Navy Net - Royal Navy Community

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Joining the RNZN

Mrs PB and I are doing a bit of forward planning at the minute and we're seriously (i.e. more than a pipe dream, less than actually applying yet) considering me joining the RNZN o/c my 22 (3 1/2 years yet!).

Does anyone have any worthwhile feedback of spending extended periods out there? I've read a lot of testimonials on their website and the NZ Immigration site and they seem to be overwhelmingly positive, but a friend of mine who was due to go out in Feb next year has 'put it on hold' because he's heard reports of lots of gang problems in Auckland (where I'd be) and drive-by shootings.

I'm a sensible enough chap to realise that everywhere has it's problems and coming from Belfast and growing up there in the 70's and 80's, I'm not one to take these things out of proportion ...

I've heard reports that native Kiwis, whilst being generally warm and welcoming, occasionally take umbrage at people coming over to take their jobs. There'll be some truth to that (you get morons everywhere), but has anyone encountered any real problems?

I'm a CPOMEA (LSM) (or CPOET(MESM) in new money), and I appreciate that the RAN has both more postings and boats, but with my pension in GBP, that should more than make up for relative loss of spending power, and I've been led to believe that NZ's quality of life is much better!

Does anyone have any feedback on the work ethos out there? I've heard that their rank structure is less rigidly enforced, but I don't think that would be too much of a problem ...

I've always found that it's the things that you don't realise you don't know that'll bite you in the ass every time, so any comments would be greatfully recieved!

Can I ask that where possible replies are via the thread rather than PM, as I've found several posts on here that started like this, but the replies were private! There are probably more than me thinking this way!

And if anyone has experience and is either in Guz or Faslane, I would be happy to buy you a pint in return for picking your brains!

Cheers in advance,



Lantern Swinger
Well I came the other way.. did a few years between the RNZAF and RNZNVR and am now RNR.

Auckland has its good and bad points. There are gang problems, but it's not like living in one huge ghetto. I think that people get put off because they hear of this perfect place that all of a sudden has issues.. when in reality, it's probably no worse than living in most UK cities.

I personally hate Auckland. I think it's a complete rat-hole of a place and would never live there, but I'm from Christchurch and just hate the North Island on principle :)

It's a better type of life out there. I'm not ready to move back, but if I had the chance to go play with the RNZN for a year, I'd jump at it..


Lantern Swinger
Hey Justin, don't think that anyone here will slag you off for thinking ahead and although I only have eleven years service and come from a branch that doesn't really exist in the RNZDF/RAN I've sent off the "expression of interest" emails and got positive replys from both navies.

Although the Aussies seemed the keenest in their reply offering a meeting with the defence attache to get the ball rolling and a possible offer of employment by next July. Not sure if this is because the RAN is bigger or they are looking to develop their HM capability. Have also been told that the aussies will grant an oz passport within three months of joining up which is a big contrast to the UK way of doing things!

Have to say it all sounds very tempting but am very wary of the "grass is always greener" scenario but like I said, you'd be a fool not to consider your options. To be honest I'd probably prefer the kiwis though as I have relatives in south island.

PS a beer in Guz to discuss further sounds like a plan!
No direct experience though I have (younger) civilian friends who went to NZ where the male had a job offer just over a year ago. He has since made this permanent; his wife also found finding a job quite easy (though fallen pregnant since). They have both now applied for citizenship. These are two people whom I thought would go to NZ for a year or two, almost on a back-packing type basis, but are so bowled over with the place they want to stay.

I also have a chum who had an exchange job with the RAN and then decided on a permanent transfer. Have seen him twice since he went over to the other side and he is quite happy. You are correct in that each country/navy has its own problems but as long as you are prepared for that and to look for the positives, which I feel you are, then it is worth a punt. My RAN chum says he is not prepared to move outside of the Syndey area and therefore this factor, and the fact that he is not RAN 'grown' will mean no promotion; but he is content with that.

With over three years RN time to do - is it not possible to visit?

Good luck!
I'm looking into Long Look as well, but apparently it's vital not to tell them that you're thinking of going there permenantly when you apply!

No, no, I want a 4 month exchange with the RNZN because it'll broaden my horizons, not because I'm sizing them up!
For what it's worth, this is part of an e-mail some friends and I received earlier this year from an old mate who transferred to the RNZN at a relatively ripe age:

...I've been here in New Zealand for three years and eight months now and have to say that I have absolutely no regrets at all in my decision to leave you all behind and step into the southern hemisphere. Life and work is really good and Xxxxxx and I couldn't have wished for a better lifestyle. Those of you who have been good enough to visit us down under will know exactly what I'm talking about and we don't miss UK at all...

