New Zealand Navy 

The Royal New Zealand Navy is vital to a nation like ours, one surrounded by oceans that our goods need to travel over, and close to the South Pacific islands which we have a duty to protect and help in times of crises.

Key roles our Navy undertakes include:

  • Protecting trade routes, preventing piracy and terrorism. The Navy joins forces with other navies to fill this role all over the world.
  • Border patrol and resource protection. Fisheries patrols keep our resources intact, while search and rescue operations and supporting the Police, Civil Defence and the Department of Conservation are all vital Navy roles.
  • Humanitarian and Disaster Relief missions, ranging from the Christchurch earthquakes to delivering cyclone relief supplies to Vanuatu.
  • Peacekeeping operations around the world.  Navy ships and people have recently been deployed to Timore-Leste’, Solomon Islands, Sudan, the Middle-East, South Korea and Afghanistan.
  • Specialist Underwater Operations. From specialist underwater survey work through to the specialist Navy Operational Dive Team to help with search and recovery tasks, within New Zealand and overseas.

The Royal New Zealand Navy has a fleet of 11 modern, versatile ships that undertake a full range of maritime military tasks from combat and peacekeeping operations to border and fisheries patrol. It has around 1900 uniformed personnel and over 200 civilian staff, and the Navy’s home base is at Devonport in Auckland.

There are a heap of different roles and jobs that can be done in the Navy, many of them providing excellent training and skills that can be transferred to great roles back on dry land. Train as a medic, a musician or a marine engineer, and get paid well and live for free along the way.

Check out the types of role you can train for in the Royal New Zealand Navy  

See what you can earn when you join the Royal New Zealand Navy

Are you up for it?

You need to be reasonably fit and, naturally enough, be able to swim to be accepted into the Royal New Zealand Navy. 

Here are the fitness requirements you will need to meet to enter and stay in the Navy.

Download the Force Fit app that will get you ready for your initial physical assessment, then for your training regime. 

Training as a Navy Officer

There is a 22-week training period for Navy officers once you have enlisted, starting with the seven week Joint Officer Induction Course (JOIC) at RNZAF Base – Woodbourne. After you march out of the JOIC, there is 15 weeks of the Junior Officer Common Training course (JOCT), at the Devonport Naval Base. To train as an officer, you must have NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in Level 2 English.

The JOIC course gives you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, sea survival, battle-craft, seamanship, communications and an introduction to leadership. The following JOTC course covers three main areas: Navy induction, sea qualification and academic development, and leadership.

When you complete these, you are classed as a Basic Officer of the Watch, and over the following months you can train – mostly at sea - and progress through to the role of Advanced Officer of the Watch.

Early in your naval career the majority of your time will be spent at sea time at sea, and you will be posted to various ships as an Officer Of the Watch (OOW) for about two years once you are qualified. At that point, you may choose to complete additional professional courses and progress to specialised positions, including Navigating Officer and Aircraft Controller.

Progression through the ranks in the Navy comes from a combination of sea time and shore-based course work. Sea going ships are away from the Devonport base for maybe 6-7 months each year, taking part in operational missions and visiting ports throughout South East Asia, the Pacific, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Check out what you need to sign on as an Officer with the Royal New Zealand Navy

Take a look at some of the Navy officer specialisations available to you.

Studying in the Navy

The Navy encourages its officers to do further tertiary study with the aim of completing a degree which relevant to the their chosen naval career path. There are three schemes this study is conducted through, and participants selected for these must complete academic testing, fitness testing and have a number of interview sessions to determine if they are suitable to become a Naval Officer. 

The schemes are:

Midshipman Scheme

Officers join the Navy as a Midshipman and complete the normal training requirements. After this five-month training they are told whether they can do the tertiary study, and if so, they would begin this at the start of the following year.  The scheme allows you to attend university full time for the duration of a Bachelors degree study, and be paid a salary all the way along. 

You can’t just score a free degree then leave. You will owe the Navy one year of service for each academic year they fund you through. This is called a Return of Service (ROS). 

Amokura Scheme

This scheme sees you joining the Navy after you have completed a degree. You receive no financial assistance while studying but can have your course fees reimbursed once you enter the Navy. 

Chatham Scheme

If you have been selected to join the Navy, the Chatham Scheme allows you to study a university degree full time while learning more about the Navy as part of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNZNVR). The RNZNVR is a non-regular force made up of both civilian and former Navy personnel. Reservists have the chance to serve on both at sea and ashore and Navy Reserve Units are based in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Chatham Scheme students receive support such as fees, accommodation & living allowance and textbook costs, and a Return of Service of one year for each academic year of sponsored study is the norm.

More about the Royal New Zealand Navy’s university study support

Getting a trade in the Navy

While you are in the Navy you train to defend the country and to help people in distress, and you also train for a life back on shore when your service is done. There are a host of trades and other skills the navy will teach you, and when these are combined with the many other skills you learn in the Navy – discipline, dedication, teamwork, leadership and many others – you are a highly employable character.

Check out the range of jobs that the Navy has for you right now, and think about the possibilities of combining your love for the sea and the forces with a genuine career once you return to the wider world.