Teach English in New Zealand

a world of opportunities

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Kirsten Colquhoun
April 11, 2024

Contents

Why teach in New Zealand?
Where to teach
Requirements and qualifications
Jobs and programs
Salaries and benefits
Cost of living
Saving opportunities
Life and culture

New Zealand is the land where time stood still, and it’s obvious why. Its spectacular natural beauty boasts volcanoes, fjords, mountain ranges, forests, and beaches. The fact that it only has about 4.5 million inhabitants means that it is a land of wide-open spaces, peace and quiet, and a lot of sheep!

Why teach English in New Zealand?

New Zealand may not be first on the list for most TEFL teachers but if magnificent landscapes, a relaxed atmosphere, and a well-established TEFL environment are what you are looking for, then consider New Zealand: the home of Tolkien’s Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings.

And there are so many reasons to want to teach in New Zealand:

  • Its natural beauty. New Zealand is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoorsy types. In fact, over one-third of New Zealand is protected by the Government to be preserved and untouched, allowing the country to maintain its stunning scenery and national parks.
  • New Zealand is a melting pot of cultural activities. Her history is an interesting mix of British colonialism and traditional Maori, while more recently, Australian, Asian and European cultures have influenced modern-day New Zealand. This cultural mix has resulted in enough museums, art galleries, and performance events to satisfy even the most enthusiastic cultural tourists.
  • It values education. New Zealand regularly features very highly in the world ranking for education systems, so education is very important and teachers are well respected. 
  • It’s a unique country. Teaching English in New Zealand not only provides an opportunity to share language skills but also offers a chance to experience its unique Maori culture, and embrace the welcoming Kiwi lifestyle.

Best places to teach English in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the more established countries for teaching English as a foreign language as a result of the large Asian population who make their way here to study English. 

Teaching English here will involve opportunities for professional development and isn’t as backpacker-y as in some nearby Asian countries.

Most teaching opportunities are in the bigger cities of Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington, but there are a few more remote opportunities too.

Auckland

For teachers always on the go

Auckland was named one of the hippest cities in the world by the New York Times. It’s Australia’s biggest urban area, and it offers an urban lifestyle where you’re never far from a beach.

Christchurch

For the nature lover

The largest city in the South Island, Christchurch has more of a laid-back vibe than other cities in New Zealand. Beaches, parks and farmer’s markets in conjunction with a bustling arts scene and a growing foodie movement make this a busy city surrounded by natural beauty.

Wellington

For the trendy teacher

Wellington was named by Lonely Planet as the coolest little capital in the world. From excellent coffee and tasty brunches to theatre performances and art exhibitions, Wellington is a hub for creatives.

Requirements and qualifications to teach in New Zealand

New Zealand is an English-speaking country so you won’t be teaching New Zealanders, but rather foreigners, especially Asian students, who come to New Zealand to learn English. Police clearance is needed and a clean criminal record. Teachers need to be registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council or be given a Limited Authority to Teach from the Council.

Do you need a visa for teaching English in New Zealand?

For those interested in teaching English in New Zealand, the Working Holiday Visa is a common option to obtain the necessary work authorization. English teachers can expect to work with a diverse range of students, including both students and professionals, creating a dynamic and engaging teaching environment.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in New Zealand?

Teaching experience is preferable but not essential.

Which TEFL certificate do I need to teach in New Zealand?

To compete with other teachers and New Zealanders for teaching positions, we recommend you have the strongest TEFL qualification you can get. Our Level 5 Diploma course is exactly what you need to secure a job teaching English in New Zealand.

Can I teach English in New Zealand with no degree?

A degree is not typically required, making it accessible for aspiring teachers from various backgrounds.

Can non-native speakers teach English in New Zealand?

Of course. There is no first-language requirement for EFL teachers in New Zealand. If you’re not a native speaker, your English must be at a proficiency level of at least C1 on the CEFR.

How much start-up capital do I need?

Here are a few costs you need to consider when starting out in New Zealand:

  • Accommodation: First month’s rent and security deposit.
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate.
  • Flight ticket: Variable. 
  • Visa application: The cost of a visa is subject to your home country. You can expect to pay between $100 and $150.
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about NZ$2,000 ($1,200), before rent.

Jobs and programs in New Zealand

In New Zealand, you will find teaching opportunities in language schools, international schools, and businesses offering English courses for professionals.

Considering the population of New Zealand is not very high, it should come as no surprise that there aren’t that many TEFL jobs in New Zealand. Now, we’re not saying there aren’t any but they aren’t as abundant as in, say South Korea or Spain

There are a few language schools to work at, and many schools need teachers for summer camps for Asian schoolchildren. 

