The Ministry of Health handles all Pay Equity related enquiries.  More information is available on their website.

However, Careerforce can provide some support to help employees achieve cultural competency, which is required in some instances to achieve pay equity.

Employees with a nursing qualification from one of the following countries, have equivalency to the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) for pay equity purposes.

Philippines, India, South Africa, Australia or the United Kingdom.

To be considered as equivalent to the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Advanced Support) Level 4, the employee will need to achieve ‘cultural competency’.  i.e. they should meet the mandatory requirement whereby graduates must consider, respect and honour the history of Māori as tangata whenua by embedding a commitment to bicultural principles.  

Some additional qualifications are also listed on the Ministry of Health website as being equivalent to Level 4 with proof of cultural competency.

To achieve Cultural Competency

If your qualification has been assessed but requires cultural competency to be demonstrated, you have two options:

Option One

One way the employee can achieve cultural competency is to complete the assessments in the following two unit standards:

  • (28989) Apply strategies to support cultural diversity and
  • (28543) Describe culturally safe Māori operating principles and values and their application in a health or wellbeing setting;

The employee will need to discuss the possibility of doing these Careerforce unit standards with their workplace, as Careerforce only accepts enrolments with the agreement of the employer.

If the workplace agrees to support the employee to complete the two cultural unit standards 28989 and 28543, they must complete the Standalone Unit Standards Application form available under

Please note that completion of these two unit standards together with the nursing or other relevant qualification, will provide the employee with equivalency to the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Advanced Support Level 4 for pay equity purposes only, and will NOT provide the employee with the actual level 4 qualification.

Fees – enrolment is currently free under the Careerforce Grants.

Enrolment requirements

The employee must meet the following requirements:

  • Have the support from their employer
  • Be employed as a support worker in a health, disability or aged support organisation.
  • Have one of the following residency statuses:
    • New Zealand citizen (including Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau citizens).
    • New Zealand permanent resident.
    • New Zealand work permit/work visa.
    • Australian citizen.
    • hold refugee status in New Zealand.



Please call 0800 277 486, email: or speak to your local Careerforce Workplace Advisor

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Option Two

If you have studied in New Zealand already, there are some programmes which have been recognised as containing the cultural competency requirements. These are listed on the Ministry of Health website