
While wearing your ATC uniform, you are not only representing 17 SQN, but you are also representing the NZCF and NZDF. We therefore expect you to maintain a high standard of presentation.
Many items of the uniform contain wool and therefore should not come into direct contact with the iron as they will burn and become glazed. Instead, a thin damp cloth should be placed over the item before ironing. You will receive training in how to iron, clean, wear and store your uniform.

General standards for all cadets:
– Cadets are to maintain a professional, clean and presentable appearance when in uniform. Common sense and good judgment is to be used in the application of this policy.
– Cadets are to have their hair neatly styled and worn in such a manner that it does not interfere with health and safety, operational and training requirements.
– Hair is not to show on the face or forehead under headdress.
– If hair is tinted or dyed it is to be in single tone and a natural hair colour.
– Irregular patterns, partially shaven heads, mullets, Mohawks, undercuts, rat’s tails or emblems are not to be cut or sculpted into hair.
– Fully shaven heads are also an acceptable hair style.

Exemptions to the below standards can be made for religious / cultural reasons (please let us know if this is the case for you, and we will explain the relevant RNZAF Dress Standard).

[The terms “male” and “female” are used below. For cadets who do not identify as either of these genders, the expectation is that their hairstyle will adhere to one of the standards.]

Male Standards
All male cadets are not to have facial hair. They must be clean-shaven.

Short hair: Hair is to be shaped and tapered and must not extend below 13mm above the shirt collar. Hair is not to be ragged, excessive in bulk or length, overlap the eyes and ears when combed, touch the collar or interfere with the wearing of headdress. Sideburns, if worn, are to be neatly trimmed and not increase in width towards the bottom. The bottom of the sideburns must be clear-cut in a horizontal line and not extend below the bottom of the earlobe.

Long hair: If a male cadet chooses* to have long hair, they must adhere to the same hairstyle standards as females (long hair), per below.
[*Note: This is a unit policy only, and is not the standard across the wider NZCF or RNZAF. The official policy is that males are to have short hair unless they have a cultural or religious exemption.]

Females Standards
Long Hair: Hair is to be kept away from the face and not to show on the forehead under headdress. Loose hair must be pinned back off the face neatly. If slides, combs, pins or a bun net are worn they are to be of plain design and of a similar colour to the hair. If hair is not short, it is to be worn in a bun (with a bun net) so that it rests no lower than 20mm from the collar (see picture).

Short hair: Hair is designated short when it does not fall below the lower edge of the back of the shirt collar when the hair is loose. Short hair may be worn out with both uniform types.

Male (short hair)

Long hair

How to wear: CWD (Cadet Working Dress)

How to wear: 3B Working Dress “Blues”

Head- dress
: The service cap is to be worn with the buttons at the front and centrally above the forehead. The cap is to be tilted to the right so that the front edge is 25mm (approx. 2 finger widths) above the right eyebrow. Hair is not to show on the forehead below the cap. The cap is not to be ironed.

Females: The cap is to be worn straight across the forehead with the badge above the left eye. The front edge of the cap is to be 15mm (approx. one finger width) above the left eyebrow. Hair is not to show on the forehead below the cap.



The cap is to be worn while outdoors, or when a person of a superior rank is wearing theirs indoors.

The jersey is to be worn with rank slides, brassard and name tag. Jersey sleeves are to be creased on the outside of the arm from the epaulette to the cuff (refer picture 1). The Jersey is not to be ironed on directly, to avoid burning the wool.

The shirt is to be worn with the top (tie) button undone. If the shirt is worn without a jersey, then rank slides, brassard and name badge are to be worn on the shirt.
The shirt is to be ironed and the sleeves are to have a single crease pressed into them (refer picture 2). The crease should run from the centre of the epaulette to the cuff. Shirts are to be washed after each wearing, paying attention to the collar.

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3

Trousers are to be pressed with creases extending from the waist band to the leg end at the back and front of each leg (refer picture 3). The trousers are not to be ironed on directly, to avoid burning. The trousers should be hemmed so that the bottom of the leg (at the back) sits 1 cm above the sole rim of the shoe (refer picture 4).

Black leather lace-up shoes are to be worn. The uppers are to be highly shined and the edges of the sole are to be blackened and clean. Shoes are to be all black with no coloured stitching or laces. They must be closed-toed and not T-bars. Instant shine is not to be used on shoes, black nugget should be used.

