This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Mail sorters work in mail processing centres. They sort mail by address, either manually or by machine.
Mail sorters usually earn
$16-$18 per hour
Source: New Zealand Post.
Mail sorters usually earn between minimum wage and $18 an hour, depending on experience. Those in supervisory positions usually earn more.
Source: New Zealand Post.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Mail sorters may do some or all of the following:
- check mail has been clearly addressed and that correct postage has been paid
- stamp the date onto mail
- hand-sort mailbags into cages and compartments
- feed mail into automated sorting machines
- send sorted mail to postal deliverers
- redirect mail that has the incorrect address
- maintain and update databases of customer information
- answer customer enquiries
- act as a team leader, supervising other mail sorters and helping to train new people.
Skills and knowledge
Mail sorters need to have knowledge of New Zealand locations.
- usually work part time, but there are opportunities to work longer hours or full time
- usually do evening, night or early morning shift work, and may also work weekends
- work at New Zealand Post mail centres and for large businesses.
What's the job really like?
Sharon Te Maari - Mail Officer
Like most people, Sharon Te Maari had only a vague idea of how her mail got from the postbox to the door before she started working as a mail officer.
"I pictured that the mail got taken off the vans in big sacks, and everyone sat round a big table and sorted it!"
More to it than imagined
But Sharon learned what really goes on behind the scenes. "I was taught to feed mail into sorting machines, hand-sort mailbags into cages and compartments, and move mail between conveyor belts, loading docks and trolleys. Now, whenever my mail comes I know just how much work is involved in getting it to its right location."
Working as a team
"You certainly have to be fit to do this job, as there's a lot of lugging things about. It means I'm tired at the end of the day – but good tired – satisfied that we've all pulled together to get the mail out on time. Luckily we all get along and have a laugh."
Hours that you can work around
Sharon also appreciates being able to choose between day and night shifts. "My son has a learning disability and requires care, so this job is great because I can work around that."
- Flexible working hours.
- A sense of working together as a team.
- Working to tight deadlines.
- The work can be repetitive.
Mail sorters learn most skills on the job.
To become a mail sorter for New Zealand Post you must pass competency tests (on critical reading, memory and hand-eye co-ordination) and a pre-employment drug test.
New employees undergo six weeks of introductory training. New Zealand Post mail sorters usually have to pass regular competency tests to assess their speed and accuracy.
There are no specific educational requirements to enter this job, but at least three years of secondary education is recommended.
Mail sorters need to be:
- honest, punctual and reliable
- organised and efficient, with an eye for detail
- able to work well in a team and independently
- able to read quickly and accurately
- skilled at decision-making, organising and communicating
- able to memorise streets, addresses and mailboxes.
You certainly have to be fit to do this job, as there’s a lot of lugging things about. It means I’m tired at the end of the day – but good tired – as I feel really satisfied that we’ve all pulled together to get the mail out on time.
Sharon Te Maari - Mail Officer
Useful experience for mail sorters includes:
- casual mail work during peak times
- postie work
- factory work.
Mail sorters need to be fit and healthy because they spend long periods on their feet and may have to move heavy sacks of mail (up to 25kg). They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination.
Find out more about training
- NZ Post
- (04) 496 4999 - www.nzpost.co.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Mail sorter numbers stabilise after restructures
New Zealand Post restructures in 2014-2015 resulted in:
- mail no longer being processed in Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin
- mail being delivered every second day instead of daily.
These changes caused a decline in mail sorter positions, but numbers are now expected to remain stable.
Opportunities depend on location and time of year
Mail sorters are employed in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch. Chances of securing a job are best in Palmerston North, where turnover is highest.
Opportunities for mail sorters increase during busy holiday periods, such as Christmas, when mail volumes grow significantly. These mail sorting jobs tend to be casual, on call or part time only.
Most mail sorters work for New Zealand Post
New Zealand Post delivers about 95% of letters and employs most mail sorters.
Freightways Limited specialises in delivering express packages and business mail. It owns:
- New Zealand Couriers
- Post Haste Couriers
- Castle Parcels
- NOW Courier
- DX Mail
- Kiwi Express Couriers
- Security Express
- Parceline Courier Services.
New Zealand has about 25 other registered postal operators.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Scott, J, recruitment analyst, New Zealand Post, Careers New Zealand interview, September 2015.
Progression and specialisations
With additional training, mail sorters may move into training and supervisory roles.
Last updated 13 June 2017