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Work and play in New Zealand?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Work and play in New Zealand?

1. Posted by karlod (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

karlod has indicated that this thread is about New Zealand

Hi everybody

Looooooots info out there, helped me through many hours of work so am hoping your wisdom will help me out a little.
Heres my case.
Im taking a career break in work and they're paying me to leave for a few years.:) So ive decide finally to travel, im 28.
A friend is heading to NZ in january so im kinda piggie backing on his plans and aim to arrive sometime then. Not sure if he's doing a full on work thing but i want to both work and play, so i might go it alone.
My plan is head south to New Zealand (not sure where) and find a job that will allow me to live and have fun. I want to see both islands overs a 6 month period and tip over to Oz (maybe).
I have no idea where to start, where to work that not to serious (i work as a test analyst now in a bank), where to stay, etc.
Basically id like a job that can potentially give me flexibilty to travel a bit but also pay for a few pints and rent. Ideally i dont want to spend to much of what work is giving but will see how that goes.
Does this make sense and can anybody offer advice on where to start?


2. Posted by TravelMc (Respected Member 93 posts) 7y


The most flexible and traveller-friendly jobs tend to be fairly lowly paid and transient - fruit picking would be the first one springing to mind and pubs/clubs and restaurants next. They tend to be great ways of getting used to local currency, meeting all sorts of people in one easy hit and offer the opportunity to work hard for a burst, then travel about for a burst.

Kiwifruit picking is in May normally and located in the middle of the north island in its biggest density, summer fruits in places like Blenheim in the north of the south island, grape picking (not sure if this is a more specialist task) in places like Marlborough, Gisborne/Napier/Hastings, Warkworth.

Otherwise temp jobs in the bigger cities are good options. Make sure you have a work permit before you enter the country and find out about setting up a bank account so that you can get paid (was a problem for me coming the other way) and find out about registering for tax. Beinga local I'm not too hot on what the requirements of these things are comign into the country - they got me when I was born!

If you ski or snowboard you could look into working on a ski field - Queenstown would be where most snow followers aim for the winter months. However there are several ski fields in the south and one major one in the north so you have places to choose.

If you have any teaching quals being a substitute teacher could be a good short term job...

And after that I get into jobs where you need certain skills or quals so hopefully thats enough!
Happy travels.

3. Posted by nomad kiwi (Budding Member 12 posts) 7y

first things first .... apply for a work permit! BEFORE you arrive .,,,,,, you annot get one except from in your own country

cheers, heather


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4. Posted by karlod (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

I was thinking along the line of pub/café/restaurant. Fruit picking…..i dunno, I have pale Irish skin, spend all my money on sun cream ;op. I was thinking along the lines of work travel work travel. Is there much work over there? I know its hard here to find even the simplest of jobs. Ive checked the sites and looks ok I suppose. Should I apply before going or land and see how I go?
I think im good for the visa and will head to the local usit office and see what they on the accounts and tax numbers and that.

5. Posted by hbre01 (Budding Member 4 posts) 7y

i'm doing the same sort of thing as you karl. i am taking a gap 5months out to new zealand. and i'm hoping to book flights this week.
fruit picking seems to be the way forward or looking into bar jobs.
if you have contacts out there it would be helpful.
when are u thinking of leaving?


6. Posted by RichWatson (Budding Member 10 posts) 7y

If you're going straight there then get the visa before you go, though you can apply online and get them in other countries (I got mine when I was in Oz).
In summer fruit work is available in various places, you can just follow it around where the demand is. I ended up staying in Napier for 3 months at the end of summer working at a packhouse and really enjoyed my time there as I met a cool group of people. However, I struggled to find any work at all before that in Auckland, and I met a number of people struggling to find work in June/July as there's little fruit work and less tourism generally. Recession hasn't helped either! Far too many people head for the ski fields so it's hard to find work unless you've got previous experience or are very very good - the companies there can pick and choose.

Good luck, and take far more money than you think necessary as there are so many fun things to do out there - bungy/skydive/jetboat/zorb/sail/jetski/helicopters/planes/etc. aren't cheap and you will want to do them!


7. Posted by redcadence (Budding Member 28 posts) 7y

Hey Karl,

I am currently in NZ with my husband. We are from the UK and have been here for nearly 8 months. Fruit picking is readily available if your willing, as is working in the fruit packing biz. We did a stint in a blueberry packing place, and we are now working in the Lake Taupo area. I am doing some child minding, and the husband is working as a waiter. We came over on a Working Holiday Visa, and thought that it would be quite easy to get a temp job in the city (in our case Auckland). We both come from office jobs (banking and civil service), but we could not get a job for love nor money! I guess with the economic climate being as it is, and the type of visa we have just wasn't what people were looking for. Plus, lots of companies advertise temporary jobs, but when you apply they turn out to be "ongoing" etc.

I would advise on applying for a work visa before arriving. It can be done online and costs about $120 NZ for a Working Holiday visa. The turn around for these applications is pretty swift with ours taking just 48 hours to be approved. Go to for info and to apply.

Getting a bank account is easy and just takes a few days. We signed up for an account with Kiwibank (through the postshop) which is free to use and provides you with an EFTPOS card for transactions. We did it all at the Postshop on Customs Street in Auckland and had the cards sent there. You need your passport, a letter from your hostel with their address on it, and a small amount of money to open the account with. They even sort out internet banking there and then if you want that. It takes a few days for your bank card to arrive, but you can choose to have a non-personalised card (without your name on), which you can have there and then if you don't plan on hanging around too long. Getting an IRD number is easy too. You fill in the form, take it to the Postshop where they copy and validate your documents (passport, drivers licence etc), and then they send it off for you. You can go to for more info.

There are lots of jobs available when summer comes around from working as a waiter to fruit picking, working for Greenpeace or cleaning hostels. You can sign up with Hays Global Link before you arrive in the country, and they can help you obtain work from the outset.
Good websites for job searching are: (also good for finding a campervan to buy or somewhere to rent temporarily)

Auckland is a good place to start, and has plenty of places to stay right in the heart of the city. We stayed at City Lodge accomodation on Vincent Street, just 10 minutes walk fromn Queen Street, or a cheap 50c bus trip down to the Britomart. We had a double, ensuite, which was $65 a night. The YHA is on the same street.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I have plenty of answers!!