Diversity and Inclusion

Personnel from all the Services marched in the Auckland Pride Parade to support our Overwatch personnel.

The NZDF prides itself on being an inclusive and diverse organisation. We welcome and value diversity of our people and their whanau/ families.

We aim to ensure that the NZDF has a strong and inclusive workforce and that all NZDF members are able to participate, compete and be rewarded fairly regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, age, beliefs/opinions, or family circumstances.  It is important to the NZDF that all members and whanau/families feel they belong, are valued and encouraged to participate in NZDF life. The different life experiences that individuals and their whanau/ families bring into the NZDF adds richness to our community.

Women in Defence

In February 2014 the Ministry of Defence published an independent review into the treatment of women in the NZDF. It explored the degree to which Regular ForceMoD report on women in the military women are:

  • treated equitably
  • able to achieve their full potential
  • safe from harassment, bullying and assault.

The report was generally positive and suggested ways that the NZDF can do even better in the areas of recruitment, retention, leadership pathways and safety.  All of the report’s recommendations have been picked up for implementation in a NZDF programme entitled Defence Excellence Through More Military Women Across NZDF.   Read the full report here. 


In 2012, OverWatch was officially stood up under the approval of the Chief of Defence Force.  OverWatch is a group that provides support and guidance to NZDF’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning (GLBTIQ) community – as well as to their commanders and managers, families, friends and colleagues.  OverWatch is administered by a team of dedicated volunteers who have formed a management group, made up of GLBTIQ representatives from across all services and within our civilian ranks.

OverWatch is a visible, vocal and valued part of our Defence Force – taking part in many public events that challenge stereotypes, promote the Defence Force as an equitable employer and send a positive message to people who may feel the need for visible role models. 

OverWatch works to educate the wider wellbeing network on the complexities of GLBTIQ identity, and works hard to build a visible presence – creating online community networks, and taking part in education programmes throughout the NZ Defence Force to raise awareness of the importance of acceptance of diversity and inclusion within our ranks.

Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying

NZDF is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying which NZDF recognises as having negative effects on both individuals and groups. We recognise the right of all members of the NZDF to enjoy a workplace free of discrimination, harassment and bullying and we have zero tolerance to this sort of behaviour.

All members of the NZDF have a right to expect that a genuine formal complaint of harassment, discrimination, bullying or other inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with in a timely, sensitive, impartial and thorough manner.

NZDF members are actively encouraged to speak to their Commander or Manager if they are concerned about how they have been treated.  Alternatively they can speak to an Anti Harassment Advisor (AHA) who is trained to provide advice about options available to them.  

There are over 300 AHAs throughout the NZDF and they can be contacted using the link on the home page of the ILP.

Culture and Language


The NZDF has a Bi-Cultural Policy, which recognises Māori cultural interests and the special place of Māori within the NZDF. It helps meet NZDF obligations to recognise the aims and aspirations of Māori people, to respect and honour Māori language customs and items of cultural significance within NZDF, and enhance military ethos, fighting spirit and camaraderie.

MaraeNZ Army Marae, Waiouru

Te Whare Tū Taua a Tūmatauenga is the home of Ngāti Tūmatauenga, the NZ Army Marae based in Waiouru Camp.

Navy Marae, Ngataringa Bay



Te Taua Moana Marae (Warriors of the Sea).  The Royal NZ Navy Marae opened on 15 April 2000 and is located on the foreshore of Ngataringa Bay.


Air Force Marae under construction in Ohakea


Te Taua-a-rangi a Aotearoa (Warriors of the Sky), the Royal New Zealand Air Force is in the process of establishing a marae on Base Ohakea. 



Maori Cultural Advisors

The Services have Maori Cultural Advisors to help support and provide advice to command and personnel.

Kapa Haka (Maori Cultural Groups)

All three Services have Kapa Haka (Maori Cultural Groups).  Participation is open to all personnel including the Civilian workforce.  For Tri-Service events, the NZDF Maori Cultural Group is convened.

Royal NZ Navy has two cultural groups, the RNZN standing cultural group and Te Reo Heramana
Te Reo Heramana is the only NZDF kapa haka group which is open to whanau members. It was founded some 30 years ago by past and present sailors and their extended families. It is still today the foundation for all kapa haka within the RNZN with its base being Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa Marae. It has approximately 50-60 active members. Te Reo Heramana is recognised as an affiliated club in the RNZN. 

Practice times: 1630 - 1830 Monday afternoon, Te Taua Moana O Aotearoa Marae. All welcome. 

If interested contact the Navy Marae (09) 445 5407.

EEO support groups

The NZDF supports the set-up of support networks for EEO groups to allow personnel the opportunity to network and positively support one another. Often network groups function as a consultative group for policy development. Such networks assist the NZDF to have more effective visibility of the issues faced by individuals in these groups.

Contact people are available on some camps and bases for Pacific Island, Ethnic Minority, and Maori networks. 


If your whanau/family is interested in learning or maintaining language and culture skills, you may be interested in some of the following websites:

Te Puni Kokiri works across government and the private sector to support Maori development.  For information, services and links to Te Reo Maori resources, visit

Other key sites are: 

Office of Ethnic Communities promotes the advantages of ethnic diversity for New Zealand.  Visit the website for an ethnic community directory, events, conferences, workshops and training, including language and translation services.

Pacific Island Education website includes information on cultural language classes and programmes in Auckland. Pacific Island Education teaches five Pacific Languages – Cook Island, Fijian, Niue, Samoan and Tongan.

Human Rights Commission promotes and protects the human rights of people in Aotearoa New Zealand.  HRC provides a range of resources on Diversity & Race Relations.

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This page was last reviewed on 12 July 2018.