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.
 

How much leave will I be entitled to?

The annual leave entitlement is 25 days per year for all personnel. In addition to annual leave there are 25 other categories of leave that you can apply for. These include study leave, representational leave, household removal leave, sick leave and jury service leave (to name but a few). The most common form of additional leave, besides statutory holidays, is stand-down leave and equivalent leave (for working weekends and statutory holidays).

Can I wear my wedding ring, jewellery or piercings in the Defence Force?

You are allowed to wear a plain signet ring, engagement ring and/or wedding ring. Only women are allowed to wear earrings, which should be one pair of plain studs only. No other body piercing is allowed. It is recommended that you have a sturdy, waterproof wristwatch.

What education and skills do I need to have to apply?

We ask that at a minimum, you’ve gained at least ten credits at level one in both English and Maths. However some careers will require additional qualifications. We’re happy to give you the specific requirements for your chosen career – just call us on 0800 1FORCE. In addition, you will also need to be a competent English speaker.

Entry into the Defence Force is quite competitive and so you should try to get as high marks at school as you can.

I have a criminal record. Can I join the Defence Force?

The Defence Force has a high dependence on trust and use of technical equipment, in some cases weapons, and looks for recruits who are trustworthy and reliable. For this reason, all applicants undergo a police records check and any convictions are assessed on the on the severity of the offence.

How much self-discipline is involved?
The New Zealand Defence Force expects a high standard of personal conduct, physical fitness, dress and discipline. It might take a bit of getting used to at first, but once you settle into the routine of Defence Force life, your confidence and self-discipline will allow you to handle whatever we throw at you.
I am not a New Zealand citizen. Can I join the New Zealand Defence Force?

Applicants must be legally entitled to work in New Zealand and obtain and maintain the required level of NZ Government security clearance for the position applied for.

For trades that require CV clearance you must be:

  • A NZ Citizen/ NZ Residence class visa holder, who has resided in this country continuously for at least the last five years, OR
  • A NZ Citizen/ NZ Residence class visa holder, who has resided continuously in one or more of the following countries for the last five years: either Australia, Canada, NZ, the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (USA); and a background history that is verifiable and can be assessed as appropriate by the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) towards a recommendation of suitability for a security clearance at this level.
     

For trades that require SV clearance you must be:

  • Most preferably a NZ citizen who has resided continuously in this country for the last 10 years, OR
  • A NZ citizen, who has resided continuously in one or more of the following countries for the last 10 years: either Australia, Canada, NZ, UK or the USA; and has a background history that is verifiable and can be assessed as appropriate by the NZSIS towards a recommendation of suitability for a security clearance at a higher level.
How long is the working day?
The working day does vary depending on what Service you join. Generally we work a standard working day from 0800 to 1630. You will sometimes have to work weekends and may be subject to shift work, depending on the trade you choose and any operational requirements. Any work done out of hours is generally compensated with extra leave or a stand down.
How long can I stay in the Defence Force?

If you join on a standard engagement, you can serve for a guaranteed period of fifteen years, providing you maintain your medical grading and service efficiency

How long do I have to commit to stay in the New Zealand Defence Force once I have joined up?
Just like any other job, you have to give notice when you want to leave. That notice period is three months in the Defence Force. The only time it is more than that is if you’ve completed a particularly expensive training course when we require people to commit to staying with us for a time to ensure we get some benefit from that training, but we’d always let you know about that before you started the training.
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.

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.

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?

We will assess your application and make a decision within 4 weeks.  You will be notified of this decision by your Candidate Co-ordinator.

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.

Will I be allowed to keep in touch with my family and friends?

Family, friends and partners are very important. It’s entirely up to you whether you maintain your existing relationships or socialise mainly with your military friends and colleagues.

When you are deployed overseas, we make sure that you can keep in regular contact with family and friends and are kept up-to-date with national news and events, especially if you are in remote areas.

During your initial recruit training you will have limited access to your mobile phone and pay telephone, and regular access to mail.

How Many women are there in the Defence Force

There are currently over 1300 women enlisted as Regular Force within our Defence Force. Of a total of about 8,800 service personnel, women make up just over 15% of the work force.

Is the Defence Force a fair and diverse place to work?

The Defence Force is committed to ensuring a balanced workforce and an inclusive culture. This means that all members are able to participate, compete and be rewarded fairly regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, age, beliefs/opinions, or family circumstances.

Our personnel are treated in a transparent, fair and equitable, and legislatively compliant manner. From an individual perspective, this means that your initial selection and career development opportunities will be based on merit and performance.

Our commanders and managers at all levels are responsible for applying equity and diversity principles to all strategies, policies and processes, and to set appropriate standards of behaviour and practice. 

Do women have equal opportunities to gain promotions and access courses?

Promotions are based upon performance and qualifications gained. Selection for courses is based on performance and the availability of course positions.

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