I've had similar feedback from those who have transferred to the RAN and a major selling point was that both places offer better environments in which to bring up children.
Padbeat; my RAN chum didn't do Long Look (good though it is). He had a full two year posting to Aus then transferred whilst still in post. I recall he came home for one day, did his leaving routine from the RN, went to the Oz Emabassy in London, signed-on and flew back to Oz!
A mate of mine did a 2 year exchange with the RNZN 4 years ago. Mrs DE and I went out to stay with him and his family. Cracking place with a nice lifestyle. BUT, he picked up his 2 1/2 whilst there and, with the £/NZ$ rate was getting more than a Commodore in the RNZN. :thumright:

I know it's all relative, but can you afford the pay cut? :violent1:

When I was at Sultan 05-07, we had a RNZN Lt on the staff who transferred to the RN as he got paid more.


Lantern Swinger
i came back from a months visit to my son who joined rnza, three years ago he has his own house, two cars. they took him at his then position of sergeant, he is now a staff sergeant and loving it. yes his pay was lower than uk, but so is the cost of living.
we spent a week in auckland and did not see any agro at all. i have a sister-in-law who lives in the suburbs and she just loves it.
whilst there my son was given nz citizenship and iv'e no doubt he will spend the rest of his life there.


Hi Justin,

For what it's worth, I was in Auckland for a conference in April of this year, working with the Kiwis, amongst others. The first thing to say is, I was only there for 9 days, so couldn't really give you an accurate opinion of the country, although what I saw was incredible, less traffic, nicer people and the general feeling you get is good.

On the RNZN front, they are hurting for manpower - big time. The 2 front line ships that they have are ok, but when one comes back to NZ, approximately half the manpower goes onto the other one and they deploy again...they are hurting for MEs in particular. At the officer level, it was apparent that they have one job title and about another 8 hats, which is why I didn't consider...if you are going to put your feet up, enjoy the view and chill, I don't think that it's for you.

Having said that, I know someone who took the plunge, hates the RNZN and is now looking for a job outside in NZ itself. He loves the country and is glad he made the move with his family.

Bottom line being, I wasn't there for long enough to form a complete opinion, but these are my thoughts from my brief visit and hope it helps.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
FISO Thinking about joining the RNZN? The Quarterdeck 12
J Joining Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 2
T Ex clankies daughter joining up as a food destroyer Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 1
F What's the joining process for doing PTI Direct entry and how long is the wait at the moment? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 10
J Advice on joining the RN. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 22
N Ratings Joining Advice - 25 Year Old Grad Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 33
W Questions about joining Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 5
N Son joining HMS Collingwood 8th Feb 2021 Joining the Royal Navy 7
Waspie To assist in Joining Questions! Joining the Royal Navy 9
D Re-joining the Fleet? The Fleet 17
J Will an IVA stop me from joining? Joining the Royal Navy 2
S Joining Process - Officer Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 12
S Joining process Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 5
M Pre-joining medical : where is it? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 2
P Joining during COVID-19 RFA 3
O Joining date Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 8
F Joining RNR/RMR - Potential Transfer Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 5
A Course joining instructions Bases / Shore Est 7
D Female joining Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 5
W Pre Joining Fitness Test Advice Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 4
I Officer joining requirements Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 9
chorzxx Pre-joining fitness test Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 2
R Trying to trump the age stakes. Joining at 38, possibilities? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 13
A Joining up with hay-fever. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 3
A Joining with hay-fever. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 4
Multiirishman Joining the Rfa RFA 22
N Joining as a Warfare Officer submarine v surface Joining the Royal Navy 4
7 Joining the RFA as a chef apprentice RFA 8
Y Issue about Joining (Asperger's) Joining the Royal Navy 1
H Joining as a marine engineer (submariner) Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 3
W Joining kit l Joining the Royal Navy 36
N Joining Test Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 0
M Thinking of joining RNR. Ex raf rigger Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) 35
S Joining tip’s and info Joining the Royal Navy 74
TechnicPR Joining with Aspergers? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 6
F Joining as a Systems Engineer as an ETO on Cruise Ships RFA 4
A Am I banned from joining the navy? Joining the Royal Navy 39
O Buying Life Insurance before joining... Finance & Pensions 17
0 Joining the Navy as AET compared to RAF aircraft technician Joining the Royal Navy 26
L Joining as Officer but undecided, need helping choosing Joining the Royal Navy 25
E Considering joining the Royal Navy- looking for advice Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 16
E Joining up! Various. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 2
JBNVY18 Re Joining after PVR Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 10
David-19™ Joining the Royal Marines Reserve at 30. Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 11
T Joining process Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 4
D Joining age, when is actually too late? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 21
J Joining process RFA 16
Gnasher Re-joining after 4 years Joining the Royal Navy 3
Dabs Is it worthwhile ..., joining that is? Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting 3
J Joining as a chef, should I join the RFA or the RN? RFA 11
Similar threads