Join New Zealand’s most versatile military musical organisation. Travel and work with this unique group of musicians throughout New Zealand and the world. The Royal New Zealand Navy band (RNZN band) is highly respected both within the Navy and musical circles. It includes some of the country’s finest musicians whose professional capability and versatility combine to deliver a wide range of ensembles to perform at a varied range of ceremonies and events.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

Musicians in the Navy are full time professional band members. The band’s key role is the responsibility to deliver musical support to the NZ Government, NZ diplomatic interests within New Zealand and overseas and support to the RNZN Mission. This is achieved through the following: 

  • Support to state ceremonial 
  • Defence diplomacy
  • Command support to Navy personnel, its ships and families 
  • Public relations 
  • Community engagement
  • Recruiting 
  • Moral component, providing entertainment for Navy and wider NZDF 

The RNZN band is unique as the only full time professional military band in New Zealand; but not every event involves marching. From our purpose built home at Fort Cautley in Devonport, the daily routine of rehearsals occurs from 8am until 4pm. Time is spent preparing various ensembles the band is called on to provide, they include: 

  • Full concert band 
  • Big band 
  • Brass quintet 
  • Jazz group 
  • 2nd line 
  • Dixie band 
  • Saxophone quartet

Further to this, solo performance are a feature at our annual series of chamber concerts. All rehearsals are planned into our full schedule that at times involves irregular hours including evenings and travel that all professional musicians are familiar with.

Career progression and training


Basic Training

Ongoing Training

Recruitment into the musician trade is achieved through an audition process managed by the Director of Music (DoM). This includes a formal musical audition and interview with the DoM and a selected panel of senior musicians from within the band. If successful at this stage, the candidate is then invited to work with the band on a suitable engagement where the candidate’s professional ability, demeanour, attitude and competency can be assessed within our working environment. Many band members hold musical tertiary qualifications from Polytechnic or University, although this is not essential, being a competent performer/soloist on at least one military band instrument is essential. 

If you are successful at audition you are then invited to start the recruitment process into the RNZN.

It is a requirement for entry into the Musician’s trade to complete full Basic Common Training (BCT). You will join with other recruits at the Recruit Training Squadron in Devonport for this. Find out more about basic training.

On completion of BCT you will be posted to the RNZN band as an Ordinary Musician (OMUS), where you will embark on your career. However it doesn’t stop there, many opportunities exist for self-development through dedicated navy leadership courses and musical proficiency task books. These equip you with the necessary skills to further your career and gain promotion.

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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

  • Be a minimum of 17 years of age upon entry.
  • Be free of any criminal conviction for the previous two years.
  • Must pass the Navy swim test, conducted wearing overalls and gym shoes:
    • Swim of 50 metres and, on completion,
    • Remain afloat unaided by treading water for three minutes.

You must have obtained at least 10 credits at NCEA level 1 in both Literacy and Numeracy. Proficiency with instruments is the main criteria. A tertiary qualification is desirable.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

Entry into the Navy Band is by audition with the Director of Music. Should this audition be successful, the Director of Music, in conjunction with the Navy recruiters, will put forward a candidate for selection into the Navy. Musicians must meet the musical requirements to be in the Band, but also need to meet the general requirements of entry to join the Navy.

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

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the SV security clearance required for this trade. You must be free of any criminal convictions for the previous two years.

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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