Mechanical Engineer Mataaro Pūkaha

Mechanical engineers design and give advice on the building and repair of machines and tools. They also investigate problems and faults with machinery, and study ways to improve manufacturing and energy production.

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Mechanical engineers may do some or all of the following:

  • determine client's or production manager's requirements
  • carry out investigations of existing systems and prepare reports based on findings
  • research the use of energy sources, machinery and materials
  • study the environmental and safety aspects of planned work
  • prepare plans and drawings of machines or machine parts 
  • use computer-aided design (CAD) software to design and model plans
  • prepare and calculate cost estimates for jobs
  • supervise the building, installation, repair and replacement of systems
  • review and test new systems.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for mechanical engineers includes:

  • any work involving machinery or engines
  • electrical or electronic work
  • work in an industrial plant or factory
  • work in the engineering or building construction industries
  • experience working with tools
  • technical drawing.

Personal Qualities

Mechanical engineers need to be:

  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • organised, with good project-management skills
  • practical and good at problem-solving
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to work well independently and in a team.


Mechanical engineers need to have:

  • knowledge of mechanical processes
  • knowledge of physics, electronics and thermodynamics (how energy is converted to heat to make machinery move)
  • knowledge of different gases
  • knowledge of safety regulations and quality standards
  • mathematical modelling skills
  • knowledge of any relevant legislation such as the Resource Management Act, the New Zealand Building Code, local by-laws and town planning regulations
  • computer skills, including the ability to use computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • communication skills including presenting and report writing.


Mechanical engineers:

  • usually work regular business hours but may be required to work evenings and weekends to fit in with process schedules and meet deadlines 
  • work in workshops, factories and offices and on building sites
  • may have to work around heavy machinery or at heights, or in noisy and dirty conditions
  • may have to travel between sites locally or supervise projects overseas.

Mechanical Engineers can earn around $90K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Mechanical Engineer are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for mechanical engineers varies depending on qualifications, area of specialisation, experience and employer.

  • Mechanical engineers earn an average of $90,000 a year.
  • Team leaders earn an average of $100,000.
  • Mechanical engineer managers earn an average of $150,000.

Source: Engineering New Zealand, 'Remuneration Survey 2020 Snapshot', 2021.

Most mechanical engineers work as employees of engineering companies or companies that use engineering services. As they gain more experience they may progress into consultancy and project management roles.

Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline and most people employed in the role develop specific skills in a particular area such as:

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Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Engineer
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning engineers design and supervise the building, installation, maintenance and repair of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and equipment.
Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing engineers turn raw materials into a new or updated product in the most economic, efficient and effective way possible.
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Years Of Training

3-4 years of training required.

To become a mechanical engineer you usually need to have a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical).

However, some companies may employ people who have a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering and relevant work experience.

Mechanical Engineer