Jobs in the West Coast

Agriculture, particularly dairying, is a key driver of the West Coast economy, together with mining and tourism. Recent diversification is also seeing growth in fishing and forestry.

A big region with a small population (Pop. density is under one person per square kilometer), the West Coast job market is relatively small. 

However a recent dairy boom and local economic development initiatives have helped to create one of New Zealand’s lowest rates of unemployment.

With an estimated 0.7 per cent of the national population the West Coast contributed 0.6 per cent to national GDP (year ended June 2018). 

[Source: Statistics New Zealand data, 2018].

West Coast Seasonal Work

Beef and Dairy on the West Coast

Beef cattle on the West Coast

Looking for more general employment information?

Originally a gold rush region in the late 19th century, the South Island's rugged West Coast has become a tourist mecca with high dairy production - some call it 'white gold' - with cows grazing peacefully against the backdrop of our highest mountains.

While total job numbers are smaller than other areas, the importance of tourism in one of New Zealand's most scenic regions and dairy growth means casual and seasonal workers are in demand.

Fishing and forestry are also key contributors to the economy and employment. 

The recent success of remote working options has lead to more people moving to this once-sparsely populated region, increasing demand for casual and seasonal workers to fill the gaps.

West Coast seasonal work calendar
Seasonal work on the West Coast, by month, job type and worker demand
When What Jobs Find jobs
May - September Deep sea fishing 100+ Seek , TradeMe Jobs
May - September Seafood - Processing 200 Seafood NZ
August - October Dairy /beef farm assistant 1,000 NZ Farm source
August - April Milk harvesting 400 NZ Farm sourceGoDairy
November - Feb Outdoor & Activity Guides 250+ Seek, TradeMe JobsBackpacker Board
November - March Hospitality (F&B, etc) 150+ Seek, TradeMe JobsBackpacker Board
Year Round Meatworks – processing     300 Meat Your Career
Year Round Accommodation Staff 500+ Seek, TradeMe JobsBackpacker Board
June - September Forestry - Sawmilling 150+ ForestryCareers

Job vacancies in the West Coast region

Trade Me Jobs  - lists a number of jobs on the West Coast.

Seek - New Zealand's largest general job website.

Work and Income - jobs available on the West Coast for Job Seekers. - lists recruitment companies in New Zealand.


Most local newspapers publish jobs available in the area in the Situations Vacant column.

Greymouth Star

Westport News

Job search help

Tips for recent migrants | - a free service to assist with your job search and prepare you for employment in the local labour market.

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) - a government department helping to find employment for residents or those with a valid work permit. 

Business networking organisations 

Development West Coast - the economic development agency for the West Coast Regional Council.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce - supports businesses on the West Coast by offering advice, consultancy, training and networking opportunities.

Venus Network- a business network for women


Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience, meet new people, learn about your community, and improve your English skills.

Organisations looking for volunteers often advertise positions on Seek Volunteer. Have a look to see if there is something available for you.

West Coast | Seek Volunteer

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