Posting and transitions
Te tukunga me ngā hurihanga
Life changes can bring opportunities.
Postings and transitions
Military members understand that when they join NZDF they may be posted to different locations at times in their career. This could be for training or following promotions.
Sometimes these postings or moves are expected and welcomed for the new opportunities they bring, while at other times they may create challenges for the member or family depending on their personal circumstances.
Families may not understand the reality of this when they become part of the military family. It is good to prepare early through clear communication with your loved ones when you think this might be happening in the near future.
Planning for a posting or transition
Some of the changes following a posting or transition can be a good thing:
- An opportunity to try new things
- Brings a fresh set of perspectives to the team
- Supports development of wide networks across NZDF
- Develops leadership.
There can also be some challenges to overcome:
- It takes time for new team members to learn the unit culture and work ethos
- Experienced members may be hard to replace
- The team goes through a period of rebuilding
- There may be excitement about experiencing life in a new place.
- There may be some worry about what it will be like at the new location.
- Finding new housing may take time.
- There will be change for children in the family—new schools/kindergarten/day care.
- There may be a period where the whole whānau/family is unsettled
- Children may miss their close friends at previous locations.
- It may take longer to travel to activities, or they may not be available at the new location.
- Specific jobs may be tricky to find for partners.
Challenges with posting or transitions
Children adjusting to a new environment
When moving to a new camp/base, a change in schooling or day care may mean longer transport times for children. Being mindful that it will take time for them to adjust and settle is really important, and having a secure base at home will make this easier.
Impact on partner’s career
Another challenge to consider is that a posting or transition may have an impact on your partner’s career pathway. This is why it is so important to have clear communication regarding your obligations when you join the military.
Separation from whānau/support networks
Leaving behind extended whānau and especially grandparents and older members of the family can be hard, particularly if you are part of their support network.
If your partner is in the military they may not be able to join you at the location of transition or posting due to their own military obligations.
You may have to find care for your beloved pets while you are away. This may be because the new location you are moving to does not allow pets, or that there will be no one at home to care of the pet if you are regularly away from home. Finding someone else to care for your pet can be particularly difficult as our pets quickly become part of the family.
If you have high school children, it may be disruptive to move them in their final years. So, together with your family/whānau, the decision may be made to ‘post unaccompanied’. This has advantages, but challenges too, with the military member being away from home for a lot of time.
Provision of good information prior to a posting
Defence Community Facilitators (DCFs) will deliver information about the local community to families before they are posted. Pre-posting site visits are encouraged to support smooth transitions for children starting new schools and moving location. Families benefit from the same preparation. Command and camp/base support personnel will provide a local welcome for newly posted families/whānau.
Exercises involving multiple units
When you are involved with these activities you will meet up with personnel from across all services which will grow your network. These contacts will mean you are likely to know of someone at the new location and can ask them for local tips before you make your move.
Services across NZDF
Support personnel, colleagues and friends are here to help new families settle and feel welcomed into their community after they arrive.
If families and members are posting away from their support networks (friends/whānau, community, schools, church community) there might be a bit of a bumpy landing at the new location. One of the good ways to lessen this is to connect with other military families at the new location. This is the group that will understand your changes and have familiarity with the local community and what works well for them. Similarly, you could start new activities linked to the camp or base that may not already be there. The DCF will be a good support person to help get things off the ground.
DCFs are key to facilitate these connections. We encourage you to meet with them and learn more about what they can provide.
Here are some quick questions to ask yourself to help with postings:
- Do my family know the new location? Have they got a copy of the “Welcome to …… Book”?
- Have they got on the mailing list or been linked in to get the camp or base community news or social media pages?
- If not, do they know other military families who are there?
- Do my family know how to contact the DCF?
- Do they know who else is available for support?
- What if we need help finding a new Doctor, Dentist, Church – who should we ask?
- What if I am having trouble finding new housing? Who do I talk with?
- What about transport if I’m stuck?
Where to get support
The good news is that the wider military family know what you are going through and will be a great source of support. They understand all the different aspects of life that will need to be updated and can provide useful tips and hints.
There are people employed by NZDF to help make these moves easier for families/whānau and ‘throw out the welcome mat’.
If the move is impacting on your family relationships, wellbeing or safety then we encourage you to connect with:
- Defence Community Facilitators (DCF)
- Social workers – remember they can be contacted from overseas postings by zoom or phone call
- Health Providers
- NZDF4U 24 hour helpline (0800NZDF4U/0800 693 348)
Likewise, if you are finding it challenging in your new role there are people available to talk with. These include:
- NZDF psychologists
- Sports and events management staff