As a Chaplain of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, you are appointed to provide ministry to Air Force personnel (both military and civilian) and their families.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Medical and Health
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

As a Chaplain of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, you are appointed to provide ministry to Air Force personnel (both military and civilian) and their families. You are expected to be a friend and advisor to all. It is a unique ministry which can take you to the four corners of the earth, on sea, or land deployments, wherever Air Force personnel are required to serve. You are an integral part of the Air Force and Defence Force Team.

You are responsible at both official and personal levels, for conducting religious services and ceremonial duties. You are also required to provide spiritual, religious and moral advice and assist with life-skills education. You are there to provide pastoral care to all personnel. 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 a high level of confidentiality.

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.

Chaplain’s 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 soldiers and thereby releasing command to concentrate on the soldiering side of the mission.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

You will enter the Air Force with the support of your Church and remain under its discipline for the exercise of your ordination/accreditation vows. Chaplaincy therefore is an institution of both the State (The NZ Defence Force) and the Church and you will need the on-going support of both.

Both the Church and NZDF needs to understand this partnership and the possible areas of tension. It is also important that you to understand this unique relationship and to appreciate that you will have two distinct but complementary lines of accountability.

Defence Force 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 essentially a time and course based system, although time in rank does not guarantee progression to the next class.

RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROC)

(26 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne

All individuals selected to become Commissioned Officers in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are required to complete this course. It is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and experience necessary for commissioned service and the beginning of a career in leadership. This course will cover various subjects including:

  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Law
  • Military Field Skills and Weapons Training
  • Defence and Strategic Studies
  • Personnel Administration
  • Communication Skills
  • Command, Leadership and Management
  • First Aid

Armed Forces Chaplains are required to be qualified in theological, military and chaplain specialist 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 RNZAF.

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 encouraged to do to assist them in there role with the RNZAF including:

  • Prepare/Enrich
  • Assist Suicide Prevention Training
  • Advanced Counselling Techniques Courses
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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force 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

Military Factor

All full time members of the NZ Defence Force receive an added portion to their salary known as Military Factor. This additional compensation recognises the unique nature of military service and the commitment you make to serve your country. This can include short notice postings around the country and overseas. You will be directed at times to be continuously alert, undertake arduous and hazardous duties, and be exposed to adverse working environments exclusive to military life. This also includes the exercise of military skills not recognised by market comparisons. The part you play in our Defence Force and your commitment to our country will be financially rewarded.

Free medical and dental

5 weeks annual leave

Access to additional compensation and housing allowances

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Defence discounts at selected stores and services

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade
  • Be medically fit for service
  • 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 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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