NZ trained: How to register

The New Zealand Psychologists Board administers the registration of psychologists under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.

The Board recommends that those seeking registration in New Zealand familiarise themselves with this legislation, which can be downloaded here.

Scopes of practice

Scopes of practice identified by the Board are:

  • Psychologist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Counselling Psychologist
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Intern Psychologist
  • Trainee Psychologist

A general summary of these scopes is here.

For full details, please refer to this document.

Standards of practice

The standards of practice expected of all psychologists practising in New Zealand are outlined in the Board’s Core Competencies for the Practice of Psychology in New Zealand and the Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa New Zealand 2002.

Core competencies include cultural competencies. New Zealand-registered psychologists are expected to be culturally competent with all cultures but particularly to safeguard the wellbeing of Māori. The practise of psychology in New Zealand reflects paradigms and world views of both partners to te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi.

Communication skills

If English is not your first language and your psychology qualifications were not completed in the English language in Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland or the United States of America, please provide a certified copy, or the original, of your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Module results.

This is the only English test currently approved by the Board. The minimum pass mark required is 7.5 overall, with no less than 7.0 on each section. Test results must be obtained within two years prior to applying for registration and must be obtained in one sitting.


The HPCA Act requires that a practitioner be a fit and proper person to be registered. References will be required to ensure this is the case.
At least one reference must be written by a psychologist registered by the New Zealand Psychologists Board.

For overseas applicants who do not know a New Zealand-registered Psychologist, the Board will accept a reference from a senior psychologist who is registered, chartered, or licensed with a government-mandated registration authority overseas.

A copy of that referee’s registration certificate or licence must be included with the reference letter.

All references must be the original signed documents, written in support of the registration application, and must be signed and dated no earlier than three months before the date on which the application is received by the Board.

Referees should know the applicant for at least 12 months and ideally in a professional capacity, unless they are providing a character reference. References can also be emailed directly to the Board by the referee.

Criminal history

The Board requires that every New Zealand applicant authorises the Board to obtain a Record of Criminal Convictions from the New Zealand Police. A Record lists convictions and sentencing from court appearances and will conceal any criminal convictions if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria stipulated in section 7 of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004.

Applicants should complete the NZ Police Vetting Service Request and Consent form (which gives the Board authorisation to request disclosure from the NZ Police Vetting Service) and include it with their application documentation.

Application and fees

Application fees are non-refundable. Please refer to the Fees page for current information.

Online application

Log in to the Psychologist Portal and select “Apply for registration”.

Applications processing

The Board cannot accept incomplete applications. Please post/courier all required documentation (including application fee) together.

If making an International Money Transfer, please ensure your application has first been received by the Board.

A checklist of documents required with your Application for Registration is included as part of the application form.

The Board cannot accept uncertified copies of any official documents.

The Board will acknowledge (by email) receipt of your application form within 10 working days of receipt in the Board’s office. The Board will not process your application until all documentation has been received.

Applicants should allow two to three months for assessment. This is calculated from the date of acknowledgment of receipt of all required documents. To be fair to applicants, no application will be fast-tracked ahead of any other.

Practising Certificate

To be able to practise in New Zealand, psychologists are required (by law) to hold a current practising certificate. You can apply for a practising certificate after the Board has approved your registration.

Your practising certificate must then be renewed at the start of each financial year (1 April).

Certificate of Registration

A formal Certificate of Registration showing your name, scope of practice, and date of registration can be ordered from the Board. These optional certificates are produced on A4 light card, are personally signed by the Board’s Registrar or Deputy Registrar, and are ready for framing.

Collegial organisations

The Board encourages all psychologists to join at least one collegial/membership organisation (e.g., the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists, the New Zealand Psychological Society, Pasifikology, He Paiaka Totara: Māori Psychology).

Such organisations facilitate the development and maintenance of strong links to the profession, offer high quality professional development opportunities, and provide a collective link to the Board.

The also offer numerous other benefits, such as special pricing on indemnity insurance and annual conferences. Staying well connected and up-to-date on developments in the profession are key to maintaining safe, competent practice.