Working in New Zealand

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Working in New Zealand

To work in New Zealand you'll need a:

  • Inland Revenue Number (IRD)
  • New Zealand bank account (e.g - BNZ, HSBC, National Bank)
  • Working holiday visa

working visas for New Zealand

So long as you stick to the conditions of your visa, you can do any job you like in New Zealand. The main work on offer for backpackers is seasonal work, such as fruit picking and other agricultural work, but there are plenty of opportunities to work elsewhere. The minimum wage is NZ$13 (£6.30) per hour, but most jobs will pay more than that so you can fund your trip whilst your travelling! 

Appropriate taxes are paid on all earnings, usually at 13%. If you do not declare tax through a 'tax declaration form', then you will be deducted at the no declaration rate of 45%, so make sure you fill out all the appropriate paper work.

The next thing that you'll need is an IRD number, which is like a National Insurance number, so make sure you have it before you get employed. Applying for an IRD number is can take between 8-10 working days and you will need to fill in the IRD number application form, and provide a photocopy of a passport.  You can find out more information about applying on the IRD website. 

Working in hostels

One way of working your way around New Zealand while meeting loads of fellow travellers is to work in hostels. Many of the hostels in New Zealand allow you to work for a few hours each day in return for board and maybe a bit of extra cash on the side. It may be worth ringing ahead and seeing if there are any jobs available although most backpackers just turn up and enquire. This is a great to save, and sometimes earn, money without being tied to one place for too long. 

Backpackers in New Zealand

Farm stays and WOOFing

Another great way to really experience New Zealand life and live with some Kiwis is to go on a farm stay. There are various groups such as WWOOFing - otherwise known as the WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms - which provide you with information on loads of farms that will take workers in exchange for accommodation and food. If you want to try something completely different like herding cows or 

It's usually easy work, fun, and a great way to meet the locals. Not only that, but if you wake up early and get your work done by midday, then you can have the afternoon off to go sight-seeing. You don't usually have to work more than six hours a day, but if you can if you really want to.

WWOOF New Zealand provides experiences in sustainable living from large organic farms to family gardens, organic orchards and vineyards, biodynamics, permaculture, urban organics, alternative building/energy etc. WWOOF also provides an intercultural eco-experience that promotes understanding and tolerance, so it's a great way to boost your CV as well. 

WWOOFING in New Zealand

Backpacker recruitment agencies

Within New Zealand there are a few backpacker-specific recruitment agencies who can assist you in finding work once you get to New Zealand. Another choice is to have everything sorted for you, check out our New Zealand Working Holiday Gap Wrap, which includes helping you obtain your tax number, opening a bank account and six months of assistance finding work so you have less to worry about. 

Office temping

Your best bet for finding work in larger towns/cities might be to sign up to a temping agency. Businesses approach these agencies looking for temporary staff to work in call centres or offices for cold calling, data entry positions and administration. The agency then picks the most relevant people from its books and offers them the work. Make sure you ring your agency or pop in regularly - if you’re fresh in their minds and seem keen then you’re more likely to get work. You’ll know whether work like this suits you or not: the pay isn’t bad, and the hours are generally sociable (Monday to Friday, 9 to 5:30), but you might feel that you didn’t go travelling to sit behind a desk!