As a Marine Technician (MT) you will train in either a mechanical or electrical discipline through a combination of theory and practical courses, which will then be consolidated by on job training operating and maintaining the ships propulsion, auxiliary and habitability systems. You will become part of a motivated, dedicated and highly professional team.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Engineering and Technical Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    21 February, 2022
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About the role

Marine Technicians are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ship’s engines, auxiliary systems and habitability equipment contributing to the ships ability to operate independently. As a Marine Technician you make a major contribution towards ensuring the ship is always ready to respond to an urgent tasking. 

As modern warships contain increasingly sophisticated technology, you will learn to operate and maintain a wide range of high performance equipment including: diesel engines, gas turbines (jet engines), electrical generation and power distribution systems, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, refrigeration and air conditioning plants, desalination equipment (making fresh water from sea water) and bulk liquid storage and conditioning equipment. These systems and equipment are monitored and controlled remotely via an IP network known as an ‘Integrated Platform Management System’ which you will also be taught to operate and maintain.

To best deal with the wide range of machinery and equipment on board the ships, you will complete a short course in your chosen specialisation before Posting to a sea going platform to practically consolidate your learning.

Job on base

As a Marine Technician you will continuously develop and enhance your skills. When you are not working on a ship it is likely that you will be assigned to one of the various maintenance support departments or the Marine Engineering School.

Job on deployment

Ships at sea run 24 hours a day, as a Marine Technician you may be required to work in shifts or be on call to monitor the ships propulsion and auxiliary machinery to ensure smooth and efficient operation. You will also contribute to a wide range of whole ship activities including seamanship, firefighting and security.  While deployed there are always excellent opportunities to experience different ports and environments in New Zealand and explore exotic international locations and cultures overseas.

For anyone that is considering being an MTE – give it a go. It’s a fantastic opportunity, you get a great trade out of it and you get to travel the world. 

Michael O'Connell

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Specialist Training

Your hard work, experience and training accomplishments as a Marine Technician are rewarded by promotions in rank and salary. You join the Navy as an Ordinary Rate completing Basic Training and Basic Marine Technician Training. After this specialist course you will fill positions on Naval Ships to consolidate what you have learnt through on the job training. As your skill and experience increase,  you will be selected to complete your Advanced Technician and leadership Training before being recommended for promotion to Leading Hand.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will do 18 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Navy, and learn various subjects including:

  • Teamwork/team support
  • Naval discipline and regulations
  • Physical fitness
  • Parade training

As a Marine Technician, you have to know how to operate and maintain the ship's propulsion, auxiliary and habitability systems in all conditions, to ensure the ship remains fully operational. To achieve this, you will be thoroughly trained in fault diagnosis and repair methodologies including the use of state-of-the-art monitoring and analysis equipment.


Following Basic Training, you will complete Basic Marine Technician training, which is also within the  Devonport Naval Base, covering the following subjects:

  • Mechanics 
  • Mathematics 
  • Electro-technology Theory
  • Electrical Theory
  • Hydraulics Theory 
  • Safety
  • Communication Skills
  • Workshop Skills
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Theory 
  • Fuels and Lubrication Theory
  • Air Compressor Theory 
  • Diesel Engines Theory
  • Gas Turbine Principles 
  • Maintenance Engineering Principles 
  • Technical Administration

Following this course you will be categorised as either Propulsion Specialists or an Electrical Specialists. The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom however and you will spend the next two years at sea and ashore gaining machinery operation certificates and maintenance experience before attending the advanced Electrical or Propulsion Course. Successful completion of these advanced courses will see you qualified for promotion.

As part of your naval studies as a Marine Technician, you will have the opportunity to attain unit standards that contribute towards a National Certificate (Level 4) in either Mechanical Engineering (Maintenance Engineering) for Propulsion Specialists or Mechanical Engineering (Electrical Engineering) and registration through the Electrical Workers Registration Board for Electrical Specialists.

The Navy meets all costs of this training, which is usually concluded within the first four years of a Marine Technician’s career.

As your career progresses, further opportunities for specialist training and higher education becomes available to you.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy 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 Trade Training


Trade Qualified

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age upon entry.
  • Be free of any criminal convictions.
  • Must pass the Navy swim test, conducted wearing overalls and gym shoes:
    • Swim of 50 metres and, on completion,
    • Remain afloat unaided by treading water for three minutes.

You must have achieved NCEA level 1 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 1 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

 It should be noted that as you will be a Marine Technician in either Propulsion or Electrical specialisation, the academic courses and unit standards that you will be required to successfully pass, are largely physics/maths based and consist of a number of Level 2 to Level 4 Unit Standards. Hence, if you have completed maths and some physics as part of your science credits (eg mechanics, electricity etc), this will go a long way to help you with your navy academic studies.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the Confidential security clearance required for this trade. You must be free of any criminal convictions.

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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