He was 16 years and eight months old when he joined a class of 75 cadets in Waiouru in 1990.
Now, Wiremu Moffitt has been announced as the next Sergeant Major of the New Zealand Army.
WO1 Wiremu Moffitt DSD, 46, comes from a military family.
His father served with 1 NZSAS Regiment from 1964 until 1978 and his mother was in the Air Force in the 1970s.
A private designation was made announcing Moffitt as Sergeant Major by the Chief of Army, Major John Bowell, on June 28.
"I was privileged to be publicly announced by Minister of Defence Ron Mark on Monday, 8 July, during the NZ-led Senior Enlisted Leader Conference in Auckland," Moffitt said.
"I always wanted to serve. I could have gone in any direction with regard to the three services, but there was a sense of familiarity to the Land Force (Army)."
Moffitt put this down to where he was raised in Papakura Camp. He was raised in Auckland before moving on to the region of his whānau, South Taranaki.
Moffitt attended St Joseph's School in Patea and then Waverley Primary School before attending Patea High School.
He spent one year training at Waiouru Military Camp and was then posted to Linton Camp near Palmerston North.
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Moffitt said he has travelled extensively throughout his career.
"As we say in the infantry, it's not the years, but the miles and I've done a few," he said.
"The Defence Force has taken me to some wonderful places, from the deserts to the ice, the jungles of Malaysia to the plains of Africa.
"I can't recall exactly how many places or countries I've been to, because they blur together into quite a surreal journey that most military people get to enjoy."
Growing up in Papakura, Moffitt's first mentors were men in his father's unit, who were fit, street smart and natural leaders.
Now, he is inspired by leaders and influencers, men and women who dare to challenge themselves to protect their society and culture.
They are people that Moffitt himself can now help and he relishes the opportunity.
"Being out with soldiers is a fantastic and energising way to spend your day," Moffitt said.
"Through that contact, I get the chance to sit with and be with young New Zealanders who do a great job for the community and this country."
When he is not motivating young soldiers, Moffitt enjoys getting in some firing range practice and parachute jumping.
However, being in the Army is not all about training. Soldiers spend time in areas of conflict and that can be scary.
Moffitt said the worst moments were being shot at by the enemy.
"That's happened to me on occasion throughout the past 28 years.
"In terms of training, the Army is about pushing physical and psychological boundaries. We need to do that every now and then to ensure we can do it on the fateful day."
Moffitt believes it is not hard to get into the NZ Army, but it is a process in which they carefully select the type and character of their force.
He was not pushed into what he is doing by his military parents, it was something that he wanted and is committed to.
Moffitt said the Army does not make it easy and getting in he faced the paradox of forced integration.
"One day you are your own person with freedom and choice, 12 hours later you have 80 additional people in your life, eight of whom you'll spend the next 120 days to a year living with.
"It's a great process though. It makes you work hard for each other, solve challenges together, support each other and overcome adversity together."
Moffitt will take over from Sergeant Major Clive Douglas as Sergeant Major of the New Zealand Army from April 2020.
The Sergeant Major acts as an advisor to the Chief of Army on matters affecting the training, management and welfare of the soldiers of the New Zealand Army.