Veterans of all ages got a taste of the farming life recently when they attended a week-long taster course at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in Masterton.
The participants included veterans from the Navy, Army and Air Force, representing service from as far back as Malaya to recent deployments to Afghanistan.
The group was given lessons in everything from milking cattle to fixing fences.
"They are probably not going to look at the fence the same way ever again," said Simon Bailey, team leader at the Universal College of Learning (UCOL).
Bailey said the workshop was aimed at offering the participants insights into a potential future career, adding that there was a "huge amount of light banter" between the veterans.
The course was not just beneficial for the veterans, he said, but also for the team at Taratahi.
"They got to share experiences from both a farming and military perspective, which led to a newfound respect for each other."
The workshop was organised by UCOL in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Veterans were also taught about farming vehicles such as tractors, frontend loaders, quad bikes and light utility vehicles. They were taken through safety, maintenance and pre-start checks, as well as given advice on how to drive them over various terrain.
On the final day of the taster course, the group learnt the basics of beekeeping.
Veterans Affairs project advisor Brett Te Wheoro said there was "something for everybody" during the course of the week.
"A few of the veterans are already keen to come back for the longer beekeeping course," he said.
"We really appreciated that this course was put on for us - the staff at Taratahi went out of their way during our time there."