New Zealand has working holiday agreements in place with 40 different countries – the full list is updated regularly on the official New Zealand immigration website.
Applicants from each country will have to meet specific requirements, but in general the working visas allow you to work, study or travel – or combine all three – for a period of up to 12 months.
‘Kiwi’s’ as New Zealander’s are fondly known, welcome backpackers who are keen to work hard and become honorary locals for a little while. The best opportunities to work your way will be found in the towns you visit – Auckland’s hospitality industry is always in need of more pairs of hands, and the regional areas offer seasonal fruit picking and ski instructor work. Various online sites advertise jobs for temporary workers. Alternatively, you might be able to get around by working for your board. There are organisations like WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) who will place you on a farm to work around four hours a day in return for food and a roof. This may be for commercial farms or even for families who are trying to ‘live off the land’. Some innovative travel bloggers have even been sponsored by tourism companies to generate stories, photos, and videos as they work through New Zealand.
Many travellers choose to hire campervans to travel easily for long periods of time. Companies such as Hippie Camper offer 2-berth campers from $21 per day, and with the option of freedom camping, this will not break the working holiday budget. It means you always have a bed, and wheels to get you to the next town if the work dries up.
If you’re staying put in bigger cities such as Auckland, Hamilton or Hastings, dress nice, get a decent brief CV together and register at the employment agencies in town. If you have specific skills from your home country such as graphic design or IT, you may be able to pick up contract work fairly easily. Just be sure not to work too hard! After all, you’re in New Zealand to experience the most of the country that you possibly can. Happy Travels.
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