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What is the difference between a rental service vehicle Certificate of Fitness and a passenger service vehicle Certificate of Fitness?

There are two types of passenger service vehicles. They are:

•          Small (seating capacity of 12 or less including the driver)
•          Large (seating capacity of 13 or more including the driver)

If a small passenger service vehicle is hired from a rental service agency the driver guide should ensure that the vehicle has a Certificate of Loading. Most importantly one should ensure the section under the heading passengers is completed. Do not confuse this with the heading of occupancy.

If a large passenger service vehicle is hired (13 or more seats including the driver) then the vehicle by rights should have a Certificate of Loading as a matter of course.

The following link should also provide information regarding passenger service vehicle requirements
This information is given in good faith and ultimately one should seek legal advice

I am a tour operator and tour guide? Can I become a ProGuides member?
YES. ProGuides offers three categories of membership: Associate, Full and Industry Partner Member.
You can apply to become both an associate or full member as well as an industry partner member. The latter does not have full access to the information provided to associate or full members, i.e. Members only section and Job offer advertisements.
What payment options do you offer?
You can pay online using Paypal or Bank Deposit, or by phone with a Credit Card.

Bank Deposit: SWIFT Code - WPACNZ2W
Credit Card: Visa or Mastercard. Call us on 0800 800 708 (within New Zealand) or +642885000253 for international callers.

We require a Credit Card imprint for vehicle Pick-up.
What can I expect to earn as tour/driver guide?

Whilst there is no set standard fees we have summarized information on how to determine appropriate pay. Rates vary - from approx. $200.00 to $400.00 per day. Rates depend on industry experience and responsibilities but also whether you are working as a freelance independant contractor or employee. Price structure is generally for transfer, ½ day, full day and overnight days, also extended days where you provide a full day and external dinner excursion. While driver guides usually get a higher pay than tour guides they have to keep within logbook hours and legal limits.

Prior to assignment you should agree with your employer on your daily or hourly pay rate, payment for statutory holidays and start and finish dates. External information can also be obtained from the careers NZ website.

If you work as a contractor (self-employed) you are required to provide invoices, pay your own tax, ACC levies, and GST if applicable, please consider this in your payment negotiations. This is most likely what applies to most tour and driver guides.

If you work as an employee then your employer is responsible to pay your tax (PAYE) and provide you with a pay slip. For more details visit the Department of Labour website, and Inland Revenue Department.

Obtain a written contract detailing daily pay rate and hours of work for the tour. More guidelines for Tour and Driver guides can be obtained from the members only section (Login required).

I would like to guide in Parks administered by Auckland Council. What do I need to do?

You will need a concession to take up any commercial activity on Auckland Council Land. That includes for example if you take your customers to Arataki Visitor Centre, Muriwai Beach, Wenderholm, etc. Please see https://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks to view regional parks you need a concession for. Please click here to find more information about application.

I would like to organise a famil for ProGuides. What do I need to know?

Thank you for your intention to organise a famil for ProGuides. Its a great tool to show collegues and ProGuides members what might be yet unknown or simply of interest. However there are some guidelines we would like you to follow which you may download here (Login required).

For any famils please contact the committee by emailing info@proguides.co.nz

What is the maximum "work time" allowed on a job assignment?

'Work time' is a legal term that means the maximum number of hours a driver of a commercial or heavy motor vehicle is allowed to work, including driving, before they must take a rest.

Restricting the work time hours of those who drive these types of vehicle helps to reduce the risk of fatigue - however, driving within the regulated work time hours is no guarantee that your driving will not be impaired by fatigue.

Read the factsheet of work time and logbook

Read the factsheet "Fatigue: Staying alert while you're driving"

Why are ProGuides and tour guides important?

Tour guides are the human face of tourism.

Tourists travel in order to see things and learn - they aspire to be guided by people who know where to go and what they are talking about. It may well eventuate that the tour guide is the most influential person the visitor will meet on their journey.

The tour guide may be the one to ensure their trip becomes a once in a lifetime event. The tour guide may well be the reason the visitor will decide to return and recommend your company’s tour product to their friends and family.

To put your support behind our tour guides is to add support to the future of New Zealand’s tourism industry as well as providing direct benefits to your organisation.

As an Industry Partner Member of ProGuides you will join other dedicated tourism professionals including attractions, retailers, hotels, restaurants, venues and transport operators and other companies associated with the tourism industry. To work with ProGuides and our tour guide members is to raise the standards of your clients’ tourism experience. Whether you are an inbound tour operator or tour supplier alike.

Is meal allowance for the guide a legal requirement?

No, but the employer has to make sure that you receive the legal rest breaks as per the legal requirements by the Department of Labour. If you are a driver guide then logbook regulations apply as well. See here for details and check "Members only" section (Login required) for guidelines to job assignments.

It is common practice though that as the guide you receive the meals that are included in the itineraries (i.e. that are included for the customers) or a meal allowance based on half board (breakfast and dinner) whether you join the customers for meals or not. Please check your guide contract with the employer for meal allowance.

