'Outstanding' New Zealand navy cadet dies during overseas exchange in India

Chief Petty Officer Cadet Sacha Piper.
Chief Petty Officer Cadet Sacha Piper. Photo credit: Facebook/New Zealand Cadet Forces

An outstanding navy cadet has died while on an international trip to India.

Chief Petty Officer Cadet Sacha Piper, from Wellington, died on February 2 after suffering a brain aneurysm, the New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) announced on Facebook. 

Piper was a part of 10 New Zealand navy cadets selected to partake in an international exchange to New Delhi to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Indian National Cadet Corps formation.

"Sacha had been selected as one of the outstanding cadets in the Central Area, and an ideal ambassador for her Unit, Cadet Forces and the youth of New Zealand," NZCF said.

"The exchange programme was a great success and the opportunity of a lifetime, which she had seized with great enthusiasm."

Shortly before the group were due to return home, Piper began experiencing headaches. She was admitted to the hospital where it was discovered she was having a cerebral aneurysm.

Her condition rapidly worsened and she passed away several days later with her family at her bedside, NZCF said. 

"While our hearts ache from the loss of a shipmate, friend, mentor and role model, we are comforted by the knowledge that Sacha was doing something that she was fiercely passionate about," NZCF said.

"She loved every bit of being a Navy Cadet and grabbed any opportunity that came along, from coxswaining a Crown, to staffing promotion courses, and caring for the welfare of the New Entries in Training Division. But most of all she valued the friendships that she forged with other cadets, officers and RF staff all across the NZCF.

"Her life has been tragically cut short, but her memory will be an everlasting example of what young people can achieve and a reminder that each and every day is precious, and we must use all of our time to reach for the stars.

"A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered."

Piper's mum posted on Facebook a video of her NZCF Amokura Unit jumping off a wharf into the water in her memory.

"Sacha was so there jumping with you laughing the loudest," she said.

NZCF said details of further arrangements following Piper's death would be advised at an appropriate time.