Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

Let us introduce ourselves...
Ko wai mātou

MPI is helping maximize export opportunities for our primary industries, improve sector productivity, ensure the food we produce is safe, increase sustainable resource use, and protect New Zealand from biological risk.
For many, the most visible part of MPI is the work of our frontline people at New Zealand’s international airports, ports, and fisheries. But there’s much more to us - something you’ll quickly discover when you join our team. At MPI, you’ll be part of a diverse group that shares a vision of growing and protecting New Zealand.

What we value at MPI

Here at MPI we really value the unique perspective and experience of our motivated younger generations – our rangatahi. We also encourage those returning to study later in life. You are all the future leaders and change-makers of Aotearoa and the world.

We celebrate an inclusive and diverse workplace where difference is championed. We’re an employer of choice because of it. We can genuinely serve, grow, and protect Aotearoa if we’re representative of and speaking for our diverse population. We need to be able to connect with our stakeholders through a greater understanding. We need to be trusted as a genuinely representative voice that can deliver for all New Zealanders. And we want that to include you.

We're a hub for policy, innovation, thought, regulation, and change. Our work stretches from paddock, orchard, forest, and the oceans. We're about promoting innovation, encouraging new technologies and investing in scientific research. Our work cuts through the processing, packaging, and transportation system, all the way to market, and ultimately to consumers worldwide. The breadth of the primary industries offers exciting careers. And Manatū Ahu Matua – MPI - is at the heart of the industry.

We hire students studying

Arts & Humanities
Business and Commerce

Available Positions

MPI's Graduate Development Programme
Te hōtaka whakapakari ā MPI

  • Are you knowledgeable and passionate about the primary sector?
  • Would you like an opportunity to protect New Zealand’s biosecurity regime?
  • Become a valued member of our highly respected Graduate Development Programme!
Are you an adaptive person who has the desire and ability to learn new ideas and ways of doing things? Are you looking to develop your career at an organization that’s committed to helping you find a career path that’s right for you?

If you have enthusiasm, natural curiosity, internal motivation and a desire to start your career out on the right foot, consider applying for the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Graduate Development Programme! Think of it as the ultimate springboard to a hugely satisfying and important future – one that’s vital to maintaining New Zealand’s unique natural identity and international reputation.

As one of our graduates, you’ll find yourself working in a variety of areas – such as biosecurity, forestry, fisheries, food, response, regulation and policy initiatives. Our Programme is structured so that you will participate in three work rotations of approximately six months each in various parts of our business – including rotations that may occur regionally (i.e. Nelson, Christchurch, or Auckland) as well as in Wellington. Each of these rotations will broaden your knowledge and capabilities as well as your confidence. As the programme nears completion (after 18 months), we’ll work with you to align your interests and aspirations to one of the many career opportunities on offer. You could pursue a role in aquaculture, science or on the frontline, or perhaps you’ll be drawn to a career in communications or investigations, regulatory or policy. Whatever path you choose, your time on the MPI Graduate Development Programme will set you up with the insights and experience for the best possible start.

Maggie Tapa

MPI Graduate Maggie"I studied a Bachelor of Science with majors in geography and cultural anthropology at Victoria University. When I was nearing the end of my studies, I wasn’t sold on a particular career, so I decided to apply for the MPI graduate programme to get exposure to possibilities in the primary sector and government in general.

I started off in an operational policy team in Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand). In this rotation I worked on an operational review of how forest fires are managed in New Zealand, which involved a countrywide tour, speaking to a range of forestry businesses. I also had the opportunity to represent MPI at a cross-agency workshop hosted by Scion Research Institute. This gave me immense exposure to MPI stakeholders and gave me a better understanding of the breadth of the primary sector.

My final rotation and current role are working in the sustainable land use team in regional economic development. Our team helps to provide farmers with the tools and support to be more sustainable and productive farmers. This role really enabled me to find my passion in supporting New Zealanders to provide better outcomes for their whãnau and communities.

One of the best parts about the programme is the development opportunities you are offered like the mentoring programme. These are super valuable at helping you grow and figure out where you want to take your career."

Sione Tuita-Alofi MPI Graduate Sione

"I gained a Bachelor of Arts majoring in development studies with minors in Pacific studies and public policy at Victoria University of Wellington.

My first rotation in the MPI grad programme was in regional economic development working with stakeholders in Northland on initiatives that would enhance the economic, social, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of the region funded predominately by the Provincial Growth Fund.

My second rotation was in border policy, working specifically on biosecurity and border policy issues. My final rotation (and now my permanent job) is in Māori Agribusiness which involves working with Māori landowners on initiatives which will increase the productivity of their land.

