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How to Hire Employees in New Zealand

Key Takeaways

  • New Zealand offers numerous advantages for international companies, including a well-educated workforce, favourable economic conditions, and robust intellectual property protections.
  • Understanding the local culture is key in hiring in New Zealand, which values trust, respect, and cooperation.
  • Companies must adhere to New Zealand’s legal framework, including strict adherence to employment contracts and a focus on workers’ rights.
  • Direct hiring, PEOs, and EORs all offer different benefits for hiring in New Zealand, and the choice largely depends on a company’s specific needs.

New Zealand is an increasingly popular location for companies seeking to expand into the Asia-Pacific region, due to its substantial trade connections and highly-skilled workforce. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about hiring in New Zealand. 

Why Should International Companies Hire Employees in New Zealand?

New Zealand, nestled in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, offers unique opportunities for international companies seeking to hire employees outside their home jurisdictions. The country’s robust economy, driven by diverse sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and services, presents a conducive environment for businesses.

The highly educated workforce is among the prime reasons for hiring in New Zealand. New Zealanders have a reputation for their strong work ethic, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Their proficiency in English, a universal business language, further aids in seamless international business operations.

Moreover, the country’s strategic geographic location enables companies to tap into the markets of the Asia-Pacific region effectively. It also offers a time zone advantage for businesses aiming for 24/7 customer service or software development.

New Zealand’s robust intellectual property laws protect innovation and foster an entrepreneurial environment. The government also offers financial incentives, including research and development (R&D) grants, to businesses that contribute to the economy.

What are the Important Cultural Considerations When Hiring Employees in New Zealand?

New Zealand has a unique cultural milieu, and understanding this can significantly influence the hiring process and subsequent employee retention. The Kiwi workplace is usually informal and egalitarian, emphasising work-life balance, transparency, and mutual respect.

One of the key cultural aspects is the importance of building relationships. New Zealanders prefer to do business with people they trust and respect. Therefore, investing time in building these relationships can significantly enhance your business’s success in the country.

Furthermore, New Zealand’s multicultural society includes significant Maori, Pacific Islander, and Asian populations. Acknowledging the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori cultural values could be integral to a successful multicultural workplace. Inclusive practices that respect diverse cultures, languages, and traditions will not only fulfill legal obligations but will also attract and retain a diverse workforce.

What are the Important Legal Considerations When Hiring in New Zealand?

New Zealand’s employment laws are geared towards promoting fairness and protecting workers’ rights. Thus, international companies must familiarise themselves with the key legalities.

  • Contracts are the cornerstone of the employment relationship in New Zealand. They must be in writing and should include specific details, like job description, working hours, wage rates, and termination conditions.
  • The Employment Relations Act 2000 emphasises good faith relationships, which implies transparency, responsiveness, and communication between employers and employees.
  • Employers are required to adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, which obligates them to ensure a safe work environment. New Zealand also has strict anti-discrimination laws, prohibiting any form of discrimination based on gender, race, age, or religion, among others.
  • The Privacy Act 2020 imposes obligations on companies concerning employees’ personal information, including its collection, use, and disclosure.

What is the Best Method for Hiring Employees in New Zealand, Direct Hiring, PEO, or EOR?

When it comes to hiring employees in New Zealand, companies can choose between direct hiring, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), or an Employer of Record (EOR). Each has its unique benefits and challenges.

  • Direct hiring, as the name implies, is when a company hires employees directly through a New Zealand-based subsidiary. This approach allows for more control over the recruitment process, including candidate selection, onboarding, and training. However, it requires a substantial understanding of local employment laws and customs.
  • A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) co-employs your staff and manages HR, payroll, and legal compliance. This approach is beneficial for companies looking to expand without setting up a legal entity in New Zealand. It offers a balance of control and convenience. Read more about the PEO business model in our article, How PEOs work
  • An Employer of Record (EOR) becomes the legal employer of your staff in New Zealand. It handles HR, payroll, legal compliance, and employee benefits. This option significantly reduces the risk and administrative burden, particularly for companies planning a short-term project or lacking HR infrastructure. Read more about the exact difference between PEOs and EORs in our PEO vs EOR guide. 

Choosing the right approach depends on factors like your business model, expansion plans, HR capacity, and risk tolerance.

Hiring employees in New Zealand — choose the right local partner

New Zealand offers a vibrant business environment, complemented by a rich cultural heritage and a strong legal framework that protects workers’ rights. International companies can benefit from its diverse and educated workforce, strategic location, and robust IP protections. However, successful hiring in New Zealand requires a nuanced understanding of local cultural and legal norms. Whether to opt for direct hiring, a PEO, or an EOR depends on your company’s specific needs and capabilities.

Read more about who the best hiring partner might be for you in our guides to New Zealand PEOs and New Zealand EORs. 


The standard working week in New Zealand is typically 40 hours, spread over five days. However, variations can occur depending on the industry and specific employment contracts.

The process of terminating an employment contract in New Zealand must adhere to the terms specified in the contract and the provisions of the Employment Relations Act 2000. Termination reasons should be valid and fair, with the process typically involving consultation, notice periods, and sometimes, severance pay. Always seek legal advice when in doubt.