Live & Work
Only Marlborough has all the ingredients for a better life – found here, in this one unique place.
Those who choose to live and work here love our wines, water and wilderness. They treasure our heritage and celebrate our future. They start businesses, innovate and grow.
They value the lifestyle potentials and abundance that only Marlborough has to offer and connect with those generous enough to share it all.
For those curious enough to explore the potentials, only Marlborough offers truly amazing, truly genuine lifestyle possibilities. Where else could you spend a day on the slopes of your regional skifield, then finish off with a glass of locally-produced sauvignon blanc on the beach, all within a short drive from home?
Discover more about what makes Marlborough the perfect place to live, work, grow and flourish.
Districts and Towns
Districts and Towns
Marlborough is located in the north-east corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The region’s approximately 49,000 people are spread across five main centres and throughout many small but vibrant communities. Each township is very distinctive, yet connected by shared industries, community, and a love for this place they call home.
Whether it’s a rural lifestyle or town living that appeals, Marlborough genuinely has something for everyone. Discover more about Marlborough’s towns and settlements.
Marlborough’s largest centre, Blenheim is a bustling town located on the sweeping Wairau Plains. With beaches, rivers, wineries and much more within close proximity, and all the convenience you’d expect from town living, Blenheim offers a very attractive lifestyle that draws people to live, work and grow their families here.
Blenheim, population around 31,000 is bordered by picturesque vineyards, and sheltered by the beautiful Wither Hills to the south.
As Marlborough’s main residential, business and retail centre, Blenheim is diverse and filled with opportunity, yet enjoys the space and values the beautiful natural surroundings that make this such a special place.
Here, locals enjoy a lifestyle where a commute is no more than a few minutes’ drive, or a relaxing bike ride or walk. It’s a town where the property ladder is still within reach, yet the buzzing cafe culture means a great coffee is never too far away.
Blenheim has a range of excellent schools, from early learning to three high schools and the Marlborough campus of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Residents also have access to a full range of quality healthcare, including two hospitals.
There is plenty of retail therapy to be had here as well as excellent restaurants, museums, a library, and an active arts and culture scene. Plus, as Blenheim is mere minutes from the heart of Marlborough's wine country, there’s nothing to stop you from indulging in a cheeky wine tasting tour or long winery lunch in the weekend with friends.
Nestled in the heart of Marlborough wine country, where vineyard rows march all the way to the foothills and the mountains, is the small town of Renwick. Surrounded by vineyards and wineries, and in close proximity to Blenheim and Marlborough Airport, Renwick offers a brilliant work and play lifestyle within the welcoming atmosphere of a small town community.
A popular place and ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, Renwick, population around 2,100, provides many opportunities for those who want to achieve that idyllic, quintessentially Kiwi work/play lifestyle. With an active sports scene, hunting and fishing almost on your doorstep, mountain biking trails down the road and winery cellar doors and restaurants even closer, Renwick is surrounded by an abundance of leisure options.
Renwick has a primary school, kindergarten, preschool and Playcentre, and a bus links older students to Blenheim’s high schools. There is also a medical centre, supermarket, cafe and pubs – it even has its own organic fruit orchard where you can literally take your pick of the seasonal bounty.
Picton/Waitohi and Waikawa
The charming, scenic seaside town of Picton/Waitohi is the vibrant, beating heart of the Marlborough Sounds. For the approximately 4,000 people lucky enough to call Picton/Waitohi home, weekends could be spent fishing, sailing, exploring the many bush walks and mountain bike trails, taking a cruise through the Sounds or spending a day with the kids on Picton/Waitohi’s scenic foreshore.
Overlooking stunning Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui, Picton is surrounded by the natural beauty that attract people from all over the world to visit.
Its size belies its importance to New Zealand’s travel infrastructure, with the inter-island ferries, main highway and rail trunkline all converging here. Picton, just a 30-minute drive from Blenheim, is also an important base for Marlborough’s aquaculture industry, maritime services and of course tourism.
Picton’s town centre is vibrant and bustling, particularly during the summer months when locals and visitors alike enjoy el fresco dining and the boutique shops have a steady stream of customers hunting for bespoke gifts.
It’s also a self-sufficient town, with two primary schools in Picton and Waikawa, a secondary school, preschools, a kindergarten and a Playcentre as well as a library, supermarket and medical centre.
All this and more is right here, in one attractive package: once you live in paradise, there’s no reason to leave.
Known as the Greenshell mussel capital of the world, Havelock is a pleasant coastal settlement that also serves as an important base for Marlborough’s aquaculture industry. Beautifully located at the head of tranquil Pelorus/Te Hoiere Sound, Havelock was born out of an 1860s gold rush in the nearby Wakamarina Valley and river. Today, that river and the nearby Pelorus/Te Hoiere River, are both peaceful waterways of azure blue pools popular with swimmers. Gold was followed by a thriving native timber industry; both industries are now tales of the past, but left behind a successful township that provides its modern residents with idyllic country living as well as accommodation and career opportunities.
