Gardener Kaitiaki Māra

Gardeners plant and maintain lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers in public or private gardens and parks.

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Gardeners may do some or all of the following:

  • maintain gardens and outdoor areas by planting, pruning, fertilising, weeding
  • grow plants from seeds and cuttings
  • select and buy plants
  • control plant pests and diseases
  • discuss gardening requirements with clients
  • do landscaping and basic construction work
  • maintain gardening tools.

Physical Requirements

Gardeners need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong, and have a good level of stamina, as they may spend a lot of time bending and lifting. They should not have any allergies to pollens, sprays or plants.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for gardeners includes:

  • horticultural or conservation work
  • gardening experience
  • heavy vehicle and tractor-driving experience.

Personal Qualities

Gardeners need to be:

  • able to follow instructions
  • creative, with an eye for detail
  • motivated
  • practical
  • adaptable, as weather can change plans at the last minute.


Gardeners need to have:

  • knowledge of planting, pruning, spraying, fertilising
  • the ability to identify plants and pests
  • knowledge of plant pest and weed control
  • practical skills such as the ability to operate power tools.



  • work regular business hours and sometimes weekends
  • usually work outside in parks and gardens, but may also work in glasshouses and nurseries
  • work in most weather conditions.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a gardener. However, agricultural and horticultural science, biology and maths are useful.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Gardeners can earn around $23-$30 per hour.

Pay for gardeners varies depending on experience.

  • Trainee gardeners and gardeners' assistants usually start on minimum wage.
  • Experienced gardeners can earn up to $30 an hour.

Pay for self-employed gardeners depends on the success of their business.

Source: Trade Me Jobs 'Salary Guide', 2017; University of Canterbury 'Collective Agreement 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018', 2017.

Gardeners may progress to setting up their own business, or move into team leader or management roles.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a gardener. However, experience or a National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) may be useful.

Gardeners may study towards a National Certificate in Horticulture (Levels 1-3), National Certificate in Horticulture – Amenity Horticulture (Level 4) or a National Certificate in Horticulture – Landscaping (Level 4).