Hōia Ope Tauā
Army soldiers defend their country, keep the peace and provide disaster relief.
Army soldier recruits usually earn
$34K per year
Depending on rank, graduated army soldiers usually earn
$44K-$103K per year
Source: NZ Defence Force, 2017
Pay for army soldiers varies depending on specialist trade, experience and rank.
- Army soldier recruits in training can expect to earn minimum wage.
- Privates (recently graduated soldiers) usually earn between $44,000 and $51,000 a year.
- Lance corporals and corporals can earn between $47,500 and $68,000.
- Sergeants and staff sergeants can earn between $59,500 and $90,500.
- Warrant officers can earn between $77,500 and $103,000.
Army soldiers may also get food and accommodation allowances and free medical and dental care.
Source: New Zealand Defence Force, 2017.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website – information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Army soldiers may do some or all of the following:
- operate and maintain military equipment, including weapons, radios and vehicles
- take part in combat
- load and unload supplies, and set up camps
- train in areas such as navigation, first aid, and fitness
- take part in ceremonial events such as parades
- take part in peacekeeping operations
- participate in wartime-scenario training exercises
- help in search and rescue operations, and disaster relief efforts in New Zealand and overseas.
Army soldiers also train in a specific role or trade, such as gunner, medic or field engineer, with specific tasks and duties related to the role.
Skills and knowledge
Army soldiers need to have knowledge of:
- Army regulations, tactics and protocol, including health and safety, ethics and conduct
- combat skills
- how to operate and maintain weapons and radio equipment
- Army drills and exercises
- first aid and rescue techniques
- how to clean and care for a uniform.
Army soldiers also need to have skills and knowledge related to their field of specialisation, or trade. For example, Army medics need knowledge of emergency care, nursing and surgical methods.
- usually work regular business hours but may be expected to work long or irregular hours on training exercises or when on deployment
- work and train at military camps in New Zealand and overseas
- work in all weather conditions and may have to work in combat situations
- may spend long periods away from home on overseas assignments.
What's the job really like?
Find out what it takes to be a soldier in the New Zealand Army – 7.23 mins. (Video courtesy of the NZ Army)
Male soldier 2: Far, I joined the army mostly because to become a rifleman, hopefully to go over overseas and y'know, get paid when I'm doing it and I
serve my country and I hopefully make my family proud, eh.
Sergeant: Hup, left right left right hup.
All soldiers: One, two!
Male soldier 3: Here you go.
Female soldier: It makes you feel like you're ten feet tall and unstoppable.
Sergeant: So I'll be faithful and bear true allegiance.
Soldiers: I'll be faithful and bear true allegiance.
Sergeant: I will faithfully serve in New Zealand.
Training officer: You will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally. Some of you will not pass. Take strength from those that remain with you and look after those around you.
Sergeant: Let's go Shelby!
Male soldier 4: It's a bit of a lifestyle change but this is what we're looking forward to.
Sergeant: This will be a kit inspection, I told you it was coming - move!
Male soldier 4: I was almost
Sergeant: Your bedroll still needs a bit of work. See how its sagging? If your kit is dirty, you clean it. I'm not going to even bother going through this room. I'm sick of talking team, the time is now for action. Pattern - turn! One
Soldiers: One two!
Male soldier 5: I think it's gonna get a lot harder from here on in, I'm not expecting it to get any easier.
Kaumātua: (karanga) Haere mai ngā manuhiri turangawaewae tapuki runga e runga marae ra...........
Sergeant: Me te whare tu nae, te whare tu toa, tu ma tau inga...
Soldier 5: It's such a morale booster to see Mum and Dad, just, um, see what they're up to.
Soldier 4: It's awesome, eh, it's good to catch up with all the news from home.
Soldier 6: For people hating unity. The days been choice, so relaxing and so good, love it.
Soldier 3: That was awesome, so good to get away from barracks and y'know you taste the civilian life again I suppose.
Training officer: Morning ladies and gents, this morning is the rfl assessment. The rfl consists of 2.4K run, Go!, followed by press-ups, followed by curl-ups. This is an individual test. It's not a race but don't be last. Go!
Female training officer: What you're doing today is an 8 kilometer route march, a 5 metre rope climb, which is the activities over there, a 6 foot wall, 9 foot ditch, and a 150 metre firefighters carry.
Soldier 8: Am I crushing you?
Soldier 9: Yeah... yeah.
Corporal Hartley: Good afternoon, I'm Corporal Hartley. Our munition is designed to kill.
Soldier 4: That was awesome.
Training officer: There's a difference between look down the target look down the scope, pull the trigger it's actually knowing how to do it.
Training officer: So that there's your first on the tip, yeah? That's a good group there.
Soldier 10: We will see when the results come in, hopefully I didn't fail and do a retest. We don't pass this we don't go on.
Training officer: 35 seconds, yeah? That's how much time you've got before it goes bang! Have a look at the target area there it is – grenade!
Corporal Hartley: Number two throw – grenade! Good throw.
Soldier four: Phase 2, the second part of the basic – it's where you're putting everything you've learnt into practise itself. Now we're doing the business, it's got a bit of a self belief that yeah, I'm nearly there, I'm nearly a soldier.
Training officer: I know what we're going on to for the next 72 hours is navigation. The bread and butter of where to find things.