Types of teaching jobs in New Zealand

TEFL teachers in New Zealand can find jobs in private language schools and summer camps. The typical contract length for English teaching positions in New Zealand is usually monthly, allowing for flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Peak hiring seasons occur in January, June, and November, providing favourable times to secure teaching positions. 

Private language schools

Language schools run year-round so you should be able to find a job in any season, but especially in summer. There are lots of language schools cropping up, so make sure if you go this route that the school you are applying to is legitimate.

Public schools

If you are a qualified teacher (with a BEd, PGCE or similar), you are eligible to work in a public primary or secondary school. 

Private lessons

Some EFL teachers in New Zealand prefer to work as freelance teachers who teach private students. There is a particular need for private lessons in English and Maths.

Online

Teaching English online in New Zealand is another option to supplement your income or maintain a flexible lifestyle.

Other teaching programs in New Zealand

Summer camps

Young Learners attend various summer camps around New Zealand. This is to improve their English or to prepare them for further education in New Zealand.

How to get a job teaching English in New Zealand

You’re not likely to find TEFL jobs in New Zealand advertised online so it’s best to come to the country and find a job yourself, which is not hard to do since most nationalities can apply for a work visa. All you need to do is print out a few CVs and pound the pavement until you’ve found the job you’re looking for. 

Salaries and benefits in New Zealand

There are a variety of teaching opportunities in New Zealand for English teachers. Your salary will differ based on which teaching route you choose to follow. 

What is the average teaching English salary in New Zealand?

  • The average salary of a TEFL teacher in New Zealand ranges between NZ$4,000 – NZ$6,000 ($2,400 – $3,600) a month.
  • Private language schools pay NZ$25 – NZ$35 ($15 – $20) an hour.
  • For private lessons, TEFL teachers usually charge NZ$50 – NZ$80 ($30 – $50) an hour.

What are the common benefits for teachers in New Zealand?

Schools don’t provide accommodation or flights but will be able to help you to get settled. 

Cost of living in New Zealand

Due to its isolated geographical location, New Zealand has quite a high cost of living. The average cost of living for one person is approximately NZ$4,000 ($2,400).

What is the cost of living in New Zealand?

Here are some of the usual costs for living in New Zealand – but bear in mind, these vary quite a lot depending on which region or city you are in:

Accommodation

  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre: NZ$1,800 ($1,100) a month
  • A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: NZ$1,600 ($950) a month

Utilities

  • Electricity, water, and gas: NZ$250 ($150) a month

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: NZ$125 ($75)  
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: NZ$25 ($15)

Transport

  • Monthly travel pass: NZ$200 ($120) 
  • One-way ticket: €NZ$3.50 ($2)

Internet 

  • Unlimited: NZ$90 ($55)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, clubbing: NZ$250 ($150) a month

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in New Zealand?

Yes it is, but not millions! Here are our top tips for saving money in New Zealand:

  • When taking a holiday, plan to travel in the shoulder seasons rather than summer (December, January and February). May is the cheapest month to travel.
  • If you don’t have a car, make use of hop-on hop-off backpacker buses when travelling.
  • Cook meals at home instead of eating out. Pak ‘N’ Save is the cheapest local supermarket.
  • Use apps to find the cheapest gas stations near you, or for discounts on restaurants and tourist activities.
  • Enjoying the beautiful outdoors is free!

Life and culture in New Zealand

  • New Zealand is ranked as having one of the best education systems in the world. Students are respectful and teachers should dress conservatively.
  • New Zealand is also one of the safest countries in the world. 
  • Living in New Zealand is the outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The North Island boasts volcanoes, beaches and farmland while the South Island is all about glaciers, fjords and mountains. On the other hand, if you’re not a big outdoors fan there are lots of options to enjoy the local nightlife. Or, if you feel like going further afield on your holidays, Australia is a hop, skip and a jump away.
  •  New Zealand is great for those looking for somewhere a bit off the beaten track. From bungee jumping, sky diving, and abseiling to whale watching, stargazing, and thermal spas, New Zealand has something for everyone. 
  • It boasts an impressive wine region of 120 vineyards and its Pacific Rim cuisine is unique – sampling the seafood, lamb, and cheese is a must for any foodie.
  • Sheep really do rule New Zealand with an estimated 9 sheep per person in the country, the highest sheep-to-person ratio in the world. It’s estimated in general only 5% of the living population in New Zealand is human, highlighting the population of wildlife across the country.

Start your teaching journey with a certified TEFL course provider!

