Internationally Qualified Midwives - Overseas Competence Programme

Midwives who register in Aotearoa New Zealand from overseas will have conditions placed on their Scope of Practice. This means that the midwife is required to complete a registration competence programme within 24 months of obtaining their first practising certificate. Details of these requirements will be included in the letter that confirms registration in Aotearoa.

If you are an overseas registered midwife, you can click HERE for more information.

Te Tatau o te Whare Kahu | Midwifery Council has stated that the registration competence programmes will comprise the following.

Education on:

  • Te Tiriti, Treaty of Waitangi. This is education on the Founding Documents of Aotearoa New Zealand as a nation.
  • Cultural Competence in midwifery practice. This describes how the frameworks of cultural safety, Turanga Kaupapa and Midwifery Partnership are used by midwives in order to provide culturally competent care
  • New Zealand Maternity and Midwifery Systems - an introduction to the New Zealand maternity system
  • Pharmacology and Prescribing. In all midwives are authorised prescribers and this course must be completed before this can occur
  • Examination of the Newborn – Theory and practical
  • Growth Assessment Protocol education

Supervision of practice

  • For the minimum of the first 12 months midwives are required to practice under supervision. This means that they meet with a Te Tatau o te Whare Kahu | Midwifery Council (the Council) appointed supervisor who discusses practice with them. Supervisors are required to furnish the Council with monthly reports which demonstrate that the midwife is safe and integrating into the New Zealand system.

Midwives must complete the Cultural Competence course and provide evidence of enrolment in the New Zealand Maternity Systems course before they will be granted a practising certificate.

In addition midwives are required to complete the requirements of the recertification programme. These are as follows:

  • Annual attendance at Combined Emergencies Skills day
  • Continuing midwifery education (Eight hours per year)
  • Completion of a Midwifery Standards Review
  • Professional activities (Eight hours per year)


The Council requires that you provide a Professional Development Plan that indicates how you intend to complete the requirements of both the Overseas Competence and Recertification Programmes in the specified timeframe. You should download this course plan and give careful thought to the length of time each requirement takes before completing and returning your plan to us. You must also provide evidence of completion of the Cultural Competence course

Please email your course plan and course completion evidence to [email protected].

Further information on the education requirements is listed below

Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi Workshops

The minimum requirement is attendance at a face to face workshop. These are offered by a variety of providers in most centres in Aotearoa. Most Te Whatu Ora make these courses available. Midwives will need to obtain a certificate of attendance from the provider of the workshop as evidence that they have completed this requirement. This can be uploaded into your portal.

Cultural Competence

This course is designed to provide internationally qualified midwives with the knowledge and skills required to achieve the competencies for entry to the register of midwives that relate to cultural competence in the Aotearoa context. Only the course below is approved for this purpose:

This course must be completed before midwives will be granted a practising certificate. Please click HERE to read Council's Statement of Cultural Competence.

Pharmacology and Prescribing

Midwives in Aotearoa have prescribing rights within the Midwifery Scope of Practice. There is no defined list of medicines that a midwife may prescribe. Rather, midwives are entitled to prescribe any medicine which may be necessary for a wahine and her pepi for whom the midwife that sits within the midwifery scope of practice. Unless they are endorsed to do so, midwives may not prescribe for underlying health issues eg Diabetes or hypertension.

The following course is the only course that has been approved by the Council that meets the requirements of the Overseas Competence Programme:

  • Pharmacology and Prescribing Course for Midwives Otago Polytechnic (available online)

New Zealand Maternity & Midwifery Systems

Midwives from overseas require orientation to Aotearoa, in particular its health and maternity systems. The Council has asked education providers to develop courses that cover the New Zealand Health & Maternity Systems, legislation that affects practice, regulations, and the professional framework for practice. The Council requires evidence of enrolment in this course before granting the first practising certificate.

The following course has been approved by the Council for this purpose:

  • "New Zealand Maternity and Midwifery Systems" - available online from Otago Polytechnic.
  • **Please note that this course is currently being updated. Please contact the Council secretariat prior to enrolling for further details**

Examination of the Newborn

Midwives are required to be competent in newborn examination and are responsible to assess and examine each infant for which they are providing care. As well as a theoretical course midwives will be required to demonstrate practical competence.

The theory course is available online from Otago Polytechnic.

Midwives are required to complete five practical examinations of newborn, each of which must be observed and assessed using the Assessment form for Newborn Examination form found in the Relevant documents section.

Midwives who have completed a formal post registration course in examination of the newborn may apply for exemption from the theory component. Please contact the Council secretariat.

Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP)

GAP education focuses on recognising which women have an increased chance of having a growth restricted baby and planning appropriate care. Key elements are use of customised antenatal GROW charts, with appropriate follow up when there are concerns about fetal growth and generation of a customised birthweight centile when each baby is born.

All users of GROW software are required to undertake accredited education, either attendance at a workshop or through e learning. For inquiries contact Clare Senner at the Perinatal Institute.

Relevant Documents

Assessment form for Newborn Examination

IQM Professional Development Plan

Midwifery Course Directory

Statement on Cultural Competence

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