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Working holiday in New Zealand

Meet Emma, who landed a far-from-average job working as a TV and film extra on her BUNAC New Zealand working holiday. She also worked in a vineyard, met the Backstreet Boys and discovered her long-lost Kiwi family. No wonders she refers to New Zealand as her lucky charm. Here’s her story. Job envy is real, readers.

I'm actually so excited for anyone reading this, because you have no idea how utterly amazing this adventure you're about to embark on will be. Thanks to the brilliant staff in the BUNAC Auckland office (they really are the best) I found work within a week... as well as winning a Milford Sound cruise for filling out a questionnaire for them! I hadn't expected to stay in Auckland, I was eager to start backpacking but I'm so glad I stayed there for the first six months.

Job 1 – Earn great money working in a bank. Tick.

I first worked at ASB bank, which turned out to be a short walk from my new house share. I loved waking up and walking to work with the glorious sunshine. My colleagues were lovely and the wages were so good I didn't even need to transfer any money from back home.

Job 2 – Work as a TV extra, meet the Backstreet Boys, meet my long-lost Kiwi family. Tick tick tick.

And then in the last two months in Auckland, I landed a dream job. I finished my office job and started working as an extra on TV series, adverts and films. It was the best job EVER and I loved every minute. I spent my evenings relaxing in the garden with my new housemates and my weekends body boarding at Muriwai beach. In between this I did the Sky Tower walk where I met the Backstreet Boys, went to Auckland Zoo where I was invited to meet the elephant because it was a quiet day, and also met my long-lost New Zealand family that I never even knew I had!

Job 3 – Work in a vineyard. Tick.

I decided to do some seasonal work for the experience and to also top up my funds. In the ten months I was in New Zealand, I hadn’t once needed to transfer money from my UK account. Thanks to the guys at the Auckland office (again), within a week I'd found work. I worked in a kiwi packing house and also a vineyard wrapping the vines. I stayed in working hostels where I met people from all over the world who became like family. Throughout my trip, I also met so many people who invited me to stay with them. They're honestly some of the friendliest and most laid-back people you'll ever meet and you'll learn so much, especially if you see a Māori show and learn about their traditions. The 'Hangi' (a traditional feast) is also delicious.

The travel part.

Backpacking around New Zealand is incredible, there are no boring places here. Everyone you meet in hostels is going through the same thing as you, so people get on well and friendships strike up quickly.

I spent a few unforgettable weeks cave rafting, abseiling, whale watching from the sky and the sea (Indescribable! I cried!). I went on a multi-day kayaking trip around the spectacular Abel Tasman where loads of curious seal pups came to play with us. I've explored glow worm caves, cycled bikes on water (so funny), been go karting down hills, fed eels, gone to loads of festivals, been prawn fishing, water sledging and so much more. I've tripped over a seal while walking through a cave (I'm not sure who was more surprised, me or the seal?!), had a possum attempt to climb into my tent, as well as a sting ray attempting to steal my bait while fishing.

Every step of the way the awesome guys at the Auckland offices have been there whether it's advice on medical situations, tax returns or where the seasonal work is. The year was without a doubt the best year of my life. I've experienced more than I ever have before and learnt so much about this beautiful place while making friends from every corner of the world.


Been inspired by Emma’s story? From guiding you through the visa process to hooking you up with a job, accommodation and new mates when you land, we put the work and holiday into working holiday. Start planning your New Zealand working holiday today with just a deposit.

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