To join the NZSAS Regiment, New Zealand Army, Navy, or Air Force personnel must pass a selection course, with the course varying depending on the role they seek within the Regiment. In 2011 the selection course was also opened to civilians, they spend two days preparing for the selection course learning military skills considered necessary to compete safely against military applicants.
The SAS selection standard remains the same, with the full course aiming to identify “self-disciplined individuals who are capable of working effectively as part of a small group under stressful conditions for long periods of time”. However, the earlier phases of the selection course have been opened up to candidates who wish to join the Regiment as a Commando. This is described as advancing through a series of ‘gates’.
Gate 1: After four days the first gate is reached which allows a candidate to be considered for a role as a Commando. This phase involves completing “1 NZSAS Regt fitness testing and mixed terrain navigation”.
Gate 2: Gate 2 is reached after nine days and is the conclusion of the selection course. This phase involves completing “close country navigation and other activities” and those who get to this point are considered for SAS training. Those who are selected go on to complete an intensive period of training to build core special forces skills.On average 10–15% of candidates pass both selection and cycle training.
Commando and SAS commissioned Officer candidates also undergo an additional two days of selection to test their suitability to solve problems when tired and under pressure.
After completing the full NZSAS Regiment selection course, NZSAS candidates go on to undertake an intensive training cycle to build core skills. Those who complete the training cycle are accepted into the NZSAS and wear the sand beret with NZSAS badge and blue NZSAS stable belt. NZSAS operators then conduct further training to learn advanced special operations skills.