What it is Like to Be an Au Pair in New Zealand
Gain childcare experience, make money and become part of a Kiwi family. That’s what au pairing is all about in New Zealand! And that Kiwi lifestyle is certainly what travellers look for when choosing au pair destinations: the perfect balance of work and play/maxin’ and relaxin’. The way we like to relax in New Zealand, however, is more like hitting the surf and hiking in this playground of a country.
Being an au pair is a truly unique insight into New Zealand. There are not many scenarios where travellers or backpackers get to live with a Kiwi family long enough to really experience what life is like in New Zealand. Plus, New Zealanders are notorious for being a friendly bunch so you’re sure to be welcomed with open arms. As many Kiwis have been travellers themselves once, and the fact that they open their home to you, you know they are eager to learn more about you too.
So, want to know what it is like to be an au pair in New Zealand? Want to know why being an au pair is such a popular backpacker job? Continue feasting your eyes on the literature below!
5 Reasons to Be an Au Pair in New Zealand
- New Zealand is a huge adventure playground! This means there will be lots of activities to do with the family and adventures to take on your days off. Check out the sort of stuff you could be doing in the Top 10 Things to Do in New Zealand.
- Getting a working holiday visa in New Zealand is easy. Compared to other countries, getting a New Zealand working holiday visa, which is mandatory to work as an au pair, is pretty easy and includes a huge selection of countries in their scheme. Find out more in What is a Working Holiday Visa?
- No major language barrier! We’re taking a wild guess here, but if you have read this far then it is likely you have a good grasp of English. If your English is a little rusty then this job is a great way to improve.
- Meet amazing people! Not only will you become a core part of the children’s lives that you are taking care of, but there’s a wealth of opportunity to meet a variety of people in New Zealand. Au pair agencies often arrange meet-ups and when travelling you can meet like-minded travellers on the road.
- Gain the childcare experience to further your career. If you’re intrigued by au pairing then it is likely that childcare experience is valuable to you, whether it’s for a career, pure enjoyment or preparing for the future. Au pairing in New Zealand is an exciting way to grab this experience!
How to Find Au Pair Work in New Zealand
There are two routes you can take to finding the perfect host family: through an au pair agency or by finding your own au pair host.
Au Pair Agencies
There are a number of au pair agencies in New Zealand matching au pairs with host families. They also tend to provide support throughout your stay in New Zealand and even train you up as an au pair, if necessary. Of course, there is a fee for their service or perhaps a fee for placement. You can sign up to some agencies before you arrive in New Zealand to be as prepared as possible. In our experience, it is usually cheaper (or even free) to use au pair agencies once you arrive in New Zealand. A nice touch to some of the au pair agencies is the meet-ups they organise, so you get the opportunity to meet more people outside of your host family.
Learn more about au pair agencies by checking out the agencies and au pair network in New Zealand. What’s more, it’s often free to use their services if you are applying from New Zealand or Australia! Otherwise, applicants from overseas will just need to pay the orientation fee.
Finding Your Own Au Pair Job
Some families prefer to independently advertise au pair positions. Once you arrive in a location that you love in New Zealand, take a look at supermarket job boards or browse the au pair jobs listed on NZPocketGuide.com! The advantage of this method is that you may be able to find au pair opportunities outside of the structure and conditions of the au pair agencies. For example, a family may only be hiring an au pair for one month, where most au pair agencies encourage au pairs to stay 3-6 months with the family. On the other hand, that also means that you don’t have the same security and support that an au pair agency would provide, so you will have to have your wits about you to make sure that you’re not taken advantage of.
Requirements of Being an Au Pair
General requirements of being an au pair in New Zealand include:
- Must have a valid working holiday visa
- Speak English to a good standard. Some families prefer bilingual au pairs so speaking both French and English or German and English may be an advantage to be matched to particular families
- Have a clean police record. Note that there is no extra cost for a police check with most au pair agencies.
- Have a valid driver licence. Check out if your driver licence is valid in New Zealand and how to get a valid licence in How to Drive in New Zealand
- Have some childcare experience. This includes babysitting, tutoring, homework help, coaching, summer camps, church groups, etc. Some agencies require you to have at least 150 hours of childcare experience
- Be willing to stay with the family for 3-6 months. Au pair agencies tend to give you the option of a rematch if things are not working out well though.
For more requirements and tips, see the 9 Things You Need to Know About Being an Au Pair in New Zealand.
Au Pair Duties
Your duties will vary depending on how old the children are that you will be looking after. On one hand, you will be highly involved in looking after children under 5 years old. On the other hand, you may be seen as an ‘older sibling’ to children over 5 years old, who will be in school during the day. Usually, your work hours are 30-45 hours a week.
General duties might include:
- Playing, reading and encouraging children to do homework (if applicable)
- Helping younger children with early learning and develop their interests
- Making sure the children are safe and under supervision
- Waking the children up and helping them get dressed
- Preparing the children’s meals
- Cleaning family living areas and helping the child/children tidy their room
- Driving the children to and from school and other activities.
What Do You Get?
There are both physical and psychological rewards for being an au pair in New Zealand. Not only do you save a lot of money by living with the family, but the wage you earn is a “take-home” wage, as board and lodging are included. Plus, in the case of many au pair agencies, if you stay with your au pair hosts for the agreed duration, you’ll get a completion bonus of NZ$20 per week! On top of all that, you’ll get a unique insight into living like a local.
Although benefits on the independent families vary, with an agency you are more likely to gain a structured benefit system close to something like this:
- Free accommodation
- Free food
- A weekly wage of NZ$200-$260
- 2 consecutive days off per week
- Paid annual leave i.e. holiday pay (one week for every three months worked)
- A completion bonus for staying for the duration of the job (NZ$20 per week)
- Free childcare training
- Free first aid training
- Ongoing support
- Trips and activities with the host family.
Sounds Like the Bomb?
Then Prepare for Your Au Pair Job in New Zealand!
We have a great selection of articles to help you prepare for this dream job in New Zealand.