General FAQs

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.

HOW I DO APPLY TO RE-ENLIST?

Please click on the Apply Now button.  You need to register to create an account and you can then start your application.  Click ‘yes’ to NZ Military Experience and we’ll ask you for a couple of easy details, such as your Service number, and your application will then be ready to submit.

WHAT RANKS AND TRADES ARE YOU CURRENTLY ACCEPTING RE-ENLISTMENT APPLICATIONS FOR?

We accept re-enlistment applications for all ranks and trades, although the available positions will vary from time to time.  We’re always keen to re-enlist good people.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HEAR BACK ONCE I HAVE APPLIED?

Once your application has been received it will be allocated to one of the re-enlistment Candidate Coordinators who will send you an email within 24 working hours with the next steps.

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.

WILL MY APPLICATION BE PUT IN WITH EVERYONE ELSE THAT IS APPLYING FOR THE FIRST TIME?

No, we have a specialist team who handle all re-enlistment applications.  The team is made up of Army, Navy and Air Force recruiting personnel, as well as our civilian Candidate Coordinators.  We work closely with the Career Managers to manage your application.

IS THERE SOMEONE THAT I CAN TALK TO ABOUT RE-ENLISTING AND DIFFERENT TRADE OPTIONS FOR ME?

Yes, either call 0800 1 FORCE (0800 136 723) and ask to speak to a uniformed re-enlistment recruiter, or fill out the Contact Form on this website asking us to contact you to discuss re-enlistment options.

WILL I BE GIVEN THE SAME RANK AND SENIORITY AS WHEN I LEFT?


Most of the time people re-enlist with the same rank and seniority, however this is assessed on a case by case basis, and includes factors such as how long you have been out for and what you have done since you left.

CAN I APPLY FOR A DIFFERENT SERVICE OR TRADE THAN I WAS IN LAST TIME?

Yes.  Your previous experience will be reviewed against what you are applying for and you may be credited some course requirements.  This is assessed on a case by case basis and it may also be decided that you need to start again alongside new recruits.

WILL YOU REVIEW MY PREVIOUS MILITARY FILE?

Yes, both the Recruiter and the Career Manager will review your file to assess your suitability for re-enlistment.  If it is decided that you are not suitable for re-enlistment you will be given the reason for this.

HAVE I BEEN OUT OF THE NZDF FOR TOO LONG TO RE-ENLIST?

We assess each application for re-enlistment on a variety of factors and this includes how long you served previously, how long you have been out, and what you have been doing since you left, to help us decide if your skill fade is too high.

DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE WHOLE APPLICATION PROCESS AGAIN OF APTITUDE TESTS, FITNESS TESTS, ETC?

If you’re applying for your previous trade you won’t have to re-sit your aptitude tests, but you may need to if you’re applying for something different. You will need to pass an RFL before re-enlisting in the Army, and the Navy and RNZAF will require you to pass their fitness tests shortly after you’re back in uniform (usually on the day of enlistment for Navy and within three months of enlistment for RNZAF).

WILL YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION EXTRA SKILLS I HAVE GAINED SINCE LEAVING THE NZDF?


If your skills are relevant to your trade then this will be considered on a case by case basis.

HOW LONG DOES THE MEDICAL CLEARANCE TAKE?

This will vary depending on how long you have been out of the NZDF and whether you have had any medical treatment since leaving.  We may require additional information from your civilian GP and the sooner you provide this the sooner our military doctors can review your medical file.  A decision on medical clearance is usually made within a week as long as we have all the information we need from you.

HOW LONG DOES THE POLICE CHECK TAKE?

It can take up to 30 days.  If you have lived overseas for longer than six months since you left the NZDF you will need to provide a Police check from that country and we can guide you on how to do that.

I HAVE BEEN LIVING OUTSIDE THE COUNTRIES ELIGIBLE FOR A SECURITY CLEARANCE. CAN I RE-ENLIST?

Every case is different so please contact us to discuss.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RE-ENLIST?

Each individual is different and there are a number of tasks that need to be completed before you re-enlist (military file check, Police, Medical, etc).  Some people are back in within a month, and others can take up to six months.  You will have responsibility for completing parts of the process and the faster you do these, the faster your application will progress.

I’M CURRENTLY SERVING BUT I WANT TO SERVICE TRANSFER OR TRADE CHANGE. DO I APPLY VIA THIS SITE?

If you are a currently serving member, either Regular or Reserves, you need to apply via your unit chain of command.

I APPLIED PREVIOUSLY TO RE-ENLIST BUT THEN I DECIDED TO PUT MY APPLICATION ON HOLD. HOW DO I GET IT ACTIVATED AGAIN?

Either call 0800 1 FORCE (0800 136 723) and let them know you want to re-open your application, or fill out the Contact Form on this website and let us know that way.

