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What are the minimum fitness requirements to join the NZDF?

Navy, Army, and Air Force fitness requirements can be found here.

Please note these are the minimum fitness requirements for each service. If you want your application to be competitive we urge you to strive to perform well beyond these requirements.

Can I apply if I am not a New Zealand Citizen?

Eligibility requirements, including requirements around citizenship can be found here:

Eligibility requirements

Citizenship and security requirements

Is there an upper age limit to join or re-enlist?

No. There is no upper age limit to join or re-enlist. However, you will need to meet medical and fitness requirements for your desired service.

How long does the application process take?

The time between submitting your application and the first day of training typically takes 3 – 18 months. There are a number of reasons why your application may take longer to process. For example:

  • we may require you to undertake further medical testing with a specialist
  • you may take several attempts to pass the aptitude and fitness testing
  • you may miss out on the first intake you are eligible for. Some of our trades have a high number of applications and selection is highly competitive
  • you may have applied for a trade that we only recruit once per year, or once every two years.

These are just some of the reasons why your application may take longer to process. Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator can provide you with more information about your specific circumstances.

If applying from overseas, you will also have to wait for an NZ Residence Class visa.



Can I attend church while I am in the NZDF?

Yes. We have Army, Navy, and Air Force Chaplains at every base. Chaplains take an active interest in the welfare of all NZDF personnel, and our chapels cater for all religions. You are able to attend Sunday church services if you wish.

If my child is sick can I get the day off?

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

What will my day-to-day life in the NZDF be like?

One of the key things about life in the NZDF is that your job will vary and you will be doing many different things. The NZDF is also passionate about its members maintaining a sustainable work/life balance. Work hours are comparable to a normal 9-5 job. However, during initial training, field exercises, and on operation, you will be expected to work longer hours. NZDF regular force members are entitled to a generous 25 days annual leave per year.

Will I have to live on base?

During recruit training you will have to live on base. After recruit training there is no requirement to live on base.

How much self-discipline is involved?

The NZDF expects a high standard of personal conduct, physical fitness, dress and discipline. It may take a little getting used to at first, but once you settle into a routine of daily life, your confidence and self-discipline will allow you to handle whatever comes your way.

How can I make my application more competitive?

You can make your application more competitive by increasing your personal fitness and achieving a high level of fitness at your entry level fitness test. Team sports, cultural and extra-curricular activities, also look good on your application. Having a detailed understanding of your trade, service, training pipeline, and recent NZDF operations will help you during the interview.

Can I continue playing sport to competitive level while in the NZDF?

The NZDF has multiple sportsmen and women who compete at a national and international level while fulfilling their regular duties. If you compete at a high level in any kind of sport, we will usually allow you the opportunity to compete. Team work and the drive to win are core values to the NZDF so we encourage all personnel to get involved in team sports.

My application to join was declined for medical reasons I disagree with, is there a process to have this reconsidered?

Yes. If your application is denied for medical reasons, you can get the decision reconsidered. Request a reconsideration form from your Candidate Engagement Facilitator and send it to the address enclosed with supporting documents like a report from your general practitioner or specialist doctor (Note: this must be received within 4 weeks of the day you were notified your application was denied, and you are responsible for any costs associated to your own medical reports). This will be reconsidered by a senior NZDF Doctor. You may be declined again or given a stand-down period before you can reapply.

How does the resignation process work?

We typically require 3 months’ notice if you decide to resign. 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 join if I have a tattoo?

Tattoos, including large and highly visible cultural tattoos are acceptable provided they are appropriate for a military environment and are complementary to the NZDF’s values and image.

Can I wear my wedding ring, jewellery, and have piercings?

You are able to wear a plain signet ring, engagement ring and/or wedding ring, plus one other ring.

You can also wear one pair of earrings, which must be plain studs or sleepers. No other visible piercings are permitted.

You can wear a wristwatch, and it is recommended that you get a sturdy, waterproof wristwatch for when in field environments.

Can men have long hair?

In the Navy, men are permitted long hair. It must be tied up off the collar.

Men are not allowed long hair in the Army or Air Force.

What happens after I graduate initial training?

After you have graduated from your initial training, you’ll either start initial trade training immediately or undertake a short period of on-the-job training at your new work unit prior to your initial trade training. When your initial trade course is complete, you’ll start doing the job you have trained for.

What leadership roles can I perform in the NZDF?

Leadership roles are available to all trades in every service. As the NZDF is relatively small compared to other militaries, leadership skills are taught early because we need our personnel to be flexible and capable of leading, sometimes at junior ranks.

Do I have to wear my uniform if I go to university?

Depending on which scholarship scheme you are studying under, you may be required 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.

What skills and qualifications will I gain from my training that are useful outside of the NZDF?

Regardless of your trade and service, you will gain valuable skills and experience that are desired by civilian employers. For some technical trades, you will gain qualifications that are widely recognised in New Zealand and around the world.

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