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Level 8, Prime Property Tower

86 Lambton Quay

PO Box 5304, Lambton Quay

Wellington 6011

New Zealand

Phone: +64 022 509 4443, +64 04 471 1774


Certification Programme email:

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Questions and Answers

If you need a land surveying and spatial/GIS professional - our members deal with location-based information, mapping and data and precise measurement of land and features.

Spatial specialists deal with a wide range of fields and use geographic information systems (GIS) to turn geographic data into maps, tables and other kinds of information needed to make informed decisions.

Surveyors provide accurate, precise and up-to-date information pertaining to location, boundaries, topography and legal descriptions of land. They work with land owners, property developers and their advisors and lawyers, real estate agents, architects, landscape architects, engineers and planners. You need a surveyor If you:

  • want to subdivide land
  • check property ownership and rights
  • need precise levelling
  • require land development engineering
  • want a boundary re-defined
  • need a hydrographic surveyor
  • need spatial information, data and mapping.

Survey and Spatial NZ will accept written complaints against surveyors who are members and who you believe have been unprofessional or unethical in their dealings with you.

Once we have established if the surveyor who did the work is a member of Survey and Spatial NZ, we will need all the details of the situation and what has happened in writing. Details should include:

  • Copies of supporting documents
  • Any written requests for work by you
  • Any statements of work provided by the surveyor that describe what will be undertaken,
  • Copies of resulting reports and plans provided by the surveyor.

This will allow the nature of the complaint to be assessed and to establish if there is a prima facia case.

The supporting documents can be emailed to or posted to: CEO, Survey and Spatial NZ, PO Box 5304, Wellington 6140.

Please also note, that S+SNZ is unable to accept any complaints of a financial nature or a complaint that is going through a legal process eg if it has been lodged with the Disputes Tribunal or you have already engaged a lawyer.

A list of Survey and Spatial (S+SNZ) members and Consulting firms is available under the Find A Professional tab at

Survey and Spatial New Zealand is not qualified to provide legal advice on surveying and does not have in-house surveyors who can advise of technical and legal survey matters.

Under Section 14 of the Rules for Cadastral Survey field records to be kept for seven years from certification and must be made available to the Surveyor-General of Chief Executive on Request.

Section 55 of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 deals with the interference of survey marks (see below).

This section states that if the survey mark was for the purposes of a cadastral survey, then it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly alter its position. In addition, it is an offence if the person responsible for altering the position of the survey mark has failed to notify the alteration to the Surveyor-General at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

To establish that an offence has occurred, any person can take a prosecution under Section 55 of the act. LINZ says that the legislation does not anticipate that it must be a public organisation and a private prosecution can be initiated by filing a €œcharging document€, with the relevant District Court, under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

This may be done with or without legal representation. However, it should be noted that this can be an expensive process and the €˜burden of proof is very high that a mark was in place and then removed €œknowingly or recklessly by a particular person. It is because of this high burden of proof that LINZ does not actively pursue prosecutions on behalf of a member of the public.

Link to the Cadastral Survey Act 2002.

Cadastral surveyors do not have to be registered in NZ. However, only a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor (LCS) is qualified to certify the legal plans necessary to define property boundaries for the issue of new titles. Licenses are issued by the Cadastral Survey Licensing Board (CSLB),

Cadastral surveyors have a particular expertise in the area of cadastral surveying - an area of surveying that is related to land ownership and property boundaries.

To gain a licence to undertake cadastral surveys in New Zealand (pursuant to Sections 22 and 23 of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002) you must satisfy the CSLB requirements.

Survey and Spatial NZ Admissions Panel manages the qualification process to obtain a Licence to Undertake Cadastral Surveys on behalf of the CSLB. Further information on the examinations is available in our Professional Examinations section.

Immigration NZ has information for working in New Zealand, and the various visa options, and provides a list of skill shortages.

If you are going through the immigration process ( you may get a request to provide evidence that you are a member of NZIS (now called Survey and Spatial NZ (S+SNZ) and/or proof of a membership/professional association with us.

We accept overseas membership applications if all the required criteria is met and will provide evidence of membership if it is granted. More information is available at Join Now.

The Australian & NZ Bureau for Assessment of Overseas Qualifications (BOAQ) provides technical assessments for surveyors wanting to become a Licensed Cadsatral Surveyor. A paper setting out the BOAQ background can be found here.

The CSLB can advise on the process and payment fee for BOAQ assessments:

The Secretary
Cadastral Survey Licensing Board
P O Box 12 241
Wellington 6144

Requirements for membership are set out in the Membership Policy under the Governance tab.

