Your life on and off-duty


After you graduate from recruit course, you’ll be posted to a Unit and begin your role-specific training, which includes both trade and promotion courses. It is at this point you can make your own decisions about where you live and what you do with your spare time. You will work more regular hours, and unit activities involve a good balance of core business, training exercises, sports and social activities.

Family, friends and partners are very important. It’s entirely up to you whether you maintain your existing relationships or choose to socialise mainly with your military friends and colleagues.

We make sure that our deployed personnel have good opportunities to keep in regular contact with friends and family, and are kept up to date with national news and events.

There are many sports and cultural teams that you can join, whether you want to participate at Unit level or represent the New Zealand Defence Force. And if you are a competitor in your sport or another extra-curricular activity at top level, you may be able to access time off to compete. This extends to those who are active at national or international level in the cultural or arts sectors – for example if you are a member of an orchestra or cultural group.


Being in the military is not like a regular job. Maintaining operational readiness is crucial to the success of the Defence Force, and when on exercises or deployments you may need to work at high intensity for extended periods.

You won’t be deployed all the time, so when you’re home on base you’ll work regular hours, usually 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Should you be selected for a deployment, prior to leaving there is planning and preparation that takes into account both personal and professional matters.

Leave and benefits in the military are designed to keep you happy, healthy and rested so that you can give your best.

It is important to remember that your commitment when joining means that your individual needs always have to be balanced with organisational needs, particularly if you are required for urgent or specialist operational duties.


Whether you’re deployed or at home, there are always opportunities for rest and leave. Importantly, you will receive additional leave after a long deployment so you can take time out to travel or to spend time catching up with family and friends.

You will be entitled to 25 annual leave days (that’s five more than most civilian organisations), and there are opportunities for Leave Without Pay if you want to take some time out to travel or study.

We recognise that because you will be required to sometimes operate in difficult circumstances, it is crucial we support you in maintaining good physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. There are a variety of support mechanisms available to you as military personnel, such as excellent medical facilities, gyms and physical training instructors, unlimited sick leave, counselling and chaplaincy services.

The Defence Force is very family friendly. If you are planning a family you can take maternity leave and we offer you support to reintegrate back into working life. There is flexibility around leave for school holidays or if you need to care for a sick child.

Your close family members are also considered valuable members of the Defence Force, so our support will extend to them when you are deployed overseas or if you have challenging personal circumstances.