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Working in New Zealand

A working holiday visa is designed to enable you to travel round New Zealand, whilst earning money to help fund your holiday. The best part about the visa is that you are free to choose where in New Zealand you want to work and in what industry - and you don't have to stick to just one location! You might like to work in Queenstown for the winter season before spending your summer working in the laid back beach town of Raglan!

Of course some people seek jobs that will look good on their CVs. But for most participants, the Work New Zealand programme is not about finding a career position. Rather it is about having the ability to travel through some of the world's most spectacular scenery as well as making some great friendships.

The most successful job hunters are those who are willing to give anything a go...flexibility is a great trait to pocess! So get stuck in!

Types of Jobs

Although you may have a certain job in mind, it is better to be flexible and open to other jobs. Here are some suggestions to start you thinking:

Following the seasons

New Zealand's economy is to a large degree based on agriculture and tourism. This means that it is easy to work your way around the country enjoying the best that NZ has to offer following the harvest and tourist seasons. For summer (Nov - Mar) there are many options, including fruit picking and thinning in Hawkes Bay or the Nelson regions, that usually means soaking up the sun.

Most popular tourism areas really pick up over summer and there is usually a variety of work available i.e. the Bay of Islands, Taupo, Queenstown. Winter (May - Sept) for many, is time to hit the slopes in the South for skiing or snowboarding. Vineyards are looking for pruners around this time and keep in mind that cities offer year round work if the snow is not your thing.

Hotels, motels and hostels

Chambermaids, porters, waiters/waitresses, valets, etc. Hotel work is similar to resort work and an advantage of this type of work is that accommodation is often included, especially in Northland and in remote areas.


Restaurants usually seek people to work as waiters/waitresses, kitchen staff, busboys (filling water glasses, cleaning and tidying tables, etc) and till staff. The hours can be long, but you will meet lots of people and establish close ties with co-workers. Remember that tipping is not part of NZ culture. Depending on the staff demand, experience is not always necessary, but the more expensive the restaurant the more competition you will face. You can find restaurant work by looking in the local newspapers, by the "walk-in" method or through our job listings.


Retail shops are located both in city centres, shopping strips and increasingly inside shopping malls. This kind of work is great for those looking for work upon arrival. The most common job is sales clerk or shop assistant, which means you either help the customer choose an item or you sit at a till and ring the sale in. Jobs are also available working in the stock room or on delivery trucks. Past participants have had no trouble obtaining work in cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as well as smaller places like Nelson, Tauranga and Queenstown.

Career-related jobs

Most career-related work is found in major cities or at universities. Professional jobs such as working in the IT industry, accountancy, science and technology, marketing and public relations all require relevant University or equivalent qualifications and experience. It can be difficult to get these positions short term. 'Networking' (knowing people in the 'You know you're an honorary kiwi when...' industry) plays a considerable part, so if you have contacts make sure you use them. Talk to your old professors from University or College, previous employers, family and friends for contacts in your field. 

Ski resorts

Ski resorts can be a great place to start looking for work. If you like the idea of skiing/boarding on some great ski slopes, and enjoy working with the public, then you're sure to enjoy a position within a ski resort. Remember ski resort jobs are not all outdoors. Most resorts give their staff free ski passes, discounts on food and purchasing of ski gear. Accommodation however can be quite expensive and very hard to find, Queenstown in particular. Remember as well that you may not be employed until the snow arrives, which means you will not be earning until you can start work.

Applications for positions are often accepted over the Internet. Here are a number of websites for the larger ski employers in New Zealand. We would recommend applying for positions well before the season gets underway. Start looking in February/March.


Temping through a "temp" or recruitment agency is a popular option for participants who wish to secure short-term work in cities. The length of temp work ranges from day jobs up to 90-day contracts. Jobs over 90 days are listed as "temp to permanent". A lot of participants find that agencies are a great way to create contacts and build networks. Temping work is often divided into three different divisions. Commercial/corporate work, hospitality and industrial or labour. Commercial or corporate is office related so includes secretarial, reception, accounts, administrative, and clerical work, ie typing and computer skills are essential. Labour 'contract' work, includes building, painting, furniture moving, landscaping or security. Furthermore, there may be hospitality temp work including working as security, serving food and drink or clean up at corporate or VIP events like Christmas parties or sporting events, such as V8 Supercars, or rugby and cricket matches. We have provided you with a list of agencies, which we have contacted and are eager to talk with our participants.