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.

Can I have tattoos and piercings?

Tattoos are acceptable provided they are appropriate for a military environment and are complementary to the Defence Force’s values and image. Each service has clear guidelines regarding this. Cultural tattoos are permitted, however highly visible tattoos with inappropriate or offensive content are not acceptable.

Women are allowed to have their ears pierced. Only one piercing in each ear is acceptable, and all other visible piercings are not permitted.

WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO ME FOR MATERNITY LEAVE?

The Defence Force is family friendly and offers generous leave policies to support working parents. If you are planning a family you can take parental leave and we provide you with support to reintegrate into working life, including getting fit again. You may also be eligible to receive a return to work incentive payment, which is equivalent to six weeks salary and payable six months after your return from parental leave.

You can continue to breast-feed if you choose. Nursing mothers may be able to make arrangements with their commanders and managers to establish an appropriate location for breast-feeding and expressing milk. However, personal needs must always be balanced with high priority Unit or operational activities.

There is also an annual leave allowance to use at your discretion. This is an important time in your life and we recognise that. In the Defence Force you can enjoy family life like everyone else. 

There is flexibility around leave for school holidays or if you need to care for a sick child.

HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF PERSONAL HYGIENE WHEN I’M IN THE FIELD?

It is important to maintain high hygiene standards for your health and well-being.

When you are in the field and don’t have access to bathroom facilities, you will be taught during initial recruit training how to tactically, safely and appropriately take care of all personal hygiene matters – and you will always be able to maintain your privacy and discretion. Most women carry wet-wipes, and enough spare socks and underwear.

When you are conducting high intensity training, or if your team is on the move, you will have to improvise and take the opportunity to go to the toilet during rest breaks. On longer and larger training exercises, involving combat service support, there may be proper toilet areas (port-a-loos) and field showers set up.

On operational deployments, regardless of what service you are in, the accommodation, ablution and shop/canteen facilities are established to a comfortable and hygienic standard. Depending on the location and situation this can vary from military or local suppliers, and from military tents to a hotel room or a locally rented property. 

CAN I ATTEND EVENING SOCIAL EVENTS OFF BASE AFTER WORK?

We believe passionately in providing an excellent work/life balance, and the hours you work will be similar to any role in civilian life, with most of your weekends free. Of course if you’re on exercise, on operations, or responding to a critical situation, then you will need to be flexible about this.

Downtime can be spent however you wish. You might want to socialise on base with your friends, and you can invite your civilian friends on base as long as they are escorted at all times. You might just want to get away from the base and visit family, or go into town for a night out.

There are gyms and swimming pools for exercise and recreation, and bars to relax in. If you need a bit of peace and quiet for study or reading, there’s a well-stocked library. There is a shop and café, hobby huts and many clubs for you to join. This could be anything from cycling to ski-ing to Kapa Haka.

As an enlisted service member it is important that your personal conduct both on and off duty is responsible, respectful and appropriate. If you are likely to be consuming alcohol, we encourage our personnel to drink responsibly, organise safe and sober travel home after a night out, and to look out for each other’s safety and well-being. 

CAN I CHANGE JOBS ONCE I’M IN THE DEFENCE FORCE?

Initial Service and trade selection is really important, and it pays to do your homework so that you make an informed decision as both you and the Defence Force will be investing a lot of time, energy and money over the course of your career.

Due to career progression and regular posting cycles, you will be changing jobs every couple of years so there are always opportunities for new challenges, to gain new skills, and to live and work in different places with different people.

In some circumstances it is possible to change trade once you’re in the Defence Force. However, trade and Service changes can be a lengthy process and will depend on a number of factors, so it is not guaranteed.

You can resign from the Defence Force and typically we require three months notice. However, during times of increased operational activity, or if you are required to complete a Return of Service Obligation, you may be required to continue serving until you have completed your required duties or service period.

CAN I KEEP STUDYING OUTSIDE THE DEFENCE FORCE?

Yes. You can choose what to do with your free time and if you want to pursue further education you can. If the study is related to your trade, the Defence Force may pay for it or subsidise your course fees. You may even be allowed to spend some work time studying, depending on the course and the demands of your job.

Find out more on our University Study and Education and Training pages, or look up education and training, in the lifestyle and salary section for each Service.

What sort of tests will you have to sit?


There are four tests in the NZDF recruiting test series, but you may have to sit only some of these, depending on your choice of trade and service. If you have sat any of the tests before, tell the recruiter, as you may not have to sit them again.

The sample questions will be similar to those featured in the tests. You should find a quiet place - free from noise or interruption, and work through this handout.

