• Service
  • Specialisation
    Naval Reserve
  • Location
    Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin

About the role

The Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) is a specialist area that is run for the Navy solely by the Naval Reserve within the Royal New Zealand Navy Operations Branch. The MTO team liaises between the New Zealand Defence Force and the maritime industry by completing tasks such as port-based liaison, briefing of merchant vessels' masters, vessel tracking and maritime operational analysis. Ensuring that the NZDF is well connected to our shipping and port industries is a vital area that impacts upon New Zealand's trading ability and maritime security.

Who are we looking for?

MTO Ratings are confident, personable and possess an ability to work with a wide range of people and nationalities. They are self starters who can deploy as part of a team, work unsupervised and get the job done without fanfare. Maritime Industry personnel with these attributes are highly sought after.

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Career progression and training

Basic Training

Job Training

Time Commitment



Your introduction to the Navy begins with a five-week basic training course at the Tamaki Leadership Centre where you will train alongside your Regular Force counterparts.

You will then start your training with the Maritime Trade Organisation branch of the Naval Reserve. The first qualification, MTO level 1, consists of three courses which introduces you to merchant shipping, the maritime industry, trade, merchant vessel navigation and tracking. On completion of this qualification you will work with a Port Liaison Team to gain practical experience. Selected MTO Ratings may also be considered for further training as MTO Analysts.

After successful completion of Command courses and MTO level 1 you will be promoted to Petty Officer and be eligible for nomination to complete the MTO Level 2 qualification. This consists of a single course which will provide you with the skills necessary to manage MTO operations including liaison with Ship Masters and the wider maritime industry at an operational level. On successful completion you will be eligible for posting in support of both MTO and other out of branch NZDF exercises and operations.

Naval reservists commit to undertake a minimum of 20 days training each year which includes:

  • Evening parades (generally every second week)
  • Monthly training session held over a weekend
  • 10–14 days of full time training per year

You are required to wear are uniform which is supplied free of charge.

Promotion is on merit and MTO ratings who demonstrate the attributes and have the necessary skills are eligible for attendance at an MTO Officer selection board. As well as meeting the training requirements, reservists are expected to gain and maintain a standard of fitness to be eligible for promotion.

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As a Reservist you are paid on an hourly rate rather than a salary. Pay rates depend on the role you are in and your rank; your pay will increase as move through the ranks. Reservists in the Navy are paid on a graduating pay scale depending on rank. You will be paid for your attendance on an hourly basis.

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of service

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age upon entry.
  • Be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years.
  • Must produce evidence that you can swim (the Navy swim test requires individuals to swim 50 metres and tread water for 3 minutes in overalls).

You must have 10 NCEA Level 1 credits in each Literacy and Numeracy.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

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

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV 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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