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New Zealand Society of Gunsmiths Inc.
Promoting Excellence in Gunsmithing
PO Box 52, Kaitaia, 0441, New Zealand. Tel/Fax + 64 9 409 3835
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Prior to 1996 Gunsmithing in New Zealand was not formally recognised as a stand alone occupation. Persons wishing to take up gunsmithing professionally were advised to undertake an apprenticeship in toolmaking or fitting/turning and machining and then to learn the specialist gunsmithing specific knowledge and skills by working under an experienced gunsmith or to undertake their own self-directed research, training and learning.

In May 1994 the New Zealand Society of Gunsmiths (NZSG) Inc. was founded. A professional society to represent the interests of Gunsmiths / Armourers throughout New Zealand including all arms and ammunition related activities, Arms Legislation, safety and security, manufacture, repair, maintenance, conservation, restoration, sales, education and training. The NZSG affiliated with the Engineering Industry Training Organisation (EITO) and promoted the development of Unit Standards and Qualifications for Gunsmiths in terms of the new National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Early in 1996 the go ahead was given by the relevant government agencies and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Gunsmithing became a Domain (occupation in its own right) nesting in the sub field of Mechanical Engineering in the field of Engineering and Technology. A National Gunsmiths Advisory Group (GAG) was set up under the auspices of the EITO and NZSG. This group, tasked to develop unit standards and qualifications for Gunsmiths comprised representation from Mountain Safety, education providers, Police, OSH, Military, Museums, NZQA and practicing professional gunsmiths from throughout New Zealand. By December 1996 the GAG produced unit standards were registered on the NQF and on 22 July 1997 the first two qualifications for gunsmiths were registered; these are:

  • National Certificate in Gunsmithing (Level 4) - (international: craftsperson gunsmith/armourer).
  • National Certificate in Gunsmithing (Master) (Level 5) - (internationally: master craftsperson gunsmith/armourer).

Note:    Armourer is the military equivalent of a civilian gunsmith.
Most present day New Zealand gunsmiths are self-taught, gaining their knowledge and skills over many years. They own their own gunsmithing business, or are likely to aspire to such ownership, they are able to diagnose faults, overhaul and test a diverse range of firearms, also are able to advise others on all aspects of arms legislation (some are police licenced arms and ammunition dealers), safety and security of arms and technical matters relating to gunsmithing. They may also be involved fully or partially in the conservation and restoration of arms in general and ammunition manufacture/reloading, (some are OSH licenced ammunition manufacturers).

This programme is designed to enable people to be assessed and to gain formal recognition for the relevant knowledge and skills required to be a competent master Gunsmith/Armourer or in the specialist sub domains contained within the gunsmithing programme.


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