Defence Force roles

The principal roles of the NZDF are enduring and also calibrated to the Government’s priorities and New Zealand’s strategic environment.

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The principal roles are to:

  • Defend New Zealand’s sovereignty and territory, and contribute to protecting New Zealand’s critical lines of communication.

  • Contribute to national, community, and environmental wellbeing and resilience, and whole-of-government security objectives.

  • Meet New Zealand’s commitments to its allies and partners.

  • Support New Zealand’s civilian presence in the Ross Dependency of Antarctica and work with other agencies to monitor and respond to activity in the Southern Ocean.

  • Conduct a broad range of operations in the South Pacific, including leading operations when necessary, to protect and promote regional peace, security, and resilience.

  • Make a credible contribution to the support of peace and security and the international rules-based system.

  • Contribute to advancing New Zealand’s international relationships.

  • Work with other agencies to monitor and understand New Zealand’s strategic environment.

  • Be prepared to respond to sudden shifts in the strategic environment.

Supporting defence outcomes

The NZDF supports and delivers the following defence outcomes:

  • Support New Zealand’s community and environmental wellbeing and resilience.

  • Secure New Zealand’s national interests.

  • Support international order.

Support New Zealand’s community and environmental wellbeing and resilience

NZDF supports community wellbeing and resilience by assisting with the delivery of a broad range of public services. It also honours the veterans who have served in the Defence Force.

In 2021/22 the NZDF:

• Supported the All-of-Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a significant contribution of personnel and capabilities.

• Worked with other Government agencies on surveillance, emergency responses and humanitarian missions.

• Supported and honoured veterans, and developed new ways in which veterans’ service may be recognised and honoured.

New Zealand’s national interests are secured

Promotes a safe, secure, and resilient New Zealand, including on its borders and approaches. Contributes to maintaining New Zealand’s prosperity via secure air, sea, and electronic lines of communication, and secure access to space-based services.

In 2021/22 the NZDF:

• Responded to events and incidents in New Zealand’s maritime area of interest.

• Ensured that responses had a high likelihood of securing the safety of the population and communities.

• Protected the nation’s infrastructure.

• Protected New Zealand from military threats and illegal or unauthorised intrusions of our sovereign and economic borders.

• Enhanced the safety and wellbeing of New Zealand citizens.

• Improved national resilience.

International order is supported

Contributes to the maintenance of the international rules-based system. Contributes to New Zealand’s network of strong international relationships.

In 2021/22 the NZDF:

• Provided Pacific neighbours with military assistance, humanitarian aid, and repatriation missions.

• Supported Pacific Island’s COVID-19 responses.

• Participated in exercises with defence partners.

• Supported New Zealand’s contributions to global security.