Contents

New Zealand is the land where time stood still, and it’s obvious why. Its spectacular natural beauty boasts volcanoes, fjords, mountain ranges, forests, and beaches. The fact that it only has about 4.5 million inhabitants means that it is a land of wide-open spaces, peace and quiet, and a lot of sheep!

Why teach English in New Zealand?

New Zealand may not be first on the list for most TEFL teachers but if magnificent landscapes, a relaxed atmosphere, and a well-established TEFL environment are what you are looking for, then consider New Zealand: the home of Tolkien’s Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings.

And there are so many reasons to want to teach in New Zealand:

  • Its natural beauty. New Zealand is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoorsy types. In fact, over one-third of New Zealand is protected by the Government to be preserved and untouched, allowing the country to maintain its stunning scenery and national parks.
  • New Zealand is a melting pot of cultural activities. Her history is an interesting mix of British colonialism and traditional Maori, while more recently, Australian, Asian and European cultures have influenced modern-day New Zealand. This cultural mix has resulted in enough museums, art galleries, and performance events to satisfy even the most enthusiastic cultural tourists.
  • It values education. New Zealand regularly features very highly in the world ranking for education systems, so education is very important and teachers are well respected. 
  • It’s a unique country. Teaching English in New Zealand not only provides an opportunity to share language skills but also offers a chance to experience its unique Maori culture, and embrace the welcoming Kiwi lifestyle.

Best places to teach English in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the more established countries for teaching English as a foreign language as a result of the large Asian population who make their way here to study English. 

Teaching English here will involve opportunities for professional development and isn’t as backpacker-y as in some nearby Asian countries.

Most teaching opportunities are in the bigger cities of Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington, but there are a few more remote opportunities too.

Auckland

For teachers always on the go

Auckland was named one of the hippest cities in the world by the New York Times. It’s Australia’s biggest urban area, and it offers an urban lifestyle where you’re never far from a beach.

Christchurch

For the nature lover

The largest city in the South Island, Christchurch has more of a laid-back vibe than other cities in New Zealand. Beaches, parks and farmer’s markets in conjunction with a bustling arts scene and a growing foodie movement make this a busy city surrounded by natural beauty.

Wellington

For the trendy teacher

Wellington was named by Lonely Planet as the coolest little capital in the world. From excellent coffee and tasty brunches to theatre performances and art exhibitions, Wellington is a hub for creatives.

Requirements and qualifications to teach in New Zealand

New Zealand is an English-speaking country so you won’t be teaching New Zealanders, but rather foreigners, especially Asian students, who come to New Zealand to learn English. Police clearance is needed and a clean criminal record. Teachers need to be registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council or be given a Limited Authority to Teach from the Council.

Do you need a visa for teaching English in New Zealand?

For those interested in teaching English in New Zealand, the Working Holiday Visa is a common option to obtain the necessary work authorization. English teachers can expect to work with a diverse range of students, including both students and professionals, creating a dynamic and engaging teaching environment.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in New Zealand?

Teaching experience is preferable but not essential.

Which TEFL certificate do I need to teach in New Zealand?

To compete with other teachers and New Zealanders for teaching positions, we recommend you have the strongest TEFL qualification you can get. Our Level 5 Diploma course is exactly what you need to secure a job teaching English in New Zealand.

Can I teach English in New Zealand with no degree?

A degree is not typically required, making it accessible for aspiring teachers from various backgrounds.

Can non-native speakers teach English in New Zealand?

Of course. There is no first-language requirement for EFL teachers in New Zealand. If you’re not a native speaker, your English must be at a proficiency level of at least C1 on the CEFR.

How much start-up capital do I need?

Here are a few costs you need to consider when starting out in New Zealand:

  • Accommodation: First month’s rent and security deposit.
  • TEFL certification: A TEFL course can cost between $100 and $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 
  • Document fees: Any costs related to certifying and notarising your degree and TEFL certificate.
  • Flight ticket: Variable. 
  • Visa application: The cost of a visa is subject to your home country. You can expect to pay between $100 and $150.
  • Living expenses: You will need one month’s worth of start-up capital of about NZ$2,000 ($1,200), before rent.

Jobs and programs in New Zealand

In New Zealand, you will find teaching opportunities in language schools, international schools, and businesses offering English courses for professionals.

Considering the population of New Zealand is not very high, it should come as no surprise that there aren’t that many TEFL jobs in New Zealand. Now, we’re not saying there aren’t any but they aren’t as abundant as in, say South Korea or Spain

There are a few language schools to work at, and many schools need teachers for summer camps for Asian schoolchildren. 

