Architect Kaihoahoa Whare

Architects plan, design and advise on the construction and alteration of buildings and other structures.

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Architects must be registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). The board usually requires applicants to:

  • hold an architecture qualification recognised by the NZRAB
  • complete at least 140 weeks of on-the-job practical work experience of which at least 95 weeks must be post-graduation and at least 45 weeks must be spent under the direction of a registered architect in New Zealand; OR
  • complete 260 weeks practical experience of which at least 215 weeks must be post-graduation and at least 85 weeks must be spent in the practice of architecture in New Zealand (for architectural work not under the supervision of a registered architect, such as working under an architectural designer).
  • pass the NZRAB practical experience assessment.

Registered architects also need to undertake continuing professional development to maintain their registration.

Architects may do some or all of the following:

  • analyse clients' requirements and do a site inspection
  • discuss design ideas with the client
  • create designs and prepare drawings for buildings
  • advise clients on building procedures and costs
  • apply for building and resource consents
  • oversee construction projects to ensure plans, budgets and time constraints are complied with
  • plan interior and exterior spaces, and landscaping
  • run their own business.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for architects includes:

  • design
  • draughting
  • building and engineering work.

Personal Qualities

Architects need to be:

  • creative
  • practical
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • able to work well under pressure
  • good at planning and organising
  • strong problem solvers
  • good at communicating and relationship management.


Architects need to have:

  • knowledge of different styles of architecture
  • strong design skills
  • skill in different drawing and presentation techniques, including the ability to use computer aided design (CAD) software
  • knowledge of different building methods and materials, including how various materials, such as steel and wood, perform in different situations
  • an understanding of structural principles, such as Newton's laws of motion
  • knowledge of relevant legislation, including the New Zealand Building Code, the New Zealand Building Act, the Resource Management Act and local by-laws, consent procedures, and planning regulations.



  • usually work regular business hours, but may work longer hours to meet deadlines
  • work in offices
  • may travel locally to visit construction sites or clients, and nationally or overseas to work on projects or attend conferences and workshops.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include maths, physics, design and visual communication, digital technologies, and construction and mechanical technologies.

Architects can earn around $59K-$77K per year.

Pay for architects varies depending on experience and location.  Architects in the Auckland region may earn more.

  • Architectural graduates with up to five years' experience usually earn from $59,000 to $77,000 a year.
  • Architects with five to ten years' experience usually earn between $82,000 and $112,000.
  • Senior architects with more than ten years' experience can earn from $97,000 to $143,000.

Source: Hays, 'Salary Guide FY 21/22', 2022.

Architects may progress into management roles or to setup their own architecture firm.

Architects may specialise in:

  • interior, urban, or sustainable design
  • conservation
  • community development
  • project management or planning
  • policy.

Years Of Training

8-10 years of training required.

To become a registered architect, you usually need a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and a Master's of Architecture (Professional).

You also need to be registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board, which requires you to complete three to five years post-graduation work experience.