Picture 4

The brassard is to be worn on the right sleeve over the jersey or shirt. The epaulette of the jersey or shirt is passed through the loop on the brassard to hold it in place. The brassard is to have a single, central, vertical crease pressed into it from the top edge to the bottom edge.
The badges worn on the brassard are positioned as follows:
Flying Brevet: (badge with ATC and 2 wings). Worn centrally with the top of the badge 45mm from top of brassard. Awarded for flying solo on Gliding (white) or Power Flying (blue) course, or completing the RNZAF Scholarship (blue with gold lettering). If more than one brevet is awarded, you choose which one to wear.
Basic I Badge: The four-pointed star is worn centrally with one point uppermost. The top of the badge is to be 100mm from the top of the brassard.
Basic II Badge: The second of two four-pointed stars. One star is worn 5mm to the rear (left) of the brassard centre-line with one point uppermost and 100mm from the top of the brassard. The other in the same position but 5mm to the front (right) of the brassard centre-line.
Proficiency Badge: The four-bladed propeller is worn centrally with one blade uppermost. The top of the badge is 100mm from the top of the brassard. The basic I and II badges are removed and returned to Stores.
Advanced Badge: The four bladed propeller, with a four-pointed star superimposed over it, is worn centrally with one blade uppermost 100mm from the top of the brassard. The Proficiency badge is removed and returned to Stores.
Shooting Badges: (Competency, First Class and Marksman). The badge is worn centrally with the bottom edge 5mm above and parallel with the bottom of the brassard. Only highest level badge is worn.
Duke of Edinburgh Award: The bottom of the badge is worn 20mm above the bottom of the brassard. The left-hand edge of the badge is 65mm to the rear (left) of the brassard centre-line. Only highest level badge is worn.
Navigation Badge: (badge with ATC and 1 wing). The bottom of the badge is worn above and parallel with the bottom of the brassard. The left-hand edge of the badge is 60mm to the front (right) of the brassard centre-line.

Brassard Example

Name Badge
The name badge is worn centrally above the right breast pocket of the shirt or the equivalent place on the jersey and female shirt.

The belt is to be worn with the buckle central and the tail (the silver end) to the left. The position of the buckle on the belt is to be adjusted so that the tail only just extends past the first belt-loop when the belt is buckled.

Rank Slides
Are not to be ironed directly and are worn on the shirt or jersey.

NZCF 3822
This is your record of service book which you will be issued with when you join. It contains: your personal details, the NZCF Vision, Mission and Values, your declaration of services, permission from your parents/caregiver to participate in ATC activities, and a record of all activities you have done including courses, promotions, camps, shooting, competitions and flying log. You must bring this book to every ATC activity, it must be kept up to date and signed by your parents/caregivers.

Before coming to ATC each night, please check that you have all items of uniform with you. Remove any fluff/hair from your uniform and ensure that your name badge is straight.

Other Conditions when wearing Uniform.
No bulky objects such as phones, combs, pens, wallets etc should be visible in the pockets. Wedding/engagement rings only may be worn. Trinkets, necklaces, and chains, if worn, must not be visible. Earrings or studs may be worn by females, but they are limited to one pair of plain design and are to be worn in the ear lobe only. Males are not permitted to wear any earrings or studs. Any other body rings/studs/tattoos, when worn, must not be visible. Cosmetic make-up is not to be worn, Minimal/not noticeable makeup i.e., foundation and concealer is acceptable. Cadets will be informed if something is not appropriate during uniform inspection at the beginning of the night.

Uniforms will be inspected by NCOs at the start of each parade night; any Cadets who have not achieved the required dress standard will be provided with support and recommendations they are required to complete to bring their uniform up to standard.

Respect and Deportment

Paying Respect
As a Cadet in this unit, we expect you to respect Officers, NCOs and instructors by:

  • Addressing them by their rank (or as Sir/Ma’am, as appropriate).
  • Standing at attention when addressing or being addressed by a higher ranking NCO, Officer Cadet or Commissioned Officer.
  • Saluting Officers the first and last time you see them each ATC activity/parade night (you can only salute if you are wearing a hat in uniform, if not; simply come to attention and greet them.)
  • Coming to attention, knocking and waiting to be acknowledged before entering the Adjutant’s or Training Office.
  • Saluting and waiting before entering the Unit Commander’s Office, and saluting when you exit.
  • Coming to attention when an Officer or your lesson instructor enters the room (i.e. when “Room” or “Stand Fast” is called).
  • Obeying all lawful orders given by superiors.

At all times while in uniform members of the NZCF are to pay particular attention to their personal deportment. In public, and on military establishments, they are not to slouch, lean against objects, or have their hands in their pockets.

The Rank System

When you join ATC you will be known as a “Basic 1 Cadet” – “Cadet”’ is your rank and “Basic 1” is your year level. You will be addressed as “Cadet ”. There are four compulsory training year levels:

  • Basic 1 (first year),
  • Basic 2 (second year),
  • Proficiency (third year), and,
  • Advanced (fourth year).

