Mike Subritzky

NZE100514 Mike Subritzky
Written for the Returned Services Association (RSA) of New Zealand

(Mike Subritzky served some 25 years in the New Zealand Military, during that fairly peaceful period post Vietnam, and before New Zealand’s involvement with UN Peacekeeping).

Mike Subritzky was born on the 13th June 1950, in the small Bay of Plenty town of Katikati and spent his early years living in a mill camp at Ongare Point.

His family moved to Waihi in the mid-1950s and Mike went to school first at Saint Joseph’s Convent, and later at Waihi College.

Mike hated school but his parents who had gone through the Great Depression refused to let him leave College unless he had an apprenticeship. In desperation Mike went to the local shoe factory “Gaddabouts” and asked if there were any apprenticeships going, to which the lady in charge replied… “Not here in Waihi, but in our main branch Morrow-Taylor, in New Market (Auckland), there are plenty.”

Mike then took a NZR Coach to Auckland and duly was accepted as a “Clicker” (a cutter of leather, and designer of shoes). He lived as a boarder at John Bosco House in Herne Bay, and went to work each day by (electric) trolley bus. He was paid 3 Pounds 10 Shillings a week, and after he had paid for his board and bus fares he had 5 Shillings (50 cents) remaining. Mike’s designing skills were used to good effect both as an apprentice where he designed the brand name for MONARCO shoes. Later, in the military Mike designed the lapel badge worn by members of 161 Battery, and the Instructors patch for GSTS (RNZAF).


Early in 1968, and aged 17, he saw an advertisement in the Auckland Star for the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, and as the headquarters (HMNZS Ngapona), was pretty much at the bottom of his street Mike went down and signed up for the extra cash, not really realising that the RNZNVR was part of the military, and that he had just made an unbreakable 4 year commitment of a parade every Monday night, a weekend every month, and 20 days at sea every year… any sailor who missed 3 training nights in a row was arrested by the Police and handed over to the Navy. He enlisted into the RNZNVR on the 16 April 1968, as an Ordinary Seaman/Gunner and his Naval Reserve Number was: V100514 (the V stood for Volunteer, later changing to N100514 in the RNZN, and NZE100514 when the military became computerised).

Mike trained on 20mm Orelikon Anti Aircraft/Anti Shipping machine guns and the 40mm Bofors. Sea training was carried out on the 72 foot HDML (Harbour Defence Motor Launch) HMNZS Koura P3564.

In August 1968, he attended Basic Seamanship training at HMNZS Tamaki, the Whole Time Training required by the Defence Force. He also served aboard HMNZS Kuparu P3567, and HMNZS Parore P3563, during his five years associated with the RNZNVR and RNZN.

Training for Naval Reservists also required a minimum of 20 days sea training each year, and was a major gathering of the Naval Reserve flotilla at Marlborough Sounds, which usually also included the RNZN minesweepers HMNZS Inverell and HMNZS Kiama.

New Years Eve was usually spent hove to at “The Portage.”

Mike was aboard HMNZS Koura in 1969 when it sailed its final cruise under the old White Ensign.


On his 18th Birthday, Mike went to the Takapuna Post Office and filled out his National Service card, which was a legal requirement. He and his application were then taken very formally in front of the Post Master who duly countersigned the document. About 2 weeks later Mike received his “meat ticket” (Draft Card), which recorded his name and also his number which remained as: 100514.

One rainy Saturday in 1969, Mike and his apprentice mates sat glued to the radio station 1ZB (or 1YA), as the National Service Ballot was drawn using the exact same numbered counters that were used for the National “Art Union” raffle. That day Mike was to win one of only “two” raffles he has ever won in his life when his number came up and he was draughted to the Royal New Zealand Navy to attend 3 month’s National Service Training. (That other raffle… Years later Mike won a dozen bottles of beer in a pub raffle at the Sterling Hotel in Waihi… at the time he was very sick with a bout of Hepatitis A, which he had contacted out in the bush with the Artillery).

On the 11 January 1970 he was draughted from HMNZS Ngapona to HMNZS Tamaki to begin a Naval Gunnery Course as part of his National Service. Due to the Royal Tour of that year, all accommodation at Tamaki was being utilised by various security resources, the NZ Police and the ship’s company from HMNZS Blackpool who were training to be the Royal Guard. Mike and his classmates were instead billeted at HMNZS Philomel, and travelled daily back and forth to the Naval Gunnery school at Narrow Neck (Fort Cautley) for each days Gunnery Training, and then live shoots up at the Naval Gunnery Range at Whangaparora.

