As a Chaplain in the New Zealand Army you will be ministering to the spiritual and pastoral well-being of NZ Army personnel at any time, in any circumstance.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Medical and Health
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

As a Chaplain in the New Zealand Army you will be ministering to the spiritual and pastoral well-being of NZ Army personnel at any time, in any circumstance. You will minister not only from the comfort of the Chapel on Camp, but also in the field during exercises and on operations often in austere and hostile environments, under military operational conditions.

Job on base

You will wear the uniform, come under the Defence Act, and undergo the same indoctrination and training as others who take up the profession-of-arms. As a Chaplain, however, you will be primarily concerned for the spiritual and pastoral care of the individual, and bring to the NZ Army your particular skills which will include:

  • A professional theological qualification, having been trained to perform all the functions of clergy
  • A wide variety of experiences of life and integrated belief systems, bringing a vital faith which enables Soldiers to address the many challenges of Service life
  • By virtue of your ordination, you will be called to a ministry committed to a life of service, and to a self-sacrificing concern for the welfare of others
  • With your commitment to pastoral care you will bring a willingness to challenge those issues which need to be confronted and to speak out when necessary, and to champion truth and justice at any cost

Job on deployment

While on deployment, a Chaplain will conduct many of the same duties as their in camp role, as well as duties specific to an Operational theatre.

Because of the increased danger and higher risk to life while in theatre, a Chaplain may be called upon to conduct funeral rites/ramp ceremonies, conduct memorial services or assist with Critical Incident Management. In line with this they may be required to provide on going grief support to a Unit with a view to keeping deployed personnel focussed on the mission.

Chaplain’s provide a humanising presence in what can become a dehumanising environment. They can also act as a bridge builder between the host community (especially where religion is held in high regard) and the contingent.

As a trained first-line counsellor, in theatre, the Chaplain can be in a sense, a maintainer of morale and of the human spirit. A professional ‘friend’ or ‘carer’ supporting soldiers and thereby releasing command to concentrate on the soldiering side of the mission.

I like adventure, I like having alot of fun and I like being challenged.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Specialist Training

You will enter the NZ Army with the support of your Church and remain under its discipline for the exercise of your ordination/accreditation vows. Chaplaincy therefore is an institution of both the State (The NZ Defence Force) and the Church and you will need the on-going support of both.

Both the Church and NZDF needs to understand this partnership and the possible areas of tension. It is also important that you to understand this unique relationship and to appreciate that you will have two distinct but complementary lines of accountability.


Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do a six week specialist officer military training course to teach you the basics of being in the Army. The course is designed to assist you in your integration into the Army and although it is challenging, it’s specifically catered for specialist officers. You will be taught the basics including:

  • Navigation
  • Weapon handling
  • Leadership
  • Drill and barrack routine
  • Living in the field
  • Army Ethos and Values

Armed Forces Chaplains are required to be qualified in theological, military and chaplain specialist matters. To ensure you are qualified to appropriate levels, military and some chaplaincy training will be given in initial, continuation and advanced stages of your career with the NZ Army.

You will be also be required to maintain links with your own denomination, attending training events, retreats, and annual conferences as appropriate. Chaplains may also be required to attend suitable military administration and staff courses during their career.

There are a number of short courses that Chaplain’s are encouraged to do to assist them in there role with the NZ Army including:

  • Prepare/Enrich
  • Assist Suicide Prevention Training
  • Advanced Counselling Techniques Courses

In addition, Chaplains will be eligible for other courses as they are developed, as well as ongoing Professional Supervision and Spiritual Direction.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.
  • Be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years

Applicants are to have recognised professional qualifications and experience in Scripture, Theology and Pastoral Ministry in accordance with their own denominational requirements. In addition applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be ordained, licensed, commissioned or otherwise fully authorised to officiate on behalf of their denomination
  • Have normally completed five years full-time pastoral ministry experience
  • Be in good standing with their denomination, and have the support of their denomination
  • Have your application endorsed by the Chaplains Dominion Advisory Council
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to relate effectively with a diverse range of people
  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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