New Zealand Army Conducts “Show and Tell” Primary School Tour, Gives Kids Hands-On with Assault Rifles, Military Equipment

The New Zealand Defence Force is conducting a rather unique campaign: They are taking their war materiel – including select-fire assault rifles – to primary schools in New Zealand, to teach kids about leadership, values, army life, and – of course – weapons. As reported by Manawatu Standard News:

“Have the support into your shoulder… When you are ready to fire, take it off safety, and when you get the OK to fire, pull the trigger and then you’re right,” lance corporal Melissa Trail showed the children.

The army also spoke about leadership and leaders, such as former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and Victoria Cross winner Willie Apiata.

Top tips for being a leader were honesty, delegation, good communication, confidence, commitment and humour, major Tim Woodhouse told the children.

Corporal Israel McNicholl said it was good to show a glimpse of “army life” interactively.

“The kids just love the guns, you know what kids are like… but they are not toys.

“Most of the children’s questions were about the kit, not what the higher ideas are.”

Eleven-year-old Kane O’Hara said the seminar was “really fun”.

“It’ll just be something that’s imprinted on your brain.”

He had never held a gun before and said “it felt amazing and cool”.

The children are shown holding NZDF versions of the Australian-made F88, itself a variant of the Steyr AUG. They were taught assembly and disassembly of the weapons, in addition to proper firing technique. The F88 is being replaced in NZDF service by the new LMT MARS AR-15-derived assault rifle, as of late summer 2015.

Mixing children and firearms is bound to be controversial in the modern urbanized world, but there is a paradoxical beneficial upshot to programs like this: Young children develop a better sense of respect not only for firearms, but also for the wider world around them. Many things in life are dangerous, and teaching kids to respect and awareness of even some of those things provides a great lesson that pays dividends later on. A child who knows how to respect a firearm will likely more readily respect the responsibility of driving an automobile, for example, and better understand the potential consequences of an accident in either case.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Audie Bakerson

    We need this in the US. Better use of the child’s time than listening to union teachers who would sacrifice their futures for a small raise in a heart beat.

    • nadnerbus

      We teach kids Drivers Ed in high school, we teach about civics and the right to vote. Hell, my government teacher registered kids to vote as they turned 18.

      It should be completely common sense to have a firearm safety and familiarity course, where kids at an appropriate age are tought gun safety, and basic mechanical handling of common gun types. They don’t have to be real guns, replicas or demils would be fine.

      If anti gunners really cared about preventing accidental gun deaths, this might be the single best thing they could do.

      • Ryfyle

        Makes PE more fun. 3 gun matches way out class dodge ball.

        • koolhed

          “He had never held a gun before and said “it felt amazing and cool…”


      • L Cavendish

        classes from K-12…mandatory…develop the course for the age group…
        teach safety and respect…
        have guests in…police…military…medical…criminals even…

    • Wow!

      Perhaps instead of discussing fashion during break, the gossip will be the best aftermarket accessories. I’d invest in that future.

  • Celine

    Nathaniel is back <3 And with such a cool post.

    • I never really left. Just been a lot going on outside of TFB. Thanks for the support!

      • Celine

        ..b-but 6 entire days ; – ;

  • Tassiebush

    Once again our cousins across the Tasman show us how much better than here they are.

    • Hung

      lol its so restricted there even Airsoft is forbidden…

      • Tassiebush

        I think you’re getting New Zealand and Australia mixed up.

        • iksnilol

          I mean, geez, how hard is it to differentiate the two.

          NZ = hobbits, Australia = Mad Max.

          Like, it’s an ocean of differences, y’all.

          • Tassiebush

            Well more like a sea of difference… I guess to be fair to Hung it’s still pretty restrictive by US standards with guns considering Kiwi’s need a licence and the types are more restrictive but then again I suspect most Americans would feel pretty upset if they realized how much less restricted hunting is in New Zealand. I always chuckle watching kiwi based hunting clips on YouTube with Americans pointing out game law violations because it doesn’t occur to them it could be anywhere else.

          • Dougscamo

            Read this as I was preparing to go turkey hunting….and was late…but didn’t have time to ask, what game violations? Can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone doing anything unethical on NZ hunts.
            NZ is on the bucket list, BTW….

