How to Become a Plumber in New Zealand

Every year, workers from around the world head to New Zealand to work and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Whether you’re lucky enough to already be a Kiwi or are making the move there, you’ll soon know how to become a plumber in New Zealand.

To work as a plumber in NZ, you’ll need to meet the criteria of at least one of the following registration categories: Certifier, Tradesman, Limited Certificate Tradesman, Exempt Plumbers, and Journeyman Plumbers. Once registered, you can apply for your plumbing license.

Becoming a Plumber in New Zealand

All sanitary plumbing, drain laying work, and gas-fitting in New Zealand is controlled. This work can only be done by authorized and registered tradespeople. First, you will register for your license class. Once registered, you will apply for your license.

There are five types of registration and license categories:

  • Certifier plumbers: This is the highest level you can reach as a plumber. Certifiers can design, manage, test, and certify plumbing work, including that of those they supervise. They can also sign off on local council compliances.
  • Tradesman plumbers: Tradesmen can also install, test, commission, and maintain plumbing systems, but they must work under a certifier. 
  • Limited certificate tradesmen: They are working towards their qualifications to become a tradesman. They are in formal training with a provider (similar to U.S. apprenticeships). They work under a certifier.
  • Exempt plumbers: This is not a registration, but an exemption for plumbers who are neither qualified nor registered, but who do work under a certifier who is responsible for them.
  • Journeyman plumbers: Journeyman plumbers have their qualification (certificate or completed course) but haven’t passed the official licensing exam yet.

New Zealand Plumber Registration Requirements

Each registration and license category has different requirements, outlined below. These requirements are for NZ residents. If you are moving to New Zealand from abroad, you must meet the foreign worker requirements outlined here.

Plumbers must not have any outstanding debts with the Board. See here for all applicable fees.

Certifier Plumber Requirements

Certifiers must first be tradesman plumbers for at least two years. They must also pass the Board’s advanced proficiency assessment (Examination 9195).

Certifiers must complete this registration application.

Tradesman Plumber Requirements

Resident tradesman plumbers need to hold ONE of the following:

  • A National Certificate in Plumbing (plus a passed exam)
  • A New Zealand Certificate in Plumbing 

The tradesman plumber exam is Examination 9192. Tradesman plumbers must complete this application.  

Limited Tradesman Plumber Requirements

Limited tradesmen should be:

  • Enrolled at level 4 with Masterlink, ATT, the Skills Organisation, Unitec, or Ara in New Zealand
  • Supervised by a certifier

Complete this application to register as a limited plumber.

Journeyman Plumber Requirements

All journeyman plumbers must have ONE of the following:

  • The National Certificate in Plumbing
  • The 3rd stage block course in plumbing
  • Practice trade certificate in plumbing

See here for the journeyman plumber application.

Getting a New Zealand Plumbing License

Remember that after registering with NZ, you’ll need to apply for a New Zealand Practicing License. License applications can be submitted at the same time as registration applications or once the latter has been approved.

Information for this can be found here.


Licenses are active from April 1st to March 31st annually. All registered plumbers will need to complete an approved continuing professional development course of up to 6 hours before renewing their license.

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