Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
16h ago

Pay for surveyors varies depending on experience and qualifications.

  • Graduate surveyors typically earn between $40,000 and $50,000 a year.
  • Newly licensed surveyors earn between $50,000 and $65,000.
  • With five or more years' experience, surveyors usually earn between $52,000 and $80,000.
  • Surveyors who are managers, business partners or self-employed may earn significantly more than this.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Surveyors may do some or all of the following :

  • survey and monitor land or seabed
  • carry out land title surveys and set boundaries
  • check the accuracy of records and measurements
  • prepare maps, plans and charts to give pictorial representations of the land or seabed
  • map out location and design of structures such as new roads and pipelines
  • report on survey data to clients and councils
  • discuss surveying or land development projects with clients, local authorities, other professionals or local iwi
  • ensure project proposals comply with council district plans and liaise with the council to deal with any issues
  • prepare resource consent applications, including environmental impact assessments.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Some of the skills and knowledge surveyors need includes :

  • knowledge of survey methods
  • the ability to interpret and use information from maps, graphic drawings and measurements taken in the field
  • knowledge of physics and maths, particularly trigonometry
  • computer skills and the ability to use computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • good general knowledge of environmental issues, earth sciences and civil engineering
  • understanding of issues such as land rights, land ownership and boundary definitions
  • understanding of relevant legislation such as the Resource Management Act, local by-laws and town planning regulations.
  • Surveyors :

  • usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings or weekends
  • work both on-site and in offices. On-site locations may be remote, for example mines or rural locations
  • may have to work in all weather conditions.
  • Entry requirements

    To become a surveyor, you need to have a Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv). The four-year professional degree is offered only by the University of Otago School of Surveying.

    Those wanting to work as a hydrographic surveyor also need to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Science, specialising in hydrography.

    The Royal NZ Navy also trains a small number of hydrographic surveyors.

    Secondary education

    A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter university, and usually Level 3 NCEA is preferred. Useful subjects include English, maths with calculus and statistics, geography, computer studies, physics, economics and graphics.

    Surveyors need to be :

  • patient and precise, with an eye for detail
  • adaptable, as they may work on different types of projects
  • able to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • comfortable working in an office and outdoors
  • methodical and precise when taking measurements.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for surveyors includes :

  • work as a surveyor's assistant or technician
  • experience working in cartography, draughting or engineering
  • experience working at a mining or construction site.
  • Physical requirements

    Surveyors need to have a good level of fitness and be reasonably strong, as they may need to carry measuring equipment into the field.

    They also need good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) to operate surveying and measuring equipment.


    Surveyors of all specialisations can apply to become members of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and work towards professional registration, which is voluntary.

    By law, only a licensed cadastral surveyor can certify cadastral (land title) surveys. To become a licensed cadastral surveyor you must do two years of practical work, take a series of oral exams and present some practical work to the Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board.

    Most survey companies support graduate employees through this process.

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