Growing the next generation of leaders

Working at Rakaia Island provides a rewarding career in the dairy industry and an excellent lifestyle. Ongoing training and strong support systems will give you opportunities to quickly progress to leadership roles within the business.

Family Owned: owned by the Turner family, Rakaia Island Limited is a large dairy farming operation in Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand. The business has over 50 staff and 9,000 KiwiCross cows. Six dairy units and a Dry stock (Dairy Support) unit are run as one farm, in two locations: Rakaia Island near Southbridge in Canterbury, and Woodstock near Oxford, in North Canterbury.

Shared Values: while there are a number of farms, we are one collaborative, equal team. Rakaia Island’s culture is based on respect and putting our shared values into action every day. Learn more about working at Rakaia Island.

Looking for a career in the dairy industry, not just a job?
Please fill in the Application below. You must state which current vacancy you are applying for, or what type of work you are interested in. For dairying work, previous large herd experience is an advantage.

The information below must be attached with your Application:
• CV – Curriculum Vitae
• Cover Letter

If you have queries, contact the Head Office: 03 324 2945

Employment Package

Rakaia Island provides great opportunities for learning and career progression, offering support and guidance with industry-leading farming practices and performance.


A selection of four-bedroom and two or three-bedroom houses are offered to Farm Managers, Assistant Farm Managers and Herd Managers, where possible. Single quarters are modern; either a shared-house facility or purpose-built accommodation; employees have their own room and en-suite, with a shared lounge, kitchen/dining and laundry facilities. Calf rearers may be offered shared accommodation when available. An internet connection is supplied to all single quarters, and is subsidised by Rakaia Island.

Regular house inspections are carried out in order to maintain standards – for the welfare of our staff and for asset maintenance.

Training & Leadership Development

Staff receive on-farm training and further education courses are offered through AgITO. Rakaia Island deducts training fees from staff wages, but on successful completion of any course, the training fee is refunded in full.

Staff Welfare

Doing a good job depends on our staff being in a healthy and balanced place. We have created a happy, safe environment for the team where their psychological wellbeing is just as important as their physical safety.

We are advocates for creating a working and living environment for the whole farm team, which is emotionally safe, fun and fair and that they know they can always put their hand up for help and someone will be available.

Lunchtime meals are served 5 days a week to all staff in the rec room, where entertainment such as a TV, table tennis table, pool table or darts board are provided.

Rakaia Island operates a fully funded Employee Assistance Programme which offers many services including counselling, budgeting and financial assistance, personal legal advice and career planning.

Rakaia Island believes that health insurance* is something that all employees should have access to, to protect themselves in case of a major medical event or the need for surgery. This is why we provide a fully funded health insurance scheme through Southern Cross, NZ’s largest provider of health insurance.

*after 3 months employment

Pastoral Care

Rakaia Island employs a pastoral carer to support our employees, providing them with a “home away from home.” The pastoral carer helps our people settle into day to day life, both at work and the local community, giving advice and ensuring they can access relevant information and services. We recognise the importance of our people and offering a caring and supportive environment in which to live and work is essential to their success.

Social Life

Staff from both Rakaia Island farms regularly get together for events such as barbecue evenings, trivia nights, an end of season dinner, Guy Fawkes and Christmas functions. Most of the functions are held in the Recreation Room at Rakaia Island (adjacent to the Office) and the Christmas get-together is usually held at Woodstock. Often staff will form teams for off-farm touch rugby, netball etc.

Getting the right work/life balance is important, so where possible we encourage staff to pursue hobbies, sport or family time activities off farm. Regular events are also held on-farm, such as quiz nights, table tennis competitions, BBQ get togethers, Christmas party, fireworks night and our annual RISE Awards night.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions we’re commonly asked by people thinking about working on the farms at Rakaia Island.

We have a variety of jobs regularly available that may suit you. Each season we recruit calf rearers. These roles are fixed term so often suit people on a working holiday. They start in July and end around November.

Dairy Assistant positions are more commonly available, but we also have Herd Managers, Senior Herd Managers and Assistant Farm Managers.

At Rakaia Island we pride ourselves on making sure our workers get good training. You’ll receive informal on-farm training and we will design a training and development plan especially suited to your needs. 

For further education, we also really encourage formal training courses that may be offered through the Primary ITO organisation

We usually prefer our workers to live here. There are early starts and it’s a remote location so it will be easier to live on site.

Yes, we have both shared accommodation for single employees as well as houses for families if required.

Some staff have their families living with them on the farm. There are approximately 28 staff members living at Rakaia Island and about 40 people in total. At Woodstock we have 20 staff living in farm accommodation and approximately 38 people in total.

Southbridge is a small town, 10 minutes’ drive and has a dairy, a small grocery store, a fish & chip shop and local pub.

Rolleston is about 30 minutes’ drive away and has supermarkets, shopping and takeaways.

Ashburton is south of Rakaia Island and is about a 35 minutes drive. This is smaller than Christchurch, but most things can be found there, eg supermarkets, cinema and shops.

Christchurch is a 45 minutes’ drive and has malls, supermarkets, cinemas etc. It is the biggest town in Canterbury.

Oxford is a short 10 minute drive away from Woodstock Farms, which has cafes and a supermarket too.

We have many different nationalities living and working on our farms and one of the benefits is being part of such a diverse community. We have a number of social events and activities throughout the year including our annual awards evening at the end of the season.

Our workers find living here very cost effective. We provide an allowance for power and internet in our shared accommodation and we also provide lunches for everyone 5 days a week, if they want it.

Rakaia Island: Southbridge (10 minutes drive) has a primary school (5-11 years) and Leeston, which is 5 minutes further away also has a primary school and a high school (11-17 years).

Parents can take their children to school or there is a bus that will pick children up and drop them off near Rakaia Island each school day.

Woodstock: A bus service is provided to both View Hill and Oxford primary schools.

There are lots of walks near both locations and fishing (with a licence) and swimming in the rivers is possible. Canterbury is a beautiful place to live and there are many areas to explore.

In Christchurch there are art galleries, museums, cafes, bars, malls, live theatre, shopping, parks etc.

Yes, of course. We do need to be aware of who is staying overnight on our properties for Health & Safety purposes, so you’ll need to let us know.

Current Vacancies

We have no vacancies at this time, but if you would like to express your interest in working for us, please send your CV and a cover letter to us at:

General Career Enquiries