Experience a variety of Naval life as you work in the Officers’ Messes both at sea and ashore. Provide first-class service at everything from Formal events to diplomatic functions.

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

Navy Stewards Primary role operates in Officers’ Messes at sea and ashore and can expect to provide a range of hospitality services from junior officers in the Navy to Heads of State and members of the Royal Family – for as few as 10 or as many as  500. Your role is varied and includes but is not limited to, providing table service to up to three meals a day, bartending; setting up and serving at official functions including cocktail parties, formal dinners, buffets, and morning and afternoon teas; and providing VIP support to high profile international and diplomatic functions either in NZ or overseas.

You will start your career with initial and professional training before gaining experience through practical, supervised on-the-job training while working at the Navy base’s Officers Mess. Postings ashore and at sea will follow and there are opportunities for you to sit external, industry recognised NZQA qualifications. Further training will assist with your professional development and progression in the Navy and wider Defence force.

If you are involved in Kapa Haka we have our own Marae. You can help keep up traditions in the Defence Force which is really good.


Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Your hard work, experience, and training accomplishments as a Steward are rewarded by promotions in rank and salary. Following your initial training and consolidation, you can reasonably be expected to have attained a basic level of competence within 18 months of joining. This will be supplemented by a sea posting and then further training to prepare you for promotion to a supervisory role.

Advanced training will involve both generic leadership skills and development as a steward. Successful completion of these will qualify you for a promotion to Leading Hand whereby you will be responsible for supervising a team of stewards, either at sea or ashore.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you will be posted to Devonport, Auckland. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to 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

You will start your Naval Training at the Devonport Naval Base with basic and specialist training. Your specialist steward training will be undertaken at the Defence Catering School (NZ) where you will learn and develop skills in modern and relevant food and Beverage service skills.

Following this initial training phase, you will complete on job training (OJT) and consolidate in the Wardroom (Officers’ Mess) in the Devonport Naval Base. As you gain more experience, you will post to sea for up to 18 months to become part of a small team on-board a ship that providing stewarding support to the Ship’s Officers and ships formal events.

As your career progresses, you will undertake further training to develop your generic leadership skills and specialist skills. The ability to manage staff and personnel effectively and efficiently is a key part of your development. This training will provide you with additional skills and expertise to assist with your career progression.

Stewards receive comprehensive Navy training throughout their careers at a basic, supervisory and managerial level. As part of their training they will receive a New Zealand Certificate in Food and Beverage in Level 3 and Level 4, Barista Certificate of Achievement, and Licence Controllers Qualification.

These qualifications encompass training in the following areas:

  • Service of meals and table settings
  • Serving of non and alcoholic beverages
  • Food preparation and presentation
  • Safe food handling
  • Personal hygiene
  • Customer Service
  • Kitchen safety
  • Basic food preparation
  • Basic food presentation and garnishing
  • Demonstrate knowledge of viticulture, wine making, and sale and suppy of alcohol act.

In addition to Steward training, Stewards are also trained in Advanced Casualty Care. Stewards are part of Ships Medical Emergency Team and respond to medical incidences whether during a training exercise or for real.

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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.

3 years secondary school. Note, qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the CV 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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