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Salient. Special Salient Issue. Careers Information Week. 1961

The Ministry of Works

page 23

The Ministry of Works

The Ministry of Works

The Ministry of Works

The Ministry of Works is associated in some way with almost [unclear: very] phase of national development. Its activities extend from [unclear: the] tropics to the Antarctic.

Its history commenced soon after British Sovereignty was established [unclear: in] New Zealand when, in 1844, Parliament appropriated a sum of £2,710 for "public works, fixed establishments, tools and [unclear: contingencies], roads and buildings".

To-day the Department is responsible for the design and construction of such public works as: Electric power schemes (hydro, [unclear: geothermal], and coal-fired steam), [unclear: motorways], highways, public buildings, aerodromes, schools, hospitals, government housing, bridges. railways, irrigation, [unclear: defence] works, lighthouse and [unclear: harbour] works, opencast mines and public health engineering.

The planning and supervision of such a huge programme of works, currently costing approximately £1½ million a week, requires a big staff of professional, technical, and administration officers, plus the services of hundreds of contractors and thousands of workmen.

The Ministry of Works comprises seven divisions, the head of each division being responsible to [unclear: the] Commissioner of Works; there [unclear: are] seven district organisations, various projects (major construction works), and three major mechanical repair workshops, each responsible direct to Head Office.


The Administration Division of the Department is one of the largest administration groups in the Public Service. It includes Executive Officers, Accountants, Solicitors, Stores Officers. Land Purchase Officers, and Typists. This staff provides all the necessary clerical and administrative services for this large organisation.

Desirable examination qualifications for administration staff are degrees in commerce or arts, the Professional Examination in Accountancy, or the Chartered Institute of Secretaries' Examination.


An architect in the Ministry of Works is engaged in the design and erection of a multitude of buildings ranging from housing to universities and from hospitals to post offices.

There are vacancies for both young men and women as:

Architectural Draughting Cadets. Appointments are available to applicants with University Entrance (or a better qualification), in the university centres of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Cadets are required to study part-time at the local university for the Architectural intermediate Examination, and on completion of this examination will be eligible for selection for a bursary to enable them to attend the School of Architecture at the University of Auckland with a view to qualifying as Architects.

Appointments are also made of boys and girls who desire to make a career in Architectural Draughting alone.

Quantity Surveyors' Assistants. Appointments are made from those with School Certificate to the various District Offices of the Department. Quantity Surveyors' Assistants are required to study with the view of becoming qualified Members of the Quantity Surveyors' Institute of New Zealand.

Vacancies at an appropriate salary also exist for Architects, Architectural Draughtsmen and Quantity Surveyors who have the necessary qualifications.

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineers in the Ministry of Works areresponsible for the investigation, survey, design and construction of a wide variety of works. These include electric power development schemes (hydro, geothermal steam, and coal-fired steam), highways, bridges, aerodromes, railways, irrigation and river control works, housing-site development, sewerage, and water-supply services.

Civil Engineers tend to specialise in some branch of civil engineering after a sound general training. Such special lines include design of various types such as power schemes, bridges, or multi-storied buildings. There is also scope for men interested in research in concrete or soils technology. Beyond all these lie opportunities for executive management and the direction of large engineering organisations.

Young men may enter the civil engineering profession in the Ministry of Works as Assistant Engineers if they are graduates in engineering; or Engineering Cadets, the latter being appointed as follows:

Straight from school. Appointments are made annually in February from applicants who have sat the University Entrance Scholarships examination in mathematics, physics, and chemistry; from applicants who have completed the intermediate examination for the B.E. degree and are under 21 years of age at the date of interview; or, from applicants who have passed all or parts of the first or second professional examinations of the B.E.

Applications for study awards are invited in the press in October each year. Suitable applicants are interviewed when examination results are known, and appointments are made in February. Appointees are sent to university, full time, at departmental expense, to study for their degrees and arepaid an allowance while studying. During the long vacation cadets return to the Department.

Engineering cadets are promoted to Assistant Engineers on completion of their degrees and all Assistant Engineers are given a thorough training, in both design and construction, to a standard which will enable them to become Registered Engineers in New Zealand and Associate Members of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineers in the Ministry of Works deal with a very wide range of mechanical equipment from heavy construction plant as used on hydro-electric schemes to heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment for Government buildings and institutions.

Assistant Mechanical Engineers, Assistant Electrical Engineers, and Assistant Building Services Engineers are recruited from University graduates in mechanical or electrical enginering or from applicants with suitable practical training who have completed the examination of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institution of Electrical Engineers or the Institution of Heating and Ventilation Engineers respectively.

Mechanical or Electrical Engineering Cadets are chosen in the same way as Civil Engineering Cadets.

Town and Country Planning

Officers of the Town and Country Planning Branch are responsible for administration, design, and research work in connection with the preparation of district and regional planning schemes by local authorities throughout the country. The branch is also responsible for research and investigations necessary in the preparation of comprehensive surveys of our national resources. The Town and Country Planning Branch thus offers careers for university graduates in geography or economics as well as those who have passed professional or diploma examinations in town and country planning.

Prospects for Graduates

Those with university education, or those who seek bursaries or those who seek bursaries or other assistance under the Department's vigorous staff training scheme are assured of a worthwhile and rewarding career. If any of the careers described above interest you, please apply for further particulars to: The Staff Training Officer, Ministry of Works, P.O. Box 8023, Wellington, C.1.