The largest cadet force exercise held in this country in at least 50 years is under way at Waiouru.
Some 1200 cadets and officers, including 120 from Australia and Canada, are taking part in a range of activities including flying, sailing and tramping.
New Zealand Cadet Forces commandant Glen Stokes said the youth development organisation focuses on leadership and teamwork. Around the country, 3700 air, army and sea cadets serve in 100 units.
Commander Stokes said teenagers aged from 13 to 18 gain confidence and experience, and many of them go on to join the military once they leave school.
The exercise ends on Wednesday with a parade before the Governor-General, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, at Waiouru Army Camp.
The New Zealand Cadet Force was founded in 1864 with a school cadet unit in Dunedin. The first sea cadet unit was started in Christchuch in 1929 and in 1941 the first air training unit was formed in Wellington.