My work experience in New Zealand with Working Holiday Visa

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In this article I will sum up my work experience in New Zealand where I came with working holiday visa. I will describe how many and what type of seasonal jobs I managed to get and how to find them. Let it be useful to all the people coming to New Zealand with intention to work and travel with WHV.

HOW TO FIND JOBS in NEW ZEALAND

There are 2 very useful websites for looking for jobs in New Zealand. If you want to experience picking/packing job in some local orchards, then visit www.picknz.co.nz. If you are interested in any type of job, then visit www.backpackerboard.co.nz. A very useful tool is also facebook and various FB groups where people post every day.

However, the most useful tool for looking for a job (in my case) was to simply google them out, find their phone numbers or addresses and call them directly. Or visit their branches. That´s how we managed to find kiwi picking and also kiwi packing jobs in Motueka, Gisborne and Te Puke.

TYPES of JOBS

Within 5 months of my stay in New Zealand I managed to work in 6 different areas of seasonal/part time jobs. These are:

Cherries picking
Kiwi Picking
Kiwi Packing
Painting
Food and flyer delivery
Selling food at food truck

All of these jobs were only for few days, most of them agreed in advance.

JOBS in exchange of ACCOMMODATION

We were lucky to find a painting job in exchange of very cool accommodation in Queenstown – the worldwide capital of adrenaline. A place where it is actually pretty difficult to find any type of accommodation. Our couchsurfing host offered us a great deal. We painted his small outhouse in exchange of almost 3 weeks of free accommodation. We got a private bedroom in a house with hot tub with ineffable views over the mountains Remarkables. And the flatmate of our host offered us a job for NZ$25 an hour – delivering Thai food driving small electric cars around Queenstown. We were extremely lucky to find these jobs in Queenstown.



 MY KIWI & CHERRIES JOB EXPERIENCE

The very first job we found in New Zealand was cherries picking in some God-forgotten orchard around Tarras, South Island. We found this job via website PICK NZ. We managed to work there for 4 days and honestly after the first day we both were hesitant whether we wanted to continue. 8 hours of picking cherries, moving big ladder from one side of tree to another, filling up 5kg buckets of cherries and emptying them into larger truck was not the easiest job of my life.


But then I tried kiwi picking in Te Puke and Gisborne, North Island and I realised there is even more difficult job than cherries picking. Just imagine to pick kiwi into 20kg bucket stripped to your chest & back 8 hours a day, trying to pick as much and as fast as you can. My shoulders, lower back, arms and hands were destroyed already after the first day. We managed to pick kiwi for 6 days (although in 2 different cities for 2 different companies).


THE BEST JOB WE HAD IN NEW ZEALAND

Out of the 6 jobs we tried in New Zealand, the best experience was working for food truck selling fast food at various cultural events and festivals (such as rodeo shows, summer music festivals, …). We found this job via a FB group and we worked for Den and Grace at 4 different events all over South Island of New Zealand.

We were paid either NZ$250 or NZ$300 net and cash after each working day but more importantly we really felt cared for. Our Maori employer always provided us with enough food and drinks throughout the working shift and at a 3-day festival in Blenheim, he booked and paid a beautiful AirBnB for us so we would have a proper place to rest after the shift ended.

SALARIES & CONTRACTS

When it comes to contracts, most employers will require you to show them your valid working visa, your IRD number and NZ bank account number. Feel free to read THIS ARTICLE where I explain all things necessary to manage after arriving to NZ with WHV in details. Contracts were usually casual, meaning no fixed date of the contract termination. Meaning you could start and end the job any time, but the same goes for employer being able to tell you bye-bye without any explanation. As we didn´t want to work a lot and we were looking only for short term jobs, this was extremely convenient for us.

Minimum wage in New Zealand (May, 2023) is NZ$22,70, although when we started working in January 2023, it was NZ$21,20. Few of our jobs were for minimum salary (kiwi packing and also cherries picking), however, most jobs you will find will offer bit better salaries. For example, in Gisborne we were paid NZ$26 per hour of kiwi packing, in Te Puke were paid more depending on how much we were able to pick during the day (one day we earned NZ$300 gross). Salaries were usually paid to your NZ bank account every Thursday for the previous working week.

MY EARNINGS & DURATION of WORK

Within 5 months of our travelling across South and North Island of New Zealand, we managed to work for 24 days trying 6 different types of jobs making in total NZ$4319.

Cherries picking in Tarras $624 (4 days)
Food Den truck around South Island $1650 (6 days)
Flyers delivery in Queenstown $150 (1 day)
Thai food delivery in Queenstown $376 (3 days)
Kiwi packing in Motueka $620(5 days)
Kiwi picking in Te Puke & Gisborne $899 (5 days)
TOTAL = $4319 (24 days)

TAXES

 The last but not the least piece of information I am going to provide is our “favourite” part – taxes. If you work officially, meaning signing a contract, the taxes will be deducted from your gross salary. And then the good part is the tax refund which usually happens in May for the previous working year (including the first months of that actual year). And how does it happen? Extremely easily and smoothly.

After you set up your IRD account at the website https://myir.ird.govt.nz/_/  already before starting to work in NZ, then in May you will receive a message in your account how much money you either owe or are entitled for refund. Then you simply provide your bank account number and the money will be sent to you. It´s super easy and there is NO need to fill in some additional form or look for some accountants who would apply for your tax refund in your name (as it is done in many other countries, including mine!).

 Thanks to these jobs we managed to cover most of our expenses connecting to our campervan life (petrol, food, campground fees). Our style was to work for few days, then travel for few weeks and every time we were about to spend all the money earned at previous job, we started to look for another one. It was nice, easy and without complications. And maybe it was a different style of traveling & working from the usual but it worked for us perfectly.

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5 Responses

  • Very interesting and helpful article. But you keep mentioning “we” when it comes to the numbers – I’m assuming that the amounts you made need to be divided by 2 to get the amount that each of you made individually?

    • Hi, sorry for the confusion. It is true that it was two of us travelling together and also working, however, the numbers are devoted to 1 person. So it means that I made 4319 dollars and my friend made the same ammount within 24 days of working in 6 different types of jobs. I hope my answer helps. 🙂

    • I still needed to use some money from my savings but not that much, it really depends on each person, how much a person wants to spend on food, camping fees, etc … But yeah my earnings covered most of my expenses in New Zealand 🙂

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