WHAT ENTITLEMENTS CAN I GET TO HELP MY ENTRY?

On successful application, and once you have accepted your Offer of Service, you may then be entitled to some of the below on entry or to aid with your entry:

  • Duty Travel for you and your family, from your bona fide home to new posting location
  • Household removals funding/partial funding
  • Accommodation (service or non) during relocation to new posting

Please note that these entitlements may change and are not always guaranteed.

HOW MUCH DO GET PAID IN EACH SERVICE?

You can see the pay tables for each service at the links below. As you move through the ranks your salary will change accordingly.

Navy
Army
Air Force

HOW LONG DOES THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS TAKE?

The whole process, from application to enlistment, can take between 3 and 18 months. This will depend on your circumstances including how long you have left to serve in your current job and how quickly you can gain a NZ Residence class visa once we have sent you a job offer.

CAN I TRANSFER MY UK PENSION TO THE NZDF?

There is no ability to transfer your military pension into a NZDF scheme.  The NZDF no longer has its own pension scheme, rather NZDF employees pay into the national Kiwisaver scheme.  NZDF employees pay a minimum of 3% of their salary and the NZDF matches that with 4%.  The pay listed on NZDF’s offer of service includes employer Kiwisaver contributions.  More details can be found at the link: www.kiwisaver.govt.nz

You may transfer your pension to your Kiwisaver scheme however we strongly encourage you to seek professional advice regarding this.  There are people in both the UK and NZ that can provide you with advice, but the NZDF is unable to and you will need to work out what the right option is for you.  

HOW LONG DOES THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS TAKE?

Once you have submitted your application, NZ Immigration will assign you a Case Officer and the process may take up to six months. This will be highly dependant on your ability to produce all of the documentation required by NZ Immigration in a timely and organised fashion. Please ensure you fully read the information on NZ Immigration’s website, www.immigration.govt.nz, before commencing the process.

CAN THE OFFER OF SERVICE CHANGE?

An OOS from the NZDF is an indication that we wish to employ you and that we would like to employ you as soon as possible. The OOS will contain information such as your new branch, trade, rank, seniority, unit, appointment, salary, engagement timeframe, annual leave scale and any courses required. The Offer is subject on you gaining the required medical and security clearances, and on gaining a NZ Residence class visa.

In rare circumstances, the OOS may change. Please be aware that the NZDF reserves the right to alter your actual posting due to operational or administrative purposes. We may be able to be flexible if you are unable to commence employment within the timeframe agreed in your OOS.

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.

HOW DO I LOOK FOR A SCHOOL FOR MY CHILDREN?

Most NZ students attend state funded schools. Every student has the right to enrol at the state school nearest to their home.

If the school is at risk of overcrowding, it can set a ‘home zone’ that is geographically defined. Students living in this zone have the right to go to that school.

Those living outside the zone can be enrolled only under special circumstances. These include situations where students have brothers or sisters attending the school or require access to special programmes such as special education or Maori language. If the school is still at risk of overcrowding, selection is made through a supervised ballot.

Information on school enrolment zones can be found at www.nzschools.tki.org.nz, with full information on the New Zealand school system at www.minedu.govt.nz.

DOES THE NZDF RECOGNISE A RELATIONSHIP IF A COUPLE IS NOT MARRIED?

Yes. A service member who is in a relationship with another person and living as a couple will be entitled to have that relationship recorded as a recognised relationship.

Official recognition of such a relationship renders a service member eligible for the same entitlements available to married service members.

Relationships will be recognised for NZDF purposes only. There are no set criteria for the recognition of a relationship and each case will considered on its own merits.

ONCE YOU SIGN THE OFFER OF SERVICE, ARE YOU BOUND TO SERVE FOR THE WHOLE ENGAGEMENT?

No, signing the OOS places you under no obligation. However, once you enlist (attest), you become liable to serve the period of your engagement. However, you have the right to apply for release at any time during your engagement.

The normal notice period for release is three months.

WILL THE MOVE DATE BE A NEGOTIATED ONE, OR ADVISED?

Enlistment dates will be agreed once an OOS is made and we have a clearer idea of the time frame (e.g. NZ Residence class visa, release etc).

Please be aware that you are expected to enlist within 18 months from the time you submit your application to NZDF and that you are required to give as much information as possible about when you will be able to join.

WHAT IS DEFENCE HOUSING LIKE?

The majority of NZDF houses were built in the 1950s and are of wood construction. They have been maintained but are not as good as most modern homes of this century.

The average fortnightly rent is currently $390 for 2 bedrooms and $450 for 4 bedrooms.

DO MOST SERVICE MEMBERS LIVE IN DEFENCE HOUSING?