Read all the instructions carefully before you attempt each practice test. Work through each one as quickly and accurately as you can. Try to answer all the questions within the time limit given; this will give you an idea of how well you cope under time pressure.

This practice before the real tests will give you a general idea of the types of questions that will be asked. If you find that you struggle with the questions, you may need to check out other sources such as revision books, teachers, and peers.

What can you do to prepare for the test session?


Between now and the test session:

Revise your school algebra and trigonometry. 

Do word and number puzzles, and simple crosswords.

Practise with lots of examples, but don't use a calculator. 

When practising, set yourself time limits.

Immediately Before the test session:

Get plenty of sleep the night before.

Find out exactly where the test venue is and check what time you have to be there.

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue.

What to do during the test session?

At the test session:

Listen carefully to the instructions.

If you are unsure about any of the instructions, ask questions.

Before the first test is given, you will be required to fill in a sheet giving your permission for information (including test results) to be used by NZDF personnel.

On the top of each answer sheet you will be required to record your name, age, the date of testing, and the trade you are applying for.

Read each of the questions carefully before answering.

Because each test has a time limit, work quickly and accurately.

If you cannot answer a question, leave it and go on to the next one.

You are not allowed to use a calculator.

Remember:

You don't need to bring anything to do the tests as all materials, pencils and paper, will be provided.

Your test results will be confidential. 

The recruiter will tell you how you performed on the tests.

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 FIT DO I HAVE TO BE TO JOIN?

Throughout the Defence Force, physical fitness is important and maintained at a high level. You need to be fit to do your job well and you need the energy reserves to respond to any emergency situations. This doesn’t just mean being physically strong – we need total fitness. As part of your application you will have to undertake fitness tests. These tests vary depending on the role you are applying for, visit Navy, Army or Air Force to see what tests apply for your chosen Service.

Before you undertake basic training, it's essential that you are reasonably fit and free of injuries and medical problems. Prior to joining, concentrate on cardiovascular work such as running and circuit training; to give yourself a head start, you should aim to achieve the minimum standard of fitness required for the job you wish to apply for

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM STANDARD OF FITNESS FOR THE DEFENCE FORCE?

The minimum standard of fitness will depend on your chosen Service and may also depend on your gender and age. In addition some jobs will require higher standards of fitness due to the nature of the work involved, Navy Diver is one such example.

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

WHEN WILL I BE PROMOTED?

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

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 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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

CAN I WEAR JEWELLERY AND MAKE-UP WHEN I’M IN MY UNIFORM?

Make-up can be worn provided it is appropriate for a military environment. Each service has clear guidelines for what is appropriate, but in general, make-up should be light and natural. Foundation and minimal eye make-up can be worn when in the office, but it is of course impractical to wear any in the field environment.

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 or sleepers only.

You can wear a wristwatch, and it is recommended that you get a sturdy, waterproof watch for work.

Do I have to tell my employer about my reserve forces activities?

No. Only you can judge whether or not to tell your employer.

The Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973 makes it an offence for an employer to discriminate against, disadvantage or dismiss an employee or prospective employee for rendering service in the Reserve Forces. Also, no one from the Directorate of Reserve Forces and Youth Development or your unit will contact your employer on your behalf without your prior consent.

To help us provide the support you require we encourage all Reserve Forces personnel to discuss their military service with their employer.

Your employer may be more willing to release you for civil defence or other emergency assistance if they are aware of your Reserve Forces involvement in advance.

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO APPLY FOR MY RECONSIDERATION?

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

CAN I HAVE TATTOOS AND PIERCINGS?

Tattoos are acceptable provided they are appropriate for a military environment and are complementary to the Defence Force’s values and image. Each service has clear guidelines regarding this. Cultural tattoos are permitted, however highly visible tattoos with inappropriate or offensive content are not acceptable.

Women are allowed to have their ears pierced. Only one piercing in each ear is acceptable, and all other visible piercings are not permitted.

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.

WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO ME FOR MATERNITY LEAVE?

The Defence Force is family friendly and offers generous leave policies to support working parents. If you are planning a family you can take parental leave and we provide you with support to reintegrate into working life, including getting fit again. You may also be eligible to receive a return to work incentive payment, which is equivalent to six weeks salary and payable six months after your return from parental leave.

You can continue to breast-feed if you choose. Nursing mothers may be able to make arrangements with their commanders and managers to establish an appropriate location for breast-feeding and expressing milk. However, personal needs must always be balanced with high priority Unit or operational activities.

There is also an annual leave allowance to use at your discretion. This is an important time in your life and we recognise that. In the Defence Force you can enjoy family life like everyone else. 

There is flexibility around leave for school holidays or if you need to care for a sick child.

HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF PERSONAL HYGIENE WHEN I’M IN THE FIELD?

It is important to maintain high hygiene standards for your health and well-being.

When you are in the field and don’t have access to bathroom facilities, you will be taught during initial recruit training how to tactically, safely and appropriately take care of all personal hygiene matters – and you will always be able to maintain your privacy and discretion. Most women carry wet-wipes, and enough spare socks and underwear.

When you are conducting high intensity training, or if your team is on the move, you will have to improvise and take the opportunity to go to the toilet during rest breaks. On longer and larger training exercises, involving combat service support, there may be proper toilet areas (port-a-loos) and field showers set up.

On operational deployments, regardless of what service you are in, the accommodation, ablution and shop/canteen facilities are established to a comfortable and hygienic standard. Depending on the location and situation this can vary from military or local suppliers, and from military tents to a hotel room or a locally rented property. 

CAN I ATTEND EVENING SOCIAL EVENTS OFF BASE AFTER WORK?

We believe passionately in providing an excellent work/life balance, and the hours you work will be similar to any role in civilian life, with most of your weekends free. Of course if you’re on exercise, on operations, or responding to a critical situation, then you will need to be flexible about this.

Downtime can be spent however you wish. You might want to socialise on base with your friends, and you can invite your civilian friends on base as long as they are escorted at all times. You might just want to get away from the base and visit family, or go into town for a night out.

There are gyms and swimming pools for exercise and recreation, and bars to relax in. If you need a bit of peace and quiet for study or reading, there’s a well-stocked library. There is a shop and café, hobby huts and many clubs for you to join. This could be anything from cycling to ski-ing to Kapa Haka.

As an enlisted service member it is important that your personal conduct both on and off duty is responsible, respectful and appropriate. If you are likely to be consuming alcohol, we encourage our personnel to drink responsibly, organise safe and sober travel home after a night out, and to look out for each other’s safety and well-being. 

CAN I CHANGE JOBS ONCE I’M IN THE DEFENCE FORCE?

Initial Service and trade selection is really important, and it pays to do your homework so that you make an informed decision as both you and the Defence Force will be investing a lot of time, energy and money over the course of your career.

Due to career progression and regular posting cycles, you will be changing jobs every couple of years so there are always opportunities for new challenges, to gain new skills, and to live and work in different places with different people.

In some circumstances it is possible to change trade once you’re in the Defence Force. However, trade and Service changes can be a lengthy process and will depend on a number of factors, so it is not guaranteed.

You can resign from the Defence Force and typically we require three months notice. However, during times of increased operational activity, or if you are required to complete a Return of Service Obligation, you may be required to continue serving until you have completed your required duties or service period.

CAN I KEEP STUDYING OUTSIDE THE DEFENCE FORCE?

Yes. You can choose what to do with your free time and if you want to pursue further education you can. If the study is related to your trade, the Defence Force may pay for it or subsidise your course fees. You may even be allowed to spend some work time studying, depending on the course and the demands of your job.

Find out more on our University Study and Education and Training pages, or look up education and training, in the lifestyle and salary section for each Service.

DO I NEED TO WEAR MY UNIFORM IF I GO TO UNIVERSITY?

Depending on which scheme you are studying under, if you are an enlisted Regular Force member of the Defence Force you may have to wear uniform when attending lectures, tutorials and other formal occasions like graduation.

At any point in your career, if you are attending workshops, courses or lectures in a professional capacity then you will most likely be expected to wear uniform, but this will be up to command or personal discretion. 

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. 

HOW DOES THE DEFENCE FORCE PREVENT DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT AND BULLYING?

Service and employment in the Defence Force is based on the principles of trust and respect in everything that we do. This allows us to maintain our operational effectiveness, and to manage and protect the well-being of our personnel.

We are committed to ensuring that our workplaces are safe and free from discrimination, harassment and bullying, and we have a robust framework and support processes in place to deal with any alleged incidents. This enables our leaders to deal with allegations fairly and efficiently - quickly, appropriately and sensitively, without being unnecessarily elevated.

It is important to note that all servicemen and women are expected to act responsibly and consistently apply the principles of self-discipline, self-management, comradeship and integrity. 

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 NavyArmy, and Air Force fitness requirements pages

WHAT KINDS OF JOBS ARE AVAILABLE TO WOMEN?

All Defence Force jobs are accessible to women. Some roles are more popular with women such as Communications and Logistics. Some combat roles (NZSAS, Commando and Diver) have extremely high selection and training standards that are both physically and mentally challenging. The standards are set the same for men and women, making it very difficult for women and many men to access these trades.