During his National Service, Mike attended the presentation ceremony of the ‘New’ Royal New Zealand Navy Colours by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The day of the ceremony was a beautiful summer’s day and every ship in the RNZN was on parade on the football field of HMNZS Philomel, and the ships company of HMNZS Blackpool provided the 100 man Royal Guard. Mike trained on 40/60mm Bofors, 20mm Orlikeon cannon and all manner of small arms including the.38 cal pistol and the 9mm Lanchester Carbine which was still in service.

One of the “Low-lights” of Mike’s National Service occurred when one of his mess-mates spoke after Pipe-Down (lights Out). The Duty PO ordered all four sailors in his cabin into PT gear and then ordered them to start running around the rugby field (the same one HM had recently presented the Colours on). The four of them commenced running and the Duty PO then went back to the Senior Rates Mess and got very drunk partaking in “Pussers Squirt” (Navy issue rum). Shortly after, the Duty PO turned in for the night, unfortunately without ordering Mike and his mates back to bed… some time after 0200, the following morning a senior officer drove past and saw them running around the field. He ordered Mike and his mates to report to him, and on finding out their heinous crime, he told them “Not to be so stupid in future, and to bugger off to bed.” (by the way, Pipe-Down was at 2130, so they had been running for nearly 5 hours).

Mike completed his Gunnery Course, coming third in his class and received his ‘crossed cannons’ from the Commanding Officer of HMNZS Tamaki. Shortly after, upon completion of his National Service Mike was draughted back to HMNZS Ngapona and promoted to the rank of Able Seaman.


By 1970, the unpopularity of the Vietnam War had caused a tremendous shortage of men (and women) in the New Zealand Armed Forces and Mike and a number of other qualified RNZNVR Able Seamen, were offered short-service engagements in the Regular Force of the RNZN. He accepted, and was signed up into the RNZN onboard HMNZS Kiama for one year’s sea service. He joined the ship in Auckland while it was “swinging its’ compass” off Mission Bay. The Kiama was an Australian built ‘Bathurst Class’ minesweeper which had seen active service during the Second World War, and Mike was employed as a Quartermaster (his job was to steer the ship at sea, and act as the ships policeman when alongside), his Action Station being a loading number on the foreword Bofors Gun.

During the 1960’s and 70’s HMNZS Kiama’s main role was ‘Fisheries Protection’ and as well the ship also doubled as a training ship for young Regular Navy recruits and Midshipmen. The Ship’s Company (crew) on the other hand was made up of just about every ratbag the Navy still had, and true to form the Killick (Leading Seaman) of Mike’s watch, was a busted back Petty Officer who had savagely beaten an Officer, somewhere in South East Asia and had been shipped back to New Zealand to continue serving his time in the Navy. He went to sea wearing his Petty Officers uniform, but with a Leading Seaman’s rank badge on his left sleeve, and no good conduct stripes. While aboard the Kiama Mike also had the unique distinction of being the last sailor in the RNZN to be charged with having a “slack hammock” (not having his hammock lashed and stowed by 0645). For this crime he received 7 days Number 14 punishment.

During his year at sea aboard the Kiama, Mike patrolled the coast of New Zealand visiting just about every seaport in the country and most of the offshore islands. While still in the Navy Mike married Marilyn Williams, a girl he met one ANZAC Day in Thames several years earlier when he was visiting his family. They settled in Devonport and not long before his term of service was up Marilyn fell pregnant with the first of their six sons. It was with a heavy heart that he took his discharge from the Regular Navy and reverted back to the RNZNVR to serve out the rest of his National Service commitment which was still in effect.

Within days Mike was bored and after speaking to his eldest brother Dave, went down to the Army Office in Jean Batten House and enlisted as a Gunner into the Royal New Zealand Artillery. He was the first Gunner to be recruited into the RNZA after the Vietnam War.

Brother Dave had previously served in 61 Light AA Regiment, RNZA.


Mike was given an offer of service as a Gunner in the Royal New Zealand Artillery and a 3 year engagement. His previous service as a Gunner in the RNZN was recognised, and he was placed on a higher pay band. Mike enlisted into the NZ Army on the 29th September 1971, and travelled by the old New Zealand Railways “Rattler” down to Waiouru, and on arrival found himself knee-deep in snow. He completed Basic All Arms Recruit Course No: 92, and upon completion of his recruit course was posted to the famous 161 Battery, which had recently returned from Active Service in the Republic of South Vietnam and was based in Papakura Military Camp.

