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Finding work

Getting a job can be difficult at the best of times and when you’re in a new country too it can all seem a bit overwhelming. Help is at hand…

General Information On Working In New Zealand

Auckland is NZ’s biggest gateway city and is the main commercial centre of New Zealand. Around two thirds of the country’s population lives in Auckland City and its surrounding suburbs. It’s a great place to work, with a warm climate and proximity to the harbour, beaches and mountain ranges.

New Zealand has an Employment Relations Act, which requires both casual and full-time staff to have an employment contract, and all employers must be Health and Safety compliant.



Work in Early Childhood centres on a day to day basis is available throughout the year however, over the winter periods there is an increase in work available and this is throughout NZ. If you have had experience in working with children under 5 and under go the necessary checks you can start working in centres. You can choose your days and times when you are available. If you enjoy working with children then this is a great way to make a difference.

Labouring & Construction

Labouring and construction work can be weather dependent, so there’s always more work in the summer periods than the winter. Most of the labouring and construction will be found in the central cities but if work is outside the city area, the company will usually provide transport to and from each work site.


The hospitality industry provides a large number of job placements for travellers; this ranges from hotel reception to bar work and waiting tables to kitchen work. Jobs in hospitality can generally be found in the central city and town area, which means that travellers don’t have to travel too far off the beaten track.

Office Work

Short and long-term temping assignments are also available within the central city area. The type of office work varies enormously. Telesales professionals, bankers, IT support, graphic designers, clerks, accountants, and personal assistants can be in huge demand at various times. A lot of travellers prefer this type of work, as it can be flexible and is generally well paid.

Au Pair or Nanny Work

Home help and au pair work is also great for those people who have had experience with children. It will give the traveller a chance to experience life as part of a New Zealand family and could even lead to a free holiday away with the family.

Fruit Picking

If you want to get out of the city and work in New Zealand’s famed outdoors, fruit picking or packing may be the way to go. No matter what the month is, there is almost always seasonal work available somewhere in New Zealand and often you don’t need experience. As an added bonus, some orchards provide discounted accommodation on site, although if they don’t you may need a car.

The main problem with fruit picking is it’s weather dependant. You can earn between $200 to $500 a week, but some orchards stop work completely when it rains, particularly in the case of kiwifruit. Packers receive an hourly rate but pickers can also be on contract, their wages reflecting the quantity they pick. The main horticultural regions in New Zealand are the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Nelson, Marlborough and Central Otago. The apple season can start as early as February and end in early May, depending on the weather. You can pick (or pack) apples in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury; grapes in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay; citrus fruit in the Bay of Plenty, East Coast and North Auckland; and kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay and Northland. In November/December there is often apple thinning in Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Nelson. In November and December you can pick or pack cherries in Marlborough and Central Otago. In December through to late February it’s the stone fruit season in Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago. Picking, packing, pruning, planting and tying jobs can be available on vineyards, orchards and market gardens throughout the year in the Bay of Islands, Hawkes Bay, Blenheim and Nelson.

Farm Work

Farm work can also be provided if you’d like to experience life on a New Zealand farm. This can either be paid work or volunteer work in return for free lodging and food.

Helpful Links

WWOOF New Zealand: www.wwoof.co.nz
Immigration New Zealand: www.immigration.govt.nz


Tax Numbers

Regardless of whether they are working in an office or orchard, everybody that works in New Zealand needs an IRD number. IRD do require a letter of employment even if it is only casual work. this can take up to 10 working days.


Most banks have a range of services including cheque, saving, and long-term deposit accounts. It’s usually cheaper to use an EFTPOS card than withdraw money at the bank.

Most employers require that you open a bank account before starting work, as most wages will be paid directly into your account. People generally get paid weekly but some companies do pay fortnightly or monthly.

Cost Of Living

The cost of living in New Zealand is relatively cheap compared to other countries, as our dollar is relatively weak against other currencies for example-

NZD$1 = 0.33GBP and NZD$1 = 0.49EUR.

Food is relatively cheap, for example a litre of milk is $1.80, bread $3, and butter $2.


It’s relatively easy to find short-term accommodation in New Zealand.

If you are going to be staying in one area to work, it’s a good idea to check which hostels offer long-term accommodation. Backpacker hostels range from $20 – $30 a night in a dormitory room, and most also offer the option of private double rooms.

Alternatively, you can rent a house or apartment. Rent ranges from $95 to $200 a week in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Usually you’ll have to organise your own bedroom furniture as houses generally come unfurnished. Rent is usually paid weekly and expenses such as electricity, food and phone are shared between others in the house.

Working Holiday Visas

To work in New Zealand you need to have either a work permit, visa or be part of a Working Holiday Scheme. Under the working holiday scheme, if you are a young citizen of one of the approved countries you may travel to New Zealand for a holiday and undertake employment during your stay.

To be eligible for a work visa and permit under these schemes, applicants must:

  • be aged no less than 18 and no more than 30, and not be accompanied by children
  • provide evidence of sufficient funds to purchase return travel
  • provide their passport (This should have a validity of at least 26 months at the time of application)
  • meet the conditions of the particular scheme they are applying under
  • are not eligible to come to New Zealand for any further working holiday under the scheme
  • must not undertake permanent employment unless they apply for and obtain a work permit
  • have evidence of funds for your financial support during your stay. The minimum is the equivalent of NZ$4,200.

Currently this scheme is open to citizens of:-

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • UK
  • Chile
  • France
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Korea
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Argentina


Whether you are wanting to work 1 day a week or 5 days a week you will require a work permit. You should source this before coming to NZ as it can take 2 – 4 weeks, if not longer, to process. There are different types of visa and work permits all the information you need is on www.immigration.govt.nz

Backpacking NZ | Backpackers News

Backpacking NZ | Backpackers News