Finding an internship in New Zealand

Internships in New Zealand
Updated 2023-02-12 11:28

Internships are a popular work experience tool worldwide, but these roles are still relatively new in New Zealand. In general, internships in New Zealand are tended for students, both domestic and international, though they are also sought out by those wishing to gain experience in a particular field.

Why pursue an internship in New Zealand

Internships can be a popular way for students and recent graduates to gain practical experience in their field of study and build their skills and knowledge. Although New Zealand may not have as many internships available compared with other countries, a decent number of internships are offered by a range of organizations across industries that include business, education, healthcare, and technology. An excellent way to find internships in New Zealand is to use online tools such as, a website that compiles current internship opportunities for both domestic and international students.

Internships in New Zealand can vary in terms of length, structure, and remuneration. Some internships may be unpaid and may be completed as part of a university course or program, while others may be paid and may be offered as a way for an organization to evaluate a potential employee.

Overall, internships are an emerging part of the job market in New Zealand and can provide valuable opportunities for students and recent graduates to gain practical experience and build their professional networks.

Conditions to be met

You will need more than just a visitor's visa to be able to do an internship in New Zealand. The best visa option is the Student and Trainee Visa, which is usually six months long. This visa is offered to medical and dental trainees and students enrolled in school/college who want practical experience. There are a few exceptions, including a 36-month-long visa for religious trainees and up to 4 years for apprentice jockeys.

To get this visa, you need to be a student, and your internship must be supported by your school – you will need to prove this as part of your application. Also, you must have been offered the internship before applying for the visa, and it must relate to your field of study. As well as proving your identity, that you are in good health and have a clean criminal record, you will also need to provide proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in New Zealand. This equates to NZ$1,000 per month, or NZ$400 if you have already paid for your accommodation.

To apply for a Student and Trainee Visa, you will need:

  • A passport valid for three months after the date of your return home
  • Two passport-type identification photos
  • A letter from your university confirming your registration
  • An offer letter from the company where you will be doing your internship
  • Fees can be paid online via a credit card, and it takes about 20 business days for your application to be processed and approved.

Finding and applying for an internship in New Zealand

Your university should be your first port of call for an internship. If you are enrolled as an international student, there will be an international student center at your university that will have experience connecting students with internships and a working knowledge of visa requirements. You may also find out about internships directly through your department. If you are not able to obtain an internship through your university, there are a number of ways to find internships in New Zealand, and the best approach will depend on your specific interests and goals. Here are a few suggestions for finding internships in the country:

  • Research potential employers: Look for companies or organizations in your field of interest and check their websites for information on internship opportunities. Many organizations in New Zealand advertise internship openings on their websites or through their careers pages. Be sure to check if the company sponsors visas for international students.
  • Network with professionals in your field: Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and reach out to people in your network to learn about potential internship opportunities. Building relationships with professionals in your field can be a great way to learn about new opportunities and get your foot in the door.
  • Utilize job search websites: There are a number of websites that list internships in New Zealand, including Trade Me Jobs, Seek, and CareerHub. These sites can be useful resources for finding internship opportunities in a range of industries.
  • Consider working holiday visas: If you are from a participating country, you may be eligible for a working holiday visa, which allows you to work and travel in New Zealand for up to 12 months. This can be a good option for finding internships in the country, as it allows you to work and gain experience while also exploring the country.

Things to know before doing an internship in New Zealand

Although internships can provide amazing opportunities and furnish you with experience and skills, they are also positions that can be exploitative – especially if unpaid. There are a few things you should be aware of when applying for an internship to avoid exploitation:

  • Make sure you understand the terms of the internship, including the duration, hours, compensation (if any), and responsibilities.
  • Research the company or organization to ensure that they have a good reputation and that they treat their interns fairly (this is why entering an internship through a respected university is a good idea).
  • Be wary of unpaid internships or internships that require you to pay a fee to participate. In most cases, it is illegal for an employer to require interns to work without pay, and internships should not cost you money to participate in.
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate the terms of the internship, including the duration, hours, and compensation, if they are not clearly defined or if you feel that they are not fair.
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