Chaplains exist to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of all New Zealand Defence Force personnel and their families by attending to their spiritual, moral, social and community needs. 

We advise commanders at all levels on pastoral, cultural and religious issues, in so far as they affect morale and the pastoral well-being of New Zealand Defence Force personnel and their families and support the operational and training goals of the Defence Force.

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Chaplains have a long record of service through times of peace and war. Small as the New Zealand Defence Force may be, over thirty Chaplains, both full-time and part-time, serve in the Army, Navy and Air Force.


For administrative purposes, Chaplaincy comprises three categories, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Other Denominations (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army). While each Chaplain serves in accordance with their own denominational beliefs and traditions, they enjoy a high level of ecumenism (religious co-operation).

By law, Chaplains do not give commands, "Chaplains give advice not orders", and have the status of non-combatants.


While we wear the uniform of our respective Services, Chaplains operate under a special set of rules common to us all, as follows:

  • Service personnel have the absolute right to see a Chaplain should they ever wish to do so, whether they are in New Zealand, on active service overseas or even in prison!
  • Whatever is said to a Chaplain is a private matter and (under most conditions) may not be divulged to anyone, this being a right enshrined in military and civil law.

Delivery of Chaplaincy Services

We will deliver our Chaplaincy with:

  • compassion;
  • friendliness; and
  • a sense of humour.


  • professionalism
  • personal faith and its expression
  • confidentiality
  • respect and caring


This page was last reviewed on 9 February 2017, and is current.