Types of teaching jobs in New Zealand

TEFL teachers in New Zealand can find jobs in private language schools and summer camps. The typical contract length for English teaching positions in New Zealand is usually monthly, allowing for flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Peak hiring seasons occur in January, June, and November, providing favourable times to secure teaching positions. 

Private language schools

Language schools run year-round so you should be able to find a job in any season, but especially in summer. There are lots of language schools cropping up, so make sure if you go this route that the school you are applying to is legitimate.

Public schools

If you are a qualified teacher (with a BEd, PGCE or similar), you are eligible to work in a public primary or secondary school. 

Private lessons

Some EFL teachers in New Zealand prefer to work as freelance teachers who teach private students. There is a particular need for private lessons in English and Maths.

Online

Teaching English online in New Zealand is another option to supplement your income or maintain a flexible lifestyle.

Other teaching programs in New Zealand

Summer camps

Young Learners attend various summer camps around New Zealand. This is to improve their English or to prepare them for further education in New Zealand.

How to get a job teaching English in New Zealand

You’re not likely to find TEFL jobs in New Zealand advertised online so it’s best to come to the country and find a job yourself, which is not hard to do since most nationalities can apply for a work visa. All you need to do is print out a few CVs and pound the pavement until you’ve found the job you’re looking for. 

Salaries and benefits in New Zealand

There are a variety of teaching opportunities in New Zealand for English teachers. Your salary will differ based on which teaching route you choose to follow. 

What is the average teaching English salary in New Zealand?

  • The average salary of a TEFL teacher in New Zealand ranges between NZ$4,000 – NZ$6,000 ($2,400 – $3,600) a month.
  • Private language schools pay NZ$25 – NZ$35 ($15 – $20) an hour.
  • For private lessons, TEFL teachers usually charge NZ$50 – NZ$80 ($30 – $50) an hour.

What are the common benefits for teachers in New Zealand?

Schools don’t provide accommodation or flights but will be able to help you to get settled. 

Cost of living in New Zealand

Due to its isolated geographical location, New Zealand has quite a high cost of living. The average cost of living for one person is approximately NZ$4,000 ($2,400).

What is the cost of living in New Zealand?

Here are some of the usual costs for living in New Zealand – but bear in mind, these vary quite a lot depending on which region or city you are in:

Accommodation

  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre: NZ$1,800 ($1,100) a month
  • A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: NZ$1,600 ($950) a month

Utilities

  • Electricity, water, and gas: NZ$250 ($150) a month

Food and groceries

  • Monthly shop: NZ$125 ($75)  
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: NZ$25 ($15)

Transport

  • Monthly travel pass: NZ$200 ($120) 
  • One-way ticket: €NZ$3.50 ($2)

Internet 

  • Unlimited: NZ$90 ($55)

Entertainment

  • Gym, cinema, clubbing: NZ$250 ($150) a month

Is it possible to save as a TEFL teacher in New Zealand?

Yes it is, but not millions! Here are our top tips for saving money in New Zealand:

  • When taking a holiday, plan to travel in the shoulder seasons rather than summer (December, January and February). May is the cheapest month to travel.
  • If you don’t have a car, make use of hop-on hop-off backpacker buses when travelling.
  • Cook meals at home instead of eating out. Pak ‘N’ Save is the cheapest local supermarket.
  • Use apps to find the cheapest gas stations near you, or for discounts on restaurants and tourist activities.
  • Enjoying the beautiful outdoors is free!

Life and culture in New Zealand

  • New Zealand is ranked as having one of the best education systems in the world. Students are respectful and teachers should dress conservatively.
  • New Zealand is also one of the safest countries in the world. 
  • Living in New Zealand is the outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The North Island boasts volcanoes, beaches and farmland while the South Island is all about glaciers, fjords and mountains. On the other hand, if you’re not a big outdoors fan there are lots of options to enjoy the local nightlife. Or, if you feel like going further afield on your holidays, Australia is a hop, skip and a jump away.
  •  New Zealand is great for those looking for somewhere a bit off the beaten track. From bungee jumping, sky diving, and abseiling to whale watching, stargazing, and thermal spas, New Zealand has something for everyone. 
  • It boasts an impressive wine region of 120 vineyards and its Pacific Rim cuisine is unique – sampling the seafood, lamb, and cheese is a must for any foodie.
  • Sheep really do rule New Zealand with an estimated 9 sheep per person in the country, the highest sheep-to-person ratio in the world. It’s estimated in general only 5% of the living population in New Zealand is human, highlighting the population of wildlife across the country.

Start your teaching journey with a certified TEFL course provider!

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