Family of 18-year-old Mansimrat Singh – the latest Kiwi-Indian graduate in New Zealand Army – were initially surprised when they learnt about his decision to join the armed forces – a decision that they all relish now and are extremely proud of.
Ever since New Zealand Army put up a Facebook post on Saturday, June 19, about the graduation ceremony of its Regular Force 401 at Waiouru Military Camp, with images of new recruits marching parade in full military uniform, Mansimrat Singh has become an instant sensation.
The news had since then spread like a fire in the jungle with his families inundated with congratulatory messages from friends, extended families, acquaintances and the wider Kiwi-Indian community, all conveying the common theme of a mutually shared sense of “pride” and “excitement.”
The Indian Weekender spoke with Manjit Singh – a close uncle of Mansimrat Singh – and spokesperson of the family (as his parents were reluctant to speak with media) about the young man’s inspirational career path.
“I can only say that it was Mansimrat’s own decision to join the NZ army. He was very determined and focused. His parents wanted him to pursue his career in hockey, but he surprised the family by announcing that he wanted to join the army after his graduation.”
“As a family, we are all very happy with his decision and are very proud of him,” Manjit Singh said.
Mansimrat has begun to excel very early in life, shinning both in academics and sports, earning a prestigious scholarship from St. Kentigern College in Pakuranga.
He became a part of the Howick and St. Kentigern hockey team playing under 18.
It was his phenomenal love and commitment towards hockey that kept his unassuming parents thinking that the young lad might be thinking of making a career in professional sports and even encouraged him to pursue the game professionally.
However, Mansimrat seems to have his heart into something else as a choice for a career – joining New Zealand Army.
“He was a bright student since childhood, and once he set his mind on something, nothing ever holds him back.’’ Mr Singh told the Indian Weekender.
“Entire family is into sports.”
Manjit Singh told the Indian Weekender that Mansimrat Singh’s entire family is into sports, with his father (Manjit’s very close friend of last 40 years) being a hockey player who played in the local league in Punjab, India, representing Punjab Agriculture University.
Now Mansimrat and his younger brother are also playing hockey in Auckland.
Revealing more about the family from where Mansimrat could possibly have picked up the inspiration for joining NZ Army, Manjit Singh told the Indian Weekender that Mansimrat’s uncle was an engineer in Indian Air Force before migrating to New Zealand.
Notably, Mansimrat will also be working (after being graduating) as System Engineer in NZ Army.
Parents migrated to NZ from Punjab about three decades ago.
Manjit Singh told the Indian Weekender that Mansimrat’s parents had migrated to New Zealand in 1998 from Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab. Working through different jobs in and around Auckland, they have raised two kids (Mansimrat’s younger brother) and are extremely happy with Mansimrat’s latest career move.
Mansimrat’s father works as a Taxi driver, and his mother works at Auckland Airport as a passport control officer, and he is being a great role model for his younger brother, who is following his elder brother’s footsteps and has received a scholarship and studying at St Kentigern College.
Well rooted in traditional culture.
Speaking further on Mansimrat’s family and cultural values, Manjit Singh told the Indian Weekender that the young boy is fully versed in tenets of Sikhism and well trained in the traditional Sikh martial art known as Gatka.
Mansimrat had represented New Zealand Gatka team in Canada, Australia and India.