Takeaways, Gary Shaw, Stomach-marching


Greetings Clubbies. My commiserations for those in Auckland who are still locked down at level 3 - at least you can now get takeaways.

Mentioning takeaways reminds me of cadet and Army days in Waiouru. As cadets we were always hungry, and our nearest takeaways were the burgers and baked bean meals that you could buy at the Garrison Club or YMCA, usually straight after tea (see 'Military Arts' below). After graduating, and if you had the misfortune to be posted back to Waiouru (or were on course there), you got familiar with the delights of the Main Road eateries - who can forget the 'Greasy Spoon', a nosh-up at the Oasis, or the Singaporean-Chinese that opened in the early 80s? Of course, if you had imbibed a bit too much at the mess and the aforementioned places were closed, you could always drive south to Taihape in search of a pie (unsuccessfully, in the case of one of my mates, who banged up himself and his car in the process.)

I had a look on the web for what takeaways you can get in Waiouru these days and was mildly surprised to find a selection of nine places, including a Subway, a pizza and pasta place, the National Army Museum's cafe, and an assortment of others. I would suggest that you checkout Trip Advisor's reviews before making a pick to stop at.


I bet, like hospitality businesses nationwide, they all did it hard during lockdown levels 4 and 3 with much less drive-through traffic. A bit ironic really, there is more choice in Waiouru eateries than in the heyday of cadets, but far fewer people living there to cater for.

Our tribute this month is to Gary Shaw who, with 51 year's service would have to be one of the longest-serving ex-cadets.

Tribute - one of our own

Major Gary John SHAW, MNZM, RNZIR, NZSAS, Ngarimu VC Class

Gary was born in Whakatane on 12 August 1953.  He joined the New Zealand Army as a Regular Force Cadet in January 1970 as a member of Ngarimu VC Class.  Gary graduated into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in May 1971.

He was initially posted to 1 Battalion Depot Burnham to complete infantry corps training and then to the National Service Training Unit as an instructor.  In September 1972 he was posted back to the Battalion Depot as a mortar fire controller.

In May 1973 Gary was posted to the Mortar Platoon 1 RNZIR, Singapore.  Gary returned to New Zealand in May 1975 and successfully completed the NZSAS Selection Course in October 1975 and was then posted to 1 Ranger Squadron, NZSAS as a Trooper.  Gary remained with the NZSAS until 1980.   He was then posted as an instructor to the Support Arms Wing at the School of Infantry.  In 1984 he was next posted to 2/1 RNZIR, first as a CQMS and then as a CSM.  In 1986 Gary was posted to the Multi-National Force and Observers in the Sinai as an instructor with the NZ Training and Advisory Team.  He was again posted to 1 RNZIR as the Mortar Warrant Officer and then as CSM A Company.  On the Battalion’s return to New Zealand Gary was posted to The Army Depot at the Army Training Group, Waiouru.  In May 1990 he was again posted to the School of Infantry as the School Sergeant Major.  In this appointment he also fulfilled the role of Senior Instructor Small Arms Wing due to a shortage of a suitability qualified officer.  In 1992 Gary was posted to 1 RNZIR Linton as the RSM.

Gary was posted to the Officer Cadet School, Waiouru, in 1994 as the RSM before being posted to UNPROFOR Bosnia as the NZ Contingent RSM in 1995.  On returning from UNPROFOR in 1996 Gary was appointed as the Command RSM 2 Land Force Group and then in 1999 to Headquarters Land Command as the Command RSM.

In 2001 Gary was commissioned and posted to UNTSO, Lebanon, as an observer.


In 2003 he was posted back to 1 NZSAS Regiment where he remained until 2019.  During this time Gary served tours to Afghanistan in 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2013.  He has also served in a variety of command and staff positions including S8 (R&D), S5 (Plans) at regimental level and S3 (Operations) at both squadron and regimental level.  He has also served as the Senior Instructor (S7) of the Special Operations Training Centre as well as the Officer Commanding, the Special Operations Training Centre.  His next appointment was as Second in Command of 1 NZSAS Regiment.  He is currently serving as the Special Operations Capability Manager, Special Operations Command, NZDF.

