A Guide to Working in New Zealand

New Zealand jobs

If you have always wanted to work abroad we highly recommend going to New Zealand. This is a small country but there are so many exciting destinations. Expect friendly English speaking locals, low crime, facsinating cities, beautiful beaches and also a good value for money.

There are lots of jobs for foreigners in New Zealand including various temporary and casual jobs in industries like tourism and hospitality. Our featured jobs are perfect for students, graduates and anyone seeking a fresh career overseas. 


Working Holiday Visas in New Zealand

If you are aged 18 - 30 you can apply for a 12 month or 23 month working holiday visa for New Zealand. There is also a visa for people who are over aged 30 which can be arrange through a sending agency in your home country.

This visa is flexible and allows you to travel as much as you want, you can also leave before the end of the visa. You will need to check country eligibly as some countries are not part of this working holiday program. Once you have successful gained a visa you can start applying for positions and then live and work anywhere in the country.

By living and working in New Zealand you will experience a magical country with a diverse range of jobs and places to work - this country offers something to everyone. Throughout the country there are different positions available, for example in a large city like Auckland you can find work in an office, bar, hotel, hostel or in a restaurant for example.

In cities like Queenstown you could work as an adventure sports activity leader, like a bungee jump instructor. You could apply for farm or agriculture work or in winter you could consider working at a ski resort as there is a need for seasonal winter staff. With millions of tourists and backpackers visiting New Zealand every year there is demand for hostel and hotel staff year round.

You should be able to get yourself a decent job with a good salary / income within 2-3 weeks after arrival. This does depend on what type of work you are looking to do and the season, if you are thinking farm / agriculture you might want to check the harvesting times of the fruits.

Don't feel obliged to limit yourself to fruit picking only. It is quite realistic to look for and get a job in other industries like hospitality (hostels aka backpackers, cafés, restaurants) Just don´t be afraid of the problems you might face and just go for it and apply for a working holiday in New Zealand - you won't regret it!  You will find employers in New Zealand alway prefer if you intend to stay for longer period (2 - 3 months). 


Major Industries

The main industries include manufacturing, retail, trade, agriculture forestry, healthcare/social work, tourism, accommodation and hospitality. People find positions like bar work, fruit picking, hospitality, construction in places like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. If you want to improve your career prospects internships in New Zealand might appeal to you.


Best Places to Seek Employment

Working holidays New Zealand

New Zealand is not a large country geographically and finding jobs in most areas is fairly easy like the big cities and more rural locations. Once you have got a working holiday visa you are free to seek employment anywhere in the country.

You can find work throughout the country, popular places to seek employment include Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and Wanaka. If you are seeking buzzing places full of travellers then you might want to choose a big city but if you are looking for a more relaxed experience you might want to apply for agriculture work in a more rural area. 

You might want to consider working in New Zealand's North Island which is famous for National Parks and volcanic landscapes. If you choose to work in the South Island you can see the spectacular 'Remarkables' mountains, made famous in Peter Jackson's 2001 film 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Recommended places to work include:

  • Auckland 
  • Christchurch
  • Otago
  • Queenstown
  • Wellington
  • Wanaka


Backpacker Jobs in New Zealand

One World 365 is one of the best recruitment website for backpackers and travellers seeking casual, part time and full time work in New Zealand.

If you are looking to work while backpacking or on a gap year in New Zealand our directory has new jobs posted every month from recommended local and international recruiters in a range of different industries.

You can find working holiday visa jobs, temporary, professional, fruit picking, harvest, farm work and au pair jobs which are some of the most popular positions.


Summer Jobs in New Zealand

The summer period can be the best time to gain employment and below you can read more information about jobs available. New Zealand offers so many options for adventure sports enthusiasts and because of this there are year round vacancies when you can be part of a team organising and making sure tourists stay safe.

Queenstown is the main location to seek these types of jobs, here you can find paragliding, bungee, jet boating, mountain biking and sky diving just to name a few. There are lots of different roles available including giving talks, selling tickets, making videos, providing safety checks etc.

Some other places you might want to consider applying include Wanaka, Port Hills and Otago.


Winter & Ski Jobs in New Zealand

One of the most appealing options is to work a winter ski season in New Zealand, job are available from June to October and you will need to apply early to secure a spot.

