TNZ Referees


Last updated – 28th August, 2021

For the purposes of this document:

  • Officials are team managers, tournament directors, coaches, instructors, technical directors
  • Referees are inclusive of: Kyorugi and Poomsae referees, Kyorugi corner judges, Kyorugi computer and video replay system operators, Poomsae judges and Poomsae court controllers
  • There is a distinction between Referee and Judge in both Poomsae and Kyorugi competitions. In Poomsae, Judges assist the Referee. In Kyorugi, Judges are Corner Judges (only).

A formal Taekwondo New Zealand Kyorugi Referee and Poomsae Referee certification programme will ensure a consistent and standardized level of application of the rules. It will also ensure there is a pathway available for referee advancement from local (Class 3) through to World Taekwondo International Referee (WT IR).

Highly skilled refereeing is a fundamental requirement for strong domestic competition, which Taekwondo New Zealand (TNZ) sees as a foundation element required for international athlete competitiveness.

TNZ oversees the delivery of two events each year- the Taekwondo New Zealand Open and the Taekwondo New Zealand National Championships. These are considered New Zealand’s premier taekwondo events. To ensure these events are run to an international standard, TNZ is required to provide highly skilled referees. Therefore, TNZ seeks to offer a pathway to develop and enhance the skills of each and every referee.


The development of referees is two phased:

  1. Seminar based education
  2. Practical application

In order to assess the development of the individual referee, a tiered/class system, based on accumulation of points, is set in place.


The system to be put in place is a 4 tiered system, reading from top to bottom as:

  • WT certified International Referee (WT IR)
  • TNZ Class 1
  • TNZ Class 2
  • TNZ Class 3
  • TNZ Class P

Further Classification system

For Poomsae, the certificate will also note the belt/age group to which the Referee is qualified to officiate.


Certificates issued by TNZ are valid within New Zealand.  A WTO Referee certificate is valid worldwide. Officials may hold both certificates, but the TNZ Referee certificate is the primary reference document for TNZ.


For the purpose of attending a WT IR seminar, the signature of the TNZ President is required. This signature will not be made available unless the candidate has a TNZ Class 1 certificate. A WTO certificate, and/or the signature of the WTO President, are not applicable for application to attend a WT seminar.


The Referee certificate will remain valid for two (2) years. During the two years that the certificate is valid, it is expected that the certificate holder will attend further referee refresher seminars. Each attendance at a referee seminar (and subsequent passing of the exam) will come with a new certificate and new two year period.


The monitoring system to be implemented for TNZ by the Referee Director is based around the feedback from WT IRs. The Referee Director will receive/seek feedback from Tournament Directors, and World Taekwondo International Referees on the performance of the TNZ Registered Officials officiating at tournaments nationwide. As more tournaments are attended by individual TNZ Registered Referees, more experience is gained and their respective skills are improved. As experience increases, so does the confidence level of the official.


Referees attending tournaments where a WT IR is in attendance can apply for points to be awarded against their names. Points are used as a way of assessing tournaments attended and hence, by association, experience gained. Points will not decrease over time as they are an indication of increased skill level.


Moving through the classes is a combination of:

  • Points gained through officiating at tournaments,
  • Observation by the Referee Director and the Referee Coordinators,
  • Seminar attendance (staying up to date with rules and interpretation changes issued by WT)

When a referee passes the threshold to pass to a new Class, the referee is not automatically upgraded. The Referee must attend a subsequent referee seminar in order for a new certificate to be issued with the upgraded status.


The Referee Director must be able to constantly, and freely, assess the officials registered with Taekwondo New Zealand. As tournaments offered throughout New Zealand are of differing standards, the ability to set grades tournaments for the purpose of points allocation is required. WT IR’s must be present to view the officiating.


  • Grade 3:- Regional events – for example: NZUTA Bay Open
  • Grade 2:- National Organisation events – for example: TUNZ Nationals, NZUTA Nationals
  • Grade 1:- TNZ Open and National Championships – for example: TNZ National Championships

The event category for each tournament will be decided between the TNZ Tournament Director and the TNZ Referee Director.


