Applying for Government Internships

Every year students migrate from Auckland, Canterbury, Hamilton and Dunedin to participate in the annual government summer internship. These internships run by government departments are a mean way to broaden your career interests, do some really interesting mahi and beef up your CV. However, the government being the government, where to find and how to apply for these internships is a little elusive for some.


Most government jobs are posted on Not all internships are, but it’s most likely that if you're hunting around for these internships they will be on there. Most government departments take interns in their policy teams, however there are also other internships in Finance, IT, Strategy and Procurement. A law degree is not confined to the legal department and many of government department’s policy teams are stocked with law graduates or former practitioners. Some of the ministries that regularly recruit are: Ministry of Justice, Treasury, MBIE, Department of Conservation, Te Puni Kokiri and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Corrections.

2. Utilise your family and friends

It can be hard to get into these departments. While there are lots of opportunities, especially for those in Wellington, a lot of employers want to employ people they trust. Having family and friends who work in those departments is a plus - you can reach out to them to see whether there are any opportunities or a chance to have a coffee and chat with someone working there. Such networks help you to stay in the know and will also be a good reference for you. Note that government doesn’t follow the ‘clerkship season’, which is why having an insider is handy. Other than that, just keep your eye out on Faculty Facebook pages,, University Career sites and follow different Ministries' Social Media pages as well.

3. Government Legal Network

If policy sounds like a bore to you there are opportunities to work in the legal field in government. The Government Legal Network runs a summer clerkship programme and graduate programme. GLN Summer Clerks are placed within the legal team of a government department (MFAT, Crown Law, Commerce Commission, MBIE and much more) from November to end of February. GLN Graduates are part of a two year programme, rotating across Ministries.

4. He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata

‘Whats the most important thing in the world? It is people, people, people.’ One of the best parts about working in government is that it’s all about the people. It’s about working towards the bigger picture of how to make New Zealand a better place. If you’re applying keep this in mind - people-oriented activities in your CV like volunteering, clubs and societies, and mentoring help immensely. While the public sector is often criticised for their ineffectiveness and inefficiency, at the end of the day, the intention is for the good of the people of New Zealand, and each role is in support of that goal.

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