Emergency Services

New Zealand has four core emergency services, Police, Fire and Emergency, Ambulance and Civil Defence. 


The New Zealand police have the responsibility of enforcing the law, helping with emergency management, and maintaining public safety. 


Ambulances respond to medical accidents and emergencies. They are fast on the job and treat patients at the scene and transport them to hospital to get correct medical attention. 


Firefighters get called to put out fires, and deal with other emergencies, like rescues and car accidents. They also educate the community about how to prevent fires or accidents.

Police Career

The New Zealand Police works with the community to make New Zealanders feel safe. The New Zealand police have over 12,000 staff, providing 24 hour service every day. They operate by land, sea and air, manage over 860,000 emergency calls a year and always are fast on the scene when crime and crashes occur. 


The requirements to become a police officer include passing the 16 week police training at the royal college in Porirua, two years of supervised police work. This gets assessed regularly. 


To apply, you must be at least 17 years of age, hold a full driver’s license, be a New Zealand or Australian citizen, or permanent resident. When you apply to join the New Zealand police force, you will go through the constabulary recruitment process. Our communities have very high expectations for the quality of service they get from the New Zealand police, so we are very particular about who we employ to give our services. 


Here are some key stages that you will go through before being accepted into the Royal New Zealand Police College: 

  • Apply

  • Initial vetting

  • Initial Medicals

  • Assessment day, which includes physical tests

  • SCOPE- spend time with working Police officers

  • Formal interview

  • Distance learning

  • Final medicals


You must pass physiological, maths and problem-solving tests, pass physical fitness and eyesight tests.

Most importantly you need to attend an interview and notify them of any convictions. Some of these may include drink driving, and will see your application automatically rejected. The selection process takes between 6-10 months. 


You will need to make a profile in MyPolice as this will help with making your CV and starting your application. Once they have received your application, they will use it to complete the Police vetting process. They will aim to have it completed within 2 weeks. They will then arrange a time to give you a call and ask you a series of questions about yourself to find out about you. 


You will need to be somewhat physically fit and in great health to train for being a Police officer. You will be tested in a range of fitness practices that are required for front line Police work. You will need to attend an initial Physical Appraisal Test (PAT). To get prepared for your PAT, you must attend at least one, but no more than three PAT rehearsals. It will let you practice with other applicants and get some expert advice from the Physical Education staff. This is a good opportunity to indicate where you are in terms of your fitness and health, and where you need to improve. 


After this, you will need to fill out and complete a health questionnaire. You will possibly also need to fill out an asthma questionnaire and/or take a vision test. This may take around 3 weeks to access your completed questionnaire. You may also be sent to a doctor to have a full medical scan. 


They will invite you to enrol in a pre-police college distance learning course after completing the interview. This is a prerequisite before you are able to start at the Royal NZ Police college (RNZPC). 


The 12-week course is provided by Unitec and runs alongside the remainder of the selection process - so it will not delay from being selected in the candidate pool. 


The distance learning course will require you to study part-time for around 12-15 hours each week. This is to provide you with a level of knowledge and understanding about the police force. This will allow you with real-world experience in training once you get into the RNZPC. 


If your acceptance in the candidate pool is confirmed it means you have successfully met the selection criteria and have the potential to train at the RNZPC. 


The next step is being considered for the selection process to upcoming RNZPC intakes, which are also known as “wings”. There are several wings each year depending on the need or recruits, and many are chosen in each wing. 


It is not a waiting list. The candidates are chosen based on the requirements of Police districts around New Zealand. 


Depending on the individual strengths and the requirements put in place in your district, it can differ: 

  • It can take three to four months before the starting date of each different wing and police will call up a number of candidates from the Candidate pool to go to RNZPC. 

  • They will try to place you in your preferred wing, but sometimes you have the choice of being placed in a wing that recruits are needed. 

  • Keeping up your fitness and training is important while you’re in the Candidate pool to prepare for the physical challenges you will be provided with at RNZPC. 


