Tauranga-born Krystal Sims is making the most of her time in the navy as she juggles the role with her full-time career as a nurse as well as post-graduate nursing studies.
Raised in the Coromandel, the 24-year-old holds the rank of Ordinary Maritime Trade Operator and has been a Naval Reservist with the Royal New Zealand Navy since 2016.
She is also a Waikato District Health Board nurse.
After starting postgraduate studies, Sims said she was keen to take a more active role within HMNZS Ngapona, the Navy's Northern region Reserve Division.
She and other Navy Reservists from units across the country recently gathered in Auckland for an exercise to help them better understand how their role supported the navy's operational capabilities.
It included visiting the Devonport Naval Base, touring the Navy's newest vessel, HMNZS Aotearoa, experiencing the Seamanship Simulator, and Navy Museum and Marae.
They also gave a helping hand to the Auckland community by planting trees at Shakespear Regional Park and did a beach clean at Army Bay.
It was the first major exercise Sims had been involved with, she said.
"There's a lot to the exercise but I really enjoyed all the different aspects."
Sims said now she was attached to the Tauranga unit, she had begun learning the tradecraft of Maritime Trade Operations which was solely performed by Naval Reserve personnel, and linked with the civilian maritime community.
"I have also given a couple of medical briefs - refreshers on basic first aid and CPR.
"Everyone is so supportive of my role within the unit but also in my civilian life. Everyone wants to see everyone else achieve.
"Joining the Naval Reserves is a good way to get a taste of military life and get involved with things that are totally different to the things we do in everyday life.
"For example, I really enjoy the weapons training weekends that qualify us and update our skills. And as we are fitness-tested, it is also a good way to keep your fitness up."
Assistant Chief of Navy (Reserves) Captain Phillip O'Connell said Naval Reservists provided a valued, flexible workforce of skilled professionals.
"They support Navy delivery from the front line at sea and ashore to senior management. Modern Reservists are a blended mix of personnel.
"Some are people who have signed up for part-time service as an adjunct to their civilian careers.
"Others are ex-Regular Force personnel who have transitioned to civilian careers or are taking time out from full-time service for reasons such as whanau needs and further education," he said.