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Work Abroad in New Zealand

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Living and working abroad is a bucket list item for many people. Visiting a country on holiday is great, but to truly get to know a place, you need to stay there long term. Fortunately, many countries offer long term or working holiday visas, allowing the chance to stay longer – and earn some money while you do. With so many great things to see and do, getting a chance to work abroad in New Zealand is the perfect choice.

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General Information About New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the world’s safest, friendliest, and happiest countries, so a working holiday to New Zealand is a fantastic choice. If you’re going to work abroad New Zealand, the official languages are English and Maori, and you’ll need to be at least proficient in one of those. Around 25% of Kiwis were born overseas, so you’ll likely hear plenty of other languages being spoken too.

Auckland, in the North Island, is the country’s largest city. If you’re looking for office work, it’s the commercial hub of the country and the best spot to base yourself. However, much of the tourism and hospitality work is found in the South Island, particularly in the areas of Queenstown and Wanaka.

The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), roughly worth around $0.70 USD. When shopping, remember that most items incur a goods and services tax (GST) of 15%, though it’s almost always included in the displayed price. To get paid properly, you’ll need an IRD number, or tax number, along with a New Zealand bank account.

New Zealand also has very strong employment laws, covering areas like minimum wage, additional pay for working public holidays, working hours, time off, workplace safety, and more. Be sure to read up on the details of these laws before you sign an employment contract.

Finally, If you’re driving, remember that traffic is on the left!

New Zealand Travel Inspiration

So why do a working holiday in New Zealand? There’s a huge number of travel New Zealand highlights to check out, in both the northern and southern islands.

Winter Sports

New Zealand is one of the world’s premier winter sport destinations, with plenty of excellent skiing and snowboarding spots. Highlights in the South Island include the Queenstown and Wanaka areas, along with Mt Hutt near Christchurch, while in the North Island, Mount Ruapehu is the best area.


Tongariro Crossing - New Zealand Work Abroad - Luxury Travel Hacks
Tongariro Crossing

Many Kiwis are avid hikers, and both islands are criss-crossed with walking trails. With everything from short, relaxing walks, to multi-day epics, all set against magical backdrops and surrounded by interesting plants, New Zealand is definitely a paradise for “tramping”!


Movie buffs and fantasy die-hards won’t want to miss the Hobbiton set tour, located at Matamata, south of Auckland. It’s a great place to step inside the magical movie trilogy that made New Zealand famous, and to live out all of your Hobbit lifestyle fantasies.

For The Adrenaline Junkies

New Zealand is also renowned as the world’s adrenaline sport capital, particularly around Queenstown in the South Island. With bungy jumping, skydiving, rafting, canyoning, jet boating and much more available, you’ll never be short of exhilaration in New Zealand.

Road Trips & Scenery

Road & Scenery - Work Abroad New Zealand - Luxury Travel Hacks

And of course, possibly the biggest highlight of all is New Zealand’s spectacular scenery. Featuring craggy snow-capped peaks, the immense Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph Glacier. The spectacular Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound (and many others in Fiordland National Park). Aoraki / Mount Cook with its spectacular bright blue lakes. And not to mention the rolling farmland, lakes, vineyards, beaches, forests, and much more. New Zealand is easily a strong contender for the world’s most beautiful country.

Without a doubt the best way to see the country is on an epic road trip! So be sure to hire a car, campervan or motorhome and check out the land of the long white cloud.

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With so many great highlights to see and do, a New Zealand working holiday is a fantastic opportunity to see this wonderful country.

Working Abroad in New Zealand

So now that you’re sold on New Zealand, what’s the best way to work abroad in New Zealand? If you’re aged 18-30, a great option is the 12-month Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a holiday, with a bit of work to support yourself.

Jet Boating - Work Abroad New Zealand - Luxury Travel Hacks


Conditions for the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa vary depending on your passport. The main requirements are that you’re aged 18-30, you have no criminal history, you’ve got a ticket out of New Zealand when your visa expires (or enough money for a ticket), and that you’ve got at least $4,200 NZD (approx $3,000 USD) to support yourself while you stay. You’ll also need to be covered by medical insurance while you’re in New Zealand. The rules might be slightly different depending on your home country, so be sure to double-check the official government website


Once you’ve arrived, you can do almost any sort of holiday work in New Zealand. The only limits are that you’re not allowed to accept a permanent job, the work you can do must be legal, and it can’t be related to sex or sexual services. You can work as much or little as you like, and the visa allows for unlimited entries into New Zealand (allowing you to visit other nearby countries, or dash home for a family emergency), so you can travel and work New Zealand to your heart’s content.

