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This is one question that is very common. So, we thought, why not discuss it in length about it. If you’re living in New Zealand and want to operate a forklift, you will NEED a forklift licence. To get a forklift licence, everyone must undergo certain training. You may get the certificate by completing the required forklift training at a Worksafe-approved training facility.

To operate a forklift in this country, you must have two minimum requirements:

  1. A forklift operator licence, and
  2. The F endorsement, which certifies you to drive the truck on publicly accessible roads.

The forklift licence is valid for 3 years, whereas the F endorsement is valid as long as your driver’s licence is valid.

5 Forklift Licence Categories You Can Apply For in New Zealand

1-Day Course Basic Training

This course is designed for forklift operators who have a basic understanding of the equipment and how to operate it but do not have a formal Occupational Safety and Health certificate. This training is shorter since the learners already possess the necessary abilities to operate forklifts with confidence. The certificate will state which forklift the learner is capable of operating.

2-Day Course Basic Training

This training course is longer than the previous one since it is designed for students who have no prior experience with forklifts and who wish to get a beginner certificate. The duration of the training for total newbies will vary depending on the size of the class, the trainees’ competence levels, and the types of trucks they wish to drive. The certificate will state which forklift the learner is capable of operating. A forklift licence card will be supplied to him as well.

Refresher Course

This course is for trainees who have an expired or soon to expire certificate or licence. The forklift licence is only valid for three years from the date of issuance. Click here to know more.

F- Endorsement Course

This course will be conducted by a professional training instructor. The F Endorsement is a distinct course that is offered to those who have completed a certificate and intend to drive a forklift on the road. The trainee will take the certificate to the local AA or VTNZ office to apply for an F endorsement on their driver’s licence after completing the course. Click here to know more.

Supplemental Training Course

Since the training course is customized to the kind of forklift a trainee wishes to learn to operate, the learner might attend an additional course to get certified to operate other trucks. After the course, the trainee’s completed forklift training will be added to his OSH certificate, along with any other training he has previously completed.

Related Regulations Governing Forklift Training in NZ

Health and Safety in Employment Act of 1992 (Approved Code of Practice)

Employers must ensure that personnel who operate heavy equipment, such as forklifts, are properly trained in how to use them safely in the workplace. As a result, if you are employed, it is your employer’s obligation to provide you with the essential training.

Employers should monitor the performance of forklift operators on a regular basis to ensure that personnel maintain proficiency and comply with the Act’s standards. If the employer discovers that the operators’ ability to operate a forklift has deteriorated, refresher training will be provided.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)

When driving forklifts on the road, NZTA states that the driver must have an (F) endorsement on his driver’s licence.  Furthermore, the driver must have a licence class that is appropriate for the weight of the equipment being driven on the road. There are only two types of classes:

  • Class 1 – driver’s licence for forklifts weighing less than 18,000 kilos, including its load.
  • Class 2 – forklift operators who drive forklifts weighing more than 18,000 kg, including its load.

If you’re not sure if you need an F endorsement or not you can reach out to us for guidance.

You must meet the following conditions when applying for an F endorsement:

  • Application for Endorsement DL19 form completed. You can download the form here.
  • Proof of completion of a forklift operator training course is required. As proof, you can provide your training certificate. You can sign up for the training course here if you haven’t already.
  • Your driver’s licence or two other forms of IDs (both valid). Click Here to see a list of acceptable ID proofs.
  • Driver vision is strictly enforced by the NZTA. Have your eyes checked by a doctor and obtain a certificate as confirmation of excellent eyesight.
  • Pay up the application fee of F Endorsement licence of $44.

For processing, these criteria will be sent to an approved licencing agency in your area.

NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) Unit Standard Assessments

This unit standard allows trainees to demonstrate that they can safely operate powered industrial lift trucks by performing pre-operational equipment checks, inspections, and start-up procedures prior to real equipment operation. Operators who have achieved this unit grade can also perform forklift practical skills, as well as parking and shutting down the lift truck after use.

Level 3 – 10852 – Operate a motorised industrial lift vehicle with accessories

Operators having 10852 unit standard credits may demonstrate their competence to operate a forklift with attachment, prepare a lift truck for operation, and shut down the equipment.

Credits 18496 – Associated with the F Endorsement

This unit is granted to operators who have an F endorsement and can demonstrate their knowledge and ability to operate a lift truck on the road.

Forklift Operator Salary in NZ

Forklift operators in New Zealand earn an average of NZ$18.22 per hour. The remuneration varies from NZ$32,121 to NZ$66,331 plus incentives, based on the operator’s experience and talents. Other terms for a forklift operator are ‘storeman’ or ‘store person’.

You can easily be hired if you can work night shifts, have strong physical stamina, have a positive attitude about the job, and have a forklift operator certificate. There are countless employment openings around New Zealand.


Before being allowed to operate a forklift in New Zealand, an operator must first get a forklift licence. The Health and Safety in the Workplace Act – Section 20 – mandates that all drivers be trained first. You may get training from a Worksafe licenced provider if you have no previous driving experience.

To know more in detail, please feel free to get in touch with us today.