SSGT Robert (Bob) Mankelow RNZIR
One of the features of Army Reserve (ARes) personnel is their commitment to service and to their unit. Often such service is measured in decades. Given that Army Reserve personnel have civilian careers, in addition to their ARes commitment, such long service has great merit and is worthy of recognition.
SSGT Mankelow receiving his 2nd clasp to the Efficiency Medal in 2002 from the Mayor of Rotorua.
Staff Sergeant Robert (Bob) Mankelow is a good example of commitment and utility that often typifies senior Territorial Force staff.
Staff Sergeant RJ Mankelow enlisted in the NZ Army on 4 January 1967. He was awarded the Efficiency Medal on 10 May 1979; first clasp on 12 October 1992, second clasp on 5 March 2003 and third clasp on 22 June 2009. SSGT Mankelow is currently an Instructor with the training team. He has served 6th (Hauraki) Battalion Group for 43 years, and continues to be an active, energetic and willing participant in Battalion Group activities.
SSGT Mankelow is also a long-serving member of the 6th Hauraki Regiment Association, having been on its committee since inception. He occupies the role of Bar Manager, in which duty he is conspicuous at Anzac Day. The Association bar contributes funding to the 6 Hau unit private fund and SSGT Mankelow works hard to ensure that the bar remains available to soldiers and Association members alike. He also ensures that Regimental merchandise is displayed and available for sale. He is active in providing support in the construction of the Association’s museum displays, alongside Sergeant Tony Fraser. SSGT Mankelow remains an active and valued member of the Association.
Bob’s civilian career commenced in 1965, when he commenced training as a fitter, turner, machinist. He was the top apprentice in his class and was rewarded by his employer with attendance at an Outward Bound course in Anakiwa in 1966. And so began a life long romance with the outdoors, and, with youth development.
During 1966, Bob was involved with the setting up and running (by a group of Outward Bound old boys) of a youth programme called Compass, developing 16 to 21 year olds.
A year later, in 1967, he was invited to become involved with the Kaimai Youth Camp Society and the Ngatuhoa Lodge facility as Secretary and Treasurer. He retained this position (Secretary / Treasurer) for 25 years.
Deciding that he was interested in outdoor education, he became a seasonal outdoor education instructor at Ngatuhoa Lodge, working during the Summers. He continued in this role for 14 years. Because he had taken a bit of a pay decrease, he supplemented his income by working the winter months as a field instructor for the New Zealand Forest Service, teaching staff bushcraft and outdoor living skills. He also took on some summer interpretation duties for visitors to the NZ Forest Service parks in the area. Marking himself as a young man of energy, he worked a third (part-time) job in town.
In 1987, when the Department of Conservation replaced the New Zealand Forest Service, Bob was invited to join the Department as a Ranger. During the next ten years he was involved with duties relating to marine mammals, threatened species, off-shore islands and recreational facilities.
In 1997 Bob left the Department of Conservation and worked for Work and Income New Zealand delivering skills to their Youth at Risk programme.
In 1999, Bob became a contractor to Environment Bay of Plenty delivering environmental monitoring services. Bob remains on contract to Environment Bay of Plenty currently.
Continuing his involvement in youth development, Bob has been involved with Youth Search and Rescue delivering bush craft and search skills to youth aged 14 to 17 years who have joined the search and rescue organisation. Bob is a member of Search and Rescue.
In recent times Bob has also delivered training to the SAS in rongo (the medicinal use of plants). Because of his skills in bush craft, Bob was appointed, and continues, as an assessor with the Mountain Safety Council. There can be little doubt that such community minded individuals make a significant contribution. Bob Mankelow is marked out as a man of commitment and energy. While ‘serving the Colours,’ he has also made an outstanding contribution to both the environment and youth development. SSGT Robert Mankelow is an excellent example of those long-serving individuals that live the Army ethos and are a rich part of the tapestry of the Army Reserve.