This information is designed to help facilitate the transition from overseas to New Zealand. A number of independent sources of information have been listed where appropriate and individuals are strongly encouraged to gather as much information as possible themselves to develop a realistic and personal impression of life in NZ.
Personnel enlisting into the NZDF from overseas may be fully or partially relocated at the expense of the NZDF or they may be required to fund their relocation themselves. However, this is entirely determined on an individual basis and is governed by funding availability and rank & trade priorities. Full details of relocation assistance will be in the Offer of Service.
It is a common misconception that personnel are able to transfer from one overseas service to another.
This type of arrangement is simply not possible and individuals must be selected for service in either the Navy, Army or Airforce.
The NZDF is unable to enlist personnel until they are completely discharged from their current service obligations, including any reserve liability and terminal/resettlement leave. This normally entails an enlistment date the day after their terminal date.
It is a huge misconception that candidates are automatically offered a reduction in rank on enlistment. We aim to recruit people at the same rank as they are currently serving. However, we are a relatively small Defence Force and therefore this is entirely dependant on vacancies in the various trades. If you are offered a reduction in rank it is in no way a reflection of your skills and experience it will simply be due to there being no vacancy at your rank in the trade you wish to join. You will likely be required to conduct the respective promotion course (eg: ‘Grade III’ or ‘SNCO’) for your current rank bracket. You most likely will have already completed these in your own Defence Force. However, this coursing is to amalgamate you into the NZDF.
NZDF personnel are paid fortnightly and are subject to ‘PAYE’ (Pay As You Earn) tax in accordance with current New Zealand tax rates. Details of tax rates and brackets can be found at www.ird.govt.nz. Rates of pay are constantly reviewed and your salary will be determined by your skills, experience and knowledge. The details of your remuneration package will be included in your Offer of Service if you are successful. You will have the option to join the government Kiwisaver scheme or the Defence Force Superannuation Cat B Military Class Scheme. These schemes are quite similar. Both members and the NZDF will contribute 4% each to this scheme, however benefits are locked until at least age 65.
For more information on the Kiwisaver scheme visit the Kiwisaver website.
All service personnel are provided with subsidised medical and dental care. The New Zealand Defence Force does not provide cover for the families of service personnel.
New Zealand’s public health system is good by world standards. Comprehensive life-long medical care is available to everyone. All essential health care is provided free through the public health system. This means that while some routine services, such as visits to local doctors and dentists, have to be paid for, more costly services, such as hospital treatment are, with minor exceptions, available free to all residents.
All members of the NZDF are entitled to accommodation assistance in the form of either a Service House or a taxable Universal Accommodation Allowance (UAC) for those that wish to live privately or in barrack accommodation. Please note that this UAC is currently being considered to be ceased. It is very important to stress at this stage that all service housing, both temporary and permanent, is in extremely short supply in both Auckland and Wellington. You are therefore strongly advised to investigate options such as renting or purchasing a house prior to arriving in NZ.
For information on the current housing and rental markets please visit:
You may also wish to visit:
These offer the option to rent fully furnished holiday homes for extended periods of time without the requirement to enter into a formal tenancy agreement thereby offering you flexibility.
When you first arrive in your new posting location, the NZDF may fund your initial accommodation costs for up to 14 days dependant on your relocation assistance option. The details of your entitlement will be included in your Offer of Service. If you are accommodated at NZDF expense you will be placed in a motel or a Defence welfare house for the designated period of time. Thereafter you will need to find you own accommodation - either a rental property, a holiday home, the purchase of your own home, a DEFENCE transit house or a Married Quarter (dependant on availability). Candidates arriving in Auckland may be offered a Navy transit house in lieu of a motel, however this is entirely dependant on availability and should not be expected. If you are offered a transit house you will be able to stay for either 2 months in total or until your furniture arrives, whichever comes first.
Please note that overseas recruits have no special priority over current serving members of the NZDF for Married Quarters. There is also a limit of 1 pet per married quarter but pets are not allowed in the transit houses so alternative arrangements will need to be made if you move into a transit house for a period of time. The NZDF is not in a position to pay for the relocation of your pets to NZ. You will be pencilled on the Married Quarters List from the date you accept your Offer of Service – however, your name will not formally appear on the list until you enlist. Personnel will be allocated a house as soon as one becomes available. The number of bedrooms we offer may depend on availability and the gender of your children. We would not normally expect children of different genders to share a bedroom (dependant on their age of course and twins may be more suited to sharing a bedroom), so you may have to wait longer for a house with more than 2 bedrooms. However, if you have the same gender children we may offer you a 2 bed house which may increase your options and reduce the time you are on the waiting list.
The NZDF has family friendly, equal employment and anti-harassment policies in effect. Family friendly policies have been implemented so that the unique aspects of the service (such as deployments etc) do not impact adversely on the families of service personnel. These policies can be viewed on the NZDF website. There are also a wide range of trained personnel that are able to provide guidance and information on any aspects of discrimination, harassment or other adverse events.
Any award received whilst in the service of any Commonwealth nation of which The Queen is head of state may be worn without restriction subject to production of satisfactory evidence of entitlement. You are required to seek permission to wear the award on the NZDF uniform from the Chief of Navy, Army or Airforce or their delegate. Satisfactory evidence of the entitlement to the award should be produced when seeking permission to wear the award on the NZDF uniform. Former service with any Commonwealth Armed Forces may count towards the awarding of the single service Long Service and Good Conduct award, in accordance with the eligibility criteria defined in the relevant NZDF Defence Force Orders.
The standard entitlement to Annual Leave is 22 working days leave. The Statutory Leave entitlement is 11 Public Holidays each year, if those holidays fall on a day that you would otherwise have worked. For instance if Waitangi Day & ANZAC Day fall on a weekend you are not entitled to a day off in lieu. You are also granted 2 Armed Forces days which are normally given between Christmas and New Year.
Getting a job in New Zealand may be a challenge if you have not arranged work before arriving. The more experience and qualifications you have to offer, the better your chances will be in securing a position. However, even well qualified migrants may take six or more months to find suitable employment. It is also common for highly qualified migrants to accept more junior positions than they held at home. Disappointing as this may be, it does provide new migrants with the New Zealand work experience most employers demand. These difficulties tend to diminish with time, but it is important to be prepared for a period of adjustment during at least the first year of residence.
The following sites are the best sources of employment opportunities:
All personnel will be required to maintain a minimum fitness level. Personnel will be tested on arrival in NZ and again every six months thereafter.