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What are the minimum fitness requirements to join the NZDF?

Navy, Army, and Air Force fitness requirements can be found here.

Please note these are the minimum fitness requirements for each service. If you want your application to be competitive we urge you to strive to perform well beyond these requirements.

What is the minimum age to join the NZDF?

Most careers in the NZDF require you to be 17 years old prior to your recruit course. Some careers in the NZDF have a higher age limit. You can register on this website at any age, but can only submit an application from the age of 16.5.

Can I join the NZDF if I have a criminal record?

The NZDF has a high dependence on trust, reliability, and use of technical equipment and weapons. For this reason, all applicants undergo a police check, and any convictions are assessed on the severity of the offence.

How long does the application process take?

The time between submitting your application and the first day of training typically takes 3 – 18 months. There are a number of reasons why your application may take longer to process. For example:

  • we may require you to undertake further medical testing with a specialist
  • you may take several attempts to pass the aptitude and fitness testing
  • you may miss out on the first intake you are eligible for. Some of our trades have a high number of applications and selection is highly competitive
  • you may have applied for a trade that we only recruit once per year, or once every two years.

These are just some of the reasons why your application may take longer to process. Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator can provide you with more information about your specific circumstances.

If applying from overseas, you will also have to wait for an NZ Residence Class visa.



What is Force Fit?

Free group physical training sessions in your area become available to you once you apply to join the NZDF. Force Fit sessions are organised once or twice a week by your nearest recruiting office, and are at a convenient time for most working people and students. These sessions are a great way for applicants of every fitness level to prepare for the entry level fitness test and basic training. It also allows you to meet other applicants from your home town that may be on your intake. Contact your Candidate Engagement Facilitator for more information about your local fitness sessions. Additionally, you can download the Force Fit app to get a personal training programme that is designed to prepare you for your entry level fitness test and basic training.

Do I need to provide any medical information with my application?

Yes, you need to provide as much relevant information as you can, so that our Military Doctors can make an informed decision about your medical fitness. In some cases, you may be asked to provide a report from your GP or a specialist. This is at your own cost.

Can I attend church while I am in the NZDF?

Yes. We have Army, Navy, and Air Force Chaplains at every base. Chaplains take an active interest in the welfare of all NZDF personnel, and our chapels cater for all religions. You are able to attend Sunday church services if you wish.

What will my day-to-day life in the NZDF be like?

One of the key things about life in the NZDF is that your job will vary and you will be doing many different things. The NZDF is also passionate about its members maintaining a sustainable work/life balance. Work hours are comparable to a normal 9-5 job. However, during initial training, field exercises, and on operation, you will be expected to work longer hours. NZDF regular force members are entitled to a generous 25 days annual leave per year.

Will joining the NZDF allow me to travel overseas?

Once you've completed your initial training courses, you could find yourself deployed overseas, either on a foreign exchange or on exercise or operation. This sometimes happens very shortly after training. Travel is an exciting part of being a member of the NZDF. Generally, joining the Navy gives you the highest chance of being deployed overseas and experiencing different cultures out of uniform.

What options are available to me for parental leave?

The NZDF is family friendly and offers generous leave policies to support working parents. If you are planning a family you can take parental leave. You may also be eligible to receive a return-to-work incentive payment, which is equivalent to six weeks salary and payable six months after you return from parental leave.

Can I apply if I am not a New Zealand Citizen?

Eligibility requirements, including requirements around citizenship can be found here:

Eligibility requirements

Citizenship and security requirements

When re-enlisting, do I have to go through aptitude and fitness tests again?

From 14 January 2021, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) shifted to the new online system changing the way the NZDF administers the aptitude tests.

The new tests will measure Numerical Ability, Deductive Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning and Mechanical Comprehension. These tests assess cognitive ability on these subjects, rather than the knowledge base, which is what the old tests were measuring.
To ensure a fair and even comparison between all of our candidates who are wanting a position in the NZDF (even if re-applying), there may be the requirement for some to sit the new online aptitude test even if they may have already sat the old tests previously (known as the R-Series).

Candidates will also need to pass an RFL before re-enlisting in the Army, and the Navy and Air Force will require you to pass their fitness tests shortly after you’re back in uniform (usually on the day of enlistment for the Navy and within three months for the Air Force).

If I fail my online aptitude test, when can I reapply?

There is a limit to the number of times you can attempt the aptitude testing. If you fail on your first attempt you will have to wait 6 months before sitting the test again.

This stand-down period allows you time to personally upskill on the areas that you are weak at. After 6 months, you will then be invited to re-sit. If you are focusing on academic study to upskill your knowledge, talk to your Candidate Engagement Facilitator to see what is best for you.

This second attempt is your final opportunity to pass the assessment. If you do not pass, we will be unable to proceed with your application. Take the time to upskill yourself in the areas that you are weak in.

How can I prepare for the online aptitude testing?

Preparation is key so make sure you are well rested and careful with your answers. You will be tested on numerical ability, deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning and mechanical comprehension.

From the date that your Candidate Engagement Facilitator (CEF) issues the link, you will have 7 days to complete the entire series of online aptitude tests.

What does the online aptitude testing entail?

The aptitude testing helps us determine your suitability for the trade preferences you selected in your application, and all other NZDF trades.

The new tests introduced on the 14th of January 2021 measure Numerical Ability, Deductive Reasoning, Inductive Reasoning and Mechanical Comprehension. These tests assess cognitive ability on these subjects, rather than the knowledge base, which is what the old tests were measuring.

It will take approximately 45 minutes to complete the two online aptitude tests. 

Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator (CEF) will endeavour to debrief you on your results within 72 hours of submission.

See here for more detailed information about the online aptitude tests.

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