Working Holiday New Zealand – Jobless in Winter


The fact that I have enough time to be writing this post, yes I have been jobless and it’s my 11th day here in New Zealand.

I am a person that likes to be very prepared so such jobless situation kinds of annoys me but I guess there’s nothing I can do now but to be patient or perhaps more pro-active after I buy my car hopefully today or tomorrow.

Anyway, I have done all that I could to attempt to get a job before arriving.

Believe it or not – I applied to almost every single ski resort that was hiring. I got invited for one face-to-face mass interview session but sadly I couldn’t fly earlier to NZ. They said that they could consider Skype interview should there still be vacancies but sadly, in a job market where there are more job seekers than job, there was not even a slightest chance for me.

For the next ‘half-positive’ response, I got an email to check if I was still keen on the role and they are about to start choosing the applicants and after two weeks of wait, they said that all the positions were filled.

Perhaps I was just not that lucky. Or perhaps I ticked ‘no’ to ski/snowboarding experience (well, I was wanting to learn it when I’m there) or perhaps my resume looks pretty useless to them – having 5 years of Marketing is pretty redundant in a country which hardly needs marketing.

On a side note, I do know of one Singaporean guy who scored himself a job in Cardrona, one large ski resort in Wanaka in the ticketing department or something? Maybe an accounting degree was more useful and perhaps make you more accountable and meticulous in money counting.

<Alright, I shall stop whining>

So, apart from Ski resorts, most jobs would require you to be physically in New Zealand to apply and attend interviews. One week before my intended departure, I randomly applied for a fruit store retail assistant job in Cromwell and I OHMYGOODNESS they invited me for a Skype interview. They were looking for candidates that could speak Mandarin and yay I fit the bill.

The interview was arranged for the day I flew to NZ. It was at 10am and my flight was at 7:30pm that night. It was a skype interview and I said yes to every single request. Things appeared to be working out well for me as it was an indoor job and I get to be near Queenstown (to learn skiing) and then.. I waited and waited and waited for a response. Sadly, it was a negative response and the hiring manager said I was ‘next in line’ should the first person rejects the offer. I had a 20% chance of getting the job as she interviewed 5 people. Why did I not get selected? *I was good, but someone else was just better* urgh. move on.

So I flew to Christchurch and settled my New Zealand bank account the following day. And then I applied for IRD number and I got the number two days later.

After my rejection of the Cromwell fruit store job, dashing my hopes to leave Christchurch within a week, I started actively looking out and applying for jobs. When I first start, I was pretty bent on getting a horticulture/viticulture industry job which will allow me to extend my visa by 3 months (which is AN OPTION, not a decision).

Anyway, so on Friday morning, my host informed me that she saw a ‘neighbourhood notice/post/or wherever it is’ saying that there was this flower place/farm looking for flower pickers. She gave me a number to phone and I did – immediately.

The lady who answered the call was really nice and she explained to me what to expect in the job and whether I was ready to accept the outdoor – rain or shine – environment and working hours. To add on, the farm was located at quite a distance and to work that, you will need to have your own transport. As I as intending to rent a car anyway (well you got to drive to get around places), she invited me to visit the place the following Monday at 10am – to see if I would be comfortable in that environment.

I was feeling so hopeful after that and I went off to search for cars.

Some time in the afternoon, I got another phone call of another job that I applied and they invited me for an interview as well – on Monday! Wow. I thought it was really helpful that I could rent a car for one day and try out for two different interviews!

<Fast Forward to Monday; you can skip if you’re not interested in me freaking out after my car stalled>

So I picked the car up on Sunday evening from this Taiwanese Car Dealer, where I was shortlisting one of his other cars. The car rental price was pretty decent – $30 + $15 insurance for 24 hours rental.

On Monday morning, I drove to the first farm which was up and down a super curvy road. To be honest, I was a little afraid to drive that road as it goes around the hills which means that the turns and curves were endless. At (many) times, there were no barriers and if I just missed my break or put an extra jerk on the accelerator, I could say goodbye to my life and the car. To be fair, it wasn’t that bad, but it was after all my first time driving overseas. The road in and up into the farm, was a dirt/gravel track and it did make the car slightly muddy; given the damp and humid weather.

When I arrived, it was me and another older local lady, checking out this job. We were asked to sit on this ATV and brought on a bumpy and somewhat adventurous tour of the facility or perhaps farm. It was fairly big; family-owned and most of the time it was just the husband and wife working on it. The job was to pluck or perhaps pick yellow flowers (which I can’t remember the name). The flowers were grown on the hills (alright a slight slope) and you will have to pick them from the stem. The blooming season will last from early July for about six to eight weeks and that’s when they will need extra pairs of hands to get the work done.

