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The NZ Arb RC application process

The application material is submitted online. Applicants into any of the three tiers must submit the following information, which will be checked for completeness before proceeding to the assessment.

  • Full applicant details completed in the online application page

  • A covering letter confirming your application into the programme, as well as a brief description of the written portfolio

  • A statement of your commitment to the NZ Arb RC mission statement (100-200 words)

  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV)

  • Copies of the academic credentials

  • A valid and current certificate of insurance

  • Health and Safety policy

  • The assessment portfolio

  • The application fee* 

*The application fee is in two parts. The first part is for stages 1 and 2 of the assessment, and teh second part is for stage 3. The the stages of the assessment are briefly described on this page of the website, and in detail in the application guide.


Applicants wishing to join the programme will need to pay the application fee for each stage of the application process. The fees for each tier of the programme are different. Once accepted into the programme, Registered Supervising Arborists and Registered Consultants will also need to pay an annual membership fee, which covers the costs of the programme's administration and a biennial Quality Assurance review for each member of the programme. More information about the Quality Assurance review can be found in Part IV of the guide.

RC Fees

Stages 1 & 2


Stage 3


Annual Membership



Stages 1 & 2


Stage 3


Annual Membership



Stages 1 & 2


Stage 3


Annual Membership



The assessment portfolio

For each tier, you’ll need to submit a portfolio of your written work. The documents submitted must be of sufficient detail and complexity to demonstrate your technical competence and authority and show that you’re able to achieve the standards of report writing for each relevant tier of the programme. We don’t want you to write new reports for the assessment, we want to see a fair representation of the written material you usually produce. The number and type of reports or other documents you’ll need to submit depends on the tier for which you’re applying. The requirements for each tier are set out in Part II of this guide.


Each report must be submitted electronically as a pdf file (including plans, appendices etc.) as it was submitted to the client / recipient. For each written report, all supporting documents you received to complete the report should also be included, for example, architectural or civil drawings for an Arboricultural impact assessment. If the assessors need more information from you during the assessment process, you’ll be notified in writing of that request, and we’ll ask you to provide extra details.


The format and layout of reports will vary depending on their nature and target audience. However, in all cases the reports must demonstrate the relevant competencies and meet the associated competency guidance against which they will be assessed. The importance of thorough proofreading cannot be over-emphasised, as a document containing grammatical and typographical errors will indicate a poor professional standard even if it is technically sound.

Peer review

The NZ Arb RC programme includes a peer review option. You can send us one, or more, of your reports, and one of our assessors will review it against the competency schedule in Part II, just as if you’d submitted it for a full application. The peer review option might be useful if you’re unsure whether your report will meet the competency requirements, or perhaps you just want some help with your report writing. It’s designed to help you feel confident that you’re building a portfolio that will meet the competency requirements, which could be useful if you’re thinking of applying for the next tier in the programme. You can earn CPD credits for some reports submitted for peer review.


The assessment process

The assessment process is in three stages. The first stage will be validation of your application material, which will be done by administrative staff. The second stage will be an assessment of your written portfolio by the NZ Arb RC assessors, who will determine whether you’ll proceed to the third stage, which is an interview. Candidates have the right to appeal a decision made during the assessment process, and we’ve explained how that’s done in Part V of this guide.

Stage 1: Validation

An initial appraisal of the application package is carried out by administrative staff. They’ll check for completeness and ensure that all the stated credentials and insurances are up to date, and that you meet the required prerequisites for the tier to which the application relates. If you’ve previously arranged to apply via The Holding Tank, you’ll need to include confirmation of that in your application material. Insurance documents will be checked to make sure there are no unreasonable exclusion clauses to your liability / indemnity insurance. They’ll also check that you’ve removed any personal information from your portfolio, so that the assessment is double blind.

An initial appraisal of the assessment portfolio will be undertaken to ensure that it includes the required modules, and that the written work is presented in an appropriate format, suitable for assessment. For example, pagination, paragraph numbering.

If the application material is complete and correct, you’ll be notified by email that it’s been accepted for assessment, and the written portfolio will be passed to the assessors. If the application package is incomplete, fails to meet the requirements or prerequisites, then it will be returned to you, and you’ll be notified which parts need to be corrected before it can be validated again. We’ll notify you of the outcome of Stage 1 within two weeks of us receiving your application.


Stage 2: Assessment of the portfolio

Once your application material has been validated, your assessment portfolio will be sent to two assessors for scrutiny against the competency guidance (see Part II). The assessors will work independently of each other and will complete an assessment form for each document in the written portfolio. They’ll also make a recommendation as to whether you should proceed to the interview.

The individual assessment forms will record whether each report meets the competency requirements for each module, and whether the report writing standards have been met. The marking schedule is set out later in this section of the guide.

If your portfolio does not meet the required standard, you’ll receive an email explaining the result and enclosing copies of the assessment forms containing feedback on areas where improvements are required, and a lead assessor’s report. It’s important that you understand the basis of the determination and be sufficiently well guided by the content of the feedback, to know what must be done to achieve success with a future application.

If your portfolio meets the required standard, you’ll receive an email inviting you to be interviewed. You’ll also receive your assessment forms, which will contain the assessors’ comments.

The lead assessor will be the arbiter and have the final decision in all instances where an individual assessor is undecided, or two assessors disagree. The lead assessor also has the discretion to ask the applicant for written clarification of specific points, or to submit extra examples of work to help inform their decision, if necessary. We’ll notify you of the outcome of Stage 2 within eight weeks of us receiving your complete and correct application.


Stage 3: The interview

The interview is the opportunity for the assessors to ask questions about the assessment portfolio. The assessors will want to make sure that the work that’s been submitted was authored by the candidate, and that candidates are knowledgeable about their topics. The interview will either be in person, or online (e.g., Zoom), and will be carried out by two assessors. 

The interview will typically concentrate on areas that either were not covered in the submitted reports, or which caused the assessors to question a candidate’s knowledge, its application, or aspects of the quality of written output. Candidates will also be questioned on their knowledge of the NZ Arb RC programme and its procedures, together with the Code of Ethics. 

Both assessors will independently complete separate interview assessment forms, giving an overall recommendation as to whether you’ve met the criteria required to become a Registered Supervising Arborist or Registered Consultant at the appropriate tier.

If the outcome is successful, then the candidate will become a Registered Supervising Arborist or Registered Consultant. If the outcome is unsuccessful, candidate will be provided with written advice of the reasons and identify any opportunities for improvement and the circumstances under which a further application would be appropriate. 

Ready to apply?

Once you have read the application guide and have the relevant doccumentation ready, click the link below to fill out the NZ Arb Registered Consultant application form.

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