No, the majority of personnel live off base in private accommodation.

SHOULD I BRING ALL OF MY FURNITURE WITH ME?

This is a personal choice. We strongly recommend that you do your own research including a comparison of the cost of purchasing furniture in NZ against the cost of transporting your furniture from overseas.

WILL MY PREVIOUS MILITARY PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS BE USED IN ASSESSMENT FOR PROMOTION?

No. You will be assessed for promotion upon your performance and reporting in the NZDF.

DO I NEED TO PROVIDE COPIES OF MY QUALIFICATIONS OBTAINED DURING MY MILITARY COURSES?

Yes. The Career Managers will assess these qualifications and decide which ones will be recognised by the NZDF.

If you are successful with enlisting into the NZDF, these courses will be added to your NZDF profile.

Please note that some NZ courses differ to ones you have taken at home and you must be prepared to complete these. This will be stated in your OOS.

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.

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.

AM I BOUND BY THE CONDITIONS SET IN MY OOS?

Yes. The OOS will state what courses you will be required to do, what rank you will hold, what seniority you will hold etc. It is not possible to renegotiate these conditions after you arrive in NZ.

WILL I BE OFFERED AN EXTENSION OF SERVICE AFTER I COMPLETE MY INITIAL ENGAGEMENT?


This will be dependant on a number of factors including gaining NZ citizenship, the NZDF’s needs and your performance during your time served.

You should find out if your service will be extended 12 months before completing your initial engagement. Your initial engagement is likely to be for a period of five years and eight months.

WHEN WILL I BE PROMOTED?

Promotion is based on meeting eligibility requirements and performance within the NZDF.

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.

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.

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.

AS A RESERVIST WILL I BE MADE TO GO ON A DEPLOYMENT OR CAN I REFUSE?

No. There is no compulsion to deploy. However the encouraged expectation of Reserves is the willingness of individuals to deploy and support operational service.

Does my employer have to pay me (a reservist) while I'm on military leave?

No. Military Leave provisions under the Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973  do not require employers to pay employees on military leave.

We encourage employers to top-up the difference between your civilian pay and your military pay so you do not experience financial hardship while on military leave. Of course, if you use your annual leave your employer does have to pay you while on military training. Check your company’s policy for details, or contact us for further options.

What do I sign when I become a reservist?

Successful Reserve applicants sign both an Offer of Service and an Attestation Form (legal document that means you agree to abide by and be subject to Service Law).

Will I (as a reverist) continue to accrue my annual leave while I'm on military leave?

Yes. Being granted military leave provisions under the Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973  means that your normal employment is viewed as uninterrupted and you are entitled to accrue your normal annual leave entitlement.

If a special holiday, such as a public holiday, falls within the period of protected military leave there is no requirement for your employer either to pay or accredit that special holiday to you.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

WHERE WILL MY TRAINING TAKE PLACE?

Where you'll do your initial training depends on your chosen trade and Service – on the North Shore in Auckland, if you join the Navy; in Waiouru, in the central North Island, if you join the Army; and in Woodbourne, near Blenheim, if you join the Air Force.  Specialist training can happen in any number of places in New Zealand or overseas.

I PLAY SPORT AT A COMPETITIVE LEVEL. CAN I KEEP PLAYING WHILE I'M IN THE DEFENCE FORCE?

If you're playing top-level sports of any kind, we will usually be able to ensure you get the opportunity to compete. We have sportsmen and women who compete at national and international level, as well as fulfilling their regular duties.  The drive to win and teamwork are core to the Defence Force and so we encourage all personnel to get involved in team sports whenever they can.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I SPEND IN UNIFORM?

You will be required to wear uniform during the normal working day and if you are required for duty. You are not required to wear uniform out of hours.

I HAVE A MOBILE PHONE. WILL I BE ABLE TO USE IT IN THE DEFENCE FORCE?

Mobile phones are allowed in the New Zealand Defence Force, but you are not permitted to use them sometimes, like when on operations or exercise or during parts of your initial training.

WILL I BE ABLE TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS DURING MY TRAINING?

While you're undertaking your training, you will be given plenty of time to remain in contact with family and friends by mail or pay telephone. 

I HAVE LONG HAIR. WILL I HAVE TO GET A HAIRCUT WHEN I JOIN THE DEFENCE FORCE?

That depends on how long your hair is when you join. But in general for women: Short hair should be 15mm above the collar if you have a bob-style haircut Long hair should be tied up so that it sits 15mm above the collar Ponytails can only be worn during personal time in the barracks and when not in uniform No hair should show on the forehead when a beret or hat is worn. For men: Hair should be no longer than 15mm above the collar, and no shorter than a number 2 comb haircut Sideburns must be neatly-trimmed and not extend below the middle of the ear.

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.

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.

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 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