          • Tassiebush

            It’s never anything unethical. It’s usually just someone thinking that a bag limit has been exceeded or exclaiming that a shotgun has more than 3 rounds. Yeah I really want to go there too. Good luck on the Turkey!

          • Dougscamo

            Bag limits are variable. At one time, a big game license, archery license, and muzzle loading license here in the Commonwealth of Virginia would net you 6 whitetails….and you could buy extra tags if so desired. No longer, I’m afraid though you can buy “bonus” doe tags.
            As far as a shotgun having more than 3 rounds, it is legal for me to put whatever it will hold….as long as I am not shooting federally regulated migratory birds so it’s 4 in the tube and 1 up the pipe for me. People need to get over this critical attitude and learn the facts! As far as the turkey hunting….it is a game of intersections….meeting the right bird in the right time and right place. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any intersections so far…but it is early….as long as I can fit it into my range and fishing schedule…. 🙂

        • Hung

          Really? People that live there always tell me its not there. Idk

          • Tassiebush

            Fair enough they probably aren’t aware of it. They definitely have an airsoft scene.
            Basically if it’s something stupidly restricted it’s much more likely it’s Australia than New Zealand. Our cousins are smarter than us.

        • df
      • Airsoft is not forbidden. You might pay to get your “facts” right.

        You can also own pretty much anything you can in the US…and of course we have free and unfettered access to sound moderators for hunting.

        The main difference is licensing and there are not carry laws at all. But it doesn’t stop you owning pistols and fully automatic weapons if you so desire and want to jump through the security loops.

        You might pay to visit…I’ll take you hunting if you want and show you how it is really done…especially on hogs…the clue for hogs is no one uses guns to hunt those…knives and dogs only…are you man enough?

        • Tassiebush

          Don’t forget to that unlike the rest of the world you guys don’t run round suing each other either. I’m sincerely jealous of New Zealand.

        • iksnilol

          No offense, but, when you break something, do you go to a hospital?

          Or are you man enough to not use modern tech?

          Because, seriously, that who’s more manly thing is just stupid.

          • Younggun

            Agreed. Tired of this old line. Did the Stone age folks tell the bronze age to man up? Why not just throw out toilet paper and use leaves? You actually wear clothes? Just go naked like they did in the olden times, man up. This is ridiculous. If you want to use an inferior tool for a job, don’t pretend like you are manly for doing so. I can also refer everyone who thinks they live by this tired trope to some footpaths to get to and from work rather than their 21st century automobile. I suppose we won’t hear back from them either because they are going to need to smoke signal the response rather than use modern tech. Man up right?

          • It’s just how pigs are hunted.

        • Georgiaboy61

          Cam, a buddy of mine and I tried joining the New Zealand armed forces a decade a ago, but we couldn’t make it happen – sorry to say. We aren’t citizens of the CW, and neither of us had military experience here in the states, so we were declined. Too bad, because I have the feeling I would have loved your country. Can we still visit?

          • Of course you still can….only seasons we have for hunting is bird season…which starts first weekend of May. All other animals hunting is year round. You’ve just missed the roar (the rut).

          • Georgiaboy61

            OK, now I just have to save the money to come down …. but thanks for the info…

        • mxprivateer

          I’m pretty sure the dogs are doing 99% of the work in that situation.

      • When I went there guns were super easy to deal with. Sure like most countries I had to have a reason to bring them along with no carry, but beyond that they just wanted the $25NZD and to check that I was taking them home with me. They even gave me a NZ Police uniform patch on the way out.

        Now everything gun related is very expensive there because most of it has to be imported. I could’ve paid for my entire 3 week trip with a suitcase full of Pmags.You can almost buy an 8lb jub of Titegroup for the same price I paid for a 1lb jug, and Federal SPP were the same price.

    • sdx

      All EU msm banning this article but promoting other where some tipe of a gun is ussed incorrectly in 3,2…..

  • BattleshipGrey

    Iowa just passed a law that finally lets parents (or an instructor with parent’s approval) teach kids under 14 how to use and handle handguns. My wife said liberals are screaming on FB about pistols are going to be passed around at school now, blood in the streets and all that BS. My kids are happy I can finally teach them handguns. Something they would’ve otherwise had to wait until they were 14 to learn.

    • UWOTM8

      Leftists seem to have two settings: high as a kite and frothing hysteria, and they manage to be insufferable in both.