During the winter season a variety of job opportunities are available in ski resorts including working for a resort, in a chalet, leading ski lessons, cleaning, hospitality, bar work, chefs, child-minders or working as a holiday rep making sure tourists have the best time possible. Wages can be low, but usually full board and unlimited ski passes are offered and you will usually get lot of free time to go skiing.

Queenstown is an excellent place to live and work for winter sports because of its location – five excellent ski resorts are all within a 30 minute drive. Locals love Coronet Peak for its easy access and variety of terrain suitable for both beginner skiers and more advanced visitors. The views are absolutely incredible! For more versatile terrain, The Remarkables ski area, offers a variety of child-friendly activities and plenty of jobs incuding being a tubing instructor. The skiing and snowboarding options here are excellent.

On the North Island the Whakapapa and Turoa resorts are the two largest ski areas in the country. Most of the ski resorts are located in the South Island, these are the main ones you might want to apply to: Cardrona, Coronet Peak, Craigieburn Valley, Mt. Dobson, Mt. Hutt, Mt. Lyford, Ohau, Porter Heights, Rainbow, The Remarkables and Treble Cone

Another places to work a winter ski season the Cardrona ski resort, which has the most reliable snow in the area, and also has lots of on-slope amenities, such as cafes, ski schools, and accessories shops. For adrenaline seekers, check out your options for heli-ski (where a helicopter drops you in otherwise inaccessible terrain, and you ski out), or the Invincible Snowfields, a privately owned snowfield.


Jobs for Americans in New Zealand

If you are a US citizen hoping to work in New Zealand the good news is there is a Working Holiday Scheme available to US citizens. This visa costs US$140 to apply and you will need to complete an application and show you have funds available to cover your stay - around NZ$4,000. You will be able to stay for up to 12 months (3 month extensions are also available).


Tips for Finding Work in New Zealand

1. Research New Zealand’s immigration laws. Some tough laws are in place so it pays to know what you will be dealing with.
2. The application process is similar to that in the UK. Make sure your C.V is written to the New Zealand standard.
3. If a position does come up, apply for it quickly as there’s a good chance there will be competition for the job.
4. Look for jobs where workers are in demand. If you have a trade or professional skill then you will find a job a lot easier.
5. Be sure to check the New Zealand immigration website for the latest positions.


How to Apply

Planning a break to work in New Zealand couldn't be easier and there are lots of options.

Our website features agencies and recruiters who offer packages which can include flights, accommodation and job hunting assistance, this lets you enjoy a stress free experience as they take care of all the hard stuff. Some companies also organise group flights where you can meet new people, make friends who you will then travel and live with in when abroad. 

If you need any help arranging a working holiday in New Zealand please get in contact with us. Or for more options view our guide to working holidays in Australia.



Moving to New Zealand is a massive undertaking and the decision to do so is not to be taken lightly. Once you’ve made the big decision then it’s time to find a job. New Zealand once boasted the accolade of being the best place for British expats to make a fresh start. 

Important Things to Consider
Finding work in New Zealand all depends on obtaining a visa. Either a working or residential one is required. Normally you need to have a skill that the county needs, Teachers, doctors, mechanics etc… ,are the most highly sought after. It’s best to contact the New Zealand immigration office to make sure you can get a visa. If you’re seeking a professional job it is common practise for a potential employer to only regard someone who has had a working visa for at least two years. To see what jobs are the most in demand you should regularly check the New Zealand government website. Unemployment levels are high for such a small population, making competition fierce. Thanks to the unpredictable jobs market there is a danger that if you do lose your job whilst in New Zealand then you may be deported in a short space of time.

The minimum wage in New Zealand is NZ$12.75 per hour for people aged over 18 but what you get paid really depends on where you work, for which company and also what contract you are offered.

The working conditions in New Zealand are similar to those currently found in the UK. The average working week is typically 40 hours from Monday to Friday with the average day ranging from 8.30am to 5pm. This includes rest and lunch breaks. A lot of New Zealand employers readily employ migrant workers, especially during a labour shortage. People with a strong proficiency in English and strong qualifications are the migrants most likely to succeed in landing a job. Pay rates in New Zealand are not as high as those found in the UK but on average neither is the cost of living.