This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Couriers/posties sort, collect and deliver mail, packages, parcels and other goods to houses or businesses, using a vehicle or on foot.
Posties usually earn
$32K-$36K per year
Couriers usually earn
$40K-$130K per year
Source: NZ Post, NZ Couriers and Fastway Couriers
Current job prospects
How many people are doing this job?
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Posties employed by New Zealand Post:
- usually earn between $32,000 to $36,000 a year, based on a 38-hour week
- may also receive a wet weather allowance and a sixth shift allowance if they work six days a week.
Source: New Zealand Post.
Pay for couriers depends on experience, where they are located, and their employer.
- couriers are usually contracted and paid a daily minimum as well as commission for the number of packages delivered
- pay usually starts at $40,000 per year, before tax and running costs
- couriers can earn up to $130,000 on a busy round, before tax and running costs.
About a third of what a courier earns goes on running costs such as fuel and maintenance of their vehicle, as well as uniform and equipment.
To cover slow periods, many courier companies pay their drivers a retainer or stipend if they earn below a set amount.
Sources: New Zealand Couriers and Fastway Couriers.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Couriers/posties may do some or all of the following:
- sort and deliver mail, parcels and other goods
- collect items for delivery from businesses or private homes
- keep a record of deliveries made, including the delivery of registered mail
- receive payment on delivery of goods, or arrange for accounts to be settled
- hold mail for customers who are away and redirect mail for people who have changed address
- keep their delivery vehicle in good working order.
Skills and knowledge
Couriers/posties need to have knowledge of:
- New Zealand geography, especially the area where they're based
- correct lifting techniques
- how to use tracking equipment such as scanners
- the Road Code, defensive driving techniques and transport regulations
They may also need to know how to handle hazardous goods.
Couriers/posties running a small delivery business also need business skills.
- usually work five or six days a week, and start between 4:30am and 7am to sort mail before they start their deliveries
- work outside in all weather conditions and may drive or cycle in heavy traffic
- travel locally, usually within a set area
- Posties usually work 38 hours a week but couriers can work up to 55 hours a week in busy periods
- Posties spend about half their time sorting mail for their round and half the time delivering it.
What's the job really like?
Diane Bartrum - Postie
Diane Bartrum says getting outside every day is one of the best parts of being a postie. "I like architecture and gardens – I just love it."
Working quickly and methodically gets the job done
Diane says she is never bored. She begins each work day sorting mail, which takes about two and a half hours, before going out on her delivery bike.
The work is fast-paced, especially when sorting mail. "You have to be able to scan letters quickly and also know which ones have been mis-sorted and don't belong to your round. You quickly place letters into the correct slot – in the order that your route will go."
A job that leaves time for creative pursuits
There's no change in pace once Diane is out doing her deliveries. "The quicker I deliver my mail, the quicker I get home. I do a lot of creative stuff, like develop my own photos, and I've got my afternoons to do all that."
- Getting outdoors on a good day.
- Having free time for your hobbies.
- Being able to move into training or supervisory positions at New Zealand Post.
- Working in bad weather.
- Keeping watch for hazards on the road.
- Wearing a uniform.
Most skills for couriers and posties are learned on the job.
To work as a courier, or postie who does their round by vehicle, you must have the correct type of licence for the vehicle you are driving.
Courier/postie drivers may need their own vehicle (such as a van), and must have a current driver licence, a dangerous goods (D) endorsement, and a goods service licence.
NCEA Level 1 English is useful.
Couriers/posties need to be:
- able to sort quickly and accurately
- good at reading maps, and able to memorise road names, street numbers and names
- skilled at driving or cycling
- honest and reliable
- friendly, helpful and polite
- able to work well in a team and independently
- organised and punctual.
You need to be the sort of person who likes driving and doesn't get hassled by traffic. You have to be really patient – you can't afford to take risks trying to get across the road to do your next delivery.
Jackie Lahmert - Mail Delivery Contractor
Useful experience for couriers/posties includes:
- work as a mail sorter or newspaper deliverer
- taxi driving
- work in the freight industry, or any work that involves driving.
Couriers/posties need to be physically fit and healthy as they can walk up to 15 km or cycle up to 25 km, in all weather conditions, to deliver goods. They may also have to handle heavy parcels up to 30kg.
Find out more about training
- New Zealand Post
- (04) 496 4999 - www.nzpost.co.nz
- New Zealand Couriers
- 0800 800 841 - www.nzcouriers.co.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
New Zealand Post staff reductions 2014/2015
Numbers of posties decreased due to staff cuts at New Zealand Post in 2014 and 2015 but are expected to remain stable.
Opportunities for couriers increasing
While letter numbers have been falling, the increasing popularity of online shopping has seen parcel volumes increase. This has led to an increase in demand for couriers.
Turnover low for couriers
Because of the initial start-up costs for contracted couriers, most stay in the job until the investment has been paid off and a profit has been made. Therefore turnover of courier roles is low, particularly in rural areas.
Better opportunities during holiday season, and at smaller courier companies
Opportunities for couriers/posties increase during busy holiday periods such as Christmas, when mail volumes grow significantly. These courier/postie jobs tend to be casual or part time only.
It is often easier to find work with smaller courier companies, as competition is strong for jobs at larger companies. Larger companies offer better pay, and some have a backlog of people interested in becoming couriers.
New Zealand Post the largest employer of posties
New Zealand Post operates about 95% of the letter delivery market. It employs all posties and is also a major employer of couriers.
Couriers/posties can also work for:
- courier companies as employees, or self-employed owner-operators in a franchise or contract arrangement
- New Zealand Post as a self-employed rural mail delivery contractor
- other registered postal operators.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- New Zealand Post, 'Annual Report 2014', September 2015, (www.nzpost.co.nz).
- Grace, W, New Zealand Couriers, Careers New Zealand interview, September 2015.
- Scott, J, recruitment analyst, New Zealand Post, Careers New Zealand interview, September 2015.
Progression and specialisations
Experienced couriers/posties may move into training, supervisory and management roles. A number of leaders within New Zealand Post started out in postie roles.
Last updated 16 June 2016