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HR Certification Guidelines

An inverview with Nicki Raffills, Certified Member

Nicki, why did you want to become Certified with APPNZ?

Returning to work 4 years ago as an HR Consultant, it took me a little time to get my head back in the game.  My HR experience came from working in large corporates as an executive assistant and was rusty, but I had learnt enough to get by and fortunately work in a small business where we collaborate on everything – my manager, Kylie Mouat has been my inspiration to get certified, I wanted to confirm for myself that I was competent and to be able to confirm to our clients that I am committed to providing the best advice and support to them. 

As part of Certification, you had to complete an online examination and 3 practical exercises. How long did these take you to work through?

Initially I rushed in but realised I needed to research and really focus on the questions and the appropriate response.  The online exam takes 2 hours as I found there are acts that are not necessarily part of my day to day service which I needed to research and delve into deeply.  It was a good exercise that highlighted how much information is out there and also confirmed that I do just naturally know a lot!  The practical exercises were thorough and took around 3 hours.  

Do you have any tips for others who are considering going through the Certification process?

Do it – I feel great to have confirmation that my work experience is to a national standard and recognised at the level of HR practitioners across the country.   Make sure you don’t have kids around asking questions, find a quiet spot, and take your time to research online as you go when you’re just not sure.

What do you think the priorities are for the HR profession in NZ for the future?

Adapt and embrace the significant changes within business and focus on the employees, their wellbeing, cultivate their talent, the business offering – the whole package to retain staff and ensure satisfaction. 

For us as an HR partner to small and medium businesses in a rural district, we are challenged with being able to provide a big picture overview of the HR needs of our clients, while being a part time provider. 

Experience Assessment

You will need to outline your experience in the following areas:

You must also have:

A Certified HR Professional will have have significant experience in each area - usually around 5+ years. Your experience is assessed by a member of our Advisory Panels or Leadership team.

Online Exams

The Certification process then involves passing an online examination which tests  tests your knowledge of different pieces of employment law. There are then 3 practical exercises testing your knowledge of disciplinary procedures, restructuring and employment agreements. You must get 80% or more to pass.

Reference Checks

We will also conduct reference checks on your HR delivery expertise.


Not sure if you have enough experience yet?

You can apply and just have an experience assessment completed, rather than apply for full Certification. You’ll then have your application reviewed by a member of our HR Advisory Panel or Leadership team and receive feedback on whether you have enough experience to work through Certification, or if not what areas you may need to develop further in.

I have 10+ years experience. Why do I have to complete this? Can’t you just make me Certified?

We are working through having our Certification and Chartering processes ISO accredited so they are internationally recognised. The ISO standard requires we test your skills and knowledge, not just rely on you having experience.

How long does applying take? For the experience assessment application, this should take 15- 20 minutes. The online exam takes 20 - 40 minutes. The practical assessments can take up to 2 - 4 hours.

Membership Benefits

As a Certified Member of APPNZ, you will gain access to practical and real life tools for your profession, be able to learn from other people professionals, keep up-to-date on the latest thinking and get support for your career.

Certified Members receive:

Membership Fees

Applying for Certified Membership costs $395 which includes:

You can also just apply for the experience assessment for $95. If you do have enough experience to undertake the Certification process then you will only need to pay a further $300.

If you do not pass the examination, there is a resit fee of $145.


Your fees must be paid by credit card. You membership will commence once your fees have been paid. Each year you will receive a fees renewal invoice. Once Certified, from your second year of membership you will need to complete 20 hours of CPD per annum to retain your Certification. You can also upgrade your membership to Chartered Member during your Certified Membership and pay the pro-rata extra fee amount for the remainder of your membership year.

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HR Certification

What does HR Certification involve?

The process is as follows:

Experience Assessment

This involves outlining your HR experience

Online Exams

These test your knowledge of employment law and HR

Reference Checks

With referees who can provide details of your HR expertise

: People Matter

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Salary and Job Information

Qualifications and Training

Aaron McIntosh

HR Director,

McIntosh & Co

Kate Batkin

Human Resources Manager, NZ Ski

Kellie O’Sullivan

General Manager, People & Performance, Ministry of Justice

Kylie Telford

Recruitment and Employee Brand

Lead, NZME

Lisa Hunter

OD Advisor, Victoria University of Wellington

Meredith Blackler

Director OD and HR, UCOL

Molly Workman

Talent and Culture Manager, Lotto NZ

Nikki Iuli

Human Resources Manager, Sanford

HR Advisory Panel

Orlaith Gadsden

HR Consultant, Rees-Thomas Law

Richard Westney

HR Consultant, HR Man NZ

Tarryn van Niekerk

Director, EasyHR

Tash Pieterse

HR Consultant,

TP Consulting