Psychiatrists treat patients and work with the patient's general practitioner and other primary health care providers, families and carers of patients, and the general community. The work of psychiatrists includes the prevention, management, and relief of suffering caused by a range of developmental, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive disorders. 

Training is primarily in the apprenticeship model, with registrars working alongside psychiatrist supervisors in multidisciplinary clinical teams. Clinical experience in a variety of areas is required, via rotation through training attachments in which experience is gained in adult psychiatry both in inpatient and community settings, consultation-liaison psychiatry in a general hospital, old age psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. Additional subspecialty psychiatric experiences may include rehabilitation, forensic psychiatry, drug and alcohol services, etc. During these attachments trainees must receive at least three hours of clinical supervision per week and at least one hour per week of individual supervision, for at least 40 weeks of the year. 

There are about 80 trainees in the Northern Region Psychiatry Training Programme (NRPTP) which covers Auckland and Northland. Northland recruits its own registrars, and they work within the district and attend the Formal Education Course (FEC) either in person in Auckland or via Zoom.  All Auckland-based trainees rotate through a variety of inpatient units, community mental health centres and subspecialty teams across the three Auckland districts (Counties Manukau District (South Auckland), Te Toka Tumai Auckland District (Central Auckland) and Waitematā District (North & West Auckland). 

Hear what our Psychiatry trainees have to say about training in Auckland here


Dr Song Chan

Dr Song Chan, Director of Training, Psychiatry

Dr Penny Woods

Dr Penny Woods, Director of Training, Psychiatry

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Sub Specialities

  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Adult psychiatry
  • Child psychiatry
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Psychiatry of old age
  • Psychotherapy-oriented psychiatry
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Sites and Resources

Hospital Sites

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How to train as a Psychiatrist

Training takes 5 years in total. The first year (Stage 1) is basic training in Adult Psychiatry, Then Stage 2 is years two and three - a series of six-month supervised runs in different subspecialties. Written examinations are usually taken in the 3rd-4th year and Clinicals (OSCEs) in 4th year. Various psychotherapy experiences are required, and a 10,000 word psychotherapy Case History and a Scholarly Project. In addition, during the first three years of training registrars must gain experience in several other areas and competencies, including cultural awareness, addiction psychiatry, the Mental Health Act and  ECT administration and theory.

The final two years are called Stage 3 and 4th year is when various exams are completed. These last two years may be done in a subspecialty so as to achieve that subspecialty Certificate as well as the Fellowship qualification, and Leadership and Management experience is required in Stage 3.  Fellowship is awarded on satisfactory completion of Stage 3, after a minimum of five years training.

To satisfy RANZCP requirements the Auckland Training Programme offers formal teaching sessions in all Stages of training. Trainees attend the teaching programme for one day per week each, for two university-style semesters of twelve weeks. The teaching programme is structured into 3-4 main streams according to registrar stage of training and uses a variety of teaching methods. Registrars from Whangarei often Skype in.

Registrars are required to manage training attachments at a satisfactory level and to make steady progress with required training tasks. Written performance feedback occurs every 3 months and rotations and other training requirements have to be passed so as to move from one Stage to the next. Formative workplace-based assessments done with supervisors are a feature, and provide both verbal and written feedback to shape skills and competencies.

For more information, see the Auckland Regional Psychiatric Training Committee website and on the Royal New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website.


Click here to see and apply for current and future jobs

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Visit the Auckland Regional Psychiatric Training Committee website

Initial queries about registrar posts in Whangarei (which is linked to the Auckland training programme) should go directly to Dr Verity Humberstone in Whangarei.

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Who can I talk to and where to next?

Queries about the Auckland Training Programme and about recognition of previous or overseas training should be directed to:

Dr Felicity Plunkett - Consultant and Director of Training
Greenlane Clinical Centre
+64 9 307 4949 ext 26545
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+64 9 631 0707

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