I am an Aucklander for the past 25 years but I would recommend Nelson District for a young tourist apart from the winter months perhaps.
Certainly one of the better places climate wise. I spent a little time there late last year. My understanding is that work is that seasonal work fruit picking / vineyard is lot easier to come by than a few years ago and a lot more jobs in the tourism industry in Abel Tasman area, Motueka comes to mind as somewhere I notice a lot of foreign accents among the workforce.
Wanaka / Queenstown Lakes District is also thriving but I understand accomodation costs there are much higher than say Nelson.