Seasonal jobs for the New Zealand summer (Part 1)

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With summer just around the corner, there are a range of seasonal jobs cropping up.

Whether you’re between jobs, a student, working part-time, or studying – or want some experience in a particular industry – seasonal work can be an ideal way to earn some extra cash, get some new skills and meet some interesting people.

Seasonal work can help you pick up skills you need to get the job you really want. In addition, developing a good work record at your holiday job can lead to a permanent role with an organisation.

Many of the employers offering seasonal jobs on farms and orchards also offer accommodation, which makes travelling to another region for work less hassle. If there is no on-site accommodation you can often borrow tents to pitch up at nearby campsites, or find cheap lodging nearby. Some employers even offer a free shuttle in the peak season.

There’s no doubt that summer jobs usually involve long days and a lot of stamina, for example lifting and climbing ladders. But they also offer an ideal way to save up, and with a large number of summer jobs, enjoy the outdoors.

For many of the summer jobs, your best chance of getting work in the field is to contact the employers in your area, register with an employment agency that specialises in recruitment in the field such as agriculture or warehousing, or look up the relevant jobs or industry on the main jobs sites such as Trade Me and Seek.

So what are you waiting for, it’s not too early to apply now!

Summer fruit picking and packing (berry fruit, stone fruit and vegetables)

Horticulture is at its busiest during the summer, and thousands of committed workers are needed over the season, especially for picking summer fruit.

Before the fruit picking, however, there is summer pruning and fruit thinning (this is the removal of small fruitlets off the trees to enable the remaining fruit to grow to the desired size) starting in October and running through to January.

Fruit harvesting, packing and grading follows on from thinning with summer fruit (berry fruit, cherries, nectarines, plums, apricots and peaches). This begins in mid to late December with cherries and continues through until early/mid February, depending on the weather.

Vegetables are also planted, harvested and graded over summer and you can find work grading squash and onions for exports markets for example.

Best locations: Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Central Otago, Marlborough, Gisborne, Canterbury.

Horticulture job websites:

Farm jobs

Many summer farming jobs such as shearing and calving require experience but there are some opportunities for casual workers with little experience. You may be able to pick up work with the tailing and docking gangs of the South Island, but most of the jobs are on dairy farms which are more labour intensive. Many farmers report they have trouble finding staff to cover their permanent workers when they take their summer holidays.

If you take up one of the dairy farm jobs you could be working in the milking shed, doing general farm work, or weeding and spraying. It’s a good job for people who are don’t mind the shift hours – ready to face the day at 5am!

Best locations: Northland, Waikato, Taranaki, Canterbury, Southland.

Farm and agricultural job websites:

Recreation jobs

If you want a summer recreation job saving lives then you could look at working as a lifeguard for the seasonal pools that start opening from November onwards! Most employers will provide training and you’ve got a good chance of being taken on if you already have a First Aid certificate.

Most of these facilities are owned by councils so check out your local council website or go directly to the indoor aquatic facility in your area.

Perhaps you’d rather work in a more summer-events-oriented role? Councils hold many events during the holidays, making them good places to look for job vacancies. They could also put you in touch with summer festival organisers in your region who often require help with ticket sales, catering, and security.

There’ll also be opportunities for work at the summer school holiday programmes run by local and regional councils, as well as for the YMCA’s Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) programme. YMCA’s regional branches are often looking for people to help out over the January/February period with their school holiday programme and holiday camps. They usually recruit a month before the programme starts so you’ll need to get in touch with your local YMCA in November.

Find out more

Photo credits

Image: 'Apple picking at Prairie Sky Orchard' found on