New Zealand Defence Force

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF; Māori: Te Ope Kātua o Aotearoa, lit. "Line of Defence of New Zealand") consists of three services: the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army and the Royal New Zealand Air Force; and is commanded and headed by the chief of Defence Force (CDF).

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kātua o Aotearoa  (Māori)
The NZDF Tri-Service logo
Service branchesRoyal New Zealand Navy
New Zealand Army
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Commander-in-ChiefGovernor-General Dame Patsy Reddy
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Minister of DefencePeeni Henare
Chief of Defence ForceAir Marshal Kevin Short
Military age17 years of age with parental consent; service members cannot be deployed until 18 (As of September 2017)[1]
Available for
military service
955,640 males, age 20-49[2],
981,050 females, age 20-49[3]
Active personnel9,723 (July 2021)[4]
Reserve personnel2,701 (July 2021)[4]
Deployed personnel302 (as of June 2017)[4]
BudgetTotal budget for 2019/20[5]
Vote Defence Force (NZD)
Percent of GDP1.1%[6]
Foreign suppliersUnited States
European Union
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of New Zealand
RanksNew Zealand military ranks

New Zealand's armed forces have three defence-policy objectives:

  • to defend New Zealand against low-level threats
  • to contribute to regional security
  • to play a part in global security efforts

New Zealand regards its own national defence needs as modest, due to its geographical isolation and friendly relationships with neighbours.[7] As of September 2017 the NZDF had 302 personnel deployed overseas on operations and on UN missions in the South Pacific, Asia, Africa, Antarctica and the Middle East areas.[8]

As at 2021, the governor-general and commander-in-chief,[9] Dame Patsy Reddy, exercises power on the advice of the minister of defence, Peeni Henare, under the Defence Act 1990.

Air Marshal Kevin Short was appointed chief of Defence Force on 1 July 2018.[10][11][12] The NZDF has announced that Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies will serve as the next vice chief of Defence Force.[13]