How to Become a Firefighter NZ


Become a Firefighter in New Zealand in 12 Months or Less - Even if You Have Failed Multiple Times

This article is specific to becoming a firefighter in New Zealand specifically for the Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

If you're from Australia, you can check our "How to become a firefighter in Australia" page.

Competition in NZ Firefighter Recruitment

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand recruitment process is very competitive. Over the last decade or so, I have been following firefighter recruitment in New Zealand, the amount of applicants has fluctuated between 3000 – 11000 applications in the many variations of recruitment that Fire and Emergency New Zealand has conducted by them.

It is worth noting this from the beginning so you understand the potential of the competition and what may be required in order to beat these thousands of people.

This is by no means meant to put you off the idea, more to make you consider the fact that simply winging it will more than likely land you on the unfortunate heap of disappointed applicants that don’t understand how they could have possibly been overlooked.

how to become a firefighter nz

 1.Submit Your Application

The first stage of the process is submitting your application. You must be able to submit the following documents in order to proceed to the next stage:

Expression of Interest (EOI)

You need to submit an expression of interest (EOI) on the recruitment dates, which happens twice per year for 4 weeks at a time.

If applications are closed, make sure to check back regularly. Social media is an easy way to keep up with opening and closing dates. You can find us on Facebook.

Firefighter applicants are also subject to police and medical checks. 

Police Check

As for the police check, you must not have committed any of the following crimes:

  • received a custodial sentence for or been convicted of arson for the past seven years
  • theft, fraud, perjury, sexual offences, driving, and other dishonesty offences for the last seven years
  • offenses punishable by a prison sentence of two or more years
  • and any type of conviction for the past five years

Medical Check

As a firefighter, you must be physically and mentally fit for the job, so you will undergo firefighter medical tests. Having any of the following conditions may risk your chances of getting hired:

  • asthma
  • some heart conditions
  • insulin dependent diabetes
  • epilepsy or loss of consciousness
  • psychological conditions

If you have something you are worried about, it will pay to speak to someone confidentially before your medical appointment, as there are things that can be done before it's too late. I like to do this at the beginning with the people I'm working with, as it allows us to remove doubt and focus on more fruitful activities that will get us a job.

2. Take the Cognitive Testing and Psychometric Assessment

If your online application is successful, you will be required to take the General Ability Screener and the Occupational Personality Questionnaire. These tests will determine if you're the right fit for the firefighter role in terms of cognitive ability and personality preference. 

General Ability Screen

This 10-minute aptitude test will test verbal, numeric, abstract reasoning, and deductive reasoning abilities. 

Occupational Personality Questionnaire

This test aims to measure your working preferences. Like most personality questionnaires, there will be sets of statements wherein you will be asked which is most likely and least likely to be you.

Quick tip: make use of practice tests to prepare so you know what to expect when the big day comes. Try this free practice aptitude test now.

3. Take the Physical Pre-Entry Test (PTT).

The next stage assesses your capability when it comes to performing physical tasks that you might encounter on the job. Rescue services need staff who are physically fit and capable in all settings. You never know what to expect at the scene of an emergency incident. Whether you’re dealing with storms or fires, your fitness can be the difference between life and death.

This physical aptitude test consists of eight job-related scenarios, which you have to finish in less than eight minutes and 15 seconds. You will then be given a 7-minute break before you proceed to the strength and endurance tests.

You will also perform a 10.5-metre ladder height test, as well as a confined space test.

For the full breakdown of the tasks you’re expected to complete, click this link. You can check out this video below as well on how you can better prepare for the PTT Test. Or you can have us at Fire Recruitment Australia to coach and guide you through how to ace this test and the whole recruitment process.

5. Take the Practical Assessment Course (PAC)

Fire and Emergency NZ has developed a series of activities where you will be assessed both as an individual or member of a team. Some of the skills that you have to take note of both for intrapersonal and interpersonal are:

  • Communication
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Following verbal and written communication
  • Adaptability and agility
  • Resourcefulness

6. Participate in the Formal Interview

A panel interview is the next stage in the recruitment process. This is your chance to show that you are a suitable candidate and have a passion to join the fire service.

The questions you'll be asked will help the interviewer figure out how well you'd do as a firefighter in New Zealand based on your transferable skills and life experience.

Quick tip: try to prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewers. This shows you’ve done your homework but also demonstrates your willingness to learn more about the service.

7. Background Checks

In addition to the police and medical checks that were mentioned above, you must also provide two referees. They just have to fill out a form online with their contact details.

Firefighter Recruitment Dates in New Zealand

Firefighter recruitment dates and outlook for the Fire and Emergency New Zealand this year.

Education Requirements for Firefighters

Fire and Emergency NZ firefighter education requirements

New Zealand Firefighter Salary

You may want to know how much firefighters get paid in NZ.

Skills, Attributes & Attitude Needed to Become a Firefighter in New Zealand

  • Mindset: you need to be able to get into the right frame of mind to become a firefighter in NZ. Many people struggle with the journey and find the challenge insurmountable. If you can get this right from the start, you’re half way there. Commit to the journey.
  • Develop skills and understanding around all aspects of the testing suite for the current intake.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Communication skills. You will need to develop extremely good communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Every minute spent on an unproductive, negative activity or conversation is a minute wasted that could be put to use. Don’t be like the masses.

Programs By Fire Recruitment Australia

The Firefighters Recruitment Bundle

A collection of my best recruitment related resources

This is the ideal investment if you are currently preparing for the next fire services recruitment intake. This collection gives you rich details that help you prepare thoroughly for every test you'll face — the application process, the Aptitude, Personality, and Physical tests, and the Interview.

Get an Unfair Advantage

Work with Me & My Team

Make sure you get the job over instead of the other guy

If you're tired of failing the firefighter selection process or you want to make sure you get in on your first attempt, then this may be perfect for you.

Personalised coaching sessions based on decades of experience, tailored to your specific needs.

  • Builds on your strengths and fills you with confidence
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  • Know exactly what to expect so you can present the best version of     yourself at every step of the process.

Wherever you are in the process, and whatever challenges you’re facing right now, coaching gives you with step-by-step guidance, personal support, and the premium resources you need. Make sure you get where you need to quickly You don’t need to struggle on your own anymore!


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Membership is ideal for you if you would like to see success much faster and with less stress. It membership works for first time applicants as well as applicants who have tried and failed before. The secret sauce that ties it all together is my personal experience mixed with years of research into the recruitment process.