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Applying for a Registrar Post

The main APPLICATION round for 2024 (for psych registrar posts starting in Feb 2024 or later in 2024, in the Auckland metro area) is now closed. To enquire at another time about posts, contact Song Chan.

See below for Whangarei applications.

Is Psychiatry the Career for You?

Is psychiatry the right choice for you, and what are we looking for in a psychiatric registrar? Obviously, you need to be interested in people, in psychology and how the brain works. You need good communication and interpersonal skills and to speak and write English fluently. You need to be motivated and both clinically and academically competent, as RANZCP training is quite a demanding postgraduate course and the examinations are not easy. You need to be able to tolerate uncertainty and to be curious - psychiatry is fascinating and we don't fully understand the brain and the mind yet, so although there's a solid and growing evidence-base of research, there are plenty of unknowns. whangareiOn a practical note, you need to be able to type well as all our services have electronic records. For on-call work you need to be able to drive and to have your own car - or to get one shortly after arriving here, if you're from overseas. And finally, although the College allows entry into training after the PGY-1 year, the Medical Council of NZ mandates two house officer years before RMOs can become registrars, so in fact two years as a house officer are essential before starting as a registrar in Auckland.

Whangarei and Auckland

Although Whangarei and Auckland are both part of the Northern regional programme, Whangarei is about 2-3 hours drive north so it functions as a separate satellite, with registrars driving down for teaching days or Zooming in. This means that there are different employment processes for Whangarei and for Auckland. There are pros and cons to living and working in a smaller provincial city or a large metropolis like Auckland - it's your choice as both parts of the programme are likely to be keen to recruit new registrars. Registrar posts are not time-limited but continue indefinitely once you're accepted until you complete training, with the usual performance-management processes.

Posts in Auckland

The employment process for psychiatric registrar posts in Auckland is centralised through the Director of Training and the NRA (Northern Regional Alliance - they handle RMO coordination and recruitment in Auckland). The NRA's website is If you make initial contact with the NRA Recruitment Consultant the Director of Training will be notified about your query. If you have specific questions, you can email the Director of Training directly.

The main annual intake process occurs mid-year for 3 weeks in April, planning ahead for posts starting in early December, across all of the following year. There's a selection process with either a face-to-face or teleconferenced interview, in June. The Selection Panel consists of the Director of Training, a Training Facilitator, the training programme manager and a trainee representative, and a Recruitment representative from NRA. Our selection process covers both selection into RANZCP training, and also employment by the Auckland DHBs, via NRA. Unlike some other programmes, it's all handled together, not as separate processes.

We're a large programme so we almost always do have a vacancy and we're keen to recruit all the year round. Don't worry if you miss the main selection process application deadline as we schedule one-off interviews at other times, as needed. If you're applying outside the main annual recruitment round in April, email the Director of Training with your CV, saying when you'd like to start. Most registrars start their posts in December, but some start mid-year, in June. If we have vacancies you can often start at another time if you're coming from overseas. Obviously it's somewhat difficult for a clinical team and supervisor if you need to have a late start while completing a post overseas before arriving here, but we may be able to locate a post that can cope with this. You'd have less choice as to your initial placements, however. 

The stages in joining the Auckland part of the programme are thus:

  1. Put a note in your e-diary to watch the NRA's website just before the start of April, to catch the 3-week window for annual applications. If for some reason that doesn't work, or you're applying at a different time, Email the Recruitment Consultant at NRA, and attach your CV. Or you can email the Director of Training especially if you have additional questions about training. If you're living locally the Director of Training may be able to meet with you informally - note, however, that special 1:1 meetings prior to the annual competitive selection process are not usual.
  2. The recruitment process in the annual round is automated so the on-line interface will make it clear what information and documents they need. If you apply at a different time, our NRA Recruitment Consultant will fill you in about all that.  People from overseas need references on a special format for MCNZ so the NRA require all references in this format, so don't bother collecting these in advance - the NRA will help you with that to make sure they're on the right form. 
    The Director of Training also needs the RANZCP training Application including a ~300 word statement about why you're applying.
  3. Once we have the paperwork as above, the NRA Recruitment Consultant will organise a selection interview with you.
  4. The Selection Interview is held to determine if you're suitable to be selected into psychiatric training, to sort out any practical details, and to give you information and answer your questions. Here's some information about how the selection process goes, and the criteria we look for.
  5. The Recruitment Consultant at NRA contacts you by email after the interview with the results of the selection process. Some final paperwork is often needed before a job offer can be made (e.g. last references, etc.)

  • If you've been selected into registrar training you'll be emailed a job offer by the NRA Recruitment Consultant and (if you're overseas) NRA will help you with medical registration and immigration details. The Director of Training will liaise with you about the allocations process for your specific post(s), and provide general orientation information.

  • If you haven't been selected into a post, the Recruitment Consultant at NRA will email you regarding this.


 Posts in Whangarei

You should start the process by emailing or phoning the Northland Mental Health Services Training Facilitator Dr Heide Griesemann or the Clinical Director Dr Margaret Aimer (via +64-9-430-4100), who will involve HR staff to assist with the practicalities. The Clinical Director will inform the programme's overall Directors of Training who are based in Auckland, who will also make contact with you and arrange the necessary paperwork as above. Then there's a selection interview for RANZCP training, as above. Note that this is more of a two-stage process so if you definitely want a training post rather than a service post, you need to make sure that the selection-into-training process is also underway. The process for Whangarei is thus:

  1. Once you contact the Northland Clinical Director of Training their HR people will tell you what other employment-related paperwork they need from you. We will get copies from Te Tai Tokerau District (Northland).
    We also need the RANZCP training Application including a ~300 word statement, as above - fax or email it to Dr Griesemann.
  2. Once we have the paperwork as above, Dr Griesemann will organise a selection interview with you, usually by teleconference.
  3. The Selection Interview is held to determine if you're suitable to be selected into psychiatric training, to sort out any practical details, and to give you information and answer your questions. If possible, especially if you're overseas and we're doing it by teleconference, we will combine the selection interview with the job interview for the actual post, but sometimes it's a two-stage process. 
  4. The Director of Training contacts you by email (within a few days) with the results of the selection process.
    • If successful, you separately finalise the job offer for the actual post and any relocation logistics with the Te Tai Tokerau District (Northland) Clinical Director and HR staff. 
    • If you haven't been selected into RANZCP training, the Director of Training will email you about this.

Should You Use an Employment Agency?

We'd rather you didn't, as agency fees are very costly to our Districts so we have a non-agency recruitment policy. The Auckland NRA Recruitment Consultant or Northland HR staff can help you with the practical details about Registration and Immigration just as well as an agency.

Is there any assistance when travelling from overseas to take up a post in the programme?

Whangarei do sometimes offer relocation assistance when recruiting from overseas. You'd need to talk to the HR staff involved with your recruitment, to check the details. The Northland DHB careers website has a lot of useful immigration and relocation information, and details about life in Northland.

For registrars, the most useful resource is this guide for new recruits from NRA’s Auckland Doctor’s website. The Auckland DHBs provide practical help from NRA with your Registration and Immigration processes but they don't pay for airfares or other relocation costs. They do provide some advice and support though, about relocation to Auckland. Here's the Te Toka Tumai Auckland District relocation support site and the WDHB relocation page. These websites, and especially the NRA "New Start" guide, have helpful links and information about getting started in New Zealand, no matter which District your post is in.