About us

Every hour of the day, 365 days a year, we protect New Zealand’s interests at sea, safeguard peace and stability within our neighbouring regions and further afield, and help others in times of need with agile air operations across the world.

Our mission is to ensure that Aotearoa New Zealand is secure, the nation’s interests are advanced through the conduct of military operations, and military threats to New Zealand are deterred. Our core task is to conduct military operations and be combat capable, ready to protect the sovereign territory of New Zealand and any areas under our responsibility, including the preparedness, protection and preservation of people, property and information.

We protect New Zealand’s wider interests by contributing to international peace and security initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, and by contributing to the advancement of our security partnerships with other nations. Our functions are established in law by the Defence Act 1990, the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 and related regulations. The Defence White Paper is the topmost policy direction to Defence; the latest iteration is the Defence White Paper (2016). From time-to-time the Government also produces other policy statements that provide supplementary direction to our Defence Force.

The contribution we make to national security is further defined through our operational outputs, which describe what military capabilities the Government may consider employing in expeditionary combat operations, the assistance provided to the civil surveillance programme and on domestic security tasks in and around New Zealand.

Although we are prepared for combat, our technical skills, professional training, and high-end military equipment mean we can partner with other agencies towards a range of domestic and international challenges, including search and rescue, disaster relief, counter-terrorism and maritime surveillance.

The Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force are the primary components of our Force. Regular Force, Reservists and Civilians – together we are a Force for New Zealand.

Our Values

Courage | Tū Kaha – Taking action despite your fears
Courage is having the moral and physical strength to do what is right, even in the face of adversity. It is stepping up when things get hard. It is speaking up when you see things that are wrong. Courage is enforcing our standards and discipline. It is not giving in to peer pressure.

Commitment | Tū Tika – Giving your best
Commitment is doing your best. It is always looking for ways to achieve the task, and persevering even when the going gets tough. Commitment is accepting and living our values and standards. It is serving New Zealand.

Comradeship | Tū Tira – Respecting and looking out for each other
Comradeship is respecting the differences of the people around you and treating others as you’d like to be treated. It is working together as a team, being inclusive, recognising we are stronger together. Comradeship is never an excuse for covering up other people’s wrong doing.

Integrity | Tū Maia – Doing the right thing – always!
Integrity is conducting yourself honestly, ethically and to the highest professional standards -- even when no one is watching. It is doing the things that you say you are going to do. Integrity is accepting responsibility for your decisions and actions.

Our leaders

  • Chief of Defence Force - Air Marshal Kevin Short
  • Vice Chief of Defence Force - Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies, MNZM
  • Chief of Navy - Rear Admiral David Proctor
  • Chief of Army - Major General John Boswell, DSD
  • Chief of Air Force - Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark
  • Commander Joint Forces New Zealand - Rear Admiral James Gilmour
  • Warrant Officer of the Defence Force - WO1 Mark Mortiboy
  • Chief, Joint Defence Services - Brigadier Rob Krushka, MNZM
  • Chief People Officer - Mrs Liz Huckerby
  • Chief Financial Officer - Mrs Bridget Musker

Our Personnel

We have three primary personnel groups:

  • Regular Force
  • Reserve Forces
  • Civilians (including civilians working overseas employed by NZDF).

Service

Regular Force

Reserve Force

Civilian

Total

Defence

-

-

3,131

3,131

Navy

2,343

535

-

2,878

Army

4,710

1,841

-

6,551

Air Force

2,586

317

-

2,903

Total 

9,639

2,693

3,131

15,463

Operations

Our Personnel are deployed on major peace support operations, training missions and into headquarters positions around the world. Learn more about our operations.

New Zealand's Special Operations Forces

New Zealand's Special Operations Forces (NZSOF) are a highly capable Force, enabled by our wider capability, that is responsive to the direction of the Chief of Defence Force and the Government in pre-empting threats to New Zealand and its interests and providing military special operations support to domestic, regional and global security situations.

  • 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment (1 NZSAS Regt) - 1 NZSAS Regt conducts strategic and tactical intelligence gathering, limited offensive operations, recovery operations, and counter-terrorist operations beyond the range or capability of conventional Army units.
  • D Squadron (Commando) - The principal role of D Squadron (Commando) is to provide a specialist domestic counter-terrorist capability.
  • E Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) - The principal role of E Squadron is to render safe all explosive ordnance, including improvised explosives and chemical, biological and radiological explosive devices, found in New Zealand above the waterline.

Veterans' Affairs

Veterans’ Affairs is an integrated operational unit within our Defence Force. The role of Veterans’ Affairs is to ensure that veterans are able to access the services they need to support them in their everyday lives. Veterans’ Affairs manages the Government’s relationship with veterans and their representative organisations, advises on policy relating to veterans and facilitates veterans’ access to pensions and other services.

Employers of Reserve Forces

The Defence Employer Support Council is a statutory council created by the Defence Act 1990. The council is responsible to the Minister of Defence and is supported by a secretariat provide by the Defence Force. The structure of the Council is designed to be highly inclusive at both political and community levels to facilitate employer relations between reserve personnel and the New Zealand business community, inclusive of private and public sectors, and any other organisation employing reserve persons.

GEOINT New Zealand

GEOINT New Zealand (GNZ) is part of Defence Intelligence within our Defence Force. Its mission is to provide effective Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) leadership, products, services and solutions to meet New Zealand's all-of-government and international requirements to ensure the nation's safety, security and success.

Command and Staff College

Our Command and Staff College is responsible for the conduct of the Advanced Command and Staff Course (Joint), the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Joint) and the Joint Warrant Officer Advanced Course.

The College conducts, on an agency basis for Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, the Joint Operations Planning Course.

Defence Library

To search for Defence Library material go to Te Puna search (National Library of New Zealand) at Te Puna

Although members of the public may not borrow from the collection, most titles are available via a local or academic library by inter-library loan.