FAQs

When making such a big decision, like choosing the career path you want to take, there are always lots of questions you will have. Listed here are some of the most frequently asked ones - you can also filter them by category. 
 

If these don’t answer your query then give us a call on 0800 1 FORCE and we will be happy to help.
 

What is a Candidate Coordinator?

They are a civilian member of the NZDF who works alongside the military recruiting personnel to help keep your application moving along. 

They will keep you updated on the status of your application and they will ask you to complete certain tasks at different points in the process.  They are your first port of call with any questions, and you will always have access to a military recruiter if you need it.

What age do I have to be to apply to join the New Zealand Defence Force?

Although minimum age is 17, you can start the application process before turning 17. Some careers in the Defence Force have a higher age limit, but we can advise you about that if it applies. You can call us on 0800 1FORCE for further clarification.

What is the normal posting cycle?

Posting cycles are usually 2-3 years in any one job. Due to operational and administrative issues, there are times when postings will be cut short.

What is involved in applying to join the New Zealand Defence Force?

As the application and selection process is very thorough, you need to allow yourself time to prepare. This means giving yourself time to gather together all the personal information and documents we need – as well as making sure you’ve time to prepare physically for the fitness tests. If you have would like to speak to us prior to applying please call 0800 1FORCE.

Will I be required to move location?

Yes. The NZDF requires personnel to move to different locations, depending on when and where the need for resources is.

The posting cycle is generally every 2-3 years and you must be prepared to change jobs and/or location.

Can I submit a postal application?

You can only apply via this website. There are no mailing options for applying for jobs in the New Zealand Defence Force. If this presents a real difficulty for you and you need to speak to someone please call us on 0800 1FORCE.

Will I be required to deploy?

Yes. The NZDF has a strong focus on being an operational defence force. NZDF personnel must be fit and ready for deployment when required. There is no guarantee of a deployment but all personnel must be able to.

How do I apply to join the New Zealand Defence Force?

Visit the Apply Now page of this website to register your interest and begin the application process.

Will I be required to deploy?

Yes. The NZDF has a strong focus on being an operational defence force. NZDF personnel must be fit and ready for deployment when required. There is no guarantee of a deployment but all personnel must be able to.

Do I have to live in New Zealand to apply?

To be eligible, you need to be a New Zealand citizen or New Zealand Residence class visa holder and have lived here for at least 5 years, or you need to have held citizenship of Australia, Canada, USA or the UK for at least 10 years.

What age can I be employed until in the NZDF?

The NZDF has no upper age limits. Continued service is determined by vacancies, your performance and your health and fitness.

What skills will I learn in the different trades?

The Defence Force offers a variety of both civilian and military-based skills for each trade. For example, if you joined the Army as a plumber you would first learn how to complete domestic trade work within a camp environment, just as a civilian plumber would, before learning how to provide the same services in a field situation. We place particular emphasis upon developing initiative and problem-solving skills.  The same could be said of a chef in the Navy or an avionics technician in the Air Force.

Do I get a choice of where I will be posted?

Although your posting preferences (role and location) will be met wherever possible, this must be balanced with organisational needs, so you may be required to fill an urgent, specialist or operational role regardless of your preference. Each Service has a career management branch through which your posting preferences, longer term career prospects and personal situation will be taken into consideration.

The posting cycle is generally every 2-3 years and you must be prepared to change jobs and/or location. Due to operational and administrative issues, there are times when postings will be cut short.

Depending on the length and location of the posting and your personal situation, you may choose not to move your family. If you post to a job away from your family in most circumstances the military will pay for you to travel home periodically.

Is my employment as a Reservist protected by law?

Yes. The Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973 (VEPA) allows Reserve Forces personnel to perform their military duties without risking their normal employment and entitlements.

My application to join the NZDF has been declined on medical grounds, but I don’t agree with the decision. What can I do?

You can apply for the decision to decline your application to be reconsidered at both the Initial Health or Full Medical stage of the process.  The reconsideration process involves a Senior Military Doctor looking at your application and any medical information already provided, and ensuring that the decision to decline was correct and in line with correct policy.

How long do I have to apply for my reconsideration?

