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Based on the premise that helping comes naturally to New Zealanders, the Navy is doing well to attract clever, agile recruits like Joshua Finau.

The 25-year-old says his interest in joining the New Zealand Defence Force came after attending a military-focused service academy during his last year at Onehunga High School.

 "I always enjoyed physical training and hands on work, as well as travel so my ambition was to join the Navy, but before I started I saw a course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as a good opportunity to prepare myself."

 In 2014 Joshua enrolled into a Level 3 Health and Fitness programme at Māngere Campus, while also working part time at a freight company - which he admits was a challenge.

"I learned a lot about myself and what I could do physically through pushing myself, which has helped in most other areas of my life, such as my communications skills and general well-being."

 As well as getting physically fit, Joshua says he also received a good understanding of the human body and what was required for optimal function through training and nutrition.

 "I also learned a lot about team building and coaching, which was definitely helpful. Overall I got exactly what I needed to help me get into the Navy."

 During his 18-week basic training - which included arms training, being submerged under water to repair a leak in the side of a ship, as well as grueling survivor mode training - Joshua was the first person in his intake of 35 to complete his task book.

In 2015 he successfully enlisted into the role of Store Accountant. Onboard a ship, that means he looks after the logistical requirements -  from chemical cleaning products to firearms and ammunition.

"Basically whatever supplies are required, it is our job to obtain the items."

As an essential part of the efficient supply chain between ships and shore, not only is Joshua responsible for ordering equipment and ensuring its safe delivery, he's part of a duty watch roster for ship security.

Since he joined the Navy, Joshua has also undertaken humanitarian relief work in Christchurch and was posted to Fiji on a three-month deployment during Cyclone Winston. In acknowledgement of his work ethic and training accomplishments, he was promoted to the rank of Able Rate, at the end of 2016.

Last year, when The Royal New Zealand Navy commemorated 75 years of maritime defence service with a series of regatta events, international Navy fleets that were in New Zealand as part of the celebrations, ended up having to help out during the Kaikoura earthquake.

The Tongan Navy also took part in the celebrations, which excited Joshua because while he was born and raised in Auckland, he has strong connections to Tonga, where his father is from.

 Meanwhile Joshua plans to keep pushing up through the ranks, make a difference in the world, and stay committed to his well-being.

"The physical aspect definitely attracted me to the wānanga programme and learning about health and fitness is something I am still passionate about," he says.

 "But now I also get to travel quite a bit. I'm loving navy life." 

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Published On: July 4, 2017

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