Small passenger/ large Passenger endorsements what can I drive?

The first consideration in answering this question is the class of drivers licence held. View information concerning what vehicle types each licence class allows a person to drive. This information is directly from the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999.

The second consideration is what type of P endorsement does the person hold, large or small. This relates to the seating capacity of the vehicle used in the passenger service. To drive a small passenger service vehicle (12 seats or less including the driver) I would require the appropriate class of licence such as a class one and a small passenger endorsement. The difference between a small passenger endorsement and a large is:

•          A small passenger endorsement requires an ID card
•          A small passenger endorsement holder is vetted every year over the term of the endorsement (1 to 5 years) as opposed to the holder of a large who is vetted once over the life of the endorsement.

Scenario 1.
I wish to drive a passenger service vehicle with a seating capacity of 15 including the driver (this is a large passenger service vehicle as its seating capacity is 13 or more including the driver). I hold a classes 1 and 2 drivers licence and have a small P endorsement with ID card. Can I driver this vehicle?

Yes, you hold the correct class of licence and a current P endorsement. There is no requirement to display an ID card when driving a large passenger service vehicle.

Scenario 2
I wish to drive a small passenger service vehicle (seating capacity 12 or less including the driver). I hold the appropriate class of drivers licence and hold a large passenger P endorsement (vetted once over the life of the endorsement, no ID card). Can I drive this vehicle in a passenger service?

No, drivers of small passenger service vehicles are required to display a current ID.

You must fill in a Logbook. View information on Work Time & Logbook requirements

Do I need to use a logbook when driver guiding?

Yes, if you are a driver guide you need to comply with the Work Time and Logbook Rules. They set out how the limits to the work time hours for a driver of a vehicle that requires a Class 2, 3, 4, or 5 licence, or is used in a transport service (other than a rental service), or carries goods for hire or reward, are to be administered.

Please read the factsheet of NZ Transport Agency. and the Work Time & Logbook requirements.

Can I use my own vehicle for driver guiding?

You can use your own vehicle providing it is classified a Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV). A "Passenger Service" means carrying passengers in a motor vehicle for hire or reward. It includes situations where the vehicle is hired out and a driver is provided.

Passenger Service Vehicles are:

  • Vehicles used in a passenger service (no matter how many seating positions they might have)
  • Vehicles with more than 12 seating positions (whether they're used for hire or reward or not)
  • Heavy motor vehicles with more than nine seating positions – for vehicle design and standards purposes (whether they’re used for hire or reward or not)

PSVs are vehicles used in an operation where carrying passengers is an integral part of the business. The most obvious passenger service vehicles are buses, taxis and shuttles. Rental vehicles are PSVs only if they have more than 12 seating positions, or if they're hired by a passenger service licence holder to operate as a PSV. Please read the factsheet of NZ Transport Agency.

What can I drive with my P-endorsement?

That depends on the driver license class you hold your P-endorsement for.

Driver licence classes cover cars, motorcycles and heavy vehicles (ie busses), and are based on the type of vehicle and the weight of the vehicle. A P-endorsement allows you to use this particular license class commercially (ie if you want to driver guide in a bus).

Vehicles can be rigid (eg a truck) or a combination (eg a truck and trailer). The class of driver licence required will depend on the gross laden weight (GLW) for rigid vehicles and gross combined weight (GCW) for combination vehicles. Please read the factsheet by the NZ Transport Agency to determine what driver license class you need to have to drive a bus.

Find out some example scenarios here (updated 5/2016).

What type of guide categories are there?

There are various definitions of tour guides in New Zealand. Currently Activity tour guide, Tour Manager, Bilingual tour guide, Tour leader, Tour escort. Please view a detailed description of guide categories here.

Do I need to be licensed to work as a guide?

No, there is no official "license" to work as a guide.

However in order to work legally you MUST have a valid work permit/visa, residency visa or citizenship.

You MUST hold a DOC (Department of Conservation) concession if you guide on PCL (Public Conservation Land), refer to our info in the Members Only Section (Login required) or refer to DOC's website.

You MUST also hold licenses if you are working as a driver guide (P-Endorsement on a NZ drivers license). If you drive a vehicle this MUST also be registered to someone having a Transport Service License issued by Land Transport. This vehicle has to comply as a PSV (Passenger Service Vehicle). For more information read the factsheet of the NZ Transport Agency.

There are also other concessions you might require, such as Auckland Regional Park concession.

Do I need a First Aid Certificate to Guide?

No, but to become a member of our association we require you have to have a current First Aid Certificate.  You can still apply to join ProGuides if you have your training booked, you will just need to send your certificate to the membership secretary once it is completed. It is also compulsory to carry a valid First Aid Certificate together with a Safety Management Plan if you are holding the PG DOC Concession (read about the DOC concession requirements in the Everything DOC of "Members only"). Most tour operators you are working for would also require you to have a First Aid Certificate. ProGuides has set up a list of preferred suppliers in the Members only section (Login required)

What do I need to do when guiding on PCL (Public Conservation Land?)

