navy life.

Search Jobs


Climbing the Ranks

Promotion in the Royal New Zealand Navy depends on your own personal initiative, aptitude and the will to succeed. The Navy offers equal opportunities for everyone to progress; personally and within the rank structure. Find out how your career could progress!

Officers have responsibility for leadership and management in the Navy. They are responsible for the management, development and coordination of the teams and posts that they are assigned to. 

Officers in most instances lead projects to improve the capabilities and design plans of the way forward. At sea, they fill various leadership roles including being the officer on the bridge, who is in charge of the ship, and responsibility for the engineering department.

Essentially your qualifications and duration of your time in the Navy contribute to your rank and progression path.  In most cases officers start as a Midshipman, while undertaking Junior Officer Common Training and during the first two years of your career; then you would normally be promoted to Ensign, and one year later, depending on your entry scheme, to Sub Lieutenant. Promotion to Lieutenant is usually made after six years service. Again, the speed of progression may vary dependent on any previous qualifications and/or your duration in the Navy.

Promotion to Lieutenant Commander, and above, is based on merit, providing you have eleven years of qualifying service.  Entry schemes can affect timing but this is a rough guide to give you an indication of the ranks you could progress through.

Senior Officers:
Vice Admiral (VA)
Rear Admiral (RA)
Commodore (CDRE)
Captain (CAPT)
Commander (CDR)
Lieutenant Commander (LT CDR)
Junior Officers:
Lieutenant (LT)
Sub Lieutenant (SLT)
Ensign (ENS)
Midshipman (MID)

Find out more about becoming an Officer and the possible job options.

Sailors, otherwise known as Naval Ratings and ranked as such, are the practical people who provide specialist hands-on skills in their chosen field.  Naturally duties and responsibilities increase with rank. As you gain promotion your tasks become more complex, and at higher levels, you’ll have your own staff and be responsible for managing them and looking out for their welfare.

All sailors have to complete task books for promotion. You will become eligible for a higher rank once you have passed the various courses and examinations; and have been recommended for promotion by your Commanding Officer. Promotion itself takes place under a roster system when a vacancy occurs (with the exception of Able Rating).

You can complete additional training for extra qualifications to broaden your career.
Rankings and specialisations are combined.  Essentially your specialisation will follow your rank.  For example WOCH equals Warrant Officer, Chef.

Senior Ratings:
Warrant Officer (WO)
Chief Petty Officer (CPO)
Petty Officer (PO)

Junior Ratings:
Leading Hand (LH)
Able Rating (AB)
Ordinary Rating (O)

Find out more about each job and the progression options within each trade: Logistics, Hospitality and Support, Technical trades and Operational trades.

Specialised Sailor Roles
After a period of service, there are opportunities for internal transfer to a number of specialised sailor roles. Candidates for transfer will only be considered after first attaining competence in their original career streams. It is therefore not possible to join and start your career in these roles; they are ‘progression only’ based.

The specialised roles available are helicopter crewman, Naval police and physical training instructors.

Helicopter Crewman
The Helicopter Crewman is an integral member of a three person crew onboard the Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters. Their duties include assisting in search and rescue operations, vertical replenishment, winch operations, warfare duties, and airborne photography.

Naval Police
Naval Police are responsible for the preservation and maintenance of discipline and standards within the Navy. Naval Police serve at sea and ashore and are a vital part of the Naval Leadership structure. Naval Police develop expertise in conducting investigations, and traffic operations.

Physical Training Instructor
Otherwise known as PTIs, Physical Training Instructors are responsible for physical, recreational training, and sea survival training. They serve at sea and develop skills in planning and conducting physical sessions.

In additional to your branch career path there are opportunities to qualify for additional operational skills. Each skill requires differing levels of qualification and experience and includes Defence Diver, Flight Deck Officer and Damage Control Instructor. 

Apply Now Contact a recruiter
Cap Tallies.
Cap tallies were first formally introduced by the Admiralty in 1860 to identify the ship's companies of Royal Navy vessels. During wartime they were removed and a replaced by a generic HMS tallie.