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Is there an upper age limit to join or re-enlist?

No. There is no upper age limit to join or re-enlist. However, you will need to meet medical and fitness requirements for your desired service.

If my child is sick can I get the day off?

There is flexibility around leave if you need to care for a sick child.

Will I have to live on base?

During recruit training you will have to live on base. After recruit training there is no requirement to live on base.

How can I make my application more competitive?

You can make your application more competitive by increasing your personal fitness and achieving a high level of fitness at your entry level fitness test. Team sports, cultural and extra-curricular activities, also look good on your application. Having a detailed understanding of your trade, service, training pipeline, and recent NZDF operations will help you during the interview.

Can I continue playing sport to competitive level while in the NZDF?

The NZDF has multiple sportsmen and women who compete at a national and international level while fulfilling their regular duties. If you compete at a high level in any kind of sport, we will usually allow you the opportunity to compete. Team work and the drive to win are core values to the NZDF so we encourage all personnel to get involved in team sports.

My application to join was declined for medical reasons I disagree with, is there a process to have this reconsidered?

Yes. If your application is denied for medical reasons, you can get the decision reconsidered. Request a reconsideration form from your Candidate Engagement Facilitator and send it to the address enclosed with supporting documents like a report from your general practitioner or specialist doctor (Note: this must be received within 4 weeks of the day you were notified your application was denied, and you are responsible for any costs associated to your own medical reports). This will be reconsidered by a senior NZDF Doctor. You may be declined again or given a stand-down period before you can reapply.

How does the resignation process work?

We typically require 3 months’ notice if you decide to resign. However, during times of increased operational activity, or if you are required to complete a return of service obligation, you may be required to continue serving until you have completed your required duties or service period.

Can I join if I have a tattoo?

Tattoos, including large and highly visible cultural tattoos are acceptable provided they are appropriate for a military environment and are complementary to the NZDF’s values and image.

Do I get paid more if I go on operations?

Yes. When in the field, on operations, or at sea for more than a 24 hour period, an additional allowance is paid.

Do I have to pay for accommodation and food during recruit training?

You will not be charged for the barrack accommodation the NZDF requires you to live in during recruit training. When eating on base at the mess or galley, you will be charged for meals (total approximately $15.00 per day and are taken out of your pay cheque). When training in the field or on ship, meals will be provided free of charge.

I have been living outside of the countries eligible for a security clearance. Can I still re-enlist?

Every case is different. Please contact 0800 1 FORCE (0800 136 723) to discuss.

What trades are available to women?

All trades in the NZDF are accessible to women. Some combat roles (NZSAS, Commando, and Diver) have extremely high selection and training standards in regards to physical fitness. These standards are the same for men and woman, making it very difficult for women and most men to access these trades.

Does the NZDF recognize de facto relationships?

Yes. A service person in a de facto relationship is entitled to the same benefits as a service person who is married.

Do I have to pass a medical test?

Yes, you will be required to meet medical standards for general health, eyesight, and hearing.

Can I speak directly to a member of the NZDF about general service life?

We hold regular Force Information evenings all around New Zealand.  These are free open information sessions for yourself and your family to find out more about the Defence Force and ask questions of our uniformed personnel. You can view upcoming dates and locations on our website and on our Facebook page.

How much self-discipline is involved?

The NZDF expects a high standard of personal conduct, physical fitness, dress and discipline. It may take a little getting used to at first, but once you settle into a routine of daily life, your confidence and self-discipline will allow you to handle whatever comes your way.

What do I need to take to the entry level fitness test?

Take photo identification, appropriate clothing and footwear for exercise. You will be conducting a beep test (running), press ups, and curl ups.

How do I apply to join the NZDF?

Visit Apply Now to register your interest and begin the application process.

Can I use my mobile phone in the NZDF?

Yes. Mobile phones are allowed in the Defence Force, but use is not permitted in some occasions. For example when on operations or exercise or during parts of your initial training.

Will I have to carry heavy backpacks?

Yes, sometimes. While carrying a backpack can be challenging, it is by no means an unachievable task. The physical training that is conducted during your initial training course is designed to gradually prepare you for carrying your equipment. You will be instructed on how to correctly set-up and wear your pack to minimise the risk of injury, and there are guidelines for personnel regarding the lifting and carrying of weights. The requirement to carry packs or loads differs between the services.


As a general rule, a pack is not worn in the work environment. Packs or heavy loads may be incorporated into some aspects of initial training, emergency drills, physical fitness and some adventure training.


There is a requirement to carry loads, such as packs, at certain times during your recruit and ongoing unit training. Depending on your career path, and your location of posting, you may be required to carry packs for short periods of time during activities such as training exercises, physical fitness training and on operations.

Air Force

During stages of your recruit training you will be required to carry a pack.

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