The situation regarding English language teaching in New Zealand is pretty similar to Australia and not so different from the UK in many respects. As in those countries, there is a private language school sector in addition to state provision through various ESOL programmes. Like Australia, private language schools in New Zealand are regulated by a government agency (NZQA). The main focus of the government regulation is to ensure schools are honouring the Code for Pastoral Care of International Students.


The regulatory scheme doesn't include observation of lessons etc. You can read about it at:


Language scholsEdit

Private language schools can be found all over NZ with Auckland having the lion's share. The NZQA list all educational providers in New Zealand at:


But you'll have to work your way through the list to identify the English language schools there. One way to narrow it down would be to use the search facility. If you go to the page of the college, you should be able to access the last audit report. Established colleges should be on a two or three year audit cycle - less than that indicates there was a problem last time round. But bear in mind the main focus of the inspections is on financial and welfare arrangements - the inspectors do not necessarily have any background in language education and do not focus on teaching issues in any case.


There is a national organisation of English language teachers - TESOLANZ - with members across all the sectors from private language schools to state schools, community colleges and universities. They also have a useful links page on their website:


And as in the UK and Australia, there's an organisation of language schools, which has its own conditions and accreditation process (which, unlike the NZQA scheme is run by language teaching specialists and includes lesson observation). There are about thirty or so member schools - membership of this organisation is not compulsory and not all schools are members - in particular, newer schools have to wait a couple of years before applying to join. You can access a complete list of members on their website and that could be a good place to start your job search:



As in Australia and the UK, private language schools in New Zealand accept CELTA and Trinity TESOL Cert, as well as certificates awarded by local universities, as their basic qualifications - schools may be willing to accept other certificates, but you'll need to check this with individual organisations. Teachers who have DELTA or Trinity TESOL Diplomas will be in a distinctly stronger position in the jobs market, as will teachers with experience of teaching IELTS. It's also an advantage to have other skills and qualifications in schools which offer mixed courses, such as English with tourism etc. If you're applying to particular schools, have a look at their programmes on their websites and aim to highlight any related skills or experience you have in those areas when you apply.

Demand for teachersEdit

Demand for English language teachers tends to fluctuate but there isn't such a strong seasonal effect as there is in the UK and Australia. The summer season - from November to February - sees a moderate rise in demand, principally because of tour groups from South America etc. At other times of the year, schools will need teachers for short contracts to deal with influxes of students - for instance, from Saudi Arabia or Korea. Schools vary quite considerably in terms of their main nationality - for some it is Korean, for others Saudi and Brazilian. Compared to the UK and Australia, NZ has far fewer Japanese students. But this situation is volatile. For instance, the four year period up to 2004 saw a very rapid growth in Chinese students at private language schools, but the three years afterwards saw an even sharper fall. Although there are still many thousands of Chinese in universities, they are no longer a significant presence in private language schools. This slump in Chinese numbers (and to a lesser extent in Japanese students) brought about a huge contraction in the private language school market, which is only now in a period of renewed growth - with large increases in Saudi and South American students in particular. However, many schools are still carrying the losses of the last few years, while there are still many underemployed TEFL teachers around (including some of the 200 NZ TEFL teachers who have returned home having lost their jobs for NOVA in Japan). This means that schools are pretty cautious about employing teachers, generally offering short-term contracts. Pay is also modest - in Auckland something like $25 - $35 per hour, though there's considerable variation. Bear in mind that a room in a flatshare will set you back $150 - $200 a week and you can see that you're not sitting on a goldmine as a TEFL teacher over here.

Applying for jobsEdit

In order to apply to private language schools in New Zealand, you'll need the right to work here. If you don't already have it, there's no point applying for any job, no matter what qualifications you've got. Schools won't sponsor you. So, who has the right to work in NZ? NZ and Australian citizens - also permanent residents and holders of visas which give them the right to work. The easiest route for most people wanting to work here on a short-term basis would be to get a working holiday visa - but only if you're under 30. You'll need first to check that the country you hold a passport for has this arrangement - Italy does, Spain doesn't. The USA, Canada and Ireland are all part of the scheme. British citizens are also eligible, but only those who are also 'domiciled' in the UK. Check this information on the NZ immigration website:


Essentially, having a working holiday visa entitles you to work in NZ under certain conditions - you'll need to check the details on the site. There's a quota on numbers from each country each year so get in early! Typically, you'd be able to work for a single employer for up to 3 months and, I think, for up to 12 months altogether, depending on which scheme you come out under (eg with a number of different schools for 3 months each). There's a certain amount of variation among national schemes - with the UK one, you can apply to stay up to 23 months, for instance (Brits also get to stay up to 12 months on a tourist visa, as opposed to 6 months for other nationalities). You need to go through an application process, including medical and character checks. I think it would also be useful to contact potential employers over here in advance, telling them of your plans and seeing how willing they are to employ teachers on working holiday visas (some might be put off by the extra admin and the short-term nature of the contract, though I've known various teachers who have worked successfully on working holiday visas, some of whom have come here to New Zealand from Thailand and Australia and on their way to teach in South America as part of a one or two year teach-and-travel experience.

If you don't qualify for a working holiday visa and you are not Australia or Kiwi, then your chances of getting English teaching work in NZ are remote. Come and visit instead. If you like it enough, consider migrating - details of the skilled migrant scheme are available on the website.

Discussion forumEdit

Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific