Defence recruit training

What parts of recruit training in the Navy, Army and Air Force are working well? While training programmes are demanding, both physically and mentally, most recruits find the experience positive.

The review Recruit Training: Assessing the Quality of Recruit Training in the New Zealand Defence Force was a follow-up to the 2014 report Maximising Opportunities for Military Women in the New Zealand Defence Force which recommended a review of the recruit training period.

How the review was done

The review focused separately on the Army, Navy and Air Force. Information was gathered through surveys of recruits in training, focus groups with trainers, interviews with superiors and support staff, analysis of human resource data trends, and review of recruit training orders, policies and doctrine.

A more detailed methodology is in the report.


The review found that:

  • most recruits had a positive experience during training
  • initial training is providing new recruits with the skills and knowledge they need
  • New Zealand graduation rates compare favourably with militaries in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States
  • low recruit to instructor ratios means individuals can get one-on-one help if needed
  • the Defence Force is getting what it needs from the programmes.

Improvement was recommended in:

  • how instructors are selected, trained and supervised
  • the level of transparency around discipline practices
  • creating a more positive learning environment.

Better support from the Defence Force for the training programmes was also recommended. This support included recognising that instructors influence the future culture of the New Zealand Defence Force, ensuring shared resources are available when needed, such as physical trainers and psychologists.

There were also individual recommendations for the Army, Navy and Air Force. These can be read in the full report. The Army, Navy and Air Force were all shown a draft copy of the recommendations. By the time the final report was published, work had already started on 80% of the recommendations.

  • Recruit Training: Assessing the Quality of Recruit Training in the New Zealand Defence Force
    1.7 MB
    8 Oct 2015