standard-title About Us

About Us

What is the NZRDA


Who are we? The NZRDA stands for New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association – or the RDA for short. The RDA is the only organisation in New Zealand solely repreresenting the interests of RMOs (RMO means Resident Medical Officer and includes trainee interns, house surgeons, senior house officers and registrars). We are run by resident doctors for resident doctors. Our main purpose is to look after and to promote the interests of our members. This includes taking care of doctors’ rights and your interests at work, within the health sector and in the wider community. The philosophy of the NZRDA is based on community, support and union principles such as democratic structure and quality service delivery to members.


In short, the RDA supports RMOs, pursues RMO’s interests and negotiates and enforces RMOs terms and conditions of employment. We work to ensure your employment agreement is honoured. We are a democratic union – so that means that we ask what our members want before we act on their behalf and we are not politically aligned: our role is to represent RMOs and we must be free to do that regardless of who is in power. In actively lobbying for our members interests, we comment publicly where appropriate and communicate with other medical organisations (both in New Zealand and overseas), politicians, government organisations and those in the private sector. It is through the union that you have an opportunity to have your say and influence decisions that may affect your future in the delivery of health services in New Zealand. We provide advocacy advice and support for workforce issues that may arise including those related to compliance and enforcement of your employment agreement. We also provide individual representation services to you if you so require. Personal and professional support through the RDA can be accessed 24/7.


A resident doctor or resident medical officer (RMO) is a person who has graduated from medical school as a qualified doctor and is undergoing further training to become fully qualified in whatever vocational field that they so choose. The RDA is the only organisation in New Zealand solely representing the interests of RMOs. The term ‘resident’ comes from the availability of RMOs who are primarily on site in the hospitals.


The MECA describes a resident medical officer in the following way: “a house surgeon, senior house officer, registrar or junior dental officer and shall include any medical officer registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (or any act passed in substitution) expect medical practitioners registered under the vocational scope of practice”.


At the completion of the Trainee Intern (TI) year (the 6th and final year of medical school) RMOs can apply to DHBs within New Zealand for employment. An RMO’s first appointment as a first year house surgeon position is referred to as a house officer. During the second year an RMO is known as a second year house surgeon and from the third and fourth years RMOs are then are referred to as senior house officers. It takes a minimum of 12 months for a first year RMO to gain general registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

A registrar is an RMO who has been employed as a house surgeon for two years (or as a house surgeon for one year and engaged for one year in other medical services as a medical practitioner) and is usually working in and studying towards a specialist field of medical practice.


All members of the National Executive are delegates and many have participated in MECA bargaining in the past. It is a requirement of the NZRDA rules that all National Executive members be voted in in accordance with the correct processes. You can view the profiles of our current National Executive members below.


The National Executive is primarily charged with the responsibility of running the RDA between AGMs and acts upon input from members after being channelled through workplace representatives – your delegates. The National Executive is in essence the RDA’s ‘board of directors’. The National Executive provides leadership and works to ensure accountability processes are adhered to. The National Executive come together to meet formally at least three times a year in addition to the AGM and at any other times it sees fit to discuss both current and future issues.


The National Executive’s main functions are: to manage the overall direction of the NZRDA’s activities throughout the year; to promote the objectives of NZRDA; to ensure implementation of any decisions made at an AGM and any National Membership Meetings; to hold other structures, bodies and officers of NZRDA accountable for their functioning; to resolve disputes or problems encountered between NZRDA members or bodies; to ensure that there is sound financial policy, including safeguarding any assets of NZRDA and managing its business (including investments); to ensure NZRDA’s compliance with its own rules and the law.

Current National Executive



The AGM of the Association is our policy-setting meeting held annually, usually on the second to last Saturday in March. It is the time when the executive and secretariat report on the year’s activities. The executive secretary, who oversees the Association’s finances throughout the year, also reports on the Association’s financial situation and presents the annual audited accounts.

The AGM tends to move to a different city each year, the actual venue and date being set a year ahead at each AGM. All members are welcome to attend; however to best ensure at least one person from each hospital is present, NZRDA facilitates delegates’ attendance. This enables members who cannot be there on the day to still have input through your delegate as well as get a report back.

The 2018 AGM will be held on Saturday 24 March  

The Agenda for the meeting is set well in advance, following a standard format which is “populated” as the year progresses, but finalised in February. Notices of motion (matters such as rule changes or alteration to our fees) must be notified at least 3 months in advance so members have an opportunity to discuss and give feedback before the actual meeting occurs.

The AGM is also the time when election of officers occurs: the national executive members who are charged with running the Association between AGMs are confirmed in office. All our executive members are elected, including our national secretary. Nominations are called (again) 3 months in advance of the AGM. If anyone is interested in knowing more and would like more information, please email or contact one of the current exec members.

Please find the 2016 President’s report here: President’s Report 2016
Please find the 2016 Secretary’s report here : Secretariat Report 2016