Kaitaia's Children's Complex shook to its foundations last week as members of Kaitaia's No 64 Squadron and Kaikohe's 25 Squadron of the Air Training Corps (ATC) honoured Kaitaia's unit commander with a spirited haka.
Flight Lieutenant Warren Whareaitu was formally promoted to squadron leader, the highest rank achievable in the ATC, by Warrant Officer Donnie Donnellan, acting area co-ordinator, who was part-way through a tour of the Northland squadrons.
Squadron Leader Whareaitu's promotion was the culmination of an evening of congratulations and celebrations, well supported by the Kaikohe squadron and proud families, which had earlier seen cadet Flight Sergeant Jenny Crene promoted to the rank of warrant officer, Odette Jennings to sergeant and Eddie Insley to corporal.
WO Donnellan said the whole idea behind the ATC was to produce good New Zealand citizens, and that goal was well and truly being achieved. He had been impressed with what he had seen in Kaikohe the previous evening and now in Kaitaia, with special congratulations for those who had been promoted.
Each unit could only have one warrant officer cadet, he said, which made WO Crene's promotion particularly meritorious, while Squadron Leader Whareaitu's new rank was well deserved after a long and distinguished career that began in 2000.
He was assigned to command 25 Squadron in 2003, as a pilot officer, was promoted to flying officer in 2007 and to flight lieutenant in 2011. He was assigned to command 64 Squadron in August last year.