By Blair Pedersen

New Zealand farming jobs – a guide for migrants

In the 1980’s, New Zealand was known for it’s human to sheep ratio rather than it’s clean and green brand we all know today. There are about 27.5 million sheep and 10.1 million cows, meaning that for every man woman and child there are 6 sheep, 2 cows and an undisclosed amount of chickens per person. These meat and dairy products go overseas as exports to many nations around the world in the form of prime, New Zealand cuts.

Farm and agricultural work are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy yet there is a shortage of workers in many fields. According to the essential skills list includes several different professions that will give you an advantage when looking for a Visa.

There are many types of farming jobs that are listed on the in-demand skills list that will give you priority when applying for a visa. Some of these jobs include:

  • Farmers laborer
  • Poultry farmer
  • Poultry scientist
  • Arborist
  • Viticulturist

This article is going to discuss the most in demand New Zealand farming jobs right now, what you’ll need to land a full-time job and how to find a job.

First, you’ll need a working visa

As with all job opportunities in New Zealand, you will need a working Visa. Visit this website for more information on what working visas are available in New Zealand, and how to apply for them.

And a bank account handy too

Once you’ve landed in New Zealand one of the first things you need to do is open a bank account. Visit this website to learn about opening a bank account in New Zealand.

Good communication skills are a plus

Although full time farm work can be a solitary activity, you need to understand instructions and communicate effectively to the farm manager. This is where it’s important to have great English-speaking skills as most farms are operator based and owned by Kiwis.

In demand New Zealand farming jobs

Farm assistant

There is always work to do on the farm. A farm assistant is the go-to person to get things done when needed. The beauty of working on the farm is the variety of work available and which varies again depending on what type of farm you’re on. Here are the most common types of farm you would expect to see in New Zealand.

Dairy farming

Milk production makes up a huge portion of New Zealand’s total GDP which is a good indication that there are plenty of jobs milking cows. Milking is dirty work and it guarantees an early start. 4am is when you’ll be expected to be working on the dairy farm and the first shift will continue through to 7am. Once the cows have been milked you may have to herd the cows to graze or tend to odd jobs around the farm before milking resumes in the early afternoon. Traditional dairy farming regions are Taranaki, Waikato and Southland. There are more and more areas being developed in dairy around the country as global demand for dairy products grows.

Sheep and shepherding

Shepherding is a classic New Zealand farming job that made us famous worldwide in the 1980’s. This role is about looking after animals. Sheep and cattle stations are in the hills and depending on the style of farm, will have large herds and regular visits from the meat works truck. On a sheep station you’ll be required to shepherd, assist lambing, shear the flock and treat the animals for diseases and infestations such as fly strike.


Beef farming is very similar to sheep farming except now you are dealing with bovine, rather than sheep. General farm management skills are required as you’ll be expected to handle basic farming operations. You won’t need to handle fly strike, but you will need to make sure the animal have enough pasture and feed while they stay disease free.

Farm assistant accommodation:

Each farm has a different arrangement but typically a farm manager has a house on the property where the assistants and their families can stay. If you are required to find your own accommodation, there are plenty of options to rent in a rural area.  

Follow this link to find rental properties in New Zealand.

Here is a guide to buying property in New Zealand.

Follow this link to find a farming jobs directory.


Beekeepers are in demand across the country. There is huge international demand for manuka honey and beeswax products. Aside from collecting honey from the hives, bees are a valuable resource essential to the success of orchards and market gardens. Unfortunately, in New Zealand honeybees cannot survive in the wild due to the invasive Varroa mite, which is good news for Apiarists looking for work.

Follow this link for Apiarist job listings

Market gardener

Locally grown food is a necessity and with the advent of climate change, is becoming more important than ever. You can always count on your local vegetable markets to be grown within a couple of hours drive of your town. Buying local means you’re reducing food miles and ensuring that the produce is as fresh as it can be without it having been stored for months in a freezer or cool store.

Market gardens can be found in all cities around New Zealand. It makes sense that there are more market gardens around urban centers as these populations require a supply of vegetables for home, restaurant or other uses. The general rule is: The bigger the city, the more garden work is available.

Organically grown local food is a growth industry that is employing many qualified horticulturalists that are willing to get their hands dirty and work with fruit and vegetables. Organic produce appeals to a health and environmentally conscious customer that are very careful about the type of food they purchase.

Job opportunities for organic market gardeners will depend on what region you choose to move to.

Here is a directory of market gardener job listings.

New Zealand farming jobs are a great way to get ahead

Farming in New Zealand is a huge opportunity that is open to migrant workers and families that enjoys working and are looking for a fresh start. Many farms will house their workers and the rent is often included in the monthly salary. The benefits of working a farm job in New Zealand are obvious. You get the opportunity to be in the great outdoors in an industry that has plenty of demand. You get priority for visa application as there are options available for the in-demand professions. You can save money quickly as it’s likely you’ll be living in a rural area and there’s no such thing as a routine.

Remember once you’ve landed a job to use a reputable online money transfer company when you send money online. Click this link to learn more about OrbitRemit’s great rates and fast money transfer service.

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