You are the Navy’s spiritual anchor, providing ministry, friendship, comfort and guidance to military and civilian personnel, and their families.

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

You're appointed to provide ministry and pastoral care to Defence Force personnel and their families.

A friend and advisor to all, you provide spiritual, religious and moral advice and assist with life-skills education.

It is a unique ministry which can take you to the four corners of the earth, on sea, or land deployments, wherever Defence Force personnel are required to serve. 

You are responsible at both official and personal levels, for conducting religious services and ceremonial duties.

You need to be available to assist in times of crisis or emergency, both at the personal and organisational level, and are expected to observe high levels of confidentiality and integrity.

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.

Chaplains 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 sailors, soldiers and airmen and thereby releasing command to concentrate on the operational demands of the mission.

Career progression and training

Career progression
Basic training
Job training
Ongoing training

You will be required to pass an initial Chaplains’ Officer Selection Board before undertaking the Navy’s Junior Officer Common Training course.  Naval Chaplains carry no rank but you are normally commissioned on entry as Chaplain Class 4 (Lieutenant Equivalent), with your salary and seniority in rank dependant upon previous ministry experience. Your progress through the Chaplaincy Classes, with each Chaplaincy Class corresponding to an Officer rank level, is based on demonstrated job performance and ongoing professional development.

Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT)

(24 weeks) Location: Devonport Naval Base

The objective of JOCT is to provide you with the core skills of military, mariner, and leadership to be an effective Officer in the Navy. The course is completed in two phases of training that train key areas of development.

Phase 1 – Introduction

This phase focuses on ‘followership’ and teamwork. Trainees are instructed in basic service knowledge, discipline, parade, and kit preparation. Physical Training will be conducted at all times throughout training to develop a high level of physical and mental fitness that promotes morale, good health, and good habits. This phase will cover various topics including:

  • Physical Fitness       
  • Service Knowledge
  • Service Discipline
  • Introduction to the Leadership Development Framework
  • Damage Control Training
  • Weapons Training
  • First Aid
  • Basic seamanship training
  • Moving to advanced application

Phase 2 – Fit for Sea

The second phase of training will focus on attributes of being in the Navy in preparation for operational service at sea. Trainees will be taught about the roles and responsibilities on board an RNZN ship. Trainees will also spend time ashore conducting academic and leadership training to further develop as a Naval Officer. This phase will cover various topics including:

  • Sea survival
  • Ship familiarisation
  • Leadership training
  • Communications skills
  • Defence and Strategic Studies

Armed Forces Chaplains are required to be qualified in theological, military and specialist chaplaincy 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 RNZN.

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 required to do to assist them in there role with the RNZN including:

  • Prepare/Enrich
  • Assist Suicide Prevention Training
  • Chaplains’ Basic and Intermediate Courses
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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy 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.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Military factor

All full time members of the NZ Defence Force receive an added portion to their salary known as Military Factor. This additional compensation recognises the unique nature of military service and the commitment you make to serve your country. This can include short notice postings around the country and overseas. You will be directed at times to be continuously alert, undertake arduous and hazardous duties, and be exposed to adverse working environments exclusive to military life. This also includes the exercise of military skills not recognised by market comparisons. The part you play in our Defence Force and your commitment to our country will be financially rewarded.

Free medical and dental
5 weeks annual leave
Access to additional compensation and housing allowances
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels
Defence discounts at selected stores and services

Entry requirements

Fitness and medical
Period of Service
  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age
  • Be of good character – assessed by study of testimonials and a police record check
  • 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 will be expected to pass both the routine medical examination and the fitness test. Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required 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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