To become a licensed Private Investigator in New Zealand does not require investigative experience. The nation of NZ will issue you a New Zealand Private Investigator's license if you meet the basic Private Investigator requirements and have a PI sponsor or employer.
To get a license, you will not even have to take a government approved Private Investigator course.
However, to get a NZ Private Investigator license you need to be hired by an agency. Getting hired as a PI in NZ requires experience. If you do not have investigative experience, you should take a PI course that focuses on practical skills: Intro to a Career as a PI 100.
Learning Investigation in NZ
When you get your New Zealand PI license, you'll need to know how to perform investigations fit for Private Investigations, such as surveillance. After learning how to perform investigations, you can simply work as a Private Investigator in New Zealand. To become a Private Investigator in NZ that can perform, it is recommended that you first learn how to work investigations relevant to the PI industry, such as surveillance for insurance fraud files. The fact that New Zealand does not have experience or surveillance education requirements does not mean that the quality of investigations is less in New Zealand than in other countries and states. In fact, due to poor state industry standards, having a PI license in general does not make you a qualified Investigator regardless of experience or education requirements. The poor industry standard come from the non-relevant experience most, if not all, states require of you to become a licensed Private Investigator. This non-relevant experience can be education degrees and non-PI investigative experience.
NZ Private Investigator License Requirements
New Zealand Ministry of Justice
Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
You must be 18yo or older.
You need a clean criminal and personal record.
You must be legally allowed to work in New Zealand.
You need to be employed by a NZ Private Investigator agency.
To be hired in NZ, you need PI experience or you should take a PI skills course: Intro to a Career as a PI 100.
An industry standard flaw most countries and states have is regulations regarding law enforcement experience. Most states allow you to obtain a PI license if you have law enforcement experience. Some states also accept non-PI investigative experience to obtain a PI license. The problem with states requiring previous investigative experience is that there is no such thing as equivalent Private Investigator experience. Sure, a career in law enforcement will gain you some transferable skills to bring to the PI world. However, an investigative career outside of PI work will not provide you the skill-set to perform what we do the most: single person surveillance for insurance fraud investigations. Furthermore, Private Eyes typically obtain all evidence via quality and litigious video. This is uncommon for most other investigative careers. Being a police officer will not make you a good PI the same way being a PI will not make you a good police officer.
Some countries and states also require you to take an approved PI licensing course, but not NZ. However, these courses/ tests typically focus on what laws you need to be aware of. This is of course useful, but new Private Investigators still need to learn how to perform investigations. The required tests/ courses do not focus on what we do most: single person mobile surveillance. Often, these tests/ courses do not not even mention single person mobile surveillance. If you are becoming a PI, you need at least 100 hours of surveillance experience to be able to perform safely and meet client's high standards.
Another requirement issue is the acceptance of post-secondary degrees. These degrees that are accepted for PI licensing are typically in the criminal justice field. However, some states accept any post-secondary degree. The issue is, having an educational degree will offer almost no help to you in the Private Investigation industry.
Novel Data Investigative Learning offers the only Private Investigator education courses that focuses on mobile surveillance and understanding the PI industry. For more information on PI education, click here.
Thinking of Becoming a NZ Private Investigator?
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Get a certificate that "actually" matters. When you get certified by Novel Data in the 100 Level course, New Zealand Private Investigator agencies will be aware that you understand the PI industry. This will give you a great competitive edge in the PI job market. Most PI applicants know very little about the PI job they are applying to. Not you. A PI hiring manager will not want to risk turnaround by hiring someone unfamiliar with the industry, they will choose an applicant who is familiar with what will be expected of them. With Novel Data's certification, that applicant will be you!
Become a Great New Zealand PI
Yes, you can become a great New Zealand Private Investigator. How? Through Private Investigator education:
at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education.
This can be online Private Investigator training classes or in an in-class training environment. In order to become a successful New Zealand Private Investigator and meet Private Investigator requirements, you need to become educated on the complexities of the private investigation industry (this will also help you decide if you want to pursue the PI career) and how to set yourself up to become a successful Private Investigator. Secondly, you will need to become educated on how to perform investigations.
