Teamwork and communication are just as important as fitness when it comes to taking on the NZ Defence Forces, some local university students found out recently.
24 students from AUT University’s Manukau campus were invited onto the Devonport Naval Base to participate in a series of challenges against teams from the New Zealand army, navy and airforce.
The event, organised by AUT’s student association, AuSM, gave students an inside look into the physical and mental toughness required by the armed forces, and how they measured up.
“I wanted to see for myself the kinds of challenges the defence force did. I wanted to see how hard it was, and challenge myself to find out if I was that fit or not,” says AUT Manukau student, Agnelia Brown.
Agnelia, who is studying for a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation at AUT’s Manukau campus, plays sport at a social level, but found it wasn’t enough to ward off the post-event aches. “It was so hard,” she says. “The next day I didn’t get out of bed until 2 o’clock. I would have stayed in bed all day if I could have, I was that sore.”
Although difficult, at times the student team did challenge the defence forces. “For one event, we had to drag a unimog. Our girls’ team finished only three seconds behind the army team, which was made up of nine guys and two girls. And our boys’ team was only one second behind the army’s male team,” says Agnelia.
But the experience left the students with more than just sore muscles. “It taught me the importance of communication and teamwork,” says Agnelia. “Some of the events relied more on communicating well as a team, and working together, rather than just being really fit.”
This is the first year the event has been run. AUT student association leaders are grateful to the NZ Defence Force for the opportunity to participate in the event, and hope to repeat it on an annual basis.