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The first thing you will need to do is apply for a work permit. More information about applying and whether you will be eligible can be found at www.immigration.govt.nz/work/. On arrival in New Zealand, you will then need to get a tax number. Obtaining a tax number (IRD number) is pretty straight forward. You just need a couple of pieces of identification, i.e a international passport and a birth certificate. Once these two pieces of documentation are obtained you will be able to work in New Zealand legally.
Finding work in the main cities is relatively easy (New Zealand currently has the lowest unemployment rate in years, 4%) if you are prepared to do anything or if you have a trade. I know here in Christchurch the majority of travellers I meet end up finding work usually within a week or two. Temp agencies (bottom of this page) are a good place to start. The pay rate is not too great here, unskilled work will bring you about $9 - $12 NZ dollars per hour.
There is quite a lot of seasonal fruit picking work here in New Zealand, which depending on the season you shouldn't have to many problems getting work. Once again the pay rate isn't that great, although I haven't done this sort of work in about 8 years, the rate then was about $9 per hour, although if you are a hard (fast) worker you can make reasonable money picking on contract. Checkout www.seasonaljobs.co.nz
There are a number of places that are looking for volunteer workers. WWOOF'ing (willing workers on organic farms) is a huge organisation and there are 100's of farms scattered throughout New Zealand looking for volunteers. Generally it involves working a few hours per day for food and accommodation.
The Department of Conservation have a list of current volunteer jobs posted on their site. Although doing volunteer work for DoC may actually cost you money, you may get to experience a unique part of New Zealand (look for jobs working on offshore islands).
You could also try http://www.forest-bird.org.nz/
Do I need a work visa to do volunteer work? Apparently so! The government class any sort of work for gain as employment. I can only assume and hope that they have more important things to do than to chase down people working for a feed and a bed for the night, as I know the farmers will turn a blind eye.
New Zealand Job Sites
Work and income agricultural and fishery workers job site