Havelock has a population of around 500, but thanks to being well-placed on the main highway connecting Blenheim and the city of Nelson, is injected with plenty of life each day.
It’s the ideal location for those who value small-town community, while also being close to the convenience of shops, services, a good coffee and even seaside dining that makes the most of the region’s amazing seafood and wine.
With small-town property prices, those dreams of owning a home nestled in native bush overlooking the sea could truly become a reality.
Many residents are employed in the aquaculture and fishing industries, work in tourism or operate boat services from Havelock’s marina. Others take the easy, scenic 30-40 minute drive to Renwick or Blenheim for work each day. Still others live in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds and commute to town by boat to Havelock Marina – or, they skip the commute altogether live on their boat in the marina.
Havelock has a primary school and preschool, and a school bus service to Marlborough secondary schools. There is a medical centre and a small supermarket, as well as local gift shops, great restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Seddon and the Awatere Valley
At the heart of the Awatere district lies Seddon, a small settlement rich in genuine community spirit and heritage. A dramatic landscape of sweeping plains, rugged coastline and spectacular mountain peaks, the Awatere Valley is an important winegrowing and farming region.
The main service centre for the Awatere district, Seddon, is a close-knit community of about 500 residents. Straddling State Highway 1, Seddon has a supermarket, cafe, information centre and primary school.
There are many lifestyle benefits here. Whether you’re into fishing off the beaches overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean, or want to hike or hunt the mountain ranges, the possibilities are endless. And here, owning a house and garden is a truly affordable goal, yet the commute from Seddon to Blenheim for work takes less than half an hour.
The Awatere District has a long and proud farming history, and continues to be the gateway to high country stations including the country’s largest, the Molesworth. Dramatically overlooking the valley is Marlborough’s tallest peak, Mount Tapuae-o-uenuku, central to Māori legend and the highest mountain outside of the Southern Alps.
Ward and Flaxbourne
Ward is the southernmost town in Marlborough, located in the scenic Flaxbourne district. With a proud history of pastoral farming that continues today, this region has also diversified into grapegrowing, the crayfish industry and salt production.
The small community of Ward is right on State Highway 1, the main connection between Marlborough and Canterbury. Ward has an old-style tearooms and petrol station, motel and primary school and is a short drive from the beautifully located Kekerengu settlement and it’s popular cafe.
Ward is near some truly stunning coastline, where catching your own crayfish for dinner is only a dive or snorkelling trip away, and a windswept walk to watch the waves can be a daily treat.
With Blenheim just a 40-minute drive away, that long-held dream of living on a lifestyle block, where there’s nothing but rural peace, views of the hills and mountains out the kitchen window and friendly neighbours a couple of paddocks away, could truly become a reality in Ward.
Marlborough has a rich heritage and history that dates back almost 1000 years. The following eight iwi have Tangata Whenua status within the Marlborough region - Te Tauihu o Te Waka-a-Māui
Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō
Rangitāne o Wairau
Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui
For more information also click here.
Health and Education
Health and Education
The Marlborough region has many quality education options for the whole family, catering from early childhood to tertiary level study. This region also provides access to excellent, comprehensive public and private healthcare facilities ranging from primary services to specialist care.
Marlborough’s core healthcare facilities and hospitals are based in Blenheim, within easy driving distance of the rest of the region. Other medical services available in the district include dental, maternity care, paediatric services, care and support for older people, pharmaceutical services and alternative healthcare providers.
Marlborough’s public hospital is Wairau Hospital, located in Blenheim. Managed by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB), Wairau Hospital offers a wide range of health services and is regularly visited by specialists from larger centres.
Adjecent to Wairau Hospital is the Urgent Care clinic and Churchill Private Hospital and Specialist Centre.
Providing a broad range of health and preventative services, Marlborough’s Primary Health Organisation is based at Marlborough Community Health Hub in central Blenheim.
Medical centres and general practitioners work in Blenheim, Picton/Waitohi, Renwick and Havelock. New residents to Marlborough are advised to enrol with a clinic for access to a doctor. To do so, start by finding contact details of medical centres here.
For more information about Marlborough healthcare, click here.
Marlborough has 30 primary schools spread across the region that accept children from the age of 5. For younger children, there are many preschools, kindergartens and Playcentres to choose from. Marlborough has one middle school, Bohally Intermediate, however, many primary schools accept children of intermediate school age.
Blenheim has three secondary schools: Public schools Marlborough Boy’s College, Marlborough Girls’ College and state-integrated Christian school Richmond View School, while Picton/Waitohi has its own secondary school, Queen Charlotte College.