Best New Zealand Working Holidays Jobs

What are the best New Zealand working holiday jobs? 

Hospitality, Tourism, Farm Work & Specialised Skills

What are the best New Zealand working holiday jobs? Hospitality and tourism is usually the most popular choice, with easy flexibility and transferable skills. Common jobs include working in bars, cafes, and restaurants (cooks, waiters, bartenders, dishwashers, baristas etc), ski instructors, tour guides, or working more generally at the many tourism businesses. Farm work is also a popular choice, particularly picking fruit, though other farm jobs are also commonly available. And of course, if you’ve got specialised skills or training (like nursing or teaching), you’ll be able to utilise them. 

It’s also okay to organise your holiday jobs in New Zealand before you arrive, but of course it can’t be a permanent job, as that’s not allowed under the work and travel New Zealand visa.

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Au Pair

Another great option for work abroad in New Zealand is working as an au pair. An au pair is essentially a live-in nanny, where you’ll live with a host family and be responsible for looking after their children. If you’re considering a career in child care, teaching, early childhood education, or other related fields, signing on to an au pair New Zealand program is a great way to gain experience while seeing the world at the same time!

How To Become An Au Pair in NZ

So how to go about becoming an au pair NZ? Firstly, you’ll need to qualify for the NZ Working Holiday Visa (as outlined above). This means you’re aged 18-30, have at least $4200 NZD ($3000 USD) to support yourself on arrival, a clean criminal record, and an onward ticket out of New Zealand when your visa expires. For au pair New Zealand work, you’ll also need to have reasonable English skills, and a driver’s license definitely helps too. Many au pair families will also require you to have a certain amount of experience working with children, whether at a childcare centre, teaching kindergarten, or even babysitting.

What is Included

Working as an au pair means you’ll be staying with the host family for a set period (typically 6 or 12 months), living with them and looking after the children. Your accommodation and meals are included, you’ll get a weekly wage and scheduled days off per week, a couple of weeks’ holidays (paid or unpaid, this can vary), and there’s often a bonus for completing the full term of work.

Typical Duties

The typical duties for an au pair vary from family to family, but generally speaking you’ll be responsible for supervising the children, creating learning experiences for them, playing with them, enforcing family rules, taking care of their belongings, and so on. Some families might require you to prepare meals for the kids, or help them with bathing and dressing. Most agencies will also require you to attend workshops and training sessions, along with group playdates for the kids.

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Au Pair NZ - Work Abroad In New Zealand - Luxury Travel Hacks


The third New Zealand work abroad option is an Internship, using the Student and Trainee Work Visa. This allows you to stay in New Zealand for up to six months while doing practical work experience. It’s similar to a Working Holiday Visa, however it’s not limited to those aged under 30, and is available to a wider range of nationalities.

How To Get An Internship?

An internship requires more organisation before arriving in New Zealand, as you’ll need to have a written offer of work from a New Zealand employer before arriving, and be able to prove that the work you’ll be doing is supported by your education or training provider in your home country. You’ll also need to ensure that you’re able to support yourself while in New Zealand, either through savings or sponsorship, as you won’t be allowed to do any paid work in New Zealand.

There’s no limits to the field or industry with internships available. Medical and dental trainees are preferred, while religious trainees can stay for up to three years (with options to extend), and apprentice jockeys can stay for up to four years.

Visa Considerations

And, it’s important to note that by default, a Student and Trainee Work Visa isn’t a multiple-entry visa, so if you leave New Zealand for any reason (holiday, medical issues, family emergency etc), your visa will expire. If you expect that you’ll need to leave the country, be sure to apply for a multiple entry variation to your visa.

Despite these limits, however, an internship in New Zealand can be a great way to explore everything the country has to offer. Depending on your work and study requirements, you’ll have plenty of time off to see the amazing sights across the country.

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Overall, there’s many great options for work and travel in New Zealand. Whether it’s NZ au pair work, one of the many summer internships Auckland, volunteer vacations, or a more general working holiday in New Zealand, it’s a fantastic and welcoming destination.

Need some help organising your work abroad in New Zealand experience?

Global Work & Travel are able to help you organise everything when it comes to working abroad in New Zealand. Not only that but Global Work & Travel can also with your experiences working abroad all over the world. Whether it is working holidays, being an au pair, teaching abroad, interning, volunteering, tutoring or experiencing a summer camp there is something for EVERYONE :-)!

Global Work & Travel are able to help with work placements, insurance, accommodation, flights, transfers, visas and of course include ongoing support. So CHECK THEM OUT by clicking the button below!

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Work Abroad In New Zealand - Luxury Travel Hacks