Overseas Competence Programme for registered international qualified midwives

Midwives who register in New Zealand from overseas will have conditions placed on their Scope of Practice. This means that the midwife is required to complete an approved registration competence programme within 24 months.  Details of these requirements will be included in the letter that confirms registration in New Zealand.  The Midwifery Council has stated that these registration competence programmes will include modules on the following:

  • New Zealand Maternity and Midwifery Systems
  • Pharmacology and Prescribing
  • Cultural Competence
  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • Examination of the Newborn - Theory and Practical

These midwives are also required to complete the compulsory components of the Recertification Programme

  • 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.

Treaty of Waitangi Workshops

The minimum requirement is a workshop and they are offered by a variety of providers in most centres in New Zealand.  Most District Health Boards make these courses available. Midwives are also advised to enquire about these courses through local universities and polytechnics, in particular through Schools of Midwifery.

Midwives will need to obtain a certificate of attendance from the provider of the workshop, as evidence that they have completed this requirement.


Pharmacology and Prescribing

Midwives in New Zealand have prescribing rights within the Midwifery Scope of Practice. There is no defined list of drugs that a midwife may prescribe. Rather, midwives are entitled to prescribe any drugs which may be necessary for a woman and/or baby for whom the midwife is providing care on her own responsibility. This means that midwives may prescribe drugs in pregnancy, labour and birth and up to six weeks after the birth where the woman is having an uneventful experience and where there is no reason for consultation or referral to a specialist. Midwives may not prescribe drugs for women or babies for complications requiring specialist referral. Midwives from overseas who cannot satisfy the Midwifery Council as to their knowledge and competence in relation to prescribing, will be required to complete a pharmacology and prescribing course.

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

Please note that there are other courses relating to Pharmacology and Prescribing offered by some education providers. From time to time these may be approved by the Council for OTHER purposes. To avoid any confusion the Midwifery Council would like to make it clear that the courses listed above are the only courses approved for the Competence Programme internationally qualified midwives are required to complete as a condition of their registration in New Zealand.

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Treaty of Waitangi Workshops

The minimum requirement is a workshop and they are offered by a variety of providers in most centres in New Zealand.  Most District Health Boards make these courses available. Midwives are also advised to enquire about these courses through local universities and polytechnics, in particular through Schools of Midwifery.

Midwives will need to obtain a certificate of at...

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New Zealand Maternity & Midwifery Systems

Midwives from overseas require orientation to New Zealand, in particular its health and maternity systems. The Midwifery 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 enrolement in this course before granting the first practising certificate.

The following courses have been approved by the Midwifery Council for this purpose:

New Zealand Maternity and Midwifery Systems.  Available by distance learning from Otago Polytechnic and Wintec.


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 New Zealand context. Only the course below is approved for this purpose.

  • Cultural Competence for Midwives.  Available by distance learning from Otago Polytechnic

     Statement of Cultural Competence


Examination of the Newborn

The New Zealand Maternity System is designed to provide a woman centred individual service for women and their infants. 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 by distance learning from Otago Polytechnic and Wintec.

The assessment tool and instructions for the practical component can be downloaded below.

Assessment guide for Newborn Examination

Instructions exam of the newborn

Midwives who have completed a post registration course in examination of the newborn may apply for exemption. Please contact the Secretariat

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New Zealand Maternity & Midwifery Systems

Midwives from overseas require orientation to New Zealand, in particular its health and maternity systems. The Midwifery 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...

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