A small organisation wants to use outdoor pursuits to connect those who have served New Zealand in the past and present.
The Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen's Association of New Zealand (SSAANZ) has just wrapped up a two-day hunting skills course in rural Whanganui, with more big plans for 2020.
SSAANZ trustee Chris Morris ran the two-day course at Muddy Waters Hunting, taking participants through different theory and field work, including basic firearms training, preparation for a hunt, skinning and carrying techniques, and more.
Morris said the hunting course is directed towards those that have zero or limited hunting experience, with firearms and equipment provided.
"It's purely about building community, getting people outdoors, taking people out of their comfort zone, getting them to do things they normally wouldn't do," he said.
It was the sixth hunting course they have had at Muddy Waters Hunting, which is run by Hamish Luce.
Nine people came along for the course, many hunting for the first time. All nine participants were successful in their hunts, securing game that can be taken home.
The organisation, established in 2018, aims to improve the way ex-servicemen and women interact with each other, and to grow and foster support and friendship.
It was founded after national co-ordinator David Benfell was recovering in the United Kingdom from a paratrooping accident, and noticed the services being offered to veterans there.
After coming back to New Zealand and realising there wasn't anything similar, Benfell and the group began working towards filling that void.
They organise all sorts of outdoor pursuits activities, including golf, fishing, whitewater rafting, skydiving and diving. All the money for the events is generated through subscriptions from members and the SSAANZ Trust.
Morris is a former serviceman himself, serving in the New Zealand Army for 10 years.
Whilst he stresses they aren't a welfare group, Morris said they have contacted various organisations about what they could potentially offer.
"If you've got someone that's having difficulty and you think they might benefit from coming on one of activities, let us know and we will subsidise them.
"Come get amongst like minded-people, they can talk and hang out and start enjoying themselves."
Morris dreams of one day being able to provide the activities for free, but admits that funding is a constant struggle.
With more than 200 members, the organisation aims to have an event once a month. Morris welcomes all servicemen and women past and present, no matter their age or where they served.
People interested in joining the group can find more information online at www.ssaanz.co.nz