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Working as an Au Pair in New Zealand

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Vicky Philpott

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Written by: Matthew Paul

If you’re a caring, sharing kind of person who loves spending time with children, working as an au pair is a great way to travel and see the world. You’ll spend your days playing with the kids and have the time to explore your surroundings too. Working as an au pair can be a brilliant opportunity to see a country from an insider’s perspective, rather than just exploring the main tourist sites you’ll learn what it’s really like to live in a particular destination.
Get a job as an au pair in New Zealand and you can combine work and travel – giving you all the more money to make the most of your gap year. We’ve had a little chat with Matthew Paul from Au Pair Link about what it’s really like working with children abroad.

FAQs for Child Care in New Zealand

1. What is an au pair?

An Au Pair is a young person from abroad employed by a “host family” to live with them and care for their children. An Au Pair is typically between the ages of 18-30 and usually has a working holiday visa.

2. Is it scary living with a host family?

Joining a new family can be a daunting experience – especially when you are halfway around the world! Luckily, with Au Pair Link, you can feel safe in the knowledge that all host families are comprehensively screened (including a police check), meaning you’ll only ever be placed with a family with genuine intentions and who we are satisfied will treat you as an equal member of the family.
In the technological age, you also have the benefit of being able to connect with your family at the click of a button. It is common practice for au pairs to chat with their host family regularly before departing, so you can already start building a relationship.

3. What do you have to do?

Your primary focus as an Au Pair is childcare. Au Pair Link differs from many au pair agencies around the world in that they provide you with an educational programme – including one-on-one support from your own early childhood education teacher, weekly playgroups and fun child outings. Not only do you provide childcare, you’ll have the benefit of a fun and educational programme to work through during your time as an au pair.
Lisa at Au Pair Link

4. How much spare time do you have?

An au pair will generally work anywhere between 20-45 hours per week, depending on the host family’s requirements. It’s almost impossible to guarantee that you will receive any spare time if you do not use a reputable agency to find your host family. Au Pair Link provides all au pairs with an employment contract (between the au pair and family) to ensure that your rights are protected – the same as any other employee in New Zealand.
Most au pairs care for their children for up to 40 hours per week, receive two consecutive days off a week and are entitled to paid annual leave (up to four weeks) to travel and enjoy their destination.

5. What’s so great about working as an au pair?

Quite simply, there is no better way to immerse yourself in a new culture than becoming an au pair. Not only will you make an important difference to the lives of children, you’ll also have the unique opportunity to find your ‘home away from home’ living with your host family. It is not uncommon for au pairs to stay in touch with their host families for the rest of their lives!
Most Au Pairs are young people seeking independence, and want to embark on a new stage of their lives. As an Au Pair, your time overseas is not simply an ‘overseas experience’ in the classical sense – it is a rewarding, challenging and life-changing adventure.

6. How easy is it to work in New Zealand with all the visas and all?

Becoming an Au Pair in New Zealand is largely dependent on whether or not you are able to access a working holiday visa. Different countries provide different allowances for working holiday visas, so it is worthwhile checking on whether your country is eligible before applying to become an Au Pair in New Zealand. A working holiday visa is not expensive (approximately $150 NZD) and can last anywhere from 6-24 months depending on your country of origin.

7. Do you think it’s good for CVs?

Working as an Au Pair is a great way to boost your CV. It demonstrates a number of desirable traits to an employer – it proves you are a caring, responsible, trustworthy and culturally-aware individual – all very desirable character traits. Working as an Au Pair also demonstrates independence – if you are able to successfully look after young children, there’s not much you can’t do!
Moreover, joining Au Pair Link’s educational Au Pair programmes means you will have experience working on a world-leading early childhood education programme.  If you’re looking for a career in education, this is a great way to strengthen your confidence and experience in childcare.
Kopia Au Pair Link

8. Why is Au Pair Link New Zealand so good? 

Quite simply, Au Pair Link provides you with a one-of-a-kind service. With a fun and interactive educational programme, you no longer have to worry about making sure your children are having fun (and learning at the same time!)  As well as making sure you receive the educational support you need on their programmes, Au Pair Link is there for you in any way you need them – you even have your own dedicated support person (an early childhood education teacher) there for you when you need them!

9. Do you need any qualifications?

Qualifications aren’t necessary – in fact, becoming an Au Pair is often a popular choice while you are in between high school and university/college! Au Pair Link does offer the Au Pair Whiz programme for candidates with an early childhood degree/diploma or comprehensive childcare experience.

10. What about experience?

The absolute minimum childcare experience required to qualify for one of Au Pair Link’s programme is 100 hours. The minimum required for their most popular Au Pair programme, Au Pair 123, is 200 hours.  You also need to satisfy the following requirements (for any programme):

  • Be between 18-30 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s licence
  • Have a clean police record
  • Speak English to a good standard
  • Have a working holiday visa

11. How much does it cost?

Au Pair Link’s programme fee covers all you will need while you are in New Zealand. In addition to your programme support (including your own dedicated support person, weekly playgroups, childcare workshops etc), we also provide you with return flights to New Zealand, full travel insurance and assistance organising your working holiday visa!
Programme fees can be affected by the city you depart from, to find out your programme fee contact the team at Au Pair Link.
Au Pair Link people

12. How much can I earn?

An Au Pair’s weekly wage is comprised by a few factors. Firstly, you don’t need to pay for any of your meals or accommodation. The net wage you are paid is yours – in full – to keep. To this end, the maximum net weekly wage you can earn while you are here is $320 NZD (on the Au Pair Whiz programme). Other programmes are paid a slightly lesser wage – owing to a lesser childcare experience requirement. Our most popular programme, Au Pair 123, pays a weekly net wage of about $220 NZD per week.

13. Whereabouts in New Zealand can I go?

Anywhere you like! Another huge benefit of coming to New Zealand with Au Pair Link is the fact that they make nationwide placements. That means you can access their programmes from all of the country’s main regions (Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Wellington, Canterbury and Dunedin) – so there’s a whole range of families to choose from!
During your time off you’ll have the opportunity to join any number of roadtrips, organised by Au Pair Link or just other Au Pairs – giving you the chance to get out on the road and experience the country on your own.

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