Finding a job in a foreign country with a foreign language can be a little daunting and complicated. To help you secure a job in New Zealand we will explain what you need to do, what kind of work is best suited to foreigners and where to do jobs. By following this guide, your chances of working in New Zealand will be increased. 

Before you can work in New Zealand

Before even looking for a job, you must:

  • Get a New Zealand phone number
  • Open a New Zealand bank account 
  • Have an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number 
  • Write a CV with New Zealand standards
  • Get a New Zealand phone number 

The simplest step of them all. Go to one of the telephone operators (Vodafone, Spark, 2Degrees, Skinny) and choose a phone and a package that best suits your budget. The following packages are recommended for backpackers;

  • Prepay: A prepaid contract has no lock in dates, it can be cancelled at any time. Prepaid credit usually includes a certain number of minutes of call, sms and data. 
  • Pay as you go : Instead of paying a certain amount every month, you will pay every minute of call, every text or every Mb of internet. This is the best option if you do not use the internet a lot. 

Once your phone line is open, do not forget to write down your phone number, which will be used for your next steps and to be contacted by your future employers.

Open a bank account 

The 5 major banks in New Zealand are: ASB, ANZ, BNZ, KiwiBank and Westpac. They all have distributors across the country. Most of them offer a free bank account for everyday transactions (statement of accounts, transfers) and have a mobile application.

You can pre-open a bank account from France, but you will need to make an appointment with an advisor once you arrive in New Zealand.  There is also the option of opening an account directly with the bank. However, we recommend making an appointment with the advisor to avoid long waiting lines.

Since 2017, to open a bank account you must present a proof of residence in New Zealand in addition to your passport and your visa. All you have to do is ask your hostel, or wherever you are staying. It is not obligatory that they have to say yes, some may refuse. 

Get an IRD number

After opening your bank account, you must now apply for an IRD number (Inland Revenue Department), which is free of charge. This number will allow you to pay your taxes in New Zealand that will directly be withdrawn from your employer. Generally, you will be tax deducted at 105% if you earn less than $14,000 NZD a year. However, if you do not apply for an IRD than you will be at risk for being taxed 45% of your wage. 

How to get an IRD?

Previously, it was necessary to go to the post office, complete a rather tedious form and then wait ten days to receive the IRD by mail and SMS.

Since 2017, it is possible to apply online at the official website

To apply online you will need:

  • Your passport number. 
  • Your New Zealand immigration application number (different from your visa number). This number was emailed to you when your PVT application was approved. 
  • The tax number of your country of origin 
  • Proof of opening a functional bank account in NZ (statement of account, certificate of your bank).

The online application is very simple and only takes about fifteen minutes. Once your IRD request has been accepted, you will receive your IRD within a few days, either by post or by SMS (you can choose the option that suits you best during the online process).

This number is to keep preciously, since it will be asked by your future employers. It is, however, possible to work without an IRD, as long as you have made the process.

Write a New Zealand CV

Unlike a French CV, which must fit on a page, a long and detailed CV is highly appreciated in New Zealand. Do not hesitate to explain in detail what each professional experience has brought you and the skills you developed during your time of employment. 

To get an idea, here is the order in which a New Zealand CV should be written:

  • A header with your details such as your full name, email address and contact phone number. There is no need to talk about your age or your visa, this could work against you.
  • Personal profile: a short paragraph summarising who you are and what you are looking for.
  • Skills: Things like your ability to communicate well, your software proficiency, the languages ​​you speak.
  • Work experience: As with any resume, it’s time to talk about your professional experiences. Highlight the title of your position, rather than the name of the employer. You can then summarise in a few lines your responsibilities in this position.
  • Interests: For the employer to gauge your personality, write a few words about your interest and your hobbies .
  • Referees: One of the most important categories for employers. This is where you will mention the phone numbers and email addresses of your former employers that could serve as a reference. Do not forget to check that your references are able to speak English.
  • It is essential that your CV must be written in English. Do not give in to the temptation to translate your French CV with Google Translate, too rough. Perhaps reread your resume to an anglophone to correct your mistakes your mistake instead or simply practice your English and write from scratch. 
job application new zealand