Soldiers: Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi!
Training officer: You've got 15 minutes to be on top of that hill, go!
Soldier three: Oh no, we're not even on the last one.
Female soldier: My six figure is three-seven-
Soldier five: Oh, you're miles out.
Training officer: Time's up team. You have not got half an hour to put your woochi up.
Training officer: ...bend it in half and place it inside your cups canteen.
Soldier 10: Two minute noodles, cheese, chicken curry...
Soldier five: Shooting at night you can't really see what you're doing but sort of point and hope.
Soldier 11: That was awesome eh, just blitzing some targets off, eh.
Soldier five: What we're doing is we're setting up gun pits so we can defend against the Missourians, which is like a pretend country that's just above Taupo. I had no idea this was important. Holy sh*beep*.
Soldier 11: Lovely day to be outside, innit.
Female soldier: I'm enjoying it even though I'm cold and wet and muddy, I'm loving it.
Training officer: If someone says they've been in a battle fight and tell you they're not scared they're bullshitting you.
Sergeant: Get down! Right! Hut! Hut! Hut! Left right! Huh!
Sergeant: The badge you wear on your beret is your tribal marking. Most of the badges you wear on your berets are old and they've been worn by men and women who have served well before you have. You wear your badge with pride. Look after it.
Soldier 11: Ah, nervous, excited though.
Sergeant: Huh! Ha! Hut! Righhhht turn! Company
Sergeant: Today you have joined the New Zealand Army and passed through the basic training course. I would challenge you here today to set high goals and strive for them, in your career as a NZ Army soldier.
Soldier four: It's good man, I know I've made the right choice coming here. I think everyone should do it once in their lifetime, come experience army life. I'd recommend this to anyone. I'm going to recommend it to my friends when I go back home, you've got to do it once in your lifetime I suppose, the military thing but I'm definitely glad I came here.
To be eligible for army soldier basic training you need to:
- be at least 17 years old
- have no criminal convictions
- have completed at least three years of secondary school education
- be medically and physically fit
- be a New Zealand citizen, or a New Zealand residence class visa holder.
If you meet the above requirements, you will also need to:
- pass aptitude and fitness tests
- attend a formal interview for your selected trade (area of specialisation).
Some trades have different age requirements, and you may need NCEA credits in specific subjects.
A current, clean New Zealand driver's licence is recommended.
New Army recruits do 16 weeks basic training at Waiouru Army Camp.
After basic training, recruits do corps training to learn the basics of a specific army trade.
- Defence Careers website - how to apply for a role as a soldier in the New Zealand Army
- Defence Careers website - information on upcoming intakes
A minimum of three years of secondary education is required, and you need NCEA Level 1 credits in specific subjects. Useful subjects include construction and mechanical technologies, digital technologies, mathematics, physical education and physics.
Army soldiers need to be:
- disciplined and able to follow instructions
- careful and accurate, with an eye for detail
- efficient and able to work well under pressure
- practical and adaptable
- able to work well in a team.
Useful experience for army soldiers includes:
- training as a soldier in the Territorial Force/Army Reserve
- involvement in youth organisations such as Scouts and Cadets
- work or sporting experience in a team environment
- experience in a trade such as automotive mechanics, carpentry or plumbing.
Soldiers must pass Army fitness tests, so they need to be fit, healthy and strong, with good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).
Find out more about training
- New Zealand Army
- 0800 136 723 - www.defencecareers.mil.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Chances of getting a job as an army soldier are good because:
- the Army usually recruits up to 500 soldiers a year to replace those leaving
- the Army needs to replace ageing workers due to retire in the next 10 years.
Although there is good demand for army soldiers, competition for some specialist roles can be high.
The New Zealand Army is made up of around 4500 staff.
Diversity of staff important
The Army is committed to diversity, and wants to increase the number of women and have more of a mix of cultures. Women typically make up about 15% of army staff.
Chances good for cyber soldiers
The Army wants to increase the number of intelligence officers and information technology staff to boost New Zealand's cyber security.
Defence force only employer
Army soldiers work for the New Zealand Defence Force in New Zealand and overseas.
- Army News, 'A Message from Chief of Army', February 2017, (www.army.mil.nz).
- Defence Careers website, 'Army Intake Schedule', accessed July 2017, (www.defencecareers.mil.nz).
- New Zealand Defence Force, 'Defence White Paper 2016', June 2016, (www.defencecareers.mil.nz).
- New Zealand Defence Force, 'Future35 Our Strategy to 2035', accessed July 2017, (www.nzdf.mil.nz).
- New Zealand Defence Force, 'New Zealand Government Defence Capability Plan 2016', (www.nzdf.mil.nz).
- New Zealand Defence Force, 'The 2015-2016 Annual Report', accessed July 2017, (www.nzdf.mil.nz).
- Patterson, J, 'NZ Defence Force to get $20bn Upgrade', 8 June 2016, (www.radio.co.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Army soldiers may progress in rank to:
- lance corporal and corporal
- sergeant and staff sergeant
- warrant officer.
With further training, army soldiers may progress to become army officers.
Army soldiers may specialise in:
- combat and security
- engineering and technical trades
- intelligence, IT and communications
- logistics and administration
- medical and health
Last updated 26 April 2018