Mike served as a Gun Layer on No: 5 Gun, an Italian 105mm (Pack) Howitzer, under the watchful eyes of Sergeant John Niwa and Bombardier Jim Bell; both men were Vietnam veterans. In the post Vietnam era, the emphasis of the New Zealand Army was still jungle fighting, Free Fire Zones and Artillery Fire Support Bases.

To ensure that 161 Battery was always battle ready for tropical climates, the Battery made regular deployments overseas to places such as Fiji, Australia, Singapore and Malaya so that all ranks were quickly accustomed to the oppressive heat of jungle warfare training.


In 1972, 161 Battery was deployed to Singapore for a short period to operate as part of the 28th (ANZUK) Field Regiment, which was the Artillery component of the 28th (ANZUK) Brigade.

The Island of Singapore at that time was simply jam-packed with European servicemen (Brits, Jocks, Ghurkhas, Aussies, and Kiwi’s), as well, it was also an R & R stop for American service personnel who were still fighting in Vietnam. From Singapore the Brigade drove, flew, and sailed up into the Malay Peninsula where jungle warfare exercises were carried out in the sweltering heat of the tropics.


In 1973, Mike was one of four Kiwi Gunners chosen to serve with the US Navy in Antarctica as part of New Zealand’s commitment to Operation Deep Freeze.

They were attached to VXE6 Squadron, US Navy Airdevrons and lived and worked as (C130 Hercules and C141 Starlifter) aircraft cargo handlers at Williams Field in McMurdo Sound. At the time, the main focus of Operation Deep Freeze was the completion of the “New” South Pole Station, as the old Amundsen/Scott Station was by now some 20 metres beneath the Ice at the Geographic South Pole. While on the Ice, Mike was given the opportunity to fly to the South Pole and deliver much needed JP4 (aircraft fuel). He became the first Kiwi Gunner to reach the South Pole. While in Antarctica, they found the American food very rich and spicy, and just for a change signalled back to Warrant Officer “Chaddy” Chadwick (based at Harewood Airforce Base), to send down some pork-bones, water cress and eels.

When this Kiwi tucker duly arrived, the American cooks refused to cook “water snakes” and so the Kiwis took over McMurdo kitchen for several hours. Word got out and when the meal was served up the American servicemen watched in awe (and took photographs) of the crazy Kiwi’s eating water snakes. The Tour of Duty to Antarctica was one of the high-lights of Mike’s military career, as it was like living and working on the moon. It was also the only time in his life he had ever actually helped build something… the rest of the time, he had either blown what he was looking at to pieces… or put a round through the centre of its’ visible mass.


Upon his return to New Zealand Mike was promoted to the rank of Bombardier and was given command of Number 6 Gun in 161 Battery. The rotation of overseas exercises, courses, and training continued throughout the next few years, the monotony only being broken by 16th Field Regiment’s Annual Camp. Annual Camp usually occurred in late January or early February and was universally hated by all members of the Regular Force, as it was that one time in the year when bright-eyed young Territorial Force officers would be on the Gun Line, and attempt to bully their Regular Force counter-parts. By this time two more of Mike’s brothers had joined the Artillery, older brother Joe was a Gunner in 161 Battery, and youngest brother Chris was a Gunner in 11(A) Battery.


In 1976, 161 Battery was again deployed to Singapore and on this occasion Mike was the Gun Commander of Number 4 Gun. Interestingly Bill Rewiti (TA RSA) was Mike’s driver, while Lance Bombardier Paul Gregg (now Major Paul Gregg TA RSA), was the 2 I/C of Number 2 Gun, and Captain Dave Bowler (TA RSA), was the Battery Captain. While in Malaya, the Battery was dug in near the site of an old tin mine when a violent tropical thunderstorm occurred knocking down numerous tall trees that were close by. It was decided for safety reasons that the one remaining tree was too close to the Battery position, and it must come down. As always happens, every Kiwi is a self verified axeman, pig hunter and expert on all things “outdoors.” It came to the Gunners of Mike’s detachment to cut the said tree down. The tree was about 60 feet high, and all manner of “scarfs” were cut into it by Gunner Don Stratton and Gunner Noel Birchall, the resident Battery “bushmen.” After about 30 minutes of chopping and cutting there was a loud crack and Gunner Stratton and Gunner Birchall yelled to everyone to the left of the position to get clear… however the tree made its’ own decision and came crashing down in the exact opposite direction… right through the middle of Captain Dave Bowler’s tent.

