The New Zealand Registered Architects Board

The New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) is a statutory entity tasked with registering, monitoring and, if need be, disciplining architects.

This is done to protect the public, which in turn protects the reputation of the architectural profession. The government has an overarching view that in specific situations there is a need for some occupations to be regulated, and has determined that this includes architects.

The NZRAB gains its authority from the Registered Architects Act 2005, the NZRAB's stated purpose in the Act being “to protect the title of Registered Architect”. Under Section 7 of the Act, in New Zealand no one except a New Zealand Registered Architect can:

  • use the title "Registered Architect"; or
  • describe him or herself as an "architect" when providing building design services.

Other persons may design buildings, but they may not call themselves “Registered Architects” or “architects”.

Section 50 of the Act lays out the NZRAB's functions. The Registered Architects Rules 2006 provide further details on how this works. The rules also specify a code of ethics that binds architects.


  • registers architects who have been assessed by their peers as competent to practice independently
  • maintains an online register, so the public can confirm that an architect is registered
  • reviews the competence of architects every five years
  • investigates complaints and, if need be, disciplines architects.

The NZRAB Board members are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Minister for Building and Construction. Half the Board members are nominated to the Minister by the New Zealand Institute of Architects Inc. The Board typically meets four times a year face-to-face, but it also makes decisions by email and conference call which are deemed to be Board meetings. Board minutes are made public.

The NZRAB maintains a small office in Wellington, with four staff (FTE 3.5). The NZRAB is reliant on approximately 50 registration assessors who are experienced architects, their principal task being to assess applicants for registration and continuing registration.

The NZRAB is funded from fees paid by architects and registration applicants.

New Zealand Institute of Architects
The New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) is a voluntary membership organisation that champions the interest of architects. It is separate from the NZRAB, though there is considerable collaboration between the two organisations. Also, under the Registered Architects Act 2005, the NZIA nominates to the Minister up to four members of the NZRAB's six- to eight-person Board. Currently the NZRAB administers the NZRAB's Continuing Professional Development framework.