As a Marine Technician you are trained to be an expert in the field, making a major contribution towards ensuring the ship is always ready to sail at a moments notice. Without you, the ship doesn’t sail!

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Engineering and Technical Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    09 March, 2020
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About the role

Marine Technicians are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ship’s engines, as well as additional equipment and systems that contribute toward the ship's ability to 'float and move'. As a Marine Technician you are trained to be an expert in the field, making a major contribution towards ensuring the ship is always ready to sail at a moments notice. Without you, the ship doesn’t sail!

As modern warships contain more sophisticated technology and a greater range of equipment than a jet aircraft you will operate and maintain a wide range of equipment including: diesel engines, gas turbines (jet engines), electrical power generation, power distribution systems, remote control and monitoring of machinery (via an IP network known as an ‘Integrated Platform Management System’), hydraulic and pneumatic systems, refrigeration and air conditioning plants, sewage treatment plants, desalination equipment (making fresh water from sea water), liquid storage, hull and internal fittings.

To best deal with the wide range of machinery and equipment onboard the ships, after your Basic Technician Course, you will be streamed in one of two specialisations; electrical or propulsion according to your interests, skills and the requirements of the service. Once streamed you will complete a short course in your chosen specialisation before being posted to sea.

Job on base

As a Marine Technician you will continuously develop and enhance your skills to ensure the smooth running of machinery when on ship. This will require on-going training at the Marine Engineering School and Trade Training School. When you are not working on a ship it is likely that you will be posted to one of the maintenance support departments or the Marine Engineering School.

Job on deployment

All Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) ships require the capability to ‘float and move’; therefore Marine Technician positions exist on every HMNZ Ship within the Fleet. Because ships at sea run 24 hours a day, as a Marine Technician you may be required to work in shifts or be on call to monitor the ships engines and other plant and machinery to ensure they are running smoothly and efficiently. Like everyone else onboard, you will also participate in general shipboard duties and activities not connected with your specialised role and have the opportunity to visit different ports and environments both in New Zealand and overseas.

For anyone that is considering being an MTE – give it a go. It’s a fantastic opportunity, you get a great trade out of it and you get to travel the world. 

Michael O'Connell

Career progression and training

Career Progression
Basic Training
Job Training
Specialist Training

Your hard work, experience and training accomplishments as a Marine Technician are rewarded by promotions in rank and salary. You join the Navy as an Ordinary Rate completing Basic Common Training (BCT) and Basic Marine Technician Training. After this specialist course you will post to sea or ashore to consolidate what you have learnt through on job training. After your time at sea you will need to complete your Advanced Technician Training as well as some further leadership courses before being promoted to Leading Hand.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will do 18 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Navy, and learn various subjects including:

  • Teamwork/team support
  • Naval discipline and regulations
  • Physical fitness
  • Parade training

Marine Technicians have to know how to operate and maintain the ship's engine plants and systems, in all conditions, to ensure the ship remains fully operational. To achieve this you will be thoroughly trained in equipment fault diagnosis and repair through the use of state-of-the-art monitoring and analysis equipment.


(28 Weeks) Location: Devonport Naval Base (Auckland)
Following Basic Common Training, you will complete Basic Marine Technician training, covering the following subjects:

  • Mechanics
  • Mathematics
  • Electrotechnology Theory
  • Electrical Theory and Workshops
  • PC Applications
  • Communication Skills
  • Technical Administration
  • Safety
  • Refrigeration
  • Fuels, Lubrication, Air Conditioning, Steering, Air Compressors and Hydraulics
  • Diesels
  • Gas Turbine
  • Maintenance Engineering

Following this course you will complete specialisation training, this is 8 weeks in duration for Propulsion Specialists and 2 weeks for Electrical Specialists.

On completion of these courses, you spend 18 months to two years undergoing on-the-job training, both at sea and ashore, to gain experience before completing your advanced Electrical or Propulsion Course. Successful completion of this advanced course will see you qualified for promotion to Leading Hand.

The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom however, you will complete a ‘task book’ and other certificates whilst completing on-the-job training onboard a ship, all of which contribute towards meeting the requirements for promotion.

As part of your naval studies as a Marine Technician the unit standards you complete contribute towards a National Certificate (Level 4) in either Mechanical Engineering (Maintenance Engineering) for Propulsion Specialists or Mechanical Engineering (Electrical Engineering) and registration through the Electrical Workers Registration Board for Electrical Specialists.

These qualifications are instructed by the Navy’s Technical Schools in accordance with the National Qualification Framework and are gained in addition to other professional naval qualifications. The Navy meets all costs of this training, which is usually concluded within the first four years of a Marine Technician’s career.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements

Fitness and Medical
Period of Service
  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain Confidential security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.

You must have achieved NCEA level 1 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 1 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

 It should be noted that as you will be a Marine Technician in either Propulsion or Electrical specialisation, the academic courses and unit standards that you will be required to successfully pass, are largely physics/maths based and consist of a number of Level 2 to Level 4 Unit Standards. Hence, if you have completed maths and some physics as part of your science credits (eg mechanics, electricity etc) this will go a long way to help you with your navy academic studies.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required Confidential security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.


There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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