Both Paul and Bill came down with Malaria in Malaya and remained in Singapore long after 161 Battery returned to New Zealand.


In December 1976, Mike was posted as a Cadre NCO to 31(B) Battery, 3 Field Regiment which is a Territorial Force Battery located in Dunedin. Working as an Instructor with the Territorial Gunners very quickly changed his mind about them. Their commitment was genuine, and as well many gave up their annual holidays and weekend’s so as to not only complete their military commitment, but to in some cases double, and triple it. Annual Camps with 3 Field Regiment were a whole different ball game to being in the Regular Force. Discipline was a lot more relaxed and as well, the Army had commenced recruiting females not as WRAAC’s, but as “All Corps” soldiers, and they very soon after entered the ranks of the Artillery. Mike Instructed on the old (and accurate) 25 Pounder and was present in 1977, at the last Live Shell Practice when the last 25 Pounder round was fired by the Regiment at Tekapo Training Area. He also saw the introduction of the new 105mm M101A1 (American) Howitzer into the Regiment at the following year’s Artillery Camp at Waiouru.


In 1978, Mike was posted back to 161 Battery and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Paul Gregg had also arrived back at the Battery from a similar posting and was also promoted to the rank of Sergeant at about the same time.

Late in 1979, both Mike and Paul were mobilised as part of “Operation Midford” (In the UK Operation Agila), which was a plan developed in the UK to break apart the “three” warring Armies operating in Southern Rhodesia, restore Law and Order, and carry out a general election. As part of the build-up Mike was sent to the Penrose Industrial Clinic and was cross-trained as a Combat Medic by Dr Armitage. He learnt advanced first aid, suturing, drips, jabs and a whole bunch of other medical stuff that Dr Armitage thought he needed to know.

In December, Mike, Paul and about 70 other Kiwi’s flew from New Zealand to Rhodesia on two C130 aircraft stopping at Alice Springs, Cocos Islands, Mauritius, Durban and then Salisbury.

They remained at Salisbury for a couple of days to acclimatise, re-zero weapons, briefings, lectures, first line ammunition and general preparation for deployment. The Kiwi’s were then split into basically two main groups; one group went to a place called Assembly Place Mike, and the other group went to Assembly Place Lima; Both Mike and Paul went to “Lima.” There were 16 Assembly Places and they were manned by Brits, Aussie’s Kiwi’s, Kenyans and Fijians.


Assembly Place Lima was located about an hour south of the town of Plumtree and right in the heart of the Matabele Tribal Trustlands… “Indian Country.” The Matabele (ZIPRA) were loyal to Joshua Ngkomo, whilst their traditional enemy the Mashona (ZANLA) were located to the North of Rhodesia and were loyal to Robert Mugabe. Most of everybody else, including the white folks were loyal to Ian Smith (Rhodesian Security Forces)… it was the middle of a three way war.

The plan was that all of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Forces were to pull back into their barracks, and all of the Guerrilla Forces were to make their way individually, or in groups to the closest Assembly Place to where they were. Each Assembly Place had a one thousand metre “Buffer Zone” around it where none of the three warring sides was allowed to engage the other.

It sounded clinical in theory, but the reality was a whole other thing. Guerrillas simply wandered into the camps for a hot meal, obtained a re-sup of ammo, grenades and mines, and then were gone again to wreck and create more havoc on a country burned out on war weariness and savagery.

Mike spent most mornings with NZSAS Sergeant Pete Shaw attending to sick and wounded Matabele, Communist soldiers and Guerrilla’s. The most sick people they treated in a day was just over 200, and the most wounded they attended to in a day was 17… they were the first “Doctors” in the area in 15 years. The Kiwi’s at AP Lima were also required to carry out sentry duty, patrolling, both on foot, and also in AFV’s (armoured vehicles). Assembly Place Lima came to hold the entire 1st ZIPRA Battalion, and as well an irregular force of some 300 Guerrilla’s.

Later, when the 1st ZIPRA Battalion (and Guerrillas) were relocated to Essexvale Battle Camp not far from Bulawayo the Kiwi’s took over escort duties, and also operated as security on the local school busses.

The Commonwealth Monitoring Force sustained a number of causalities, aircraft were shot up, a Puma helicopter crashed with the loss of its crew, and a number of vehicles were written off by soldiers attempting to out-drive ambush sites. About a dozen members of the Force were killed, and several were wounded. The entire Tour of Duty was best described as “surreal.”

