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Will I always have to do physical training?

The NZDF requires its personnel to maintain a good level of fitness, but encourage its members to maintain an excellent level of fitness, and allows some flexibility regarding exercising during working hours to support this. Some trades have compulsory PT multiple times per week (Diver, Infantry etc). For other less physical trades, it is your responsibility to maintain at least the minimum level of fitness required for your service, age and gender to pass annual or biannual fitness tests, so that you are ready and able to perform if you are called upon to deploy on operations.

Can I submit a postal application?

You can only apply via this website. If this presents a real difficulty to you and you need to speak to somebody, please call us on 0800 1 FORCE (0800 136 723).

Where will my training take place?

The location of your inital training depends on your service.


All initial training is conducted at Waiouru Military Training Facility.


All inital training is conducted at Devonport Naval Base.

Air Force

All inital training is conducted at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Trade and/or Corp Training

After your initial training is complete, you will continue on with your trade-specific or Corp training. The location of your trade training varies depending on your trade.

Check your trade page on our website for the location of initial trade training. For further clarification contact your Candidate Engagement Facilitator or call 0800 1 FORCE (0800 136 723).

Can I transfer my UK pension to the NZDF?

There is no ability to transfer your military pension into an NZDF scheme. The NZDF no longer has its own pension scheme, rather NZDF personnel pay into the national Kiwisaver scheme. NZDF employees pay a minimum of 3% of their salary and the NZDF matches that with 4%. The pay listed on NZDF’s offer of service includes employer Kiwisaver contributions. More details can be found at the link www.kiwisaver.govt.nz

You may transfer your pension to your Kiwisaver scheme, however we strongly encourage you to seek professional advice regarding this.

What is a Return Of Service Obligation (ROSO)?

A Return Of Service Obligation (ROSO) is a contractual commitment by yourself to remain in the NZDF for a specified period of time. ROSOs are associated to courses or training that require a significant investment of funding or resources by the NZDF, for example our Pilot Course and Tertiary Scholarship Schemes. Prior to joining, you will be informed if the initial training and career pathway you intend to conduct has any associated ROSOs.  The details of your ROSO will be stated on your Offer of Service.

Will I be able to stay in touch with friends and family during my initial training?

Yes. Although you will need to hand your cellphone in for field exercises while on your recruit course, and for most of the early stages of training, you will be given reasonable opportunity to communicate with your family and friends by mail or cellphone. There are channels in place for your family to quickly contact you in case of a family emergency. These contact details will be sent to you prior to your initial training to be passed on to your family.

Can I wear my wedding ring, jewellery, and have piercings?

You are able to wear a plain signet ring, engagement ring and/or wedding ring, plus one other ring.

You can also wear one pair of earrings, which must be plain studs or sleepers. No other visible piercings are permitted.

You can wear a wristwatch, and it is recommended that you get a sturdy, waterproof wristwatch for when in field environments.

What are the joining dates?

There are multiple intakes each year for both Recruits and Officers.

Check out our Upcoming Intakes.

Can I wear make-up?

Make-up can be worn provided it is appropriate for a military environment. Each service has clear guidelines for what is appropriate, but in general, make-up should be light and natural.

What hairstyles are permitted in uniform?

Each service has a slightly different policy on appropriate hairstyles for men and women.

In general, hair is to be neat and tidy. Fringes should not fall below the eyebrows, and hair length (if untied) should not extend below the lower edge of a button-up shirt collar. Longer hair should be tied up off the collar in a bun or plait.

You can wear plain hair-ties, clips and hair-nets similar to your hair colour. Brightly coloured hair ornaments such as ribbons, headbands or scrunchies are not permitted.

Hair colour should be complementary to your natural colouring, so extreme colouring, bright contrasting or multiple colours are not permitted.

Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator will give you more information on appearance standards prior to your intake.

What can I do to prepare for basic training?

You will be very busy during your initial training, so we recommend organising your personal life before the first day of training. This will allow you to focus on your course without distractions, and enable you to enjoy time on leave rather than conducting personal admin.

Improving your general fitness, running, strength, and endurance will help your team during physical aspects of training. Ask your Candidate Engagement Facilitator about your nearest Force Fit programme. Force Fit sessions are a great way to increase your personal fitness and build relationships with other people that may be on your intake.

Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator will provide you with an equipment list, and more information about what to expect during training. Feel free to ask questions at your Induction day.

Can I study while I am in the NZDF?

Yes. Typically your first year in the NZDF is very busy with training, so we don’t recommend studying during this time, but you can spend your spare time as you wish. If the study is related to your trade, you can apply for the NZDF to pay for it or subsidise your course fees. You may even be allowed to spend work time studying depending on the course and the demands of your job.

Find out more on our website, look up Education and Training, in the Lifestyle and Salary section for each service.

Do I have to wear my uniform if I go to university?

Depending on which scholarship scheme you are studying under, you may be required to wear uniform when attending lectures, tutorials and other formal occasions like graduation.

At any point in your career, if you are attending workshops, courses or lectures in a professional capacity then you will most likely be expected to wear uniform, but this will be up to command or personal discretion.

What happens after I graduate initial training?

After you have graduated from your initial training, you’ll either start initial trade training immediately or undertake a short period of on-the-job training at your new work unit prior to your initial trade training. When your initial trade course is complete, you’ll start doing the job you have trained for.

What leadership roles can I perform in the NZDF?

Leadership roles are available to all trades in every service. As the NZDF is relatively small compared to other militaries, leadership skills are taught early because we need our personnel to be flexible and capable of leading, sometimes at junior ranks.

What are the NZDF’s core values?

Our core values are:

  • Courage | Tū Kaha - Taking action despite your fears.
  • Commitment | Tū Tika - Giving your best.
  • Comradeship | Tū Tira - Respecting and looking out for each other.
  • Integrity | Tū Maia - Doing the right thing – always.

Can men have long hair?

In the Navy, men are permitted long hair. It must be tied up off the collar.

Men are not allowed long hair in the Army or Air Force.

What skills and qualifications will I gain from my training that are useful outside of the NZDF?

Regardless of your trade and service, you will gain valuable skills and experience that are desired by civilian employers. For some technical trades, you will gain qualifications that are widely recognised in New Zealand and around the world.

How do I apply to re-enlist?

Please go to our Apply Now page. You need to register to create an account and you can then start your application. Click ‘yes’ to NZ military experience and we’ll ask you for a couple of easy details, such as your service number, and your application will then be ready to submit.

When re-enlisting, do I have to go through the same selection process as somebody joining for the first time?

No. We have a specialist team who handle all re-enlistment applications. The team is made up of Army, Navy and Air Force recruiting personnel, as well as our civilian Candidate Engagement Facilitators. We work closely with Career Managers to process your application.

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