New Zealand military ranks
New Zealand military ranks are largely based on those of the United Kingdom. The three forces (army, navy, and air force) have their own rank structure, with a rank equivalency that allows seamless interoperability between the services. All three services form part of the New Zealand Defence Force.
|(Admiral of the fleet)||(Field marshal)||(Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force)||HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and HRH the Prince of Wales are the only current admiral of the fleet, field marshal and marshal of the RNZAF, holding honorary commissions.|
|(Admiral)||(General)||(Air chief marshal)||The current governor-general holds the rank of LTGEN.|
|Vice admiral (VADM)||Lieutenant general (LTGEN)||Air marshal (AM)||Rank held by the currently serving chief of defence force; therefore only one of the services will have this grade filled at any one time. Highest ordinary rank of New Zealand Defence Force personnel.|
|Rear admiral (RADM)||Major general (MAJGEN)||Air vice marshal (AVM)||Held by the vice chief of defence force, commander joint forces NZ, and the chiefs of army, navy and air force. Others holding this rank would be in specialised (United Nations or other coalition) postings.|
|Commodore (CDRE)||Brigadier (BRIG)||Air commodore (AIRCDRE)|
|Captain (CAPT)||Colonel (COL)||Group captain (GPCAPT)|
|Commander (CDR)||Lieutenant colonel (LTCOL)||Wing commander (WGCDR)|
|Lieutenant commander (LT CDR)||Major (MAJ)||Squadron leader (SQNLDR)|
|Lieutenant (LT)||Captain (CAPT)||Flight lieutenant (FLTLT)|
|Sub lieutenant (SLT)||Lieutenant (LT)||Flying officer (FGOFF)|
|Ensign (ENS)||Second lieutenant (2LT)||Pilot officer (PLTOFF)|
|Midshipman (MID)||Officer cadet (OCDT)||Officer cadet (OCDT)||The rank of midshipman is recognised as a commissioned rank, the rank of officer cadet in the army and air force is not, and used only for the purposes of training.|
|Warrant officer (WO---)||Warrant officer class one (WO1)||Warrant officer (WO)||The sergeant major of the army (SM of A) is a WO1, whereas sergeant majors at unit level are WO2s. Army RSMs (regimental sergeant majors) are also WO1s. The RNZAF introduced command warrant officers around 2009.|
|Warrant officer class two (WO2)||While RSMs (regimental sergeant majors) are WO1s, CSMs (company sergeant majors) and BSMs (battery sergeant majors in the artillery) are WO2s.|
|Chief petty officer (CPO---)||Staff sergeant (SSGT)||Flight sergeant (F/S)|
|Petty officer (PO---)||Sergeant (SGT)||Sergeant (SGT)|
|Leading hand (L---)||Corporal (CPL)||Corporal (CPL)||Army personnel in artillery units use the rank of bombardier (BDR) in place of corporal|
|Lance corporal (LCPL)||Army personnel in artillery units use the rank of lance bombardier (LBDR) in place of lance corporal.
No naval or air force equivalent due to delegation of duties and official responsibilities.
|Able rate (A---)||Leading aircraftsman (LAC)||No army equivalent position of a promotion based on skill without delegation of duties and official responsibilities.|
|Ordinary rate (O---)||Private (PTE)||Aircraftsman (AC)||Trade-related terms are interchanged with the rank of private for army soldiers. These are: gunner (GNR), trooper (TPR), sapper (SPR), and signaller (SIG).|
Note: naval enlisted personnel are referred to by both rank and trade. Thus a sailor employed as a chef would hold the rank of ordinary chef (OCH) (with a few exceptions); a warrant officer with a trade of weapon technician would hold the rank of warrant officer weapon technician (WOWT).
A non-commissioned officer is defined as:
- "(a) In relation to the navy, a rating of warrant officer, chief petty officer, petty officer, or leading rank; and includes—
- (b) In relation to the army, a soldier above the rank of private but below the rank of officer cadet; and includes a warrant officer; and also includes—
- (i) A non-commissioned officer of the navy or the air force attached to the army; and
- (ii) A person duly attached or lent as a non-commissioned officer to or seconded for service or appointed for duty as a non-commissioned officer with the army:
- (c) In relation to the air force, an airman above the rank of leading aircraftman but below the rank of officer cadet; and includes a warrant officer; and also includes—
- (i) A non-commissioned officer of the navy or the army attached to the air force; and
- (ii) A person duly attached or lent as a non-commissioned officer to or seconded for service or appointed for duty as a non-commissioned officer with the air force:" — Defence Act 1990, Sect 2 (Interpretation)
Officers of the New Zealand Defence Force are commissioned by the governor general on behalf of the New Zealand Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. See also Officer (armed forces). Salutes rendered to officers by junior officers and enlisted personnel are indirect salutes to the sovereign, based on the officer holding the monarch's authority.
Higher flag ranks and ceremonial ranks
Appointments to the most senior ranks (those above the rank held by the chief of the defence force, usually lieutenant general or equivalent) are ceremonial, for the head of state and members of the royal family.
- Defence Force website - New Zealand rank insignia
- New Commander Joint Forces
- - New Zealand Army rank insignia