The Ceasefire was eventually somewhat established, an election of sorts was held, Robert Mugabe and his thugs managed to fudge the most figures, rig the most votes, and shortly thereafter the Independent Nation of Zimbabwe was proclaimed.


Mike (and Paul), returned to New Zealand in 1980, and later that same year Mike was posted to Ngaruawahia Camp where he took over the appointment of Recruiting Sergeant at the Hamilton Army Office, located in Knox Street Hamilton. Mike recruited many local young men into the New Zealand Army and even gave lectures at Te Awamutu College and many of our surrounding schools.


In 1982, Mike was posted as a Gunnery Instructor to the School of Artillery which was located at Army Training Group Waiouru. Initially hating the place due to the weather, Mike Marilyn and family (by now 6 sons) very soon warmed to the Camp and village life as there was just so much to do. Waiouru was actually geared for children and as well there were some 116 different clubs to be involved in. Mike chose black-powder shooting, deer stalking and, believe it or not, pottery. Shortly after Paul Gregg was posted in – also as a Gunnery Instructor.

One Friday night Mike received a frantic phone call from Cambridge, Paul and Sue Gregg were getting married the next morning and they didn’t have a best man… could he drive up to Cambridge and take his mess kit with him? Mike arrived on time, the marriage went ahead with no hick-ups, Paul scrubbed up pretty damned good, Suzie looked as pretty as a Princess, and the MC was none other than Major Dave Bowler… it’s a small world whanau!


In 1985, Mike was approached by Senior Instructors in the RNZAF and invited to transfer across to the Royal New Zealand Airforce, as that service was short of experienced Instructors. There was a “requirement” though, that Mike had to attend and “RNZAF Instructors Selection Course”, take several lectures, and attend a three day mountain tramp. This was to happen at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. Upon arrival at Woodbourne, the very first person Mike met was Sergeant Ron Evans NZSAS, who was an old mate… Ron had also been approached.

They did the lectures, dragged the two very unfit RNZAF Instructors across the Saint Arnaud Ranges for three days, and at the end of this “RNZAF Instructor Selection Course” were offered an appointment as a Senior GSI (Senior General Service Instructor); the catch however was that they would have to drop their rank “for one year” back to Corporal.

Over a few beers in the Sergeants mess Mike and Ron weighed up their options. If they declined the offer and went back to their Units it would simply be more of the same, but if they dropped rank for a year and carried out the Instructors duties they would be on the pigs back, a Monday to Friday job, no exercises, no overseas stuff… and the RSA every Wednesday afternoon for sport. They shook hands and shortly after were signed up as Senior Recruit Instructors in the Royal New Zealand Airforce, based at General Service Training School, RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Mike enlisted into the RNZAF on 24th July 1985, and spent the next 12 months teaching very intelligent young Airforce recruits (male and female), how to march, rifle drill, foot drill, weapon handling, shooting, rescue techniques, bushcraft, mountain craft, survival, comradeship, and even washing and ironing. When the Unit wasn’t at Woodbourne, it was based at RNZAF Dip Flat at the base of the Saint Arnaud Ranges in the Nelson Lakes District.

All was good, until one day Staff Sergeant Paul Gregg drove into GSTS and clambered out of a

Unimog truck while on his way to an Artillery live shoot. Paul and Mike had a couple of cups of coffee, and later after Paul had driven off in a cloud of dust Mike felt the first pangs of homesickness for his old Artillery Battery, and his Comrades.

The very next day Mike applied to a transfer back to the Artillery; however the RNZAF declined to give it to him and instead sent Mike and Pilot Officer Ken Cunningham on attachment to the RAAF Air Assault Wing, Number 2 Airfield Defence Squadron. Number 2 Airfield Defence Squadron RAAF, was considered the elite Unit of the Royal Australian Air Force… as they are “First In – Last Out,” on any RAAF deployment.


In 1986, Mike was attached to No: 1 Rifle Flight, No: 2 Airfield Defence Squadron RAAF. The attachment took place initially at Woodbourne, and required both Mike and Ken Cunningham to qualify on an Air Assault Course. This course was held at Dip Flat using RNZAF Iroquois helicopters. 12 descents were required from the choppers, repelling from the aircraft using ropes. 2 without weapons and equipment, 8 fully bombed up with packs, helmets and first line ammunition, and a further 2 descents into trees. Both Mike and Ken passed the course and after teaching the Aussie members of the ADF Squadron river crossings, bush craft, mountain craft, snow caving, igloos, and survival trenches it was off to sunny Australia. First to the home of the Squadron which was RAAF Base Richmond, just out of Sydney, then on to RAAF Williamstown, then up to RAAF Townsville where the Squadron was temporarily based at Laverick Barracks. Rather than turn Mike’s mind towards remaining in the RNZAF, the time spent with the Squadron only served to strengthen his resolve to return to the Gunners.