To learn the complexities of the New Zealand private investigation industry you will need to understand a few Private Investigator industry topics. Regional licensing requirements for Private Investigators will teach you what you need to obtain your New Zealand Private Investigator license. To help you decide if you want to enter the career of private investigation you, will have to learn the common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry. Understanding the learning curve of a Private Investigator will set you up to become a successful PI.
Before entering the New Zealand PI industry, it is useful to know the challenges encountered as a Professional Private Investigator. This will also help you make career decisions. Then you need to learn what you will be doing as a Private Investigator. Learning the areas of specialization as a Professional Private Investigator and types of clients and corresponding file requirements will help with this. You will need to learn how New Zealand Investigators get assignments and hours of work to determine if this work environment is right for you.
If you are concerned about your ability to perform as a New Zealand Private Investigator, learning what factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator and what makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator will be essential. It is also important to know the physical and health requirements and health considerations. Then there is equipment. Learning about PI equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator is a must.
Furthermore, you will need to educate yourself on communication devices and their role in private investigation. Lastly and most importantly, you must learn “The Investigative Mindset.” This will teach you how to think like a Private Investigator. After you learn these concepts, you will be well on your way to becoming a Private Investigator even without experience.
After learning the complexities of the New Zealand private investigation industry, you will need to develop practical skills in various areas. The most important areas are Desk Investigations, Pre-surveillance, surveillance, mobile vehicle surveillance, on-foot surveillance, obtaining evidence, and litigious reporting. To learn Desk Investigations, you will need to understand what is a Desk Investigation, Desk Investigation nomenclature, corroborated/ circumstantial evidence, The Evidence Document, The Desk Investigators Mindset, Google Basics for North America, and social media search basics for North America. Surveillance will be the largest subject to learn. Under this field you should learn about setting up a proper surveillance vehicle, surveillance spot checks, and surveillance set ups for various investigative operations.
As a New Zealand Private Investigator, you will spend the majority of your time performing investigations solo. This is why learning single person surveillance is crucial. Furthermore, you will occasionally work in surveillance teams, so you will need to learn how to perform surveillance with two or more surveillance operatives. New Zealand Private Investigators perform a lot of their surveillance from a surveillance vehicle, but also on foot, you will need to learn this also. The entire reason New Zealand Private Investigators are hired, is to obtain evidence. Obviously, learning how to obtain evidence, mostly in video form, is a must. As a New Zealand Private Investigator, you will need to obtain quality video that is litigious and that will satisfy your client. At the end of all this, you will need to learn how to create an investigative report that will most likely be used in litigation. After you learn all of this, you will have no trouble becoming a successful New Zealand Private Investigator.
It should be apparent now, why and how you can become a New Zealand Private Investigator. Yes, the government licensing course is necessary but it will not set you up for success as a Private Investigator. You will always need at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. You will need to learn the PI industry, as well as how to perform. In fact, becoming a Private Investigator through proper education will set you up to become more successful than Investigators with many years of experience but who have not developed a strong foundation with proper Private Investigator education.
What You Need to Learn to Become a successful New Zealand PI
Regional licensing requirements for New Zealand Professional Private Investigators
Common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry
The learning curve of a Professional Private investigator
Personal challenges encountered as a New Zealand Professional Private Investigator
Areas of specialization as a New Zealand Professional Private Investigator
Types of New Zealand clients and corresponding file requirements
How New Zealand Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work
What factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator
What makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator?
Physical health requirements and health considerations
Equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator
Computers, tablets and peripherals
NATO Phonetic Alphabet
The Investigative Mindset
What You Need to Learn to "Perform" New Zealand Investigations
How NZ Desk Investigations are performed
Finding people in NZ who intentionally disappear
Corroborated & circumstantial evidence
What is evidence & how to structure it
The Evidence Document
Google as an investigative tool
Daily Gear Protocol
Data & evidence security
Skill vs, luck and circumstances
Risk vs. reward
Understanding & managing "Heat"
NZ traffic conditions
Driving methods for different NZ environments
Filming best practices
Mobile foot surveillance
PI surveillance Gearbag
Required surveillance equipment
Clothing and props
The physics or mechanics of foot surveillance
On foot following techniques & best practices
Transitioning in and out of buildings
Video framing and quality
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years as a Professional Private Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities.