Many farm worker jobs in New Zealand offer diverse farm working opportunities, drawing local and international applicants interested in contributing to the country’s renowned farming industry.

Known for its extensive dairy, sheep, and produce farms, New Zealand relies heavily on a skilled workforce to maintain its position as a top exporter of high-quality agricultural products.


Jobs in this sector can range from fruit picking and dairy farming to livestock management and farm maintenance, providing opportunities for various skill sets and interests.

If you’re considering farm work in New Zealand, understanding the eligibility requirements, including necessary experience and visas, is crucial.

For those from overseas, obtaining the appropriate visa is an essential step, and there are specific visas designed to facilitate transient agricultural work.

Understanding Farm Worker Roles in New Zealand

Agriculture plays a critical role in New Zealand’s economy, and your position as a farm worker is the backbone of this vital industry. You may find yourself engaged in a variety of tasks, each integral to the success of farming operations.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Animal Care: If working on a dairy farm, your duties can range from milking cows to ensuring their health and well-being.
  • Crop Production: Involvement in planting, maintaining, and harvesting crops might be your main focus on arable farms or orchards.
  • Machinery Operation: You might operate tractors and other essential machinery for planting, cultivation, and harvesting.

Types of Farm Worker Jobs:

  • Farm Assistant: Engage in daily farm activities and might earn between $55,000 and $60,000 a year, with potential for accommodation benefits.
  • Crop Worker: Assist with the growing and harvesting produce, earning around $23-$24 per hour.
  • Farm Laborer: Positions often found through job listings such as Seek may focus on general farm duties and require varying levels of experience and expertise.

New Zealand’s commitment to quality and sustainable practices means your role demands physical labor and adherence to environmental and safety regulations. 

As the sector continues to grow, your skills can contribute to New Zealand’s global presence in agriculture and forestry, with opportunities for skill enhancement and professional growth within the industry.

Eligibility and Requirements for Farm Worker Jobs

When considering employment as a farm worker in New Zealand, you’re required to meet certain eligibility criteria and fulfill specific requirements.

Legal Working Status: You must have the right to work in New Zealand. This could be as a citizen, resident, or holder of a valid work visa.

Age: Typically, you need to be at least 18 years of age, although some roles may be available to younger workers, especially in seasonal work.


Health and Physical Condition: Farm work can be physically demanding. You should be in good health and physically fit.

Experience and Skills: While not always mandatory, prior experience in farming or related fields is advantageous. Skills such as operating agricultural machinery can enhance your employment prospects.

Requirement Description
Legal Working Status Must be eligible to work in New Zealand.
Age Generally 18 and above.
Health Good health and physical fitness are required due to the nature of the work.
Experience Previous experience or skills in farming can improve job prospects.
Read:  Canada Visa Processing Time 2024: When Will It Processed?

No formal education is required for most farm worker jobs; however, certain technical positions may need relevant qualifications.

Lastly, as a farm worker in New Zealand, you will need to demonstrate reliability, a willingness to learn, and the ability to work in varying weather conditions. Your adaptability and work ethic can significantly influence your employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Navigating the New Zealand Farm Work Visa Process

When seeking to work on a dairy farm in New Zealand, you will navigate a visa process that involves several key steps. Your primary visa option is the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), which has replaced the previous Essential Skills Visa. Here’s a concise guide to help you understand this procedure:

  1. Employer Accreditation: Initially, make sure the farm offering you employment is accredited with New Zealand Immigration. This accreditation means the employer is approved to hire overseas workers.
  2. Job Check: The second step involves a “Job Check” to ensure the role meets specific market salary rates and conditions. It also confirms no New Zealanders are available to fill the position.
  3. Employee Check: As an applicant, you will complete an “Employee Check.” You must meet the character, health, and skill standards set by New Zealand Immigration.

Remember, you may be required to provide relevant farm work experience evidence. DairyNZ clearly outlines the process for the AEWV.

Should your job offer include accommodation (often the case for farm work), understand that its cost will be part of your total salary package, with rent deducted from your pay. Information on how accommodation payments work is available for clarity on financial arrangements.

Stay informed about the unique documentation requirements associated with the visa application by routinely checking the official New Zealand Immigration website. Patience and attention to detail throughout the visa application process will improve your chances of a successful outcome and a rewarding work experience in New Zealand’s thriving dairy industry.

Key Agricultural Regions and Seasonal Opportunities

In New Zealand, your opportunities for farm work are diverse, reflecting the rich tapestry of landscapes and agricultural focuses across the country. Below, you’ll find an outline of key regions and the type of seasonal work you may find there:

Northland: With a subtropical climate, this region is prolific in fruit orchards, especially kiwifruit and avocados. You’ll find seasonal jobs in picking and packing roles, predominantly during harvest.

Bay of Plenty: This area is renowned for its kiwifruit and avocado industries. The picking season peaks from April to June when the demand for workers is highest.

Hawke’s Bay: Extensive vineyards mean this area seeks seasonal workers for pruning and harvesting grapes. Also, apple orchards require a considerable workforce for their peak periods.

  • Vineyard work: February to April
  • Apple picking: March to May

Canterbury: Home to various crops, Canterbury offers seasonal opportunities in grain, seed, and produce farms. The efficient agriculture and forestry jobs systems here might be the right place to leverage your skills.

Central Otago: For those interested in cherries, apricots, and other stone fruit, the summer months are bustling with picking work in this inland region.

It’s worth checking out seasonal work portals as many farms heavily rely on temporary labor during the crunch of harvest times. Your commitment to a season’s work could introduce you to new skills and communities across New Zealand’s agricultural heartlands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the agricultural job landscape in New Zealand can be complex, but understanding the specifics of farm employment, visas, and pay scales will provide clarity for your job search efforts.

What are the visa sponsorship opportunities for farm jobs in New Zealand?

Read:  Top 10 Canadian Companies That Sponsor Foreign Workers

New Zealand offers visa sponsorship opportunities for farm workers, particularly under the Essential Skills Work Visa or the Working Holiday Visa schemes, allowing foreigners to work in various agriculture roles.

What types of farm worker jobs are available in New Zealand, particularly for foreigners?

You can find various farm worker jobs, including positions like dairy herd managers, fruit pickers, and farm hands. The country has a demand for skilled labor in horticulture and dairy industries, which are open to foreign workers.

What is the salary range for farm worker jobs in New Zealand?

Salaries for farm workers in New Zealand vary, with pay rates ranging from entry-level positions earning around NZ$25,000 to experienced workers making upwards of NZ$57,400 per annum.

Are there opportunities for individuals without experience working on farms in New Zealand?

Yes, there are opportunities for individuals with no prior experience, as some employers provide training.

What is the average wage for a dairy farm worker in New Zealand?

The average wage for a dairy farm worker largely depends on experience, but dairy farm workers typically earn more than new farm hands or grain farm workers, reflecting the skill level required in the dairy industry.

What is the process for a foreigner to become eligible to work on a farm in New Zealand?

To work on a farm in New Zealand as a foreigner, you must secure a valid work visa, like the Essential Skills Work Visa or Working Holiday Visa, and obtain a job offer from a New Zealand employer.