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Join New Zealand’s most versatile military musical organisation. Travel and work with this unique group of musicians throughout New Zealand and the world. The Royal New Zealand Navy band (RNZN band) is highly respected both within the Navy and musical circles. It includes some of the country’s finest musicians whose professional capability and versatility combine to deliver a wide range of ensembles to perform at a varied range of ceremonies and events.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

Musicians in the Navy are full time professional band members. The band’s key role is the responsibility to deliver musical support to the NZ Government, NZ diplomatic interests within New Zealand and overseas and support to the RNZN Mission. This is achieved through the following: 

  • Support to state ceremonial 
  • Defence diplomacy
  • Command support to Navy personnel, its ships and families 
  • Public relations 
  • Community engagement
  • Recruiting 
  • Moral component, providing entertainment for Navy and wider NZDF 

The RNZN band is unique as the only full time professional military band in New Zealand; but not every event involves marching. From our purpose built home at Fort Cautley in Devonport, the daily routine of rehearsals occurs from 8am until 4pm. Time is spent preparing various ensembles the band is called on to provide, they include: 

  • Full concert band 
  • Big band 
  • Brass quintet 
  • Jazz group 
  • 2nd line 
  • Dixie band 
  • Saxophone quartet

Further to this, solo performance are a feature at our annual series of chamber concerts. All rehearsals are planned into our full schedule that at times involves irregular hours including evenings and travel that all professional musicians are familiar with.

Career progression and training


Basic Training

Ongoing Training

Recruitment into the musician trade is achieved through an audition process managed by the Director of Music (DoM). This includes a formal musical audition and interview with the DoM and a selected panel of senior musicians from within the band. If successful at this stage, the candidate is then invited to work with the band on a suitable engagement where the candidate’s professional ability, demeanour, attitude and competency can be assessed within our working environment. Many band members hold musical tertiary qualifications from Polytechnic or University, although this is not essential, being a competent performer/soloist on at least one military band instrument is essential. 

If you are successful at audition you are then invited to start the recruitment process into the RNZN.

It is a requirement for entry into the Musician’s trade to complete full Basic Common Training (BCT). You will join with other recruits at Devonport, Auckland to complete 16 weeks of military training. During this time, you'll find out if you have what it takes to be in the Navy, and learn various subjects including:


  • Teamwork and support
  • Naval history and customs
  • Drill and parades
  • Core mariner skills and weapons training
  • First aid and firefighting
  • Physical fitness
  • Self-discipline

On completion of BCT you will be posted to the RNZN band as an Ordinary Musician (OMUS), where you will embark on your career. However it doesn’t stop there, many opportunities exist for self-development through dedicated navy leadership courses and musical proficiency task books. These equip you with the necessary skills to further your career and gain promotion.

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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.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age upon entry.
  • Be free of any criminal conviction for the previous two years.

You must have obtained at least 10 credits at NCEA level 1 in both Literacy and Numeracy. Proficiency with instruments is the main criteria. A tertiary qualification is desirable.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

Entry into the Navy Band is by audition with the Director of Music. Should this audition be successful, the Director of Music, in conjunction with the Navy recruiters, will put forward a candidate for selection into the Navy. Musicians must meet the musical requirements to be in the Band, but also need to meet the general requirements of entry to join the Navy.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the SV security clearance required for this trade. You must be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years.

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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