Points for seminars/refresher attendance:

  • Attendance at a TNZ Referee seminar – 1 point
  • Successful completion of TNZ Referee examination – 1 point


Points for tournaments are earned by the number of days officiating:

  • Grade 3 tournament – 1 point per day
  • Grade 2 tournament – 2 points per day
  • Grade 1 tournament – 3 points per day


In the event that no uniform is provided for the tournament, the default uniform for a TNZ Referee is:

  • White shoes (preferably martial arts shoes)
  • Black long pants (not black jeans)
  • White collared polo shirt or White collared business shirt (long or short sleeve)
  • If using a business shirt, a Black tie


All TNZ referees must be registered members of TNZ through the World Taekwondo Global Management System (WT GMS).


A “P Class” Referee can not officiate at tournaments. This level is expected for Coaches and Instructors.


  • TNZ member through the WT GMS.
  • Attendance at full day course but has not passed or submitted an examination paper.

Approval to officiate at:


  • Any belt level (Keup 8) or higher and aged 12 years or above.


  • Keup 2 or higher and aged 18 years or above

3RD CLASS REFEREE – 2 to 8 points inclusive

Qualifies a Referee to judge at Grade 3 tournaments, and judge at Grade 2 events.


  • Attained a minimum of 2 TNZ Ranking points


  • Belt Level – Any belt level (Keup 8) or higher and aged 12 years or above.


  • Belt level – Keup 2 or higher and aged 18 years or above
  • Can judge only coloured belt competition.

2ND CLASS REFEREE – 9 to 20 points inclusive

Qualifies a Referee to officiate as referee at all Grade 3 and Grade 2 tournaments, and may judge at Grade 1 tournaments.


  • Attained a minimum of 9 TNZ Ranking points
  • Must
    have minimum rank of 2ndKeup (Kyorugi) and 1stDan (Poomsae)
  • Must pass course/seminar requirements
  • Must have a current Referee certificate


  • Keup 2 or higher and aged 18 years or above.


  • Belt level – 1st Dan/Poom or higher and aged 18 years or above
  • Can judge only to the patterns of their age division.
  • Expected to know, perform and judge up to their age Division

1ST CLASS REFEREE – 21 points or more

Qualifies referees to referee/judge at all Grade 3, 2 and 1 tournaments and national team selection level events. Qualifies referees to be eligible for selection to attend international level courses (e.g. WT international Referee). This also when invited to, this class level allows referees to officiate tournaments overseas, though a corresponding WTO certificate is also recommended.


  • Attained a minimum of 21 TNZ Ranking points
  • Poomsae and Kyorugi: Must have minimum rank of 1st Dan Kukkiwon black belt.
  • Must pass course/seminar requirements
  • Must have a current Referee certificate


  • 1st Dan or higher and aged 18 years or above.


  • 1st Dan or higher and aged 18 years or above
  • Can judge all competitions
  • Expected to know, perform and judge all patterns from Taeguek 4 to Hansu


The process for seeking attendance at a WT IR seminar has pre-requisite conditions:

The candidate must first fulfil the following pre-requisites:

  • Category of Referee:
    • Kyorugi:
      • Female – Minimum 1st Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt.
      • Male – Minimum 2nd Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt.
    • Poomsae:
      • Minimum 4th Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt
    • Minimum age – 21 years
    • Must have a current TNZ Class 1 Referee certificate with a minimum of 30 points
    • Must be a TNZ member registered through the WT GMS

Once these criteria have been fulfilled, the candidate shall apply to the TNZ Referee Director for consideration, stipulating the WT seminar the candidate is wishing to attend.

The TNZ Referee Director, in consultation with the TNZ Poomsae Coordinator and the TNZ Kyorugi Coordinator, will either ACCEPT or REJECT the application. In the case of a rejection, the TNZ Referee Director will correspond directly with the Candidate regarding why the application was rejected. The Referee Director will offer advice on what areas the candidate needs to improve.

In the case of acceptance, an application is made to the TNZ Board recommending the candidate be approved to attend the stipulated WT seminar. If the TNZ Board agrees with the recommendation of the TNZ Referee Director, the TNZ President’s signature is added to the application form. The signed form is returned to the candidate for submission to World Taekwondo. In the case of rejection by the TNZ Board, the TNZ President will correspond directly with the Candidate regarding why the application was rejected.

Please note: TNZ Board approval of the application does not constitute any suggestion of financial support from TNZ or the TNZ Board.

Garry Carpenter
TNZ Referee Director