Army Soldier Hōia Ope Tauā

Army soldiers defend their country, forming highly skilled teams that work together in combat and security operations, peacekeeping missions, humanitarian assistance and 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 fieldcraft, 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 communication systems technician, gunner, logistics specialist 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). Some specialisations require you to have normal colour perception.

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 and fieldcraft 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 communication system operators need knowledge of radio systems, satellite terminals, data and voice networks.


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.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is required, and you need NCEA Level 1 credits in specific subjects. Useful subjects include English, maths, science, engineering, history, languages, physical education and technology subjects.

Army Soldiers can earn around $51K per year.

Pay for Army soldiers varies depending on specialist trade, experience and rank.

  • Army soldier recruits in training usually earn $50,597 a year.
  • Privates (recently graduated soldiers) usually earn between $61,000 and $70,000.
  • Lance corporals and corporals usually earn between $66,000 and $77,000.
  • Sergeants and staff sergeants usually earn between $80,000 and $106,000.
  • Warrant officers can earn between $101,000 and $120,000.

Army soldiers may also get food and accommodation allowances, free medical and dental care.

Source: New Zealand Defence Force, 2023.

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
  • catering
  • intelligence
  • IT and communications
  • logistics 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 17 years old to apply (18 years old at the completion of basic training)
  • 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 and NCEA subject requirements. Some trades also require you to attend and pass a residential selection board. 

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