About Us

The Society originated in 1933 as Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers Inc. to advance the practice, education and technology of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC+R) industry. Following the merger with New Zealand Heating and Ventilation Engineers Inc (1955-1989), we were incorporated on the 10th February 1989 and became the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers of New Zealand Inc (IRHACE).

In 2023, IRHACE turns 90 years old. On the 13th April 1933, the initial meeting of refrigeration interests was held in the board room of the NZ Dairy Produce Control Board in Wellington. The 12 persons that attended that meeting represented a wide range of industry and scientific research interests. The original constitution was modelled on the British Association of Refigeration and was submitted for registration under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. The first AGM was run in Wellington on 31 May 1934.

IRHACE are the shareholder of Refrigerant Recovery New Zealand Ltd (who are the Corporate Trustee of the Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants); and the shareholder of the operating company Refrigerant Recovery New Zealand Ltd. Recovery New Zealand facilitates and manages refrigerant gas disposal, playing a vital role in the protection of New Zealand’s fragile ozone layer and our environment, so that future generations may enjoy what we do now. Operating a national refrigerant gas cylinder collection service, Recovery aim to maximise the recovery, reclamation and safe destruction of contaminated, surplus and unwanted synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerants and, in doing so minimize emissions into our atmosphere.

The Refrigerant License Trust Board (RLTB) was established by IRHACE and CCCANZ (Climate Control Companies Association of New Zealand). Funding is provided by refrigerant levy collection, initially to develop and provide refrigerant filler and handler training and certification for HVAC&R practitioners. Subsequently RLNZ has expanded its activities to provide a wider range of training and professional development for people in the HVAC&R industry.

Our main aims are to promote the economic well-being and quality of life of our members, and of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industries, and to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of every New Zealander through:

  • representing and promoting the industry interests of our members
  • advancing and promoting (including the use of standards) the technology used by and activities of those in our industry
  • supporting training and education in the industry
  • promoting a high level of skill, qualifications and continuing professional development
  • promoting the development of practice guides and other industry Standards as the Council thinks is appropriate for and relevant to our industry that members shall follow
  • providing a forum for our members, associates and affiliates to discuss and share their knowledge and experience
  • providing a forum where our members, associates and affiliates and members of the public can settle their disputes


To give effect to our aims, the strategic direction of IRHACE for the future is:

  • To develop a continuing development policy and framework for IRHACE members to support a more skilled and technically competent membership.