Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) a health practitioner or practitioner means a person who is, or is deemed to be, registered with an authority as a practitioner of a particular health profession, i.e. a dietitian under the Dietitians Board of New Zealand.

Scope of Practice

From 1 April 2017 the Dietitians Board gazetted Scope of Practice: Dietitian is:

Dietitians are registered health practitioners who evaluate scientific evidence about food and nutrition and translate it into practical strategies. Dietitians work in partnership with individuals, whānau, communities and populations, in states of health and disease, to support optimal health and well-being.

Dietitians use their dietetic knowledge, skills, and judgement in a variety of contexts, which includes promoting and protecting public health, directing and delivering medical nutrition therapy services, and managing food and health systems. They may perform a variety of functions, including policy development, leadership, management, research, education, and communication roles.

Dietitians with a prescribing endorsement are able to prescribe Special Foods and approved nutrition-related medicines.

Dietitians are accountable for ensuring that their practice is consistent with the Dietitians Board’s competency requirements, Code of Ethics and Conduct, and relevant legislation.

Limitations may be put on this scope of practice e.g. being limited to working in a clinical domain of practice and/or being under a supervision condition.

Professional Standards & Competencies for Dietitians

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA 2003) requires the Dietitians Board to ‘set standards of clinical competence, cultural competence, and ethical conduct to be observed by health practitioners of the profession.’ These are generally referred to by Regulatory Authorities as professional standards and competencies.

The Registration Competency Requirements (2009) (RCRs) are the current competency standards registered dietitians are required to meet, to work safely and competently in New Zealand. These were published in 2009, with a transition period in 2010 and full implementation in 2011. These standards were reviewed and updated in 2016 and 2017 culminating in the revised Professional Standards & Competencies for Dietitians (2017). The transition to the revised standards will take place over 2018 with full implementation in 2019.

For more information about the transition process and Board expectations please refer to this page on the Board website.

To be eligible to apply for registration applicants are required to demonstrate achievement of the required standard across the Standards & Competencies. 


Restricted Activities

Certain Activities, which are noted for their ability to cause risk of harm to the public, were scheduled as RESTRICTED ACTIVITIES by the NZ Government under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (Restricted Activities) Order 2005, (SR 2005/182).

The Activity related to Dietetics is:

Prescribing of enteral or parenteral nutrition where the feed is administered through a tube into the gut or central venous catheter.