The RNZPC is located in Porirua, and they will pay to fly you there and back or pay you for gas if you decide to drive. You will be accommodated at the RNZPC throughout your 16 weeks of training. There are a range of facilities there, such as, “Scene of crime” houses, a gymnasium, audiovisual training simulators, a skid track for driving training and more. 


The accommodation is amazing, there is good food available and you are only 22km from Wellington. You are allowed to visit home on the weekends at your own expense, but there will be some weekends where there will be training. As a new recruit, you will be given a phone to use during training time to learn how to use special police apps. 


During your 16 weeks of training you will earn an annual salary of $40,705.51 gross plus superannuation which is paid fortnightly. Your take-home pay will depend on your tax code and other fees that may be taken away. Your whanau/partner should read the FAQs as this will cover how you attending the RNZPC, could affect them and include information about visiting times, weekends, and more. 


A lot of police officers look back on their time training at RNZPC as a real highlight of their career. 


These are some of the things you will study at police college:

Police Studies

You’ll learn about police procedures and how to apply them in the field. You will gain knowledge and skills needed to be a police officer, and then put them into practice in your training environment. 


Defensive Tactics

A good level of fitness is required as you learn how to protect yourself on the job. You’ll learn about handcuffing, baton, taser and pepper spray use, as well as effective calming and restraining techniques. 


Firearms Training 

You will learn marksmanship with both pistol and rifle in the indoor range. The course also covers law and policy about the use of force. You will also learn about related safety and tactics.


Driver Training 

You will learn how to drive to a very high standard. Once you have finished training, you will understand risk and pursuit management, hazard perception and awareness, skid management, advanced driving skills, vehicle stop tactics and crash scene management. 


Computer Training 

You will need basic computer skills before starting police college. You will learn applications such as Microsoft Word, plus police-specific tools such as the National intelligence Application.

Fire Brigade

New Zealand’s first ever volunteer fire services was established in the 1850’s. Since then, firefighting in NZ has evolved in line with international standards into a mix of paid full-time, paid on-call, and volunteer responders that make up Fire and Emergency NZ today. The Fire and Emergency New Zealand act 2017 combined urban and rural fire services into a single, integrated fire and emergency services organisation (Fire and Emergency NZ). This includes a mandate to provide a wide range of services for communities. 


The main services they provide include promoting fire safety and firefighting. Delivering fire prevention, response and suppression services. Aiming to protect the safety of persons and property endangered by incidents involving unsafe substances. They also aim to rescue trapped people as a result of transport accidents or other incidents. 



To become a firefighter you need to:

  • Be a permanent resident or citizen,

  • Be 18 years of age or older,

  • Pass a police check

  • Pass literacy numeracy and problem solving tests

  • Pass Medical, fitness and psychological tests


To start work as a trainee firefighter you need to pass a 12-week training course. 


To become a firefighter for the NZ airforce you need to:

  • Be a permanent resident or citizenship,

  • Be 17 years of age or older 

  • Pass medical, fitness, colour vision and psychological tests, 

  • Be free from criminal convictions,

  • Hold 10 credits in NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy,

  • Hold a class 1 or 2 full manual drivers’ license,


Air force firefighters then complete; 12 weeks of basic training in the military at the RNZAF base Woodbourne near Blenheim, 12 weeks of fire and rescue training at the Linton Military camp near Palmerston north, seven weeks of driver training and seven weeks of advanced fire trade training. 


How to Apply

The recruitment process includes the following steps and each step must be completed successfully before progressing to the next step, 


  1. Information & practice day (not compulsory) 

  2. Online application and shortlisting- complete a outline Expression of Interest 

  3. Online application and shortlisting- complete a outline Expression of Interest 

  4. Cognitive testing and Psychometric Assessment 

  5. Cognitive testing and Psychometric Assessment 

  6. Physical testing

  7. Practical Assessment

  8. Formal Interview

  9. Background Checks

  10. Final Acceptance + 12-week course