The Experience

What you can expect

What will I experience?

You'll experience some of the best in the world!

Don't miss your chance to live and breathe the game in the hotbed of world rugby, New Zealand. The Crusaders have won an incredible seven titles since the competition’s inception in 1996 and have proven without doubt that the Canterbury region is where the knowledge base of world rugby is.

In 2008 the Canterbury Rugby Football Union established an International High Performance Unit (IHPU). Its purpose is to offer select players, coaches and support staff an opportunity to visit the inner workings of the organisation in one of the world’s most beautiful and rugby fanatical countries.

In 2015 the Crusaders joined forces with construction recruitment heavyweight Canstaff who have led the charge in recruiting for the Christchurch rebuild after the region’s devastating earthquakes. The Work, Train & Play Rugby Programme is a new offering for 2016 which allows you to do your OE, fund your training with Canstaff’s job seeking assistance and accelerate your rugby career via the IHPU all in one go!

Living in the Crusaders Region

The Crusaders region starts from the Southern Port City of Timaru and stretches up to the breathtakingly scenic Nelson and Marlborough areas. The climate is temperate, relatively dry and is comfortable most of the year around. Frosts aren’t uncommon in the region’s main city Christchurch, however the payoff is the azure, clear blue days that follow.

There is plenty to do in the Crusaders region, which boasts three cities, numerous ski fields, mountain and motor bike trails, sports clubs, beaches, lakes, a myriad of cafes, restaurants and nightclubs, shopping centres and entertainment venues.

New Zealand is far from over-populated. There are currently approximately 16 people per square kilometre in New Zealand. By comparison; USA, 30, The Irish Republic, 54, UK, 252, India, 380, Japan, 335, The Netherlands, 490; South Korea, 490 and Singapore, 6669.

Surroundings are lush, housing low to medium density and there aren’t the insane traffic issues that can be encountered in many other countries.
We doubt you’ll want to leave!


International High Performance Unit

Elite Programme

Our IHPU Elite Training Programme has been operating since 2008, supporting the development of support staff, coaches and high performing athletes, coaches and support staff. It includes five alumni players who participated in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Crusaders coaching staff have nurtured and developed many past and current All Blacks including captain Richie McCaw, and IRB World players of the year Kieran Read and Dan Carter.

Its purpose is to offer a selected group of players an opportunity to join the Crusaders IHPU and experience a unique rugby environment while improving each participant’s key rugby skillset.

Who is eligible for the Elite programme?

The Elite Programme is targeted at aspiring professional rugby players who have already excelled to a reasonable level. If you are over 18 and believe you are hardworking, self-disciplined, passionate, of good character and have untapped potential, then the Elite programme is for you.

The IHPU organises your programme from the moment you step off the plane to the moment you leave. Accommodation, rugby club affiliation and gym membership are just a few of the many things that we cater for during this experience.

If you are a player, find out more about our Elite Player programme here.

Work, Train & Play Programme

Who is eligible for the Work, Train & Play Programme?

The ‘Work, Train and Play’ Rugby Programme targets aspiring players who believe they have the ability and motivation to achieve at a higher level. Players 18 years and over who believe they have the necessary qualities and a desire to learn in a High Performance environment should apply now!

Working in New Zealand with Canstaff

INZ Accredited Labour Hire Employer

The team at Canstaff will help you find suitable work and assist in your relocation and integration into the Crusaders’ home turf. We are proud to be a major player in recruiting for the world’s largest construction project after Christchurch was hit with a series of devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Canstaff have been an Official Sponsor of the Crusaders for the past three years and it’s a privilege to extend our partnership to offer the new Work, Train & Play & Rugby Programme in 2017.

Our experienced consultants will assist in finding you a suitable position i which matches your skills, qualifications and aspirations. . All communication with Canstaff will be straightforward, friendly and in the strictest of confidence. Canstaff look forward to working with you to help you to advance your career within your chosen industry while in Christchurch.

How will you fund your Work, Train & Play Rugby Programme

Below is an approximate guide on local pay rates.

Construction, Engineering & Architecture Salary Information
Category Range
Architecture/Drafting $40k - $105k
Bricklayer $50k - $70k
Building services $45k - $115k
Carpenter 55k - $70k
Civil & structural $45k - $130k
Concrete Workers $40k - $70k
Drainlayer $55k - $75k
Electricians $55k - $75k
Fitter Turner/Welder $50k - $65k
General Trades $45k - $65k
Labouring, Construction/Civil $30k - $55k
Machine operators $32k - $65k
Painters $50k - $65k
Plasterers $50k - $65k
Project management $47k - $150k
Quantity Surveyors $58k - $130k
Reinforced Steel Fixers/Tyers $50k - $70k
Service Technician $45k - $65k
Site management $55k - $95k
Supervisor/Foreperson $55k - $85k
Surveying $45k - $125k

The Kiwi Culture

Kia ora

Not only are Kiwis crazy about rugby and sports mad, we know how to have a great time! We are active, outdoorsy, love a relaxed and sociable lifestyle and aren’t strangers to the odd BBQ and beers with mates in the weekend.

New Zealander's are friendly, welcoming and enjoy meeting people from other cultures. Our native Māori make up around 14.6% of the population, however there are other ethnic communities living in New Zealand including European, Asian and Pacific Islanders.

Tempering the rugged individualism of New Zealanders, we have a strong sense of fair play and teamwork. This is partly due to the co-operative 'whanau' (extended family) structure of Māori society.

We are renowned to have a ‘Number 8 wire’ solution focused attitude, which has been engrained into the cultural lexicon of New Zealand. This mentality conveys our ability (once borne out of past isolation) to improvise, adapt and find solutions to common problems. We’re a casual lot; love our mates, family, sport, holiday batches and our beautiful countryside and we’ll welcome you with open arms!

The Kiwi Adventure

Do mind-blowing landscapes and adventure sports press your buttons?! Get ready for the buzz of a lifetime in New Zealand!

We sure punch above our weight when it comes to adventure and we’re earning ourselves a worldwide reputation for being a one stop shop for thrill seekers. Home of the infamous bungy jump, we relish outdoor pursuits and hair-raising activities.

Bungy, skydive, canoe, cave, climb, ski, surf, zip line, quad bike, paraglide, luge... we have every adrenaline packed activity and extreme sport you can dream of. It’s even possible to swim in the ocean and go snowboarding all within the same day!

Elite or Work, Train & Play Rugby Programme:

Get your blood racing with this opportunity and we’ll even help you with your itinerary for your Kiwi adventure.

Cost of Living

Our overseas friends say costs of living in New Zealand are pretty relative when compared to home if you’re earning NZ dollars. If you frequent the region’s farmer’s markets, shop at Department Stores and visit our most popular auction website you will be able to live quite comfortably while you are working here.

Christchurch rentals have softened now the city has replenished its housing stock after its earthquakes.

Christchurch has a great public transport system. If you’d prefer to take a good look around the area in your own vehicle, ‘backpacker’ cars can be bought for only NZD$1000-2000. Vehicle registration and petrol prices have dropped which is a bonus for those wanting to travel our amazing scenic highways.