Work Usage in Auckland


The usual hours of operation for shops and businesses are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In the cities and larger towns shops stay open until 5:30pm and more shops are open on Sundays. In tourist areas shops may be open for longer hours - particularly in the high season.

New Zealanders tend to be flexible and informal in business and in life. People are rarely addressed by their title, dress tends to the informal and people regularly mix socially with work colleagues. While most are not afraid to work hard, high value is put on leisure time too. Family activities, sports, and community involvement is very respected.

Though many young New Zealanders trade their quiet country for the excitement of Australia and other areas, getting a job in New Zealand may be a challenge if you have not arranged work before arriving. The more experience and qualifications you have to offer, the better your chances will be in securing a position. However, even well qualified migrants may take six or more months to find suitable employment and will often need to be open to different job opportunities. It is common for highly qualified migrants to accept more junior positions than they held at home.

Most employers will require that you understand and speak English. The standard of English demanded by most employers is much higher than the qualifying International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score required for permanent residence. The more skilled your job, the better your language skills must be.

Once you find a job in New Zealand, you'll be offered an Employment Agreement. All employers must offer their workers either an individual or a collective Employment Agreement written in plain language.


There must be good reason for a dismissal and the dismissal must be carried out fairly. If the employee believes they have been treated unfairly in their employment, whether they have been dismissed or not, they may take action against their employer in the form of a 'personal grievance'.

The New Zealand Department of Labor can help you understand your rights and rectify difficult work situations.


In New Zealand, you are entitled to at least the minimum wage as set by law if you are 16 years of age or older. Employment agreements cannot offer a wage less than the minimum rate. Trainees undergoing recognized industry training while at work must be paid at least the minimum youth rate regardless of their age.

Current rates of pay (April 2009) are:

  • The new entrants minimum wage and the training minimum wage are NZ$10.00 an hour. That’s NZ$80 for an eight hour day, and NZ$400 for a 40 hour week.
  • The adult minimum wage is $12.50 an hour. That’s NZ$100 for an eight hour day, and NZ$500 for a 40 hour week.

For more information about the rates of pay, check out:


On all 11 public (also known as statutory) holidays all banks and businesses are closed. Some shops may also close or have shorter opening hours than normal. On Christmas Day, Good Friday, New Year's Day and on the morning of Anzac Day, almost all shops and businesses are closed.
New Years Day - 1 January
Day after New Years Day - 2 January
Waitangi Day - 6 February
Good Friday - varies
Easter Monday - varies
ANZAC Day - 25 April
Queen's Birthday - 1st Monday in June
Labour Day - 4th Monday in October
Christmas Day - 25 December
Boxing Day - 26 December

Update 6/12/2009


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Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Go to the Forum to talk more about work usage in Auckland, at work.

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