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Our people

Our Force is made up of highly trained professionals who fill a wide variety of roles in our Navy, Army, and Air Force, and in civilian positions.

We come from all walks of life and share a strong sense of what it means to be Kiwi - our culture is based on our values Tū Kaha (courage), Tū Tika (commitment), Tū Tira (comradeship) and Tū Maia (integrity). Together, we are Force for New Zealand and are proud to serve Aotearoa and its diverse communities.

Regular Force 

Our full-time Regular Force personnel includes soldiers, sailors and airmen who are fill a wide variety of ranks and roles: Privates to Admirals, technicians to special operations troops, intelligence specialists to medics. Our people are trained in skills specific to their trade as well as military skills applicable to their role such as planning, leadership and command. They serve on and support operational deployments and undertake training, both in New Zealand and overseas. Our people also fill management and corporate functions on bases, camps and in headquarters.


Our Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves provide extra depth and diversity, working and training with us part-time. Reserves complement our Regular Force by providing additional capacity and expertise, ready to respond to events in New Zealand and overseas.

Civilian personnel 

Civilian employees fill a wide range of specialist and corporate roles that do not require deployment to an operational environment. The work they do is essential to our Defence Force. Many civilian personnel previously served in the Regular Force, or are currently-serving Reserves.

Collectively, our uniformed Regular Force and Reserve personnel and civilian staff operate as an Integrated Defence Force to serve the people of New Zealand. 

By the numbers 

Our Force is comprised of almost 15,600 regular force personnel, reserves and civilian employees, as set out in the following tables.

Information last updated: 21 October 2021

NZDF headcount by service and arm

SERVICE Defence Navy Army Air Force Total
REGULAR FORCE - 2,362 4,860 2,556 9,778
RESERVE FORCE - 532 1951 335 2,818
civilian 2,996 - - - 2,996
TOTAL 2,996 2,894 6,811 2,891 15,592

Regular Force headcount by gender and service  

Gender Female Male Total
Navy 634 1,728 2,362
Army  710 4,150 4,860
Air Force 540 2,016 2,556
Total 1,884 7,894  9,778

NZDF headcount by gender and arm

Gender Female Male Total
Regular Force 1,884 7,894 9,778
Non-Regular force 497 2,321 2,818
Civilian 1,338 1,658 2,996
Total 3,719 11,873 15,472

Our ranks 

The rank system forms the backbone of our Force's military structure and defines the role of commissioned and non-commissioned personnel, and the degree of responsibility they hold.

View the full NZDF rank system