Upon the completion of his TOD with the Aussies Mike sent a card to the Director of Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel M. Harvey RNZA… it read “Sir, you were right, I was wrong, now can I have my old job back again.”14 Days later Mike was transferred back into the bosom of Artillery, and as a Troop Sergeant (Senior Sergeant) in 161 Battery. Shortly after, 161 Battery took ownership of the new 105mm British (Light) Gun.


In 1987, Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka marched into Fiji’s Parliamentary Chambers and declared military rule, arresting Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra and his Cabinet and confining them in barracks near the capitol city of Suva. This action created shock waves across the Pacific and here in New Zealand several Navy ships, Army Units and RNZAF Squadrons were mobilised.

161 Battery was designated to be in the first wave, would land at Nasouri Airport, and would dig in and hold the airport while the NZSAS would drive into Suva and “rescue” any expats. Mike’s Troop was required to dig in and hold the Northern side of Nasouri Airport.

During the pre-deployment phase 161 Battery managed to acquire some 70 flak jackets (there were some 100 men in the Unit), as well 30 7.62mm GPMG machine guns were sent to the Battery, and after test firing Staff Sergeant Gary Pickering and Mike managed to get 13 to fire without stoppages. As well, the Battery’s 7.62mm Self Loading Rifles were by this time so worn and weary, that most were firing on a gas setting of either 2 or 3. They were long past their “use by” date.

The Fijian Army on the other hand had the very latest “burst firing” 5.56mm M16A2 Carbine, brand new 7.62mm M60 machine guns, and brand new 81mm Mortars.

Prime Minister David Lange had lost a lot of face over the recent Rainbow Warrior bombing and the French spy debacle, and this latest set of circumstances presented an opportunity for Mr Lange to stamp his mark on the Pacific, and history. The Fijian Coup was to be that stamp.

During this 28 day period, 161 Battery and other Units slept on the floor of their Unit lecture rooms, fully booted and spurred. Everyone was wound up like a top, and it was extremely stressful for all ranks. The expectation of personal injury or imminent death was considered by all.

During the first 14 day period, the Battery was on 2 hours notice to deploy. Luckily, senior military officers managed after very much persuasion to get Mr Lange and his Australian counterpart to back off and 161 Battery (and others), were stood down and resumed normal duties.

NOTE: Interestingly, all personnel who were part of “Operation Wells” were granted RETURNED membership in the RNZRSA.


In 1988, Mike was posted to Fort Dorset.

He worked on the 6th Floor of Defence Headquarters and held the highest level security clearance.


In 1989, Mike was posted as an Instructor to the Cadre Staff of 2nd Canterbury Battalion RNZIR, Mortar Platoon which was based at Blenheim, and this was to be his terminal posting in the New Zealand Army. At about the same time, his eldest son Danny enlisted as a Territorial Soldier and father and son served together in the Canterbury Battalion.

Mike retired from the New Zealand Military on the 30 September 1990.

NOTE: During his career, Mike and his family moved house 13 times, and his son’s attended some 8 different schools. This was very “average” for the families of Kiwi career soldiers of the period.


Mike served in the following military Fire Brigades:

Papakura Military Camp Fire Brigade where his first uniform consisted of a “Lancer Uniform,” jack boots and a Cromwell Helmet.

He also served as a senior volunteer at Ngaruawhai Military Camp Fire Brigade, and also as senior volunteer at the Waiouru Military Camp Fire Brigade.

Also during the latter part of his service, Mike was involved with the late Polish Government (In Exile), and was part of that movement which ousted the communists from Poland’s seat of power in 1990.

Mike also excelled in sport, his chosen sport being Martial Arts. He held the rank of Black Belt 3rd Dan, and represented the New Zealand Army in National Competition, and also New Zealand in International Competition in New Caledonia in 1987, where he won 2 Gold Medals and a Bronze. He was also the New Zealand Shotokan Champion in his weight division in 1987.

Mike Subritzky is listed in the Marlborough Sports Hall of Fame.