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Whai whanonga

In complex and difficult situations it is vital that a Defence Force still prevails. When stakes are high, New Zealanders have to be confident not only in the Defence Force’s ability to do the job, but also in the values they represent and live when they do it.

We have a culture that pushes our people to not only be very good at what they do, but have the strength of character to drive them to success and great outcomes for themselves and the Defence Force as a whole. Our values lie at the heart of everything we do. They guide us and set expectations and standards for our people to display.

Courage | Tū Kaha

Courage is having the strength – moral and physical – 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

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

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 wrongs.

Integrity | Tū Maia

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.

Living our values

  • Lived values

    Celebrating our people

Every year we celebrate our people who personify NZDF’s core values of Tū Kaha (courage), Tū Tika (commitment), Tū Tira (comradeship) and Tū Maia (comradeship).

Sailor of the Year 2020

Winning Sailor of the Year 2020 came as a surprise for Leading Logistics Supply Specialist Peter Siulai – but not to his colleagues. Described as a sailor of professionalism, enthusiasm, dedication, and resilience, he is the epitome of the values expected of the modern sailor in the Navy. Having a stable career and being the first in his family to join the military were motivators for LLSS Siulai to join the Navy in 2013. His current role is a Logistics Supply Specialist Instructor at the Devonport Naval Base but he has previously served on HMNZ Ships Hawea and Te Mana.

He likes the sense of purpose the Navy has given him in his life. “There’s a feeling of belonging, of getting into the uniform each day and being proud to wear it. Then there’s the camaraderie, the people you meet, and the bonds you make, across the Defence Force.” But his family is his biggest driver, and contributing to his share of “putting food on the table”. For my family, Sunday is about church and a big lunch with friends and loved ones around. “Everything I’ve done so far, I’ve done for my family.”

There’s a feeling of belonging, of getting into the uniform each day and being proud to wear it

Sailor of the Year 2020, Leading Logistics Supply Specialist Peter Siulai

Sailor of the Year 2020

Soldier of the Year 2020

South Auckland local Staff Sergeant Tokahaumata Oltaches-Tagavaitau hopes she can pass on her representation and inspiration to Pasifika youth, particularly for those who may not have considered a career in the Army. Her recognition for being an outstanding soldier comes in many fields including her trade, training and regimental roles, cultural development, and sport.  

As a member of the Royal NZ Army Logistics Regiment she is participating in the development of the NZ Army Pasifika Strategy, designed to improve cultural standing for serving Pasifika personnel and to enhance our operational effectiveness within the Pacific region.

My time as a young soldier, sportswoman and leader within the organisation is challenging, but hands-down among my proudest achievement

Soldier of the Year 2020

Soldier of the Year 2020

Airman of the Year 2020

Leading Aircraftman Dennis Tommy likes getting the job done and by doing just that, to an extraordinary level, he was named Airman of the Year for 2020. The No. 40 Squadron logistics specialist was chosen for the top award for his work ethic, initiative, and consistent commitment to go above and beyond for the RNZAF and the wider community. 

Samoan-born, LAC Tommy played an integral part in the establishment of the Base Auckland Pasifika Group, an initiative with a focus on Pasifika welfare, professional development, and community engagement. “I’m really honoured and really humbled to get the award. Recognition is not really what I’m after though. I just see something that needs to be done and I do it,” says LAC Tommy.

It’s really important that more Pasifika people join the military because we bring a different perspective and our culture to the work.

Dennis Tommy

Dennis Tommy

Civilian of the Year 2020 

NZDF Social Worker Liam Cunnah was selected in recognition of his significant contribution to the Army and wider NZDF in his role as an NZDF Social Worker at Burnham Military Camp. Four years ago, Cunnah took on several projects aimed at making a positive impact on the wellness services provided to Burnham Military Camp and the wider NZDF personnel and their whanau. What started out as a trial has now successfully embedded social work as an essential service into the NZDF.

Cunnah identified a need to help personnel in Burnham Military Camp and has since had a profound influence on the wellness of the community. In his spare time, he also supports the wider Canterbury community as a board member for the Salisbury Street Foundation, a rehabilitation centre that aims to reintegrate serious offenders back into the community. “As someone who prefers to be behind the scenes promoting the successes of others, this is an unfamiliar yet humbling experience to be receiving this award,” he says.

As social workers we are innately driven by our desire to promote and enhance self-determination and empowerment

Civilian of the year 2020

Civilian of the year 2020

Fire Support Group withdraw with their equipment during the exercise.

Considering a career in Defence?

A career in the Defence Force is unlike anything out there. You'll be working as part of a tight-knit team, protecting your family, friends, the environment and your country from harm and representing the New Zealand way of life where you go. It's an incredibly rewarding job that gives you a real sense of purpose.

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