Acupuncturist Kaiwero Ngira Hauora

Acupuncturists give general health advice and treat patients using therapies such as electronic and needle acupuncture, cupping, skin scraping (gua sha), the heating of acupuncture points (moxibustion) and tuina (massage).

Acupuncturists may choose to be registered with one of the following:

  • Acupuncture New Zealand
  • New Zealand Acupuncture Standards Authority (NZASA).

Acupuncturists may do some or all of the following:

  • consult with patients about their health, diet and exercise
  • examine patients and diagnose health problems using the principles of traditional Chinese medicine
  • discuss treatment options with patients
  • locate acupuncture points and insert acupuncture needles
  • use and prescribe herbal medicines to treat patients
  • give dietary advice, tuina (massage), moxibustion (heat), cupping (suction), scraping, exercise therapy and laser therapy
  • keep accurate patient records
  • refer patients to other health services.

Physical Requirements

Acupuncturists need to be healthy and have good upper arm strength for massage.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for acupuncturists includes:

  • work in traditional Chinese medicine or naturopathy
  • work in the health sector
  • counselling work.

Personal Qualities

Acupuncturists need to be:

  • patient and accurate
  • empathetic
  • clean and tidy 
  • observant and responsible
  • good communicators
  • good at problem solving
  • well organised
  • able to inspire confidence in others.


Acupuncturists need to have knowledge of:

  • traditional Chinese medicine and its philosophy, theory and practice
  • how to diagnose illness
  • acupuncture, massage and scraping techniques
  • Western medical theories about the human body and how it functions, treatment procedures and pharmacology
  • acupuncture professional code of ethics.

Acupuncturists running their own practice will also need small business skills.



  • vary their working hours to suit patient demand, which may involve working evenings and weekends
  • work in private clinics, community health centres, sports institutes or from their own homes
  • may occasionally travel to visit patients in their homes.

Subject Recommendations

NCEA Level 2 is required to enter the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine training. A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter New Zealand College of Chinese Medicine training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, Chinese, English and health education.

Acupuncturists can earn around $47K-$100K per year.

Pay for acupuncturists varies depending on the number of hours they work and where they work. 

  • Acupuncturist graduates can expect to earn minimum wage.
  • Acupuncturists employed by a clinic can earn between minimum wage and $50,000 a year.
  • Self-employed acupuncturists with more than three years' experience can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. 

Source: Acupuncture New Zealand, 2018.

Acupuncturists may move into training, research or education roles.

Acupuncturists may specialise in:

  • sports injuries
  • fertility and pregnancy
  • aged care
  • cancer.


Years Of Training

4 years of training required.

To become an acupuncturist you need to have a Bachelor of Health Science (Level 7) in either acupuncture or Chinese medicine. This degree is available from:

  • New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • New Zealand College of Chinese Medicine.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.