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
Job Training
Ongoing Training

You will be required to pass an initial Chaplains’ Officer Selection Board before undertaking the Defence Force’s Joint Officer Induction Course and, if joining in a Regular Force capacity, 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.

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

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

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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