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New Zealand


If you arrive in NZ on a visitor’s visa you’re not allowed to work for pay. If you’re caught breaching this (or any other) visa condition, you could be booted back to where you came from.

If you have been approved for a WHS, look into the possibilities for temporary employment. There’s plenty of casual work around, mainly in agriculture (fruit picking, farming), hospitality or ski resorts. Office-based work in IT, banking, finance and telemarketing. Register with a local ­office-work agency to get started.

Seasonal fruit picking, pruning and harvesting is prime short-term work for visitors. 30, 000 hectares of apples, kiwi fruit and other fruit and veg are harvested from summer to early autumn. As an optimist once said, ‘The pay is bad, but the work is difficult’. Rates are around $10 to $15 an hour for physically taxing toil – turnover of workers is high. You’re usually paid by how much you pick (per bin, bucket or kilogram). The picking season is from December to May. Prime picking locations include the Bay of Islands (Kerikeri and Paihia), rural Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay (Napier and Hastings) on the North Island; Nelson (Tapawera and Golden Bay), Marlborough (around Blenheim) and Central Otago (Alexandra and Roxburgh) on the South Island. Approach prospective employers directly; otherwise local hostels or holiday parks often help travellers to find work. Other agricultural work is available year-round.

Winter work at ski resorts and their service towns includes bartending, waiting, cleaning, ski tow operation and, if you’re properly qualified, ski or snowboard instructing. Check resort websites for opportunities.

There are many possibilities for short-term work in NZ but finding something suitable will not always be easy. Hunt around for worthy opportunities – your wellbeing is the priority if you encounter unsatisfactory conditions or exploitative pay.

Business hours

Most shops and businesses open their doors at 9am and close at 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and either 12.30pm or 5pm on Saturday. Late-night shopping (until 9pm) happens in the larger cities on Thursday and/or Friday nights; Sunday trading is the norm in most big towns and cities. Supermarkets are usually open from 8am until at least 7pm, often until 9pm or later in cities. Dairies (corner stores) and superettes (small supermarkets) close later than most shops.

Banks normally open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (some city branches also open on Saturday mornings). Post offices are open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with main branches also open 9.30am to 1pm Saturday; postal desks in newsagencies (Take Note, Paper Plus) often open later.

Restaurants typically take orders until at least 9pm but often serve food until 11pm or later on Friday and Saturday nights; the main restaurant strips in large cities keep longer hours throughout the week. Cafés sometimes open as early as 7am and close around 5pm, though café-bar hybrids push the envelope well into the night. Pubs usually serve food from noon to 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm. Pubs and bars generally start pouring drinks at noon and stay open until late, particularly from Thursday to Saturday.

Don’t count on many attractions being open on Christmas Day or Good Friday.

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