What is an Au Pair?
An Au Pair is a young person from abroad who is employed by a host family to care for their children. Au Pairs provide a live-in form of childcare and provide a unique cultural and learning experience.
The word 'Au Pair' comes from the French word which means 'on par' or 'equal to'. Living with a host family for up to one year, it's not surprising an Au Pair often becomes an integral and much loved member of their host family. It is not uncommon for Au Pairs and host families alike to stay in touch for years afterwards. If you're now picturing Mary Poppins, then think again (we couldn't source the flying umbrellas) because an Au Pair often acts as more of an older brother or sister role who is invested and accepted into the family.
Being an Au Pair is a fantastic way to promote understanding of other cultures. In an increasingly global society, what better gift can you give to a child?
Your Au Pair Duties
Your role as an Au Pair is to really be the older sibling, the role model and the superhero (cape optional) to the children in your care. You'll care for at least one child under the age of five and you will ensure their health and safety at all times whilst enabling them to have fun. Your Au Pair duties include but are not limited to the following:
- Educational experiences
- Maintain consistency in family rules and routines
- Playing, reading and encouraging the children's interests
- Preparing meals
- Attending Au Pair and child outings, play groups and events
Au Pairs will work between 30-45 per week and receive a weekly stipend accordingly. For Au Pairs working 30-45 hours per week, you will earn up to $230NZD. You will also have the opportunity to receive a completion bonus in recognition of a successful placement contract with your host family. The completion bonus is $20 NZD net per week and is prorated over the length of the placement. For example, for a 12 month placement, the net completion bonus is $1,040 NZD. This is paid to you by your host family at the end of your placement.
Time Off & Travel
You will typically be working between 30-45 hours per week and this will be determined by the family you work with. Your hours will be divided up each day and don't worry - there will be plenty of time to explore New Zealand on your time off! You could meet up with other Au Pairs for a meal, go shopping or dive in head first to some of the most fascinating sights New Zealand has to offer. We've narrowed it down for you and given you our top ten list to get your mind wandering...
Top ten things to do:
1. Go whale watching in Kaikoura
2. Ski on top of an active volcano at Mt Ruapehu
3. Skydive or bungy in the adventure capital of New Zealand - Queenstown
4. Check out the boiling mud pools of Rotorua
5. Relax on the beaches in Coromandel
6. Swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands
7. Go black water rafting at Waitomo
8. Kayak with seals and dolphins in Abel Tasman National Park
9. Go hot air ballooning over the Canterbury Plains
10. Sand board down dunes past '90 Mile Beach'
Working in New Zealand
When joining this program you can rest assured knowing that your safety comes first and foremost. We ensure all host families undertake a thorough and comprehensive screening process and we will provide you with an Au Pair contract so that you know you are protected under New Zealand employment law. You will be entitled to the same rights and benefits as anyone else; meaning that you will be entitled to four weeks paid holiday, sick leave and public holidays. We also ensure fair and regular payment of your wages through the contract - you will be paid on time each week.
Why use an agency?
Traveling to a new country as an au Pair is exciting but it can also be risky if you're not careful. As a member of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) you can rest assured knowing that here at Smaller Earth, we have your best interests at heart. Using a safe and credible Au Pair agency means you can avoid mistakes and potential risks you face when using other sources like web-based DIY Au Pair matching services, including:
- High probability of unsuitable host families
- Absence of a written contract
- Little to no experience in the Au Pair industry
- Lack of professionalism or financial stability
- No standards or guides
- Risk of fraud
- No local support in country
Paying a fee for an Au Pair program and having dedicated team members call you to check in regularly, are good signs that your agency cares about you and your application! Our host families go through much of the same application process that Au Pairs do, including background checks and site visits to the family home.
In order to be considered for the Au Pair New Zealand program, you must ensure you meet the following requirements:
- Be between 18-30 years old
- Have a valid driving license
- Competent in conversational English
- Have a least 200 hours of documented childcare experience
- Have a clean criminal background
- Be available for a minimum of 6 months
Location & Accommodation
You will be placed with one of our many host families located throughout New Zealand. Placement locations include Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, Christchurch and Otago. You will stay in your own private room within the house and will normally share the family bathroom. Family homes can be a mix of big apartments in the city, or 3-4 bedroom houses with big yards in the countryside.
Insurance & Visa
We provide you with full travel insurance through Cover-More, one of New Zealand's most trusted insurers since 1986. Travel insurance is a necessity for any unforeseen medical expenses, accidents or lost/stolen property etc during your stay in New Zealand. Au Pairs are covered under the Cover-More Policy with a standard excess of $100 NZD per claim.
You must ensure you are eligible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand as you will be required to enter the country with this type of visa. We'll provide you with the best advice and ensure your eligibility for the visa but you must submit and pay for it yourself. The visa will cost around $140 USD and is payable directly to the Department of Immigration.
When & How to Apply
We have departure dates every month so that you can choose the best time of year that suits you. We ask that you allow at least 4 months from submitting your application to flying to New Zealand. This gives you ample time to complete your paperwork and allows us the maximum amount of time to secure you with a host family match. When you are ready to proceed, please click 'Apply Now' above and complete your online application in full. Make sure you tell us as much about YOU as you can! One of our dedicated members of staff will then call you to check over your application, check your eligibility and answer any of those last minute questions you might have. We'll then ask you to pay your $100 deposit so that we can get you started on your application documents.
Arrival & Orientation
After a long international flight, the orientation course will help you adjust to a new time zone and give you the opportunity to meet other Au Pairs before you join your host family. More importantly, our course provides valuable and potentially life-saving information about caring for children - including first aid and CPR lessons. The orientation course includes the following:
- Two nights' hotel accommodation in Auckland including all meals
- Professional first aid course and CPR training
- Theoretical driving lessons conducted by a professional driving instructor
- Childcare lessons conducted by our qualified Early Childhood Education teachers
- Assistance with setting up your New Zealand bank account
- A free New Zealand mobile SIM card
- An exciting tour of Auckland city (optional and additional cost)
- An introduction to being an Au Pair in New Zealand - including 'must see' destinations, kiwi phrases and much more!
- Round-trip flights to New Zealand
- Airport pick up
- All accommodation and meals with your New Zealand host family
- Full travel & medical insurance
- Placement guarantee - up to 5 days paid accommodation if you need to re-match with another host family
- Work 30-45 hours per week for up for $230 NZD
- Completion bonus available for up to $1,040 NZD
- Full orientation upon arrival (including hotel accommodation & all meals)
- First Aid & CPR course
- Bank account assistance
- SIM card
- Theory driving lessons
- Professional childcare lessons
What's Not Included?
- Police background check
- Visa Fee (approx. $140 USD)
- Transport to departure airport
- Items of a personal nature
- Local excursions or sightseeing