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.

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.

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

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.

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

Reservists are paid on a graduating pay scale depending on rank. You are paid for your attendance on an hourly basis.

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age upon entry.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade.
  • 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 achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

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

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.

There are Naval Reserve Units in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and a sub-unit in Tauranga. Transfers are available if you move cities.