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Home > Living & Working in New Zealand > Becoming Professionally Registered > Registration Guide

Registration Guide

Documentation Certification

The Board requires that many of the documents you submit are certified copies. This means a lawyer, Justice of the Peace, or Notary Public must sign them. Nobody else is acceptable.

English Fluency Requirements

If English is not your first language and/or your training was not conducted in English you will be required to sit a recognised English Language test called IELTS. These are only held a few times each year at a limited number of universities. You should inquire about this at your nearest university as soon as possible or visit

Police Checks

The Registration Board web sites outline what is required and refer you to the NZIS web site.

Cultural Safety Essay (Occupational Therapists only)

The term "Cultural safety" is real kiwi jargon. It arises out of the political need to recognise the 'Treaty of Waitangi' in all aspects of life, but the requirement to be culturally safe applies to any culture, not just Maori.

To be "culturally safe", a therapist needs to be able to be respectful of, and to accommodate the clients cultural values and beliefs in the process of carrying out his/her duties as a therapist.

You need to be able to demonstrate that you have some strategies for identifying and adjusting to the issue, should it arise. You need to demonstrate some awareness of the policy and historical information, but you also need to be able to bring it right down to how it might change what you do if the first client meet you appears to be Maori, or in fact of any culture which is not your own. In a job interview you would be expected to be able to quote a relevant example from your own work experience that demonstrates that you are 'culturally safe' with clients who don't share your own cultural heritage.

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA)

Under this law which came into force in May 1998, if you are legally entitled to practise Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy in a participating Australian State, you are entitled to claim registration in New Zealand under TTMRA (or vice versa). It is beyond the scope of this website guide to give full details. We suggest that if you have Registration with an Australian State that you do apply for New Zealand Registration under the conditions of TTMRA as it may make the gaining of New Zealand Registration happen much more easily (and quickly).

If you are in this situation we suggest you contact either Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy Board and ask to discuss applying under TTMRA. The Board does not allow us to do this for you.

The Processing of your Application

The staff of the Registration Board check that all the required documents have been provided, and will write to let you know if anything further is needed. Once they are satisfied the application is complete, they send it to a sub-group of the Board (The Competency Assessment Committee -CAC) who look at all overseas therapist's applications, individually. The CAC will recommend either that you be granted registration or tell the Board staff to advise you of further steps you need to undergo, e.g. Supply more detailed information, sit an exam etc.

Once registered, you are then required to apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) for the Board's current financial year, which ends on March 31 each year, if you intend to work in New Zealand at all during that year. Under the new legislation, you need to prove each year that you are maintaining your skills and knowledge, as well as pay a fee. The full process is described on the board web site and you can do much of your ongoing recording for it on-line.

Payment of Application Fees

The Boards can accept payment for all fees by credit card, which is the best method as it avoids very expensive bank charges for international bank drafts.


These need to be on the forms provided and should be completed by people who are either your present or recent direct supervisors or someone else who has observed you in your work as a therapist.

Addresses On The Register

  • Your street address is the one you use for private mail where you live currently, and where the Board will send all correspondence unless advised otherwise
  • Your permanent address is one where someone will always know how to contact you, especially while you are travelling. Most people use their parents or next-of kin's address

If you have nothing suitable as a contact address then you are welcome to put eNZed Paramedical as your street address on the register. Once you start work here and have your own New Zealand address we ask that you notify the Board so we don't end up with lots of unclaimed mail.

Meeting the Competencies

As part of your application, you will be sent a document called "Comeptencies for registration as an (Occupational Therapist/ Physiotherapist) in New Zealand". This lists a number of major competency areas, each with many more subsections. You do have to provide evidence that you meet every single subsection.

It is strongly recommended that you gather your evidence (such as your Transcripts etc) and provide a cross reference system that links each requirement with the evidence that you have for it. This will make it easier for you to work through the application preparation, and much easier for the CAC to follow what you have presented.

Definition of Terms

Academic Syllabus
Your Academic Syllabus is a description of what was intended to be taught at the beginning of your training.

Academic Transcript
Your Academic Transcript is a document from your college, detailing what topics you actually studied in your course, how many hours you did in each and what your grades were. If you are unable to get this from your college for any reason, you need to write the Board, explaining why, and what efforts you have gone to try and replace that documentation from other sources.

Letter of Good Standing
This is a letter from your current registration body stating that you are not in the process of being disciplined and/or have not been so in the past. It is not your current membership receipt for your own registration body. Your registration body is the organisation that gives you the legal right to practice. It is not usually your professional association, which often has voluntary membership. You need to write to your current registration body and ask them to provide a Letter of Good Standing. If you come from a country/state that does not require legal registration, you should include a letter explaining this. If you are registered in more than one country/state, you will need Letters of Good Standing from them all.


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Last Modified: 20 November 2014