Can I work in New Zealand for the summer in the recession?
February 3, 2009 1:33 AM   Subscribe

Is it feasible to go to work in New Zealand for June-September period this year? If not, is it possible to go anywhere?

I'm getting the itch to travel after I graduate from university this summer. I've never done any kind of work abroad so I'm apprehensive, especially given the times we live in. I'm from Ireland (if it's relevant) and I'd really like to go, with my girlfriend (this is a must), to New Zealand for the summer (well, it'll be winter there) and work. Is this possible at the moment, given the recession? I don't have enough money to pay for the trip beyond travel expenses etc, so if I can't work, I can't go.

I'm unskilled, but have worked quite a few different jobs and I'm willing to do practically anything. How do I find a short-term job on the other side of the world? WWOOFing sounds interesting, but I'm a little wary in case I end up in a Bart Simpson's French exchange situation. If you've done something like this, how was it?

I don't know enough about NZ to know whether South Island or Auckland (or wherever else) would be more interesting and fun, but I would love to see South Island (especially Fjordland) at some point during my time there. I'm also not 100% set on NZ, but I think it would be first in my list (and going somewhere outside North America/Europe is pretty essential). I don't speak anything except for English.

I can find things like visas, etc, out for myself, this is really about whether it's worth thinking about this at all. Would it be possible? Would it be worth it?

In short:
* I want to go somewhere amazing this June-September with my girlfriend. Preferrably not Europe or North America.
* We don't have much money, so we'll have to work, and we don't mind what we do. Working together is not essential, but living together is.
* It doesn't have to be New Zealand, but it would be pretty swell if it was.

I would love to hear thoughts, suggestions or experiences from anyone before I get my hopes up too high. This is my first question on Metafilter, if I've left something out just let me know!

Thanks in advance!
posted by SamuelBowman to Travel & Transportation around New Zealand (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The specific working holiday visa program for Irish people going to New Zealand is here. Notice that you need to show that you have at least NZ $4200 to cover the expenses of your stay in addition to what you earn, so while you may qualify under all the other terms of the visa, that alone may put a huge kink in your plans. You'd also be paying tax.

You should also look at the temporary work visa system here.
posted by mdonley at 2:02 AM on February 3, 2009

For what it's worth the job situation is not as good as it was six months ago (at that stage if you could breath and walk at the same time you could get a job) but I wouldn't say it was impossible either.

As usual it depends on what skills you can bring (you don't say what you degree is in).

Jobs would be generally more available in Auckland and/or Wellington (I always get the impression that jobs in ChCh are a bit hard to come by but others may correct me there).

Maybe plan to work in the North Island and visit the SI ?

Another things that comes to my mind is because of the lowish rates of pay you might expect in NZ you need to determine what you're going to pay for your accomodation.

BTW I didn't think you got paid at all for WWOOFing ... maybe you knew that ?
posted by southof40 at 2:07 AM on February 3, 2009

Seek and Trade Me are the top two job finding websites for NZ if you want to have a look. I myself am trying to find a job at the moment and its a lot harder than a year ago (which apparently was already harder then the year before) due to the economic situation. I'm sure you know this already but you should only go if you have something certain lined up.

My mother is the Hungarian Consul in New Zealand and deals with these sorts of situations a lot, in terms of people wanting to come out to work for a holiday etc, so even though her visa knowledge (which you don't need anyway) won't be relevant, the situation should be well familiar. Tomorrow morning I'll ask her what she knows and let you know if she has anything interesting to contribute. In fact I just realized there could be an Irish consul here that you could email asking for his help / opinion.
posted by atmosphere at 2:11 AM on February 3, 2009

Re the North Island/ South Island question; don't forget about Queenstown, a prominent ski resort area at the foot of the Remarkables in the South Island. It will be peak ski season there, and from what I understand there are seasonal jobs to be had.
South Island is stunning. Try to make it to the Caitlins, in specific, there is this little caravan park that covers a very tiny peninsula on what I believe is called porpoise bay. You can stay here for NZD $14 a night (it is on the southeastern side of S I ) You can walk and climb along the beach looking at 160 million year old petrified wood that is embedded in the rock , then at dusk walk 5 minutes to the other side of the park and watch the penquins come in, then in the morning, walk down to the beach on the other side and play chicken with the dolphins, they will swim in pairs right at you, darting on either side of you only at the last minute.
Try to bring a wetsuit, the water is freezing (though tolerable for 5 minutes or so without one). This is all unsupervised, and at least when I was there, not very populated, at all.
I can't say enough good things about South Island.
While driving, if you see any small signs indicating a particular point of interest, it's almost always worth it to check it out.
posted by newpotato at 3:58 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm an Aucklander, and I wouldn't pay for the privilege of spending winter here, it's cold and wet and not near any winter tourist attractions (snow capped mountains being a South Island thing, other than the central North Island volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, but even those are a 5 hour drive from Auckland).
If you can get jobs in or around the ski industry (ie: mostly hospitality industry) then Queenstown would make a great base for a NZ winter, but otherwise I would honestly pick somewhere tropical in Australia at that time of year. No mountains, but warm, and the landscapes (rainforest/reef/desert) are so much more different from anywhere in Europe.
posted by Canard de Vasco at 4:09 AM on February 3, 2009

Best answer: mdonley has given you the correct link regarding visa programmes. The working holiday programme is precisely designed for people like yourself who want to spend a few months/years in NZ. It means you can get a visa for NZ without a job, or without any particular skills, turn up, and apply for any job that you choose.

I know a bunch of people who did just this, coming from the UK or Ireland, and had good experiences, though they started a few years back, in Wellington - and at the time it was very, very, very easy to find work. It will be harder now, but that's true anywhere.

If you're hard workers you should easily be able to get by on bar work or similar. Those sort of jobs expect staff to be temporary and transitory. They won't pay great, but you'll have fun.

You will, as mdonley says, need some money. Transferring money on to your credit card, or into a NZ bank account, would be the way to go. If you don't have any money, loaning from parents etc would work (in terms of convincing the authorities that you have enough money). Remember, you hopefully won't need to spend this - the requirement is there so that NZ doesn't have to bail out penniless foreigners. (All the scheme requirements work the same way for Kiwis going to Ireland, of course).

But noting Canard de Vasco comments, July-September isn't really the greatest time to go to NZ, unless you're keen to work in ski resorts.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:34 AM on February 3, 2009

A friend of my girlfriend's is currently living in New Zealand helping some disgustingly rich people build a castle / hostel. If you care to take part in helping some old rich couple start their own feudal barony (I'm joking, honestly it sounds awesome), I remember him saying that they need more people. I could ask him if you're interested. Email is in my profile.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 9:36 AM on February 3, 2009

I should also mention that this is somewhere on the South Island (I think), and judging from the pictures he's posting to facebook, it's absolutely beautiful and he has lots of free time.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 9:52 AM on February 3, 2009

You could teach English in basically any Asian country. They are usually pretty lax on the requirements. The pay is usually pretty good and the hours are not shabby either.
posted by ejoey at 9:59 AM on February 3, 2009

I worked an entire winter on a student working visa, as a roustabout on a sheep shearing crew. The weather wasn't all that bad. It's better than ireland in winter. The visa situation should be easy if you're a student. Have a great time.
posted by Xurando at 4:03 PM on February 3, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for everyone's advice and feedback! There's a lot of helpful advice here, and I really appreciate your help.
posted by SamuelBowman at 3:44 AM on February 4, 2009

« Older Regarding trust in a relationship.   |   Costume drama/Period film/tv recommendations? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.