Farmstay Host

New Zealand

Since 2009 we have been placing working holiday visa holders onto farms throughout New Zealand. These participants are coming to New Zealand to  learn about the culture and the customs of New Zealand while working and gaining life experiences.

Many of our participants have horse, farming or childcare experience and want to work and live the New Zealand rural lifestyle.

All participants have valid work visas, travel and medical insurance, have completed police checks and submit resume, cover, letter some pictures and references to be able to join our program. In addition an Internex placement supervisor interviews the candidate to ensure they are suitable for our farm hosts. When they are accepted we send you a profile about them and you can decide if you would like them to come and help out on your farm.

Participants work on the farm for 5-6 hours per day paid at least minimum wage covers the cost of food, accommodation and utilities. In addition, participants help with 10 hours of household chores per week, as they would in their own home. You are also expected to provide an welcoming home, private bedroom, and include the participant in some of your family activities.

If you would like to join the program and have us find someone for you, please complete the registration form and let us know a little about your farm and your family. We will then be in touch to let you know who we have that would be suitable for you farm and family.

The majority of our participants are International working holiday makers taking a gap year and looking to gain some meaningful work and cultural experience in New Zealand. They usually have experience or education with animals or agriculture having studied farming or grown up on a farm, or have experience with horses or with children. Often, they have a keen interest in the outdoors and nature and want to learn new skills while assisting on the farm with the skills they already have. We have many girls that like helping with both children and horses. They book with us via our International partner network of Universities and agencies in over 30 countries around the world and are taking the program as a part of their gap year abroad. The most common nationalities are Europeans including German, Dutch, Belgian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish and English and most of them are on working holiday visas. In the past they may have taken Farmstay, WWOOF or Help-X programs but as these offer ‘reward’ in the form of meals and accommodation it is determined by the labour inspectorate to constitute an employment agreement and therefore and wages should be paid. You can read more about the Labour Inspectorates position here. Most are not looking to do this as a means to make a lot of money, however they do appreciate that if they are required to work more than the normal 20 hours per week that they will be rewarded for this which ensures they are not abused for over-work.

Internex has been placing local and international students, graduates and professional into host organisations and families since 1999 and are one of the first dedicated placement organisations in the world. We opened our first office in 1999 and since then have placed over 20,000 participants into internships, work experience and volunteer programs in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. We have worked with thousands of farm hosts throughout New Zealand and most hosts have said that the participants have been excellent additions to their farms and very rewarding to have in their families. We have placed our participants onto many types with the most common being sheep and beef, dairy, mixed and horse farms, primarily equestrian, polo and racehorses. We also have many mixed-use farms where our farm workers act as support in many areas of the farm and the farmhouse. For international interns we also offer assistance with visas, flights, insurance, airport transfers, homestay or apartment accommodation, social activities and advice on weekend and holiday travel and a 24-hour emergency number. You can read more about us here

If you are wanting to host one of our farmstay participants you can apply below by completing the registration form. All of our participants must go through a detailed Internex application process and must have suitable attitude, motivations, expectation and language. Every participant is provided a placement supervisor who interviews them and ensure they have the right motivations and expectation before they are accepted into the program. Then, with the support of the team the placement supervisor contacts potential hosts and confirms the placement. When a suitable placement is found we ensure the number of hours and also are agreed to and then you and the worker form an employment agreement and agree to the accommodation deductions of $300.00 per week.

Many of our participants are young and for several it will be their first time living away from home. We therefore make sure we select families that agree to be very supportive of the workers, especially when they first arrive to help them get settled into their new home. We find the more supportive our families are at the start the better the placement becomes for all parties. You are also expected to provide a clean bedroom, with a window and insulation, a comfortable bed, linen and access to a bathroom. Some hosts may have detached bedrooms or alternative properties or apartments above the stables which are all fine so long as the farmworker is still included as one of the family especially at mealtimes. You should pay for groceries and include the farmworker in meals. Often they will get their own breakfast or lunch, but they usually share dinner time with you.

All farm hosts are required to pay a placement fee of $450.00 NZD (per placement). The placement fee includes: dedicated placement supervisor who matches you with a suitable farmworker, ongoing support throughout the placement period, farmworker hosting advice and definition of work vs domestic duties. Your farmworker also receives arrival orientation in Auckland, St johns first aid training if looking after children, introduction to other participants throughout the country, tours and discounted travel, 24-hour emergency numbers, ongoing support and re-placement if needed after mediation.

Every farm has a unique set of jobs and duties for the farmstay participant. You may want someone full time working with the animals, e.g. milking cows, or groundwork for the horses or acting as an Au-Pair. However, you may prefer a combination which is most often the case. This may mean helping out with the kids 2 days a week, cleaning the house and helping out at horse shows in the weekend. Let us know more about what you are hoping for in your application and how this may change from week to week or season to season and we will explain this to the participant to ensure they are a good match with your lifestyle. Farmstay participants are responsible for domestic duties like cleaning their room, doing housework, laundry and helping with meals. These are not considered work hours however domestic chores cannot exceed 10 hours per week. If the primary role of your participant is to be an Au-pair /childcare, duties such as cleaning your children or their rooms, or doing their laundry is considered part of their job.

We put a lot of effort into ensuring the participant will be a suitable match for your farm and your family but sometimes issues arise. We ask that you make a good-faith attempt to resolve minor concerns, issues or difficulties directly with them Usually it is a case of not understanding the expectations and a conversation can solve the problem. If anything remains unresolved after you make this attempt and you would like to release the intern, then we will move to a premature termination of placement after a consultation with both parties and with one week’s notice or as expressed in your employment agreement. For any more serious transgression by the farmstay participant please advise Internex immediately. If they wish to depart prematurely without valid reasons, they should give a minimum of 1 weeks’ notice. We will search for a new farmstay participant for you, should you want one.

Great news, you are interested in hosting a farm worker. The process is simple. Please fill in registration form below to tell us who you are and a little about your farm and family. You will be asked to upload some photos of the home, the bedroom where the participant will sleep, the bathroom they will use, the kitchen and dining area, the farm, the animals they will work with and some pictures of who they will live with. We also require a criminal record check from every adult that will be living in the same home as the participant. When we receive all of the information, we will give you a call to have a chat and learn more about you, your farm and your family. We will then create your farm profile and search for a suitable farmstay participant for you.

If you have any questions or would like to chat before completing the registration form, please contact the Program Director, Cathryn Salt on +64 21 407 077, or email