I was pretty excited at the opportunity to work at a lovely family farm business and I was pretty much settling into the excitement of riding an ATV on a daily basis. The lady boss was really nice. She said that it wasn’t an interview and as long as you’re willing to learn, to work and to come to work, she doesn’t really care about anything else. She didn’t even ask for my CV at all! So I left that place telling her that I was keen on the job and that I looked forward to her call.

On my way up the hills (I was traveling to Lyttleton), my car’s acceleration starting having issues. I felt constant jerks when I stepped on the pedal and I ignored it thinking that I could just inform the car dealer when I ended my journey that day. AND THEN AS I WAS GOING UP A SLIGHT SLOPE. THE CAR STOPPED MOVING. AND I NOTICED THAT 3 OF THE WARNING LIGHTS WERE LIGHTED UP – ‘Check Engine’, ‘Battery Issues’ and ‘Low Oil Pressure’ and I’m like WTF ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I was in the middle of a one-lane road, slightly elevated on the slope and on my first proper drive ever in my whole life and this shit happened to me.

I called my car dealer. Told him that all 3 lights were on and he told me to send my location and he will drive over to find me.

I tried to re-start the engine and then only one light was lighted – the ‘check engine’ light. I tried a few times and then I decide to drive up the slope, round the bend, hoping that it would not be a blind spot. THANKFULLY there was a empty space out on the opposite side of the road and I managed to drive my car over and not block the other cars.

It was a long wait, about 20-25 mins or so, but my dealer did came and replaced my car with a 2013 Toyota. Gosh that car was awesome and had bluetooth audio – I was blasting my spotify music which could automatically pair whenever I enter the car.

Anyway, my car dealer drove the car off with the ‘check engine’ sign still lighted up. He said he stalled a couple of times but still restarted and continued the journey. That made me freaked out but I guess he should know better how to handle cars. The conclusion was that the person servicing the car didn’t put back some lid or something – which resulted in the issue. damn.

In conclusion, I freaked out.

Which brings about to the next point – I rejected the flower picking job. I was too afraid to drive that long and windy road on a daily basis – to and fro. Another point was that the dirt/gravel terrain is likely to wear out the cars and the tyres. I felt so bad rejecting her on the job. Well, I told the truth to her but I’m not sure if it was disappointment or what, I felt that she could possibly thought that I was lying and that whole car thing sound like an excuse.

The next interview that I went was in another part of the town, opposite ends in fact. From my current accommodation, it is a 20+ mins drive. The blessing of this drive route was that it was straight roads, no hills or curvy turns; just traffic lights and traffic.

This company that I was interviewing for was a pretty big player in the horticulture market. There was a proper interview – in fact there were even two interviewers! They told me that the job was kind of indoor and I had an opportunity to try out various roles as well. I was pretty keen on the role as I wanted the stability in hours and also being in a larger place – I had chance to meet with more people – and hopefully save more money by sharing down the road.


Anyway, so I was spending the entire afternoon searching on job portals and here’s my long list:

And I’ve signed up with a couple of recruitment agencies as well – just to drop and upload my resume.

Apart from doing work for my HelpX hosts, I was spending all my time job searching, cooking lunch and dinner, baking, looking for cars and perhaps snuggling up in bed cause it was too cold.


And then the good news came – I got an offer and I could be starting work and earning my first moolahs in NZ next week! It came from the second job interview I had earlier this week, who said that they were get back to me by midweek and I waited and waited and waited till today.

I’m seriously damn relieved that I’ve got a job (and a car – just bought today) and now I’m all ready to start work in New Zealand – in a non-deskbound job.

I hope I survive and the next thing on my plate is house hunting.

All the best to myself and I hope it’s a TGIF and HAPPY WEEKENDS to everyone/anyone who is reading this super long post of mine.

In conclusion – yes it is very difficult to find a job in winter; but not impossible.


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  • I’m glad to hear of your adventures. It sounds like it is working out well, except for a few gliches. I think in the time you try to wind down, you should watch “The Man of the Vineyard”, (or Vineyard Man) korean drama from 2006. It is one of my favorites, has a good ending, is fun, and filmed in the country. All bonuses in my mind. You would relate to it! :-))

    • Thanks for your comment once again! Yep, I’m surviving well here in NZ.
      I’ll check out the drama but wow 2006, thats like 13 years ago. Haha.