Our Purpose

Born for the air

It's our job to serve New Zealand from the skies. To do this we have a fleet of diverse aircraft, ready to take to the air at a moment’s notice. As our role is predominantly airborne, careers with us invariably involve working with complex, cutting-edge technology.

Part of a bigger team

The Air Force is part of the New Zealand Defence Force – a Force for New Zealand – and works closely with the Navy and Army as well as other Government and non-government agencies.

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Making a difference

Aircraft are the fastest method of transport available and can go where other vehicles can’t. If a road is blocked it makes no difference to us. What’s more, aircraft can carry large amounts of both people and supplies.

These are just some of the reasons why our fleet can make a crucial difference in a wide range of situations, both in New Zealand and overseas.

Below are some of the life-saving and world-changing opportunities that you may experience as a member of the Air Force.

The Air Force is primarily responsible for:

  • Transportation and logistics
  • Maritime surveillance
  • Search and Rescue
  • Disaster Relief
  • Peacekeeping
  • Civil Assistance
  • Antarctic Support
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Equipment and technology

You don’t take to the skies without being backed up by some serious technology.

Even now, we are making plans to introduce over 30 new and significantly upgraded aircraft into our fleet. That’s in addition to the huge $1.6 billion overhaul of our ground level equipment and facilities. It is an incredibly exciting time to get involved as we introduce even more leading-edge technology.

Some of the aircraft currently in our fleet







Ideal for long-range reconnaissance and surveillance, with the ability to stay airborne for significant periods when on patrol or search and rescue.

We operate a modern fleet of A109 light utility and NH90 medium utility helicopters as well as maintaining the SH-2G(I) Seasprite Helicopters operated by the Navy.

Our five Hercules aircraft have recently undergone significant upgrades to the communication and navigation systems, including the installation of advanced glass cockpits.

Recently modified, our B-757s can be quickly adapted for carriage of freight, passengers, and combination of both as well as medical evacuation purposes.

The Texan is a fast and manoeuvrable aircraft used for pilot training and instructor pilot training as well as by the Air Force acrobatic team, the Black Falcons.

Our four King Airs provide an excellent platform for twin engine training and operational air lift.

Whether you’re flying an aircraft or helping keep them airborne, if you are excited by advanced, complex technology, you'll find lots to keep your hands and mind stimulated. 

Our values

The Air Force’s values are Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and Integrity. Could you live by them?

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The Air Force’s key tasks



Search and rescue

Marine patrols

Police and army exercises

We're involved in many different types of operations. In New Zealand, our P3K Orions and NH-90 helicopters are on standby 24-7 to conduct search and rescue operations. Or we might be called upon to fly in supplies after a natural disasters like floods, storms or earthquakes.

Our aircraft support the Navy in patrolling the waters, guarding against drug, piracy and terror threats, as well as illegal fishing. We support our colleagues in the Army too, helping them move personnel and equipment. Our NH-90 helicopters also help the police to prevent criminal activities.

From Antarctica to Sudan, Timor-Leste to South Korea, our expertise is called upon across the world, supporting the UN and our allies on a wide variety of missions. Currently, we’re serving 18 peacekeeping operations.

We're regularly involved in Defence Force operations overseas. From Antarctica to Sudan, Timor-Leste to South Korea, our personnel play a crucial role in helping people and countries rebuild after conflict and natural disasters.

From snow-capped mountains to stormy oceans, the Air Force can provide fast emergency assistance. It might not just be people that we help either. In extreme weather conditions, we can transport supplies to stranded animals too.

Our P3K patrols our waters, and helps prevent illegal fishing and preserve marine stocks.

Protecting New Zealand from criminal activity is a shared responsibility. That’s why our NH-90 helicopters regularly support the Police. We also assist the Army, moving personnel and equipment and assisting with parachute training.

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