You will require a concession issued by the Department of Conservation. Please note that different concessions apply for different type of commercial undertaking on PCL. See here for details.

As a member of ProGuides you can apply for the ProGuide guiding concession which is suitable for short walks and photo stops up to 1 hour. Note! The concession does however not include the vehicle in case you are driver guiding.

For more information and to apply please view our DOC section in the Members only section (Login required). 

How much ACC levy do I have to pay as a guide?

Have a look at our Guidelines for comprehensive info on job assignments for tour guides or check ACC website section on levies.

How can I contact other guides?

Use the ProGuides Facebook page or Find-a-guide online.

Where can I find information about guide's specials, job offers, events calendar, etc?

Have a look at the "Members only" section (Login required).

How can I access the "Members only" section?

Login in with your Username and Password (which you should have received when becoming a member). If you have forgotten your login please email the webadmin or use the buttons provided.

What is the ProGuides bank account number?

Bank: ANZ

Account No. 06 0705 0330333 00

Please ALWAYS state your membership number and/or reference/invoice. Please refrain from mailing cheques! You may also choose to pay by credit card, surcharge of 2.75% applies.

How can I promote ProGuides while on tour?

Have a look at our range of Merchandise Wear your ProGuides badge with pride. Talk to guides you meet en-route. Talk to us, we can send you some promotional material.

What are the requirements if I want to driver guide ?

You MUST have a P-endorsement if you want to driver guide, that is either a small passenger endorsement  (for vehicles up to a max of 11 passengers plus driver-total of 12 seats) or large passenger endorsement (for vehicles more than 12 seats) for a carried out "passenger service" (ie where passengers are carried for "hire or reward").

If you drive a large passenger service vehicle (more than 12 seats), you need a P-endorsement whether or not it is used for hire or reward.

To get a P-endorsement you must hold, and have held for at least two years, a full class 1 (car), or 2, 3, 4, 5 (heavy vehicles) driver licence. (Holding an equivalent overseas licence will not meet this requirement.)

In order to apply for a P-endorsement you will need

  • a completed application form (available from the agent or online)
  • a current New Zealand driver license
  • proof of your name and address
  • a medical certificate (if applicable)
  • a certificate showing you have successfully completed an approved passenger endorsement course
  • a Notice of Determination
  • a means of paying the fees

You should allow six to eight weeks for your application to be processed (providing you have supplied all the necessary information and documentation), because of the requirement to carry out a 'fit and proper person' check.

Note: If you're not a New Zealand citizen or don't hold a residence permit, you will need a work permit or some other temporary permit to show that you may work in New Zealand.

Read the NZ Transport Agency factsheet for details and how to apply.

How can I find suitable guides for my job assignment?

Use our Find a guide tool on the website and contact a guide directly
Email info@proguides.co.nz with your requirements.
List your job offer on the List a job offer form. Please note! ProGuides is not a job agency and takes no responsibility for the outcome of job assignments. We are happy to let our members know of jobs available in the industry.

What do I need to know before becoming a tour guide?
Become a ProGuide member! Members benefit from
  • Free “Find a Guide” presence on the ProGuidesNZ website www.proguides.co.nz 
  • Job offers
  • Monthly Newsletters
  • Training advice and development support
  • Networking with other fellow guides
  • Regular socials, workshops and famils
  • Outward acknowledgement as a professional guide through wearing our badge
  • Opportunity to promote your business or new products / prices / events in the ProGuides NZ e-newsletter
  • Concession for guiding on DOC conservation land
  • Professional support through governing bodies and industry relations (WFTGA, DOC, TIA)
  • Affordable membership fees (Full, Associate & Industry partner)
How to become a ProGuides member? Check our How to Apply or email us at info@proguides.co.nz .
How can I obtain qualifications as a guide?

Look at our links page for information on seminars and information for tour guides.


The certificate in tourism issued by Service IQ (former ATTTO) the Industry Training Organisation is a recognised NZQA qualification. It gives new tour guides who want to get into the industry, the necessary knowledge about guiding and the destination. This tour guide qualification is a means to prove that ProGuides members are true professionals. The certificate can be done online, so it can be completed even while on tour and at your own time.

Service IQ Qualifications : National Certificate in Tour Guiding Level 4 and National Certificate in Tour Guiding with option strand Level 4. Contact Service IQ office in your region for details and registration: All courses are done online.

Lower North Island Matthew Davies  Ph: 027 488 5623, South Island Nikki Rogers Ph: 027 667 4584, Central North Island Tom Parsons  Ph: 027 488 5087, Auckland and Upper North Island Wendy Fisher  Ph: 027 2825 095

What can I do when noticing illegal guiding operations?

Make sure that you have sufficient evidence ! Sometimes operators have what's necessary but don't have their licenses on display. If unsure approach the operator or hand out our information leaflet below. Here is a list of illegal activiy you can help to stop.

You can also advise police if you are sure of illegal operations. PLEASE always copy ProGuides on your observations (info@proguides.co.nz), we would like to know!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

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