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Become a Guide

Are you passionate about sharing your knowledge and love for your country with others? Becoming a tour guide might be the perfect job for you! Not only do you get to set your own pace and be your own boss, but the pay can be quite lucrative. While it may be a seasonal job, tour guides can work on short-term contracts and have the freedom to choose their own hours. So, if you're looking for a fulfilling and flexible career, consider becoming a tour guide and sharing your love for your country with visitors from all over the world!


  • Comprehensive knowledge of the area they are to work in and acceptable behaviour in particular places;
  • Wide general knowledge and a good educational background;
  • Fluency or very good knowledge of the language of their clients. Familiarity with idiomatic expressions and their meanings in appropriate situations;
  • Self-confidence and a positive attitude;
  • A high level of empathy towards others as well as the ability to make decisions and, when necessary, to be assertive;
  • Qualities of leadership including awareness of group dynamic processes;
  • Excellent organisational and communication skills;
  • A current first aid certificate.

The guide should ensure that visitors have a pleasant and memorable experience.  Clients expect smooth organisation, leadership, fairness, advice on optional activities, shopping etc.  They want to be entertained and informed, and to have someone to whom they can address their concerns and complaints.  

The demands placed on a guide are high. The guide must be a person who has to be of service to the clients without showing fatigue, stress or physical strain. The guide has to lead by good example, and put his / her needs last. 

For the first impression a smart appearance is imperative.  There is not always a requirement to wear a uniform.  If so, the guide can choose a smart, clean, tidy outfit suitable for the activities of the particular tour e.g. walking tour, coach tour, cruise ship.  At the same time the guide is also the representative of the employer, and should adopt a professional appearance with other service providers e.g. hotel staff.


What you will do

Tour guides can perform a variety of tasks, including accompanying groups on tours or excursions, even into natural settings, providing insightful commentary and explanations about the places visited, and arranging access to attractions like museums, government buildings, and exhibitions. They may also distribute written materials and respond to questions from tourists. In addition, they may organize meals, operate vehicles such as minibuses or coaches, and act as interpreters.


Tour guides need to have:

  • knowledge of the area they cover and its features or attractions
  • knowledge of New Zealand culture, Māori culture, history, society, geography, flora and fauna
  • understanding of other cultures, in particular the clients’ own background
  • good driving skills (if driver-guide)
  • leadership and public speaking skills.

What else might help


  • Be reasonably fit

Work experience


No qualification necessary but knowledge on specific fields is an added bonus

Link to careers.govt.nz

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