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From Putaruru to Washington D.C.

Leading Aircraftsman Ahjah Paul (left) and members of the RNZAF Maori Cultural Group welcome US NZ forum guests to the New Zealand Embassy
Leading Aircraftsman Ahjah Paul (left) and members of the RNZAF Maori Cultural Group welcome US NZ forum guests to the New Zealand Embassy

22 May 2013

Five years ago today Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) Ahjah Paul from Putaruru joined the Air Force as a Logistics Specialist. Little did the former Matamata College student suspect that five years later she would be sharing her culture in Washington D.C. in support of the US-NZ Pacific Partnership Forum, as a member of the Air Force Maori Culture Group (MCG).

I am very proud to have been chosen to represent the Air Force and New Zealand to share some of our culture at the Forum, alongside the Air Force Band," she said.

LAC Paul joined the Air Force when she was 18.

"My day job involves organising the spare parts that are needed to keep our aircraft flying. I enjoy my career because the  Air Force gives me opportunities for travel, sports and kapa Haka." LAC Paul's iwi is Ngati Raukawa - Tainui.

Another aspect of her job that she loves having the opportunity to meet new people.

"Service life as a whole has a great family feeling to it. We work hard and are disciplined and strive to achieve anything asked of us.
 
"I got to travel to Gallipoli for the 95th Anzac Day Commemorations and that has been a career highlight for me, and it has been great to travel to Washington too. I hope to deploy on future overseas operations and I would really like the chance to serve in Antarctica.

"I would definitely recommend joining the Air Force and the MCG — they are like my second family.I love the diversity of my role as a Logistics Specialist and the opportunity to learn from others, and the chance to make lifetime friendships."

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