Picking a career has not been a problem for the George siblings from Russell. Rather it's been a matter of turn 18, join the Royal New Zealand Navy.

One after the other, Mikayla, Lukas and Quade George arrived at the Devonport Naval Base gates with a large suitcase, ready to start basic common training and embrace a life at sea.

The oldest, Mikayla, now 22, led the way.

"We are a close-knit family, so it's been great to be around to support each other and share our experiences of being in the Navy," she said.


And her decision probably didn't come as much of a surprise.

She has cousins in Russell, and an aunt and uncle, all serving in the RNZN.

"I joined straight from school. My aunt, who was already in the Navy, suggested it to me because it offered a good career," she said.

"Moving to Auckland was quite scary at first, going from a small town where I knew everyone to a massive city I'd not seen before."

She completed basic common training early in 2016, and had been grateful for the insights offered by a cousin who was in the intake before hers.

"She said, 'If I can do it, you can do it,' so that gave me some confidence," she said.

"I went into it very fit from the sport I was playing — 7s, touch and netball — plus I knew a bit about what to expect, and that helped."

Mikayla went on to undertake electronic technician training, learning the basics of the trade, and then specialised as a weapons technician, preferring a more hands-on role, sailing aboard HMNZS Te Kaha in New Zealand waters and as far as Hawaii during her delivery voyage to Canada for her weapons systems upgrade.


Brother Lukas, 20, joined in 2018, and is now a marine technician.

"I had attended my sister's basic common training graduation and visited the base several times, and enjoyed what I saw, so that, plus the fact I was keen to travel and serve on a ship, pushed me towards a military career," he said.

"It was good having my sister here because I came to Auckland not knowing many people. Coming from a small town, it was great having family in the Navy."

Ordinary Marine Technician George posted to his first ship, HMNZS Manawanui, in August, and is looking forward to plenty of overseas travel this year.

Meanwhile Quade, who completed basic common training in December, will also train as a marine technician.

Their mum, Nicole George, said it hadn't been planned that all three would join, but it had been a good move.

"They were keen to get a trade, and they have already made some great friends for life," she said.

"When they come home we go to the local RSA, where lots of the locals know and appreciate that they are serving in the Navy."