Umpiring in New Zealand commenced in 1936 but did not officially become a recognised national programme until October 1938 when the New Zealand Softball Umpires' Association (NZSUA) was formed.  It must be noted at that particular time Wellington, Auckland and Wanganui had established Umpire Associations in their local areas.  The NZSUA operated as the national body but at the "grassroots" level, umpiring flourished in the local associations.  In March 1944 the national body went into recess until it was revived towards the end of 1946 as the New Zealand Umpires' Federation.  The Federation continued up to 1955 where it was wound up. 

Today's New Age Umpire requires a unique set of skills and resources to officiate at all levels of the game.  As an umpire, you must be able to demonstrate great rules knowledge, quick decision-making, and ability to explain and defend decisions and a willingness to keep the game moving at a steady pace.  You are in a position that requires you to be impartial at all times but is seen to have a positive impact and be a good role model to children, young adults, players, coaches, spectators and administrators.

SNZ's Umpiring Programme offers the opportunity for both males and females to realise their potential as a New Age Umpire and meet great people along the way.  Whether you want to umpire junior grade or senior grade, there is a career path for you.  All you need to become an umpire is an interest in the sport and a willingness to be involved.  It can be a rewarding career with great personal achievements and lifelong friendships.


Umpiring plays an important role in supporting our elite athletes to excel on the world stage and encouraging our local communities to participate, compete and enjoy Softball.

Over the years the national umpiring program has made significant progress in umpire development but there is much more to be done.  We must ensure our umpiring workforce are properly qualified and have the skills and tools to work with all levels of athletes in our sport. 

Below you will find the Softball New Zealand Umpire Pathways Framework which seeks to build on our successes with even better systems and processes that will deliver better-supported umpires.  Underpinning the Frameworks are the Annual Rules Test Policy and the Grading System Policy. 

Take your time to read through the Framework as it will provide you with all the information you need to become a skilled and properly trained umpire. We recommend you discuss your career plan with your Local Association Chief Umpire in the first instance and then with your Regional Director should you require further advice.