There can be few of our cohort, if any, who have held such a variety of important operational appointments as both a soldier and officer.  Gary has seen regimental service with the Regular Force Infantry Battalions and the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment.

He has held a variety of regimental appointments as a non-commissioned officer, as a warrant officer with the Regular Force Infantry Battalions and the School of Infantry.  He has been employed as an instructor, a section commander, a mortar fire controller, the Mortar Warrant Officer, the Senior Sniper Instructor, a company sergeant major and has been employed at unit, formation and at Land Command as a regimental sergeant major.  Within 1 NZSAS Regiment, Gary has held appointments as a trooper and operator in both the green and black roles, as well as a patrol commander and instructor.  As an officer he has served in a variety of command and staff appointments.  He has also found the time to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Administrative Leadership.

In 2004 Gary’s outstanding service in the Lebanon was recognised for his performance under difficult operational circumstances by being appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

He has also been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and holds the Armed Forces Award as well as the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and Bar.

We must also mention through most of his 51 years of service he has been supported by his stalwart of a wife, Barbara.


Thanks to Bob Davies for coordinating this tribute.

Military Arts

Kevin on marching on our stomachs

The following is an extract from my memoir as a RF Cadet, Home Base, being published by The Cuba Press next month. Note that the cover - a photo of me holding a can of possibly fruit salad - continues the eating theme from above.

Kevin is Cadet Lance corporal Kevin Bovill, who was my first section commander when I marched-in in 1964. He gets a few mentions - all good - in the book, so this is a bit of a heads-up for him:

The Army had worked out how much food a soldier should be fed each day. They called it a ration scale and based food-purchasing on it. As we were growing boys, we were each entitled to a ‘scale and a half’. Overnight, I went from eating at home alone to sumptuous communal dining, from cheap cuts and offal to smorgasbord.

‘After breakfast keep hold of your K, F, and S – that’s knife, fork and spoon for those going into the Infantry. Make sure you wash and dry them and put them in your top drawer when you get back,’ he said after he tried his best to march us to breakfast.

Each end of the mess hall held about 15 formica-topped tables. In the middle were tables with bulk breakfast cereal containers, plates, jugs of milk, toast-making machines, and tea urns. On another table were two large pots of water. Those who had already eaten were washing their cutlery in one and rinsing them in the other before drying them on some large tea-towels that were once white. On another table were stacks of unwashed breakfast dishes that were being collected periodically by surly-looking senior cadets wearing denims.

‘They’re on mess fatigues,’ he said as he shepherded our progress in the meal queue. ‘You’ll find out what that’s all about when you start getting rostered on in a couple of weeks.’

Tiny Hill, the School Sergeant Major, and some other Regular Force and Cadet NCOs were standing around watching.

‘Where do you think you’re going?’ Tiny would say to a Cadet NCO every now and then, as he tried to join the meal queue. The NCO would then sidle sheepishly up to and join the onlookers.

‘He’s forgotten he’s been promoted,’ Kevin told us. ‘The NCOs have to wait until you lot have got yours before we can eat.’

‘What can we have?’ I whispered to Kevin. He looked at me with an amused expression on his face. ‘The lot,’ he said, ‘but don’t try it if you have PT first period.’

But it was not uncommon for cadets who five seconds ago were replete with dinner, to walk out the mess door and head across the road to the Armed Forces Canteen, where they would buy large plates of baked beans and eggs, or hamburgers.

RF Cadet School Trivia

So you all got Bob Davies as the answer to last month's trivia question? (Too easy.)

The question this month has probably got different answers depending on when you were a cadet:

What was the standard meal you got served for Sunday night tea? (I suspected it was designed to stop us going AWOL over the weekend.)


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top