You must apply within 4 weeks of receiving advice that your application was declined.

How do I apply for reconsideration?

Request the application for reconsideration of a decision to decline from your Candidate Co-ordinator, complete and send it along with any supporting documentation to the address on the form.

Do I need to provide any information with my application?

Yes, you need to provide as much relevant information as you can to enable the Senior Military Doctor to make an informed decision on your situation. 

Sometimes you may need to get further information from your own GP or a Specialist. This is at your cost.

This may include a GP or Specialist report with full details, dates, outcome and ongoing management on any condition you may have.

How long will it take for a decision to be made?

Your application will be assessed by a panel of Senior Medical Officers. The Medical Reconsideration Board meet four times a year, so please liaise with your Candidate Engagement Facilitator about when the next Board will take place.

Once the Board has made a decision about your medical reconsideration, you will be notified by your Candidate Engagement Facilitator.

My application to join the NZDF was declined. I applied to have the decision reconsidered, and it was declined again. I still don’t agree and want to take things further. What can I do?

You can apply for the decision to decline your application to be reviewed. The review process involves several senior military doctors reviewing your application to join the NZDF along with your supporting medical information, discussing your case and reaching a decision on your suitability for service.

If you want to apply for review, you must apply within 4 weeks of receiving advice that your application was declined.

Please note: You cannot apply for Review unless you have already gone through the Reconsideration process and been declined.

How do I apply for my review?

Request the application for review of a decision to decline from your Candidate Co-ordinator, complete and send it along with your supporting documentation to the address on the form.

Please note: You cannot apply for Review unless you have already gone through the Reconsideration process and been declined.

Do I get a choice of where I will be posted?

Although your posting preferences (role and location) will be met wherever possible, this must be balanced with organisational needs, so you may be required to fill an urgent, specialist or operational role regardless of your preference. Each Service has a career management branch through which your posting preferences, longer term career prospects and personal situation will be taken into consideration.

The posting cycle is generally every 2-3 years and you must be prepared to change jobs and/or location. Due to operational and administrative issues, there are times when postings will be cut short.

Depending on the length and location of the posting and your personal situation, you may choose not to move your family. If you post to a job away from your family in most circumstances the military will pay for you to travel home periodically.

Do men and women have to do the same fitness tests?

Yes, men and women do complete the same basic fitness test for enlistment and must continue to pass a fitness test annually. However, the required standards differ depending on age, gender and role.

Although fitness tests vary for each service in terms of requirements and approach, they are set up in a considered way in order to be fair, equitable and achievable.

Find out more on our Navy, Army, and Air Force fitness requirements pages. 

Will I need to carry big backpacks?

Yes, sometimes. While carrying a pack can be challenging, it is by no means an unachievable task. The physical training that is conducted during your initial recruit course is designed to gradually prepare you for carrying your equipment. You will be instructed on how to correctly set-up and wear your pack to minimise the risk of injury, and there are guidelines for personnel regarding lifting and carrying weights.
The requirement to carry packs or loads differs between the services.

Navy
As a general rule, a pack is not worn in the work environment. Packs or heavy loads may be incorporated into some aspects of initial recruit training, emergency drills, physical fitness or adventure training.

Army
There is a requirement to carry loads, such as packs, at certain times during your recruit and ongoing unit training. Depending on your career path, and your location of posting, you may be required to carry packs for short periods of time during activities such as training exercises, physical fitness training and on operations.

Air Force
During stages of your recruit and unit training you will be required to carry a pack.

How can I wear my hair when I’m in my uniform?

Each service has clear guidelines and policy on appropriate hairstyles. In general hair is to be natural, neat and tidy. Fringes should not fall below the eyebrows, and hair length should not extend below the lower edge of a button-up shirt collar. Long hair should be tied back in a bun up off the collar, and when you’re in the field your hair can be worn in a single plait.

You can wear plain hair-ties, hair-pins, and hair-nets similar to your hair colour. Brightly coloured hair ornaments such as ribbons, headbands or scrunchies are not permitted.

Hair colour should be complementary to your natural colouring, so extreme colouring – bright, contrasting or multiple colours - is not permitted.

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