Types of jobs

Working in New Zealand for backpackers is a little different to that of your home country. If you had a trade-in your home country, it is unlikely that you will be doing the same work in New Zealand. Unless you go through the process of obtaining the correct permits and tickets. Work in New Zealand suited to backpackers are:

Fruit picking: Fruit picking work is available all year round. Beware, it’s often paid work by the kilo, or the bucket, with long hours which can be extremely exhausting. However, there is the opportunity to earn a good amount of money in a short time.

Factory work: packaging, storage, preparation…

Hospitality: Like France, the are always plenty of jobs available in the hospitality industry. To work in New Zealand’s hospitality industry, you must be good at English as you will have  to engage with your customers and take orders. If you want to work as a barista you will have to complete a barista course which can be completed in a few days. 

Au pair / Nanny: In exchange for accommodation, food and some spending money per week, you take care of the children of a family.

Volunteer work

Wwoofing is a popular practice in the backpacker world. The principle is simple, you are housed and fed in exchange for a few hours of work a day. Your hosts provide you with a roof (caravan, room, tent …) and feed you as payment for maintaining the property. You must be registered on the Wwoofing website to find available ads; (please note that there is a registration fee).

The  HelpExchange is a program that is based on the same principle as woofing. It is necessary to also be a member to access the proposed ads. You can work on a farm, a ranch, a property in exchange for a roof and meals. You can register at:

work in new zealand transport

How to find a job 

On the Internet

Once your resume has been finished to New Zealand standards, here are some sites to start looking for work:

Door to door

Armed with your best smile, and some printed resumes, it’s possible visit companies, mainly cafes and restaurants, to find work in New Zealand. Ask to see the manager directly and briefly explain what you are looking for before handing over your resume.

Recruitment agency

In the big cities such as Auckland and Christchurch there are many recruitment agencies that you can register with. The recruitment agencies will keep all your details on file and if they find a job that would suit your experience, they will contact you on behalf of the employer. You can register with recruitment agencies online or face-to-face. 

Word of mouth

Talk to the people you meet and spark up a conversation about looking for work in New Zealand. Often, they will share their experience or know someone who is looking for an employee. If you stay in hostel, do not hesitate to chat with other travellers, they might be or have been in a similar situation and could give you some hot tips! 

work in new zealand

Working conditions


The minimum wage in NZ is $15.75 NZD per hour. Unlike Europe, wages are paid weekly or fortnightly. It’s a little confusing at first, but rents are also to be paid every week, you get used to it very quickly.

Types of contracts

There are several types of employment contracts in New Zealand:

Full time: A contract of 40+ hours a week, with most of the time, fixed hours each week.

Part-time: A part-time contract carries out fewer hours than a full-time position, usually 20-30 hours per week. It is possible to have a couple of part-time jobs at the same time however; it does require lots of organisation and you must have regular fixed rosters for each job. 

Contract Job / Temporary Job / Fixed term job: A contract that has a designated term of work, whether it is over a few weeks or months. For example, fruit picking or a relief role for someone who has taken annual leave. 

Casual job: A contract that is the equivalent of a French extra contract. Your rosters are not always the same, each week is different and there is not a guaranteed number of hours. However, that does not mean that you will work few hours. It is quite possible to do as many hours as someone in full-time position.

The holidays 

As you work, you accumulate paid holidays. Full-time workers are entitled to 4 weeks of paid leave per annum. These are sometimes included in your payroll “Casual Holiday Pay”, which means that if you go on leave, they will not be paid.

If you are in full-time position, it is possible to take more or less holidays as you want.  It might be worth noting that the main holiday period in New Zealand is between mid-December and mid-January, which corresponds to our July 14 – August 15.

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