Combat Engineer

The primary role of a Combat Engineer is varied and exciting. Your purpose is to maintain the Army’s ability to move and manoeuvre on the battlefield without interference from hostile forces. You will provide the Army with combat engineering support and be skilled in the areas of explosives, bridge construction and demolition, field surveying, mine clearance, booby traps, explosives search, boating, water supply, tree felling, sawmill operation, minor construction, rigging and small engines.

Your secondary function/role as a Combat Engineer will be as Infantry (Rifleman) performing general combat duties.
This trade is available to both Regular Force and Army Reserve Soldiers and is lead by Officers from the Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers (RNZE).

As a Combat Engineer, your time spent on camp will consist of continuous training with the Army’s latest equipment. You will head out on exercises throughout New Zealand practicing combat engineering skills that will help the Army move effectively around the battlefield.

While not performing the primary roles and duties of a Combat Engineer, your secondary role will be as Infantry (Rifleman); as such you will also continue your soldier training including weapons, medical and radio/communications training.

When deployed as a Combat Engineer you will have the opportunity to put to use the skills you have learnt throughout your training, these include:

  • De mining and mine awareness education
  • Construction of field defences
  • Gap crossing for Army assets
  • Demolition

A key part of a Combat Engineer’s role on deployment is the concept of winning resources – taking a resource and making it usable for Army operations e.g. the construction of temporary roads and runways from existing materials.

Overseas RNZE personnel can be found in small contingents around the globe. Places they have previously been deployed include Antarctica, Mozambique, USA, Australia, East Timor, South Pacific Islands, Bosnia and Iraq.

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

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of  your Recruit Course you will be paid as a Private and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade

You must have achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

Depending on which higher qualifications you choose to undertake, the return of service can be up to two years.

Training New Zealand Certificate of Quarry Shotfirer Course 24 months.

New Zealand Certificate of Quarry Operations Manager Course 24 months.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration

  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


This is an eight week course held at the School of Military Engineering, Linton Military Camp. This is the first course conducted for most trades within the Royal New Zealand Engineers. It introduces you to the combat side of being an engineer before you undertake your specific trade. The course covers the basics of field engineering including bridging, water supply, explosives, field defences, obstacles, booby traps, boating and other subjects. After the course, you will have a good understanding of field engineering and also be qualified as an Army (explosives) Demolition Handler.


After completing the basic Combat Engineer Course you will attend short courses that deliver specialist skills training and qualifications in disciplines such as Royal NZ Engineering Engine Hands (small motor maintenance and servicing), Defence First Air or Combat Life Savers. There is a host of other specialist training courses during the initial two or three years; some of these are aligned with the NZQA standards which means they are industry recognised. Combat Engineers may study towards a NZ certificate in Engineering, and if you have the aptitude, you can do higher educational qualifications or extramural studies.

In New Zealand there is one predominant Combat Engineer unit, based in Linton. A small number of Combat Engineers are located in Burnham and a specialist support group in Auckland. During your career, you may opt for a regimental posting to a training establishment or a career advisory appointment.