      • Major Tom

        If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard leftists cry out “blood in the streets” or some equivalent over firearms I’d have like 15 thousand dollars by now.

        And every single cent of that is every single time they are/were wrong.

        • JT303

          It happened with SB656. ‘Blood in the streets’ and ‘mass shootings left right and centre.’ MO joined a number of states with permitless carry, and I’ve not been hearing anything about blood in the streets.

          • john huscio

            Once they’ve been proven wrong, they shut up or find a different Avenue of attack.

          • koolhed

            The liberal hand-wringers said the same thing about the 65 MPH speed limit when it was enacted, after years of 55 MPH freeways.

            “Blood on the highways.”

          • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

            Yep…and typically I drive 5 over and on the 65 mph roads 10 over and the police don’t even bat an eyelash unless your doing 15 over which is 80 and there still isn’t blood on the highways.

          • Major Tom

            They used the public safety argument when news broke out that one highway in Texas (The Dallas-Houston one) was going to adopt an 80 MPH speed limit.

            Haven’t heard of any massacres-by-car-crash yet.

          • AlDeLarge

            The freeway speed limit is 80 out here in West Texas, 75 on the highways. There’s an 85 mph toll road near Austin.

          • Major Tom

            Or they dimwittedly double down on it even harder. And even more blatantly stupid in their rhetoric and behavior.

        • mxprivateer

          The same thing happened in Arizona a few years back when they passed the law allowing concealed carry without needing a permit. The lefties said people would be shooting each other dead in the streets, but that never happened.

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      I taught mine at home starting at age 6 using a .22 “Chipmunk”. I don’t need someone to tell me what I can or cannot do with my children. They had to pass a “law”? The founding fathers are laughing at all of the cowardly people living in the US.

      • BattleshipGrey

        I’ve been teaching my kids on a 22 rifle since they were 4, but this law specifically allows them to handle and shoot pistols. I had actually showed a couple of them how to disassemble them before and had let one of my older kids shoot a handgun before she was 14, but I’d forgotten about that law at the time. Seeing as how I’m in LE, I figured I should should follow the law.

    • anonymous

      > Bullpups + children. Seems oddly familiar….

      Would you like to know more?

    • Ryfyle

      Kids love Bulpups and shooting large bugs.

  • The usual snowflakes were outraged as usual…but the kids loved it.

  • 22winmag

    Has anyone shot themselves in the foot on video yet? Any of the children caught a bullet fragment yet?

    • Major Tom

      I’d imagine they didn’t use live ammo.

  • dsf

    New Zeland MSM are equal to EU, triying to scare the people with missinformation and “graphic” pictures.

    The “assault rifles (and pdw)” of the picture are airsoft toys.

  • dsf

    “No records on thousands of guns being stolen each year”
    www stuff co nz
    That press can tell us something about “guns” situation in New Zeland, the more interesting are the posts below.

    • sdf

      The most hillarius of this “cachee” is the “MP7”.
      It seems that all the press and powers around the globe want to scare and dissarm the people.

  • anonymous

    Mixing children and firearms is bound to be controversial in the modern urbanized world, but there is a paradoxical beneficial upshot to programs like this: Young children develop a better sense of respect not only for firearms,

    Nyet! Only acceptable gun safety education is “abstinence only”.

  • john huscio

    Unlike their wackadoodle nannystate cousins across the Tasman sea, the Kiwis seem to have their heads on somewhat straight.

  • Tinkerer

    I’m a 12 years-old little girl too, can I have an F88? Pretty please?

    • Shape

      nawww ofcourse *gives F88 with Grenade Launcher, 210rounds and a few grenades*

  • WoundedEmuWarVeteran

    I guess they prepare for the second Great-Emu-War??

  • nonobaddog

    This should be a normal and frequent part of a well-rounded education everywhere. It is kind of a sad statement that this is even in the “News”.

  • Disarmed in CA

    What sounds like thunder is liberal heads exploding

  • Russ Kell

    “He had never held a gun before and said “it felt amazing and cool”.”

    That. Right there.

    The antis do their damnedest to de-normalize firearms and make them ‘icky’ so that by a time a child becomes an adult, they only see them as objects of fear and loathing. This then perpetuates into the next cycle, and the next, etc.

    Getting kids exposed to FA’s early, safely, and proper respect would work to destroy the negative indoctrination that progs are pushing.

