Army Soldier Hōia Ope Tauā

Army soldiers defend their country, keep the peace and provide disaster relief.

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.

Physical Requirements

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).

Useful Experience

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.

Personal Qualities

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.


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.


Army soldiers:

  • 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.

Army Soldiers can earn around $44K per year.

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.

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
  • hospitality
  • intelligence, IT and communications
  • logistics and administration
  • medical and health
  • trades.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training required.

To be eligible for army soldier basic training you need to:

  • be at least 16.5 years old to apply
  • 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.

On-the-job training

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.

Army Soldier