New Zealand Defence Force

The mission for the New Zealand Defence Force is "to secure New Zealand against external threat, to protect our sovereign interests, including the Exclusive Economic Zone, and to take action to meet likely contingencies in New Zealand’s area of strategic interest". 


The New Zealand Defence Force is spread across camps and bases throughout New Zealand. Its national strategic headquarters are in Wellington and the operational joint headquarters are at Trentham in Upper Hutt.

The Chief of Defence Force commands the Defence Force and is supported by the Chief of Navy, Chief of Army, Chief of Air Force and the Joint Force Commander. This section details the structure and personnel who command the Defence Force, and presents in-depth information about the functions of Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force.

SAR Role

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) do not retain personnel solely for use on search and rescue activities, however many NZDF personnel participate in SAR activities on an "as required" basis.

The NZDF also maintains a roster of personnel on call for any SAR events.

The resources available for commitment to SAR in the New Zealand Search and Rescue region are:

  • Six (6) P3K Orion aircraft 
  • Five (5) C130H Hercules aircraft 
  • Fifteen (15) UH-1H Iroquois helicopters 
  • One Navy vessel at 8 hours readiness for oceanic SAR 
  • One Navy vessel at 4 hours readiness for coastal SAR 
  • Army ground rescue parties 
  • Military manpower, vehicles, equipment, communications and logistic support 

The Chief of the Defence Force is a member of the NZSAR Council.



Copyright 2018 by NZSAR
Saturday, December 15, 2018