Experience a variety of Naval life as you work in the Officers’ Messes both at sea and ashore. Provide first-class service at everything from Formal events to diplomatic functions.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    22 August, 2022
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About the role

Navy Stewards Primary role operates in Officers’ Messes at sea and ashore and can expect to provide a range of hospitality services from junior officers in the Navy to Heads of State and members of the Royal Family – for as few as 10 or as many as  500. Your role is varied and includes but is not limited to, providing table service to up to three meals a day, bartending; setting up and serving at official functions including cocktail parties, formal dinners, buffets, and morning and afternoon teas; and providing VIP support to high profile international and diplomatic functions either in NZ or overseas.

You will start your career with initial and professional training before gaining experience through practical, supervised on-the-job training while working at the Navy base’s Officers Mess. Postings ashore and at sea will follow and there are opportunities for you to sit external, industry recognised NZQA qualifications. Further training will assist with your professional development and progression in the Navy and wider Defence force.

If you are involved in Kapa Haka we have our own Marae. You can help keep up traditions in the Defence Force which is really good.


Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Your hard work, experience, and training accomplishments as a Steward are rewarded by promotions in rank and salary. Following your initial training and consolidation, you can reasonably be expected to have attained a basic level of competence within 18 months of joining. This will be supplemented by a sea posting and then further training to prepare you for promotion to a supervisory role.

Advanced training will involve both generic leadership skills and development as a steward. Successful completion of these will qualify you for a promotion to Leading Hand whereby you will be responsible for supervising a team of stewards, either at sea or ashore.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will complete your basic training. Find out more about basic training.

You will start your Naval Training at the Devonport Naval Base with basic and specialist training. Your specialist steward training will be undertaken at the Defence Catering School (NZ) where you will learn and develop skills in modern and relevant food and Beverage service skills.

Following this initial training phase, you will complete on job training (OJT) and consolidate in the Wardroom (Officers’ Mess) in the Devonport Naval Base. As you gain more experience, you will post to sea for up to 18 months to become part of a small team on-board a ship that providing stewarding support to the Ship’s Officers and ships formal events.

As your career progresses, you will undertake further training to develop your generic leadership skills and specialist skills. The ability to manage staff and personnel effectively and efficiently is a key part of your development. This training will provide you with additional skills and expertise to assist with your career progression.

Stewards receive comprehensive Navy training throughout their careers at a basic, supervisory and managerial level and receive qualifications in the following areas:

  • Service of meals and table settings
  • Serving of non and alcoholic beverages
  • Food preparation and presentation
  • Safe food handling
  • Personal hygiene
  • Customer Service
  • Kitchen safety
  • Basic food preparation
  • Basic food presentation and garnishing


In addition to Steward training, Stewards are also trained in Advanced Casualty Care. Stewards are part of Ships Medical Emergency Team and respond to medical incidences whether during a training exercise or for real.

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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 Trade Training


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 10 NCEA Level 1 credits in each Literacy and Numeracy.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

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

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the CV 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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