About the Board

The Psychologists Board was established by the Psychologists Act 1981, and was subsequently appointed as an authority in respect of the practice of psychology under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.

The Board’s main purpose is to protect the health and safety of members of the public through the registration of psychologists and the management of matters related to competence, conduct, and fitness to practise. The Board also reviews and promotes the competence of psychologists and sets standards for clinical and cultural competence and ethical conduct.

The Board is a body corporate that can set up its own administrative arrangements, employ staff and manage its own finances. It normally has nine members, two of which are lay members. Its day-to-day operations are managed by a secretariat with nine employees.

The Board is accountable to the New Zealand public through the Minister of Health and must provide an Annual Report, including audited accounts, to the Minister every year.

The Board has no formal relationship with either the New Zealand Psychological Society or the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists, but we work closely with them on matters of mutual interest. The Society and College are collegial bodies whose primary mandate is to promote the interests of the profession, whereas the Board’s mandate is to protect the interests of the public.


The Board’s Functions (Section 118 of the HPCA Act) are:

(a) to prescribe the qualifications required for scopes of practice within the profession, and, for that purpose, to accredit and monitor educational institutions and degrees, courses of studies, or programmes;

(b) to authorise the registration of health practitioners under this Act, and to maintain registers;

(c) to consider applications for annual practising certificates;

(d) to review and promote the competence of health practitioners;

(e) to recognise, accredit, and set programmes to ensure the ongoing competence of health practitioners;

(f) to receive and act on information from health practitioners, employers, and the Health and Disability Commissioner about the competence of health practitioners;

(g) to notify employers, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Director-General of Health, and the Health and Disability Commissioner that the practice of a health practitioner may pose a risk of harm to the public;

(h) to consider the cases of health practitioners who may be unable to perform the functions required for the practice of the profession;

(i) to set standards of clinical competence, cultural competence, and ethical conduct to be observed by health practitioners of the profession;

(j) to liaise with other authorities appointed under this Act about matters of common interest;

(k) to promote education and training in the profession;

(l) to promote public awareness of the responsibilities of the authority;

(m) to exercise and perform any other functions, powers, and duties that are conferred or imposed on it by or under this Act or any other enactment.

Protection of the title ‘Psychologist’

One of the most important mechanisms provided by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 to protect members of the public is title protection.

Only practitioners who are currently registered with (and who are therefore accountable to) the Psychologists Board can legally use the title “Psychologist”.

It is crucial that members of the public can trust that a practitioner using a protected title has been determined to be competent and fit to practise and is accountable to a government-mandated regulatory authority for their practice.

If you are aware of any person who is not registered using the title “Psychologist” (by itself or in combination with other words), please contact us immediately.

Psychologists must also hold a current practising certificate to lawfully practise the profession. You can use the search tool below to see if a practitioner is registered as a psychologist and/or holds a current practising certificate.