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Service records

NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals holds a collection of about 1.5 million service records relating to 420,000 New Zealand service personnel who served in New Zealand’s Military Forces post WWI.

These records are an invaluable resource for documenting the social and military history of New Zealand, as they provide a unique record of the military service of the men and women who defended our country at home and overseas.

For information about veterans’ entitlements visit the VANZ website

What does each service record contain?

Specifically, each service record contains:

  • Personal information, including enlistment, attestation, and termination/release documentation, as well as any honours or awards granted.

  • Career/Posting Information, which will show the progress of the serviceperson’s career through their overseas service, unit postings, promotions, training courses, and sometimes disciplinary actions. 

  • Medical Information, which is generally stored in a separate medical file and access is restricted for 20 years after the serviceperson's date of death in accordance with the Health Information Privacy Code 2020.

How service records can help you

As well as for research and academic purposes, service records can be used for:

  • Family history research,

  • Future employment purposes with other organisations or Police Forces,

  • To support an application for veterans benefits/entitlements,

  • To establish medal entitlement,

  • To enable membership of veterans’ associations such as the RNZRSA, RSA or RSL,

  • To support an immigration visa application, or

  • To provide data for inclusion on a burial plaque or other commemorative monument.

Access to World War I records

For access to digitised WWI military personnel records, please check the Archives New Zealand website, Archway.  Please note if you cannot locate the record that you would like, it is possible that NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals may hold the original record in our collection. 

Making a request for service records

You can request information about a person’s military service, formal confirmation of service information, and partial or full copies of service records. Please be as specific as possible with the information you would like as this will assist us in processing your request. 

All the service records we hold are protected by copyright and copies are supplied on the understanding that they are for personal research purposes or private study only. NZDF copyright permission is required before these records can be used for any other reason.

Would you like your own service records?

Former NZDF service members can access their own service records under the Privacy Act 2020. 

Please note Personnel Archives and Medals only holds service personnel records for service members who have left military service.  If you are currently serving with NZDF please contact your local DSSG unit or command chain regarding access to your service record.   

Would you like another person’s service records?

We can release service records of former NZDF service members in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 provided that: 

  • They have provided you with their written and signed permission (please attach to your application), or

  • You hold an Enduring Power of Attorney for them (please provide a copy with your application), or

  • They are deceased (please provide evidence with your application such as a copy of their death certificate, a photograph of a headstone or a cemetery record). Please note that we cannot release medical information until 20 years after their date of death as specified by Rule 11 (7) of the Health Information Privacy Code 2020.

Please note, if you are applying on behalf of a living former NZDF service member, they can sign the application form. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the volume of Personnel Archives and/or Medals requests currently on hand please be aware that processing may take up to 9 months to complete.

Completing the application form

To request a service record please complete the application form, scan and email it to: NZDF.PAM@NZDF.MIL.NZ.  Alternatively you may post it to:

NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals
Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force
Private Bag 905
UPPER HUTT 5140

To help our records staff find the correct service records, please include the following information about the service person in your application:

  • Full name

  • Date of birth

  • Service number

  • Service (i.e. Navy, Army, Air Force)

Don’t forget to include your current postal address, phone number and email address.

Viewing service records in person

Original service records can be viewed in our dedicated readers’ space in our office at Trentham Military Camp between 8.30am and 3.30pm on working days.

To make a booking

Please attach your request to a completed application form, scan and email it to NZDF.PAM@NZDF.MIL.NZ 

Alternatively you may post it to:

NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals
Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force
Private Bag 905
UPPER HUTT 5140

Please note bookings must be made five working days in advance of your visit and are subject to availability. 

Frequently asked questions 

I’ve been advised the military personnel file I would like cannot be located.

  • Unfortunately some files have been misfiled over the years and we are currently unable to locate them for you. We are continuing to update the indexing of our collection as we find them.

  • The name and birth date information that you hold may not match the details in our database. There are a number of reasons this occurs including service people enlisting under a different name, or a date of birth having been recorded incorrectly at the time of enlistment.

I would like to make a donation of photographs, papers or objects relating to New Zealand’s military history.

Please contact the appropriate service museum below:

If you haven’t been able to find an answer to your query email us at NZDF.PAM@NZDF.MIL.NZ or telephone (04) 527 5280.