Intelligence Officer Āpiha Matataua

Intelligence officers collect and analyse information on people, places and events that may be a threat to businesses or national and international security.

Intelligence officers may do some or all of the following:

  • collect, analyse, decode and assess information that may be a threat to business, national and international security
  • analyse data and make predictions
  • assess data to find criminal behaviour or solve crimes
  • analyse images and create maps
  • assess people for employment and entrance to New Zealand
  • co-operate with agencies nationally and internationally to gather information about potential threats
  • manage investigations into specific threats
  • monitor people and events
  • provide reports to government and provide advice on how to manage threats
  • protect information and intelligence.

Physical Requirements

Intelligence officers need to have good hearing and eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and have normal colour vision.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for intelligence officers includes:

  • research and analysing data experience
  • information technology experience
  • work for NZ Defence Force or NZ Police
  • language studies.

Personal Qualities

Intelligence officers need to be:

  • persuasive and analytical
  • mature, with good judgement and initiative
  • flexible and resilient
  • calm in stressful situations
  • careful and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good at communicating with a wide range of people
  • good problem solvers
  • patient and discreet.


Intelligence officers need to have:

  • knowledge of national and international politics
  • knowledge of research methods
  • knowledge of relevant legislation
  • strong analytical skills, with the ability to see patterns in information
  • good relationship building skills
  • skill in observation and problem solving
  • good time management.


Intelligence officers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may sometimes work long or irregular hours 
  • may train at Defence Force bases in New Zealand and overseas
  • may have to work in hazardous situations on deployment
  • may spend long periods away from home on overseas assignments.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training for most intelligence officers. Useful subjects include maths, digital technologies, English, geography, history and classical studies, languages and science.

NCEA Level 2 is required to train as an intelligence operator or intelligence specialist in the NZ Defence Force. Intelligence specialists need 12 credits in NCEA Level 2 science.

Intelligence Officers can earn around $47K-$51K per year.

Pay for intelligence officers varies depending on where they work and their level of responsibility.

  • Intelligence officers in training usually earn between $47,000 and $51,000 a year.
  • Mid-level intelligence officers usually earn between $60,000 and $86,000.
  • Senior intelligence officers can earn between $72,000 and $135,000.

New Zealand Defence Force pay

  • Intelligence officers in training usually earn $46,000 a year.
  • Mid-level intelligence officers usually earn between $60,000 and $77,000.
  • Senior intelligence officers can earn between $72,000 and $135,000, depending on rank.

Defence intelligence officers may receive food and accommodation allowances and free medical and dental care.

New Zealand Police pay

  • Intelligence analysts (police intelligence officers) in training usually earn $51,000 a year.
  • Mid-level intelligent analysts usually earn between $73,000 and $86,000.
  • Senior intelligent analysts can earn between $83,000 and $102,000.

Police intelligence analysts may receive allowances for items such as travel, food and clothing, extra duties, overtime and insurances.

Sources: New Zealand Defence Force, 2022; and New Zealand Police, 2022.

Intelligence officers may move into management roles or military officer ranks.

Intelligence officers may specialise in:

  • communications 
  • cryptanalysis (decoding)
  • cryptomathematics (decoding numbers)
  • liaison (building and managing relationships)
  • planning
  • vetting (approval of people for events, visits and employment)
  • screening (checking people or information)
  • surveillance (monitoring people, events or information).

NZ Defence Force specialisations

Intelligence officers in the NZ Defence Force can specialise in a number of roles, including:

Electronic Warfare Specialist
Electronic warfare specialists are responsible for any aircraft protection systems and equipment fitted to aircraft belonging to the NZ Air Force.
Geospatial Specialist
Geospatial specialists produce maps and charts to support the functions of the NZ Air Force.
Image Analyst
Image analysts use and analyse the output of video, radar, infrared and other imagery to support the functions of the NZ Air Force.
Intelligence Operator
Intelligence operators decode and analyse information and make predictions to support the functions of the NZ Army.

Years Of Training

1-3 years of training usually required.

To become an intelligence officer you usually need to have a tertiary qualification and:

  • be a New Zealand citizen
  • hold a current, full New Zealand driver licence
  • have a clean police record
  • pass a full psychological assessment
  • gain high-level security clearance.

Training for intelligence officer roles is usually done on the job.

Specific entry requirements for New Zealand Defence Force

Intelligence officers in the NZ Defence Force have additional specific entry requirements depending on their role.

  • Intelligence operators in the NZ Army must be at least 18 years of age and have NCEA Level 2.
  • Intelligence officers in the NZ Air Force must be at least 19 years of age and have a Bachelor's degree.
  • Intelligence specialists in the NZ Air Force must be at least 17 years and 8 months of age and have NCEA Level 2 with 12 credits in science.

Intelligence officers do basic training and specialist training at NZ Defence Force bases.

Specific entry requirements for New Zealand Police

Intelligence analysts in the NZ Police also need to:

  • have a tertiary qualification or equivalent life experience
  • pass problem-solving tests
  • provide a sample of analytical written work.

NZ Police prefer applicants to hold the New Zealand Diploma in Intelligence Analysis or equivalent. Applicants without this qualification can complete it on the job as a trainee intelligence officer.

Intelligence Officer