To apply to become an Associate (or Voting member) of S+SNZ, applicants need to complete the online application form - see Join Now. A copy of your CV and any survey/spatial qualifications or qualification equivalency (see above for more details on obtaining a BOAQ qualification equivalency assessment) are also required.

If the applicants are living overseas, an Overseas membership may be suitable. To become an Overseas member, the applicant must be qualified and/or working as a surveying or spatial professional in the industry.

Each application is assessed on a case by case basis. S+SNZ will request a copy of the CV and qualification equivalency to assess your application if one is not attached to the online form mentioned above. (Note that we only process overseas applications once the administration fee of $200NZ is paid - this is non-refundable if the application is unsuccessful).

If the application is successful, we will grant an €˜Overseas€™ membership and if required, a letter confirming the membership.

Yes, you can apply for an Associate membership - see above.

Cadastral surveyors do not have to be registered in NZ. However, to lodge a cadastral survey into the NZ land title and survey system, a surveyor is required to be a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor (LCS). Licenses are issued by the Cadastral Survey Licensing Board (CSLB),

These members have attained a particular certification that ensures they are up to date with legislative, business, market and technological changes. Registered Professional Surveyors (or RPSurv) can ensure that your surveying project will be carried out according to the rigorous standards set by S+SNZ.

In addition to having a four-year Bachelor of Surveying degree or similar, they must have passed S+SNZ professional exams in spatial management and at a least three other survey related disciplines and show competency in those disciplines for two to three years.

As well as an additional three years of experience, the RPSurv holder must continue to complete Continuing Professional Development to maintain an up-to-date knowledge base and a high standard of work and conduct.

In terms of access to property, licensed cadastral surveyors do have powers of entry under section 53 of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 but that does not entitle them to block driveways. Furthermore, they should give reasonable notice to the occupier of the land of their intention to enter land for the purposes of section 53(1). Section 53 of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 is extracted below for your information:


(1) A cadastral surveyor authorised either generally or specifically by the Surveyor-General may, for the purpose of conducting a cadastral survey or the installation of a survey mark,—

(a) enter and re-enter any land at reasonable times, with or without any assistants, aircraft, boats, vehicles, appliances, machinery, and equipment that are reasonably necessary for the conduct of the cadastral survey or to install the survey mark; and

b) on any land, do all things necessary or required of him or her for the proper conduct of the cadastral survey or the installation of the survey mark.

(2) Before exercising any of the powers conferred by subsection (1) in respect of any land that is not a road, the person doing so must, if practicable, give reasonable notice to the occupier of the land of the intention to exercise those powers.

(3) Subsection (1) does not confer on any person the power to enter any dwelling house or other building unless the entry is authorised by a warrant given by a District Court Judge on written application on oath, which must not be granted unless the Judge is satisfied that reasonable efforts have been made to obtain consent to the entry and that the entry is necessary for the purpose of conducting a cadastral survey.

(4) A person exercising any power under subsection (1) must produce evidence of his or her identity and authority to exercise the powers conferred by this section—

a) if practicable on first entering the land or premises; and

(b) whenever subsequently reasonably requested to do so.



UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT - How to make a complaint

S+SNZ members must follow a Code of Ethics and maintain certain standards of professional behaviour. If the work carried out by a surveyor does not meet your expectations, the first step should be to contact the surveyor and discuss your situation to try to clear up any misunderstandings or apparent shortcomings. Other options are available depending on the nature of your complaint.
Written complaints relating to unprofessional conduct and ethics of S+SNZ members should be addressed to Survey and Spatial New Zealand National Office. The complaint should be accompanied by any relevant supporting documents.

Forward your complaint to:
CEO, Survey and Spatial NZ, PO Box 5304, Lambton Quay, Wellington 6145 or email to:

What happens next

The complaint is referred to a special Ethics Committee of the S+SNZ Council. Once received, a written explanation will be sought from the S+SNZ member who is being complained about. They have 20 working days in which to lodge the explanation. Once this is received, the Complaints Sub-Committee will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether the complaint has been substantiated.

If the complaint is found to be substantive a recommendation may be made to S+SNZ Council that a formal reprimand be issued or an enquiry held. If the member is found to be guilty of malpractice, improper or unprofessional conduct, or is in the opinion of Council, guilty of a breaching any of the Membership Rules a range of penalties may be imposed including suspension of the member from privileges of membership or a fine not exceeding $25,000.

How to make a complaint
Complaints about the professional misconduct of Licensed Cadastral Surveyors should be made to the Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board of New Zealand (CSLB).


S+SNZ is unable to get involved in fee disputes. We suggest that you contact the surveyor directly or use the Small Claims Court, Disputes Tribunal or other informal processes.