One the coolest things about being on the grad programme is that you’re a part of a group who are all getting their first taste of ‘work life’ together. As a part of the programme you receive support from a mentor and a buddy, and you get to meet other graduates from both the public and private sectors. The grad trips are also an awesome chance to better understand what MPI does, and how MPI works with stakeholders on the ground."

Toni Wi

MPI Graduate Danica Carter
"I came into the programme with a science background and an interest in policy. My iwi is Ngāti Maniapoto, and I went to university in Christchurch and Dunedin. I decided to apply for the grad programme because of an interest in the primary industries and the chance to try out a bunch of different roles. I had three really great rotations across climate change, fisheries, and forestry, working in different areas of policy which helped me to figure out what I enjoyed and how I liked to work.

My favourite part of the programme was having a mentor and the relationships you make across the organisation, including within your own cohort. I’ve met so many amazing people through the programme and got to go to some amazing places – all across New Zealand, the sub-Antarctic Islands, and even the sea ice of East Antarctica. Now, I’m a policy analyst in the international fisheries management team and loving the cross-cutting work of international policy."

How Do I Apply?
Me pēhea te tuku tono

Applying as a grad to MPI

To be considered for the Programme, it is essential that you have a recent tertiary qualification (graduated within the last two years), backed up by strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Clear, confident communication skills are just as important, as are sound relationship management abilities and a collaborative working style. We don’t expect graduates to have a wealth of industry knowledge or experience, but involvement in voluntary work or serving one’s community, learning or speaking a language other than English, and experience leading or mentoring others (such as in a sports team, volunteer group or academically) are a bonus.

The following items are required to be considered for the Programme:

  • Your CV
  • A cover letter
  • A copy of your academic transcript. For application purposes, we can accept an unofficial copy which includes some University branding (i.e. log into your “grades” via your University’s intranet, and print the grades from there).
  • There will be a short questionnaire to answer when you apply, so set aside approximately 15-20 minutes to ensure that your application is in order before you submit it.

Important points to consider:

  • Attendance at our Assessment Centre is compulsory, as it involves team exercises and face-to-face interviews. MPI will assist with travel arrangements for candidates who live outside of the Wellington region.
  • Candidates must have completed a tertiary degree no more than two years prior to the Programme's start date, and be available to assume their full-time role in the Programme in mid-January of the year the programme commences.
  • In order to be considered for the Programme, candidates must be a New Zealand permanent resident or an Australian citizen.

Things to consider
Ngā āhuatanga hei whakaaroaro

As part of the online application, please attach the following documentation:
  • CV – Tell us about your academic experience and work history, volunteer and community work, sport, languages, travel, and hobbies. Please ensure that your educational experience is at the top of your CV and clearly outline your field(s) of study, and when you graduated (or when your anticipated graduation date will be).
  • Cover Letter – Tell us about your motivation for joining the Graduate Development Programme and why you’d like to work for the Ministry for Primary Industries.
  • Academic Transcript – An official transcript must be attached to support your application. If you do not have an official transcript yet), you may provide an unofficial transcript from your university, noting that an official transcript must be provided once it is available.
Process After the Application
As part of the online application, please attach the following documentation:
  • Online applications
    Once applications close we will carefully review each application and supporting documentation, and advise candidates on whether or not they will be progressing to the next phase.
  • Video interview
    Candidates who progress on to the next stage of the recruitment phase will participate in a video interview. This video interview will include some brief questions about you and your interest in working for us.
  • Written exercise
    The next step is a written exercise which candidates will be emailed and have one hour to complete at a time of their choice.
  • Cognitive assessment
    Following the video interview and written exercise, candidates who will be progressed to the next stage will participate in a cognitive assessment. This assessment is conducted online.
  • Assessment center
    Candidates who progress to the next stage will be invited to attend our one-day Assessment Centre. Please note that due to a candidate’s involvement in group exercises, individual participation and face-to-face interviewing, attendance at the Assessment Centre is compulsory in order to be considered for a place in the programme. This Assessment Centre will take place in Wellington. Applicants who live outside of the Wellington region will be assisted with travel.
  • Offers
    Once all of these assessments are completed, a decision will be made as to which candidates to progress to offer stage. Our Programme commences in mid-January – and all candidates must be available for full-time work at that time.
Throughout this process, we will be in communication with all candidates, both successful and unsuccessful. We are here to support you and enable you to put your best forward in all phases of the Programme.
Due to issues we’ve been having with some email providers incorrectly identifying email communication from us as “junk”, “spam”, or “clutter”, please check those folders regularly for emails from us.
If you have any questions, please email