FAQ - Internship in New Zealand


1. Will I get paid for my internship in New Zealand?

In general there are no salaries for interns in New Zealand. But this depends on the company just like in the other countries. Should you be lucky and receive some "pocket money" from your internship company, it is advisable to apply for an IRD number at the Inland Revenue Department. Taxation, also of short term income, is compulsory in New Zealand. The IRD number reduces the tax rates though.

2. Do I need to apply for a Visa in advance?

As a tourist you do not need a special Visa for stays less than 3 months. Nevertheless, you need a return flight ticket proving your departure within 3 months. Should the internship last 4 to 6 months, it is possible to apply for a Visa with the New Zealand Embassy prior to your trip.  However, no tourist visa, because that excludes employment including internships. Therefore you need to apply for a work permit which is valid for more than 3 months. The Working Holiday Visa allows a stay in New Zealand from up to 12 months. But the duration of employment is limited to 3 months with the same company. Another requirement is proof of a certain amount of money (approx. 2,200 €) as this Visa is meant mainly for travel and not for work. Just like in Australia you can only apply for the Working Holiday Visa once in your life.

3. Do I need health insurance for the duration of my internship?

Since 2004 international health insurance is compulsory for all international students in New Zealand. This only applies to students that are actually studying in New Zealand though. The law does not apply for international interns. International health insurance is nevertheless always a good investment, because the health system in New Zealand is rather complicated.  Seeing a doctor costs between NZ$ 40 and 60 (approx. 20 to 30 €) and needs to be paid immediately. Should you need to see a specialist, you need to see a general practitioner first to get a letter of recommendation and an appointment. Otherwise it can take quite a while. Costs for seeing a specialist are between approx. NZ$ 120 and 200 (60 to 100€).

4. How much are the cost of living?

Costs of living are about the same as in Germany, but mostly less. Of course, this also depends on your lifestyle. You should estimate between 400 and 60 € for accommodation, transport and food per month. This is approx. NZ$ 1000.

5. Can I use my debit card in New Zealand?

You can withdraw money with your VISA, Master, American Express, Eurocard or Diners Club credit card without problems in New Zealand. Nevertheless, for every cash withdrawal you pay between 2 to 3 percent fees. It is possible for students to open a bank account at a local branch as there are special rates. In general you should not only keep to one opportunity of getting money. You could also bring some Traveler’s Checks.

6. What about the temperatures and the climate?

New Zealand is south of the equator, which means that the seasons are opposing the ones in Germany. Its climate is moderate whereas the northern parts of the country are considered sub-tropical. During the summer temperatures are mostly between 15 and 25 degrees whereas it is about 5 to 10 degrees colder on the southern part of the island.  The mountains on the southern part of the island get the most rain. As New Zealand is completely surrounded by ocean, the climate is mostly maritime. Exceptions are a few ares in the north and south where there is quite often snow in winter.

7. Do I need special vaccination?

You do not need special vaccinations for New Zealand. The usual vaccinations against Diphtheria and Tetanus should be sufficient.  But a Hepatitis vaccination is often recommended. Just ask your doctor about it! 

8. What type of leisure time activities are there in Auckland?

Leisure activities in Auckland are versatile. Go surfing, bungee jumping or visit one of the many cultural or sport events in the various parks. Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand, offers a manifold of activities which is also due to its multicultural background. The surrounding areas also offer a lot. The Waitakere Nature Reserve Park is only half an hour from Auckland. The Hauraki Gulf, home to a lot of small islands, is always worth a trip.