International delegate programme

Every year we recruit and train international delegates. They're deployed on international Red Cross humanitarian and development field operations. Find out more about the programme, the skills you'll need and how to apply.

We are one of a small number of National Societies globally that recruit, train and provide international delegates for field operations. Our delegates overseas are supported by funding from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the New Zealand Aid Programme and by our generous donors.

Delegates are recruited on an ongoing basis.

Applications are now closed for this year's International Mobilisation and Preparation for ACTion (IMPACT) training course. 

What's it like?

Read our delegates' blog posts, From the Field, to find out what it's like on deployment overseas (scroll down to 'Recent stories' below).


Standard missions range from six to 12 months, with shorter missions of 2-8 weeks offered during emergency responses. Delegates are employed by New Zealand Red Cross on fixed term contracts that cover salary, travel costs, all pre-deployment and post-deployment support, medical clearance and insurance.

Appropriate missions are dependent on demand, availability and suitability. There is no guarantee of an immediate international deployment.

Minimum requirements

  • A minimum of three to four years' experience in area of expertise
  • Must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Previous humanitarian experience and/or cross-cultural experience are desirable.

Professions and expertise currently being prioritised

  • Water and sanitation/WASH specialists and engineers
  • Public health practitioners
  • General surgeons
  • Midwives
  • Operating theatre, ward and emergency department nurses
  • Business administrators (with focus on finance/accounting)
  • Clinical psychologists

Potential delegates should also:

  • Be adaptable, flexible and mature in judgment
  • Possess strong communication skills, initiative, diplomacy, cultural sensitivity
  • Have the ability to live and work in a team, usually under arduous and sometimes dangerous conditions
  • Be in sound mental and physical health
  • Be computer-literate
  • Fully accept and apply Red Cross Fundamental Principles, and be prepared to acquire an understanding of the Movement and its ideals.
  • Be available to deploy for a minimum of three months
  • Additional languages are advantageous (particularly Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic or languages spoken in the Pacific)

What to consider before you apply

  • What are my true motivations for applying for international humanitarian work?
  • How can I practically and genuinely make a difference?
  • How do I feel about living and working in areas of insecurity where my health and wellbeing may be affected?
  • Am I able to adapt quickly and sensibly to an unknown and unfamiliar environment?
  • Will I thrive in working in a diverse cultural environment and accept the challenge of adapting to different work styles and personalities?

Application process

If you meet the criteria above, you can apply for the pre-requisite IMPACT course when applications open. 

Please note that we can't answer speculative enquiries regarding international humanitarian work, or feedback on CVs.

Your application must include:

  1. Completed New Zealand Red Cross delegate application form and current CV, in specified format
  2. Cover letter
  3. Scanned copy of the front page of your passport and/or copy of residency status

Delegate training

The IMPACT course provides in-depth training on the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Disaster Response Law, life as a delegate, health and safety, and field operations.

The course is held in New Zealand. Meals and accommodation are covered by New Zealand Red Cross, however you will need to make your own way to Wellington.

The next IMPACT course is scheduled for October 2019, with applications opening in May 2019.