Operational experience, professionalism and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence will be your hallmarks as an elite NZSAS soldier.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

‘Who Dares Wins’ is the motto of the NZSAS. Operational experience, professionalism and the unrelenting pursuit of excellence are hallmarks of every NZSAS soldier. If you think you have supreme commitment and self-discipline, this may be the career path for you.

Traditionally only military personnel from either the regular or reserve component of the NZ Defence Force have been able to join the NZSAS. However, entry is now open to civilian applicants as NZSAS has become an official trade specialisation with the NZ Army.

As well meeting the minimum entry requirements for the role, we are looking for people that are physically fit and have a high level of motivation. Selected candidates will be invited to a presentation, and from there they may go onto NZSAS selection. This involves rigorous training which will result in some candidates successfully completing selection and going onto Army basic training (AARC) and others who do not go further. For these people, they can pursue their other trade option (as identified in their original application) and continue a career with the NZ Army.

NZSAS Regiment has four main roles:
  1. Surveillance and Reconnaissance – operate in complex terrain and difficult situations, often for long periods of time on a range of missions and tasks.
  2. Combating Terrorism – respond to a terrorist situation in support of the NZ Police at the request of the New Zealand Government.
  3. Direct Action – flexible force, capable of conducting complex, joint special operations, for short duration strikes to recover designated personnel and material.
  4. Support and Influence – organise, train and advise host nation military and para-military forces to maintain internal security. Also provide assistance to other New Zealand government agencies in the conduct of national strategic operations.

NZSAS selection usually takes place once a year.

Message from the CO

Thank you for taking the time to learn about joining the New Zealand Special Air Service.

Many people go through life believing that some areas of endeavour are beyond their capabilities to achieve. Unfortunately for those people, their own self-doubt is their main enemy.

Service within the ranks of the SAS can be achieved by any motivated Soldier or Officer who wishes to take up the challenge.

Let me give you my view of those people who become ‘badged’ members of 1 NZSAS Group.

The first point to make is that there are no standard body shapes or fitness criteria required. SAS operators come in all shapes from short to tall, solidly built, through to the lean. I have long given up attempting to pick those candidates who will pass the SAS Selection based on their physical appearance or past reputation – it counts for little.

The reason that people become a badged member of the NZSAS is much deeper than their physical capability and is based on a very simple concept.


They do not just want to ‘give Selection a go’ as they realise this is only a small step to the real goal of becoming a badged member of the Unit. Therefore, any perceived hardships of the selection process are easily put aside by the dedicated candidate who will focus instead on the end goal of becoming a member of the most professional Unit in the New Zealand Defence Force.

So get yourself fit, get your motivation right and get it done. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Don’t look back on your service life and be left wondering if you could have passed the NZSAS selection course. Who knows, you may just have the right stuff and are yet to discover it. Good luck, see you at the start line!

Commanding Officer
1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment

Career progression and training

Basic Training

Ongoing Training

Successful candidates undertake a long and intensive physical and mental training cycle. NZSAS training takes place over nine months. The programme involves building numerous skills which include navigation, weaponry, medical and demolition work – all core skills required to be an effective member of the unit.

Candidates that complete this training cycle are accepted into the Unit at a badging ceremony where they receive the much coveted sand coloured beret and blue belt.

Once NZSAS troopers have earned their badge they then go on to learn advanced skills including parachuting, diving and boating, mountaineering, tracking, and close quarter battle.

NZSAS soldiers and officers then continue their extensive training programmes in New Zealand and around the world, which often involves working alongside soldiers from other special force units.


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.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 20 years of age
  • You must have a high level of motivation
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • By the time you attend the NZSAS Presentation you’ll need to be able to pass a G1 fitness test which is more challenging than our standard EFL. You will also be expected to complete a series of endurance based fitness tests over a four hour period.
  • 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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