    • Ryfyle

      Guns are far cooler than the Anti’s, I lived through this all my life. Got a nugget and an AR.

  • MrDakka

    How else are they going to fight Sauron to save Middle Earth?

  • nonobaddog

    Actually New Zealand is very, very restrictive with regards to hand guns, semi-auto rifles and anything with more than tiny-size magazines. Much more so than the US. And it is getting worse there, not better.

    • jcitizen

      That is what I always understood. It is no wonder they have to do these kind of PR stunts, because fewer and fewer NZ citizens will have any skills at all. I am encouraged to find comments here that hunting is promoted there; perhaps that will save them in the next great conflict. With China throwing its weight around in the Pacific Rim, it is just a matter of time before some kind of brush fire war breaks out. Maybe sooner if North Korea doesn’t stand down.

  • Ryfyle

    “Kids Love guns” Could not find a more obvious Statement. Honestly, kids have a fondness for weapons are probably the normal ones. Just get ’em used to what they can do and build a culture of respect and we might have less accidents.

  • Ark

    I’m a little uncomfortable with presenting military enlistment through the lens of “Look at this cool shit you get to play with”.

    Then again, it’s the New Zealand army, so it’s not like there’s…you know, danger.

    • RicoSuave

      There could be some Orcs who survived the Lord of the Rings battles still on the loose there…

  • FactChecker90803

    Oh My Goodness, I bet Mom’s Demand Action, will be filing a complaint with the Ministry Of Education.

  • really.really!really?

    An AUG…nice. My son has one. A very simple yet well made gun.

  • Andrew

    We should do the same.

  • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

    Figure out which of the children have psychopathic tendencies at an early age and then train them up to be a mean lean killing machine for the military. Makes sense to THEM.

  • Steve Mentis

    Whenever I see the term “ASSAULT RIFLE” used to describe certain firearms by supposedly people and writers who are pro gun and support second amendments rights. It makes me wonder how knowledgeable they really are. This term “assault rifle” is used by anti-gun liberals to promote their agenda to vilify certain types of firearm. AND WE SHOULDN’T BE HELPING THEM ! It’s a firearm, Rifle, Pistol etc. and nothing more.

    • Chris Miller

      Assault Rifle is actually a class of firearms defined by being chambered in an intermediate cartridge and select fire capable. Assault Weapons on the other hand are the political terminology that are used to villify firearms.

      • Steve Mentis

        Splitting hairs here Chris. The anti-gun liberals use them both. Assault Rifles and Assault Weapons. Using the term Assault Weapons. that could be anything. With this type of wording if a bill were to pass like that they could take everything.

        • Chris Miller

          Yes, but the issue is legal terminology. In law, words have specific meaning as they are defined in the law, not what the common context is in society at the time. It may seem like semantics, but it is still an important point and distinction to make. How can we expect to win when we don’t correct them on proper terminology.

          • Steve Mentis

            Chris the average person doesn’t think in legal terminology or as you put it , “law words” All they hear is the word, ” Assault Rifle” and when it’s used in it’s description the term is emphasize to sound in a threatening way. Don’t know who started calling them assault rifles but if we want to be correct in what the AR stands for I believe it was Armilite Rifle the company that developed the rifle . You ask how can we expect to win ? The truth is …we won’t ! This fight will go on long after you and I are gone because there will always be liberals out there that don’t believe in our second amendment and that every law abiding American citizen has the right to own a firearm and the right to defend themselves. The thing is guys like you and me have to hold down the fort while we are here till the next generation can take over to carry on the fight. Chris, you call them what you like. I’ll stick to my original statement and just call them Firearms and we can agree to disagree. Good Luck to you.

          • Chris Miller

            Blame the Germans for coining the term Assault Rifle. Sturmgewehr roughly translated is “Storm Rifle”, which then became assault rifle matching the technical specification I outlined above. As for the AR in AR -15/ AR- 10, yes it stands for Armalite Rifle, was not disputing that. As for the rest of your response I whole-heartedly agree that we are just standing our watch to protect our rights until relieved by younger generations. That said, correct terminology is very much a critical part of this fight.

        • AlDeLarge

          It doesn’t do our credibility any good to accuse them of making something up, when they didn’t make it up. Calling a semiautomatic AR “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” is wrong, but for different reasons. The former is made up and the latter is something else.