There is only one path into the New Zealand Special Air Service:
It’s a soul-challenging, body-breaking grinder simply known as “selection”.
Each year, dozens apply. Few are chosen. In four years from 2013, there were 243 candidates. Just 31 succeeded.
Over 10 days, candidates are pushed to their limits creating, says former NZ Army Captain and NZSAS psychologist Alia Bojilova,
physical, mental, and social experience of stress. The experience strips candidates bare and they, have to use their own self motivation, their own drive, to push through.
Obstacle courses, swimming in uniform. And then more – body drags of other candidates, body lifts, marching in full battlekit – seven kilometres an hour under a minimum 35kg of weight – then more speed and endurance tests. These are standard NZ Army fitness tests but at a higher intensity, with greater demands and less time.
As the days unfold, candidates quit the course. Food intake is restricted, less sleep and soldiers take on the task of basic military navigation whilst the body struggles under heavy packs. It stretches on for days, as feet blister and ankles turn.
NZ Herald: Creating The Elite NZ SAS Soldier
The New Zealand Special Air Service:
Abbreviated as the NZSAS, was formed on 7 July 1955 and is the special forces unit of the New Zealand Army, closely modeled on the British Special Air Service (SAS). It traces its origins to the Second World War and the famous Long Range Desert Group that New Zealanders served with.
The New Zealand Government states that NZSAS is the “premier combat unit of the New Zealand Defence Force” and it has been operationally deployed to locations including the Pacific region, Afghanistan and the jungles of South-East Asia. Individual members of the NZSAS have received honours and awards, most notably the Victoria Cross for New Zealand awarded to Corporal Willie Apiata. In 2004, the unit was awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation for its contribution in Afghanistan.
The NZSAS was accorded regimental status in 2013. It has the responsibility of conducting counter-terrorism and overseas special operations, and performing the disposal of chemical, biological, nuclear and explosive hazards for military and civilian authorities.
Learn More About NZSAS Selection First Among Equals Documentary