Rank is earned by being selected to attend a promotional course, successfully completing the course, and then being selected by the Unit Commander for promotion.

Commissioned Officer ranks are for adults over age 20, who have met the selection criteria and have successfully completed relevant courses.

Rank SlideTitleAddressed as / Saluted?
Cadet (CDT)“Cadet”
(Not saluted)
Leading Air Cadet (LACDT)“L.A.C.” or “Cadet”
(Not saluted)
Note: Leading Air Cadets cannot issue orders within our unit, but as a basic cadet, it would be wise to listen to their advice because they are more experienced than you.
Corporal (CDTCPL)“Corporal”
(Never “Corp”)
(Not saluted)
Sergeant (CDTSGT)“Sergeant”
(Never “Sarge”)
(Not saluted)
Flight Sergeant (CDTF/S)“Flight”  or
“Flight Sergeant”
(Not saluted)
Warrant Officer (CDTW/O)“Sir / Ma’am”
(Not saluted)
Officer Cadet (OFFCDT)“Sir / Ma’am”
(Not saluted)
Pilot Officer (PLTOFF)“Sir / Ma’am”
Flying Officer (FGOFF)“Sir / Ma’am”
Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT)
Note: Lieutenant is pronounced “Left-tenant”,  not “Loo-tenant”
“Sir / Ma’am”
Squadron Leader (SQNLDR)“Sir / Ma’am”

Note: If personnel do not identify as male or female, and would otherwise be addressed as “Sir” or “Ma’am”, they are to be addressed by their rank instead (e.g. “Warrant Officer”, “Flying Officer”, etc).

Hat Badges
Commissioned Officers and Officer Cadets wear a badge with a gold crown, eagle and wreath.
Cadets and NCOs wear a round cloth badge which reads “ATC”.

Cadet badge

Officer badge

At times, the unit may have Civilian Instructors involved with the Unit. They don’t wear rank slides, and will be dressed in civilian clothing. They should be addressed as “Sir / Ma’am” and are not saluted.

17 Squadron Officer Team

Our officer team’s roles can be found on the Unit Structure page.

Other important personnel
From time to time, you may see some NZDF personnel visiting the unit, these are the NZCF support staff from SACFTSU (located at Burnham Military Camp). You should address these personnel by their rank and pay compliments as appropriate.

Camps, Activities and Courses

Information on camps, activities and courses can be found on the Training tab.

Support Committee

The unit has a Support Committee which provides a building for the Unit to parade in. It also handles all Squadron finances and provides fundraising to allow the Unit to undertake activities.

Support Committee Meetings are held every month, usually the third Thursday, at 7pm in the lounge of our HQ.

All parents/caregivers of Cadets are invited to attend any of the meetings without any pressure to join the Committee. If you would like to make a contribution to the operation of the Squadron, please feel free to come along. We are always open to suggestions of any fundraising ideas that parents may have.

Should you just be interested in finding out more about how ATC operates, then come along and we will try to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.

After the usually short meetings, there is always time for general discussion over a cup of coffee.

Parade Ground

In the past, after a battle, when retreat was sounded and the unit had reassembled to call the roll and count the dead, a hollow square was formed. The dead were placed within the square and no-one walked through it. Today, the parade ground represents this square and hence, a unit’s dead. It is deemed to be hallowed ground, soaked with the blood of our fallen and the area is respected as such by all.

On the parade ground, there is to be no walking. You either run, or march. You should not run in uniform unless ordered to. So if you are in uniform, you must march. The area should be treated with respect.


ADJ Adjutant, commonly referred to as “Adj” 
ATCAir Training Corps (“Air Cadets”)
Block Christchurch Cadet Training Centre, 43 Corsair Drive 
CUCDR Cadet Unit Commander 
CWDCadet Working Dress
DPM Disruptive Pattern Material (Camouflage) 
DPTA Drill Purpose Training Aid (“Drill Rifle”) 
Drill Movement in an organised military formation 
Leave Time off from an activity or parade night 
NCO  Non-Commissioned Officer (Youth Leader) 
NZCC New Zealand Cadet Corps (“Army Cadets”) 
NZCF 3822 Your record of service booklet 
NZCF New Zealand Cadet Forces 
NZDF New Zealand Defence Force 
Officer Uniformed staff member with legal responsibility 
Parade Night  Thursday meeting night from 6.30pm to 9.15pm 
Parade Formation of Cadets on a parade ground 
RNZAF Royal New Zealand Air Force 
SACFTSU Southern Area Cadet Forces Training Support Unit 
SCCSea Cadet Corps (“Sea/Navy Cadets”) 
Supplementary Instructor Staff member without legal responsibility 
TGOFF Training Office(r) 
Unit No. 17 Squadron