Join Cadet Forces

Are you eligible?

Any person between the ages of 13 and 15 years may join the NZCF. The full consent of parents or guardians is required to apply, and while under the age of 18 parental consent is required for all training and exercises undertaken. A person younger than 13 may join if presently attending Year 9 at a New Zealand Secondary School.

Any person may join the Cadet Forces directly as a commissioned officer, provided they are above the age of 21. Personnel may serve as a cadet or NCO until the age of 18, at which time they must commit to serving as an Under Officer or Supplementary Staff, or leave the unit. Cadet Force officers may serve to any age after receiving a commission.

Units normally charge a membership fee to be paid annually, ranging from NZ$10 – $200 depending on the unit. Participating in unit exercises may incur extra charges, although any costs outside of government funding are often subsidised by sponsors. NZCF personnel are not subject to the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, and hence cannot be deployed into active service.

How to Join

Joining a Cadet Unit is really easy. Just follow the following steps:

  1. You must be at least 13 or in Year 9 at High School. Most people who join are between 13-15.
  2. Find your closest New Zealand Cadet Forces unit you may wish to serve with.
  3. Choose the unit you would like to join.
  4. With your parents / guardian visit the unit on one of their parade nights and meet the Unit staff.
  5. The Unit staff will show you around, talk to you about Cadets and probably invite you to attend a couple of parades
  6. When you have made up your mind that NZ Cadet Forces is for you the Unit staff will give you an enrolment form to fill in and ask your parent / guardian to sign.
  7. Hand the completed enrolment form to the Unit Staff.

How to become an Officer

NZ Cadet Force officers who complete the prescribed promotion courses are now able to qualify for a range of NZQA New Zealand Certificates if training is undertaken successfully.

Essential Characteristics

It is essential that Officer candidates have demonstrated their suitability to supervise cadets in a fair and equitable manner. In addition, candidates must:

Desired Characteristics

It is desirable that an Officer candidate:

Applicants for Cadet Forces Officer commissions are to attend unit routine parade activities for a period of at least 20 parades before completing an application form for a probationary commission.


Cadet Force officers are unpaid volunteers. However, you do get paid when attending NZCF authorised courses as a student or a staff member.

Age Limitations

Applications from persons applying for a commission in the New Zealand Cadet Forces will not normally be accepted under the age of 21 years, unless in exceptional cases.

Join us now

Click the button below to find a New Zealand Cadet Forces unit in your area.

Find your nearest unit
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