Uniquely, Marlborough is also home to the New Zealand School of Winegrowing, based at Marlborough Boys’ College and the only programme of its kind in a secondary school setting.
The Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology has a campus in Blenheim offering a wide range of courses and qualifications.
Find more about Marlborough’s education options, including adult learning services and playgroups, here.
Accommodation and Property
Accommodation and Property
Whether you’re looking to rent, build or buy, Marlborough boasts an attractive housing market that really does cater to every lifestyle. Either jump straight onto the local property ladder so you can unpack and settle down, or rent for a while so you can discover which area of this diverse region you love most.
Marlborough’s property market is competitive, but realistic even for first home buyers. To find out where Marlborough sits in the national property market picture this month, and what a home might cost, go here.
Have you found something you like the look of? Find out more about the property on the Marlborough Distric Council Property Files platforms.
Imagine yourself in a home overlooking the sea or towards the hills, your very own vineyard, a lifestyle block with a horse for the kids, or an easy-care urban townhouse – the choice is entirely yours. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent in Marlborough, the following companies will be able to help;
Building a home in Marlborough means you get exactly what you want for your new lifestyle. Constructing in the region is possible within new residential developments or on existing subdivided sections. Start by finding a registered Master Builder in Marlborough.
From the boutique gift shops on Picton/Waitohi’s high street to the large retail chain stores in Blenheim, there is no shortage of opportunity for a spot of retail therapy in Marlborough, and where you will find everything you need.
In Blenheim’s town centre you’ll discover a wide choice of retailers, from bespoke, independent local shops to well-known retail brands. With plentiful parking, it’s very easy to spend a pleasant day wandering the heart of Blenheim to discover your new favourites and sample its diverse selection of cafes and restaurants.
Just outside Blenheim, you’ll find Westwood, a convenient group of major chain stores and a large supermarket surrounded by an abundance of free parking.
Picton/Waitohi and Havelock’s high street offer a diverse selection of boutique shops for those special one-of-a-kind gifts, mixed with an array of coffee and eating options. Picton/Waitohi, Havelock and Seddon all have small supermarkets that are perfect for supplying all the essentials without necessitating a drive into Blenheim.
When it comes to fun, exciting and unique events, Marlborough punches well above its weight. The annual calendar is full of all sorts of events that celebrate all the wonderful things that make this region so special. From our amazing wine, cuisine, culture, heritage, arts, music, sports, people and landscapes, the list of occasions to fill your weekends is long and varied.
Marlborough’s flagship event is the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, which attracts thousands to the region every February. Because this region can’t get enough of great food and wine, the annual calendar is filled with events that celebrate cuisine and local produce.
Marlborough loves sports and the outdoors, a winning combination reflected in the many significant competitions and events held throughout the year that attract participants and their families from home and abroad.
There’s so much more to discover, celebrate and enjoy: Find out what else is on in Marlborough here.
Social and Recreation
Social and Recreation
Marlborough has a huge variety of opportunity for sports and recreation, outdoor pursuits and much more. It also has an active theatre, arts and culture scene, a huge range of clubs that cater to all manner of interests and plenty of facilities to support it all.
Marlborough has an active performing arts scene, and there are many shows and productions to attend throughout the year. The ASB Theatre Marlborough in Blenheim is the largest in the region, while smaller shows take place in charismatic, intimate theatres.
ASB Theatre Marlborough
ASB Theatre Marlborough is a versatile facility capable of hosting large productions that frequent the region, as well as providing a smaller theatre and function rooms for a range of occasions. Find out what’s coming up at the theatre here
The Boathouse Theatre
Dubbed ‘Blenheim’s coolest little theatre’, this intimate riverside space hosts many plays, musical theatre, touring productions, festivals and is home to the Marlborough Repertory Society. Find out more here
Home of the Picton Drama Club, this theatre is impossibly quaint. Small but popular, it attracts performers from all over New Zealand and the world as well as hosting local productions. Find out more here
Whatever your interest, hobby or pass-time may be, chances are high that there is a group of like minded people to join in Marlborough.
From sports, recreation and outdoor pursuits to art and galleries, crafts and music, culture to animals, local clubs are great at bringing together Marlborough residents with similar interests. They’re also a wonderful way to immerse yourself into Marlborough’s diverse and welcoming community. The Clubs of Marlborough provide a central hub for many community activities and gatherings.
Marlborough Multicultural Centre and Marlborough Community Centre, allows people from all over to celebrate their diversity in a safe and welcoming environment.
There’s always plenty going on within Marlborough’s sports scene, with something available for all interests, levels, ages and abilities. The region’s many sports parks and facilities supports not only Marlborough’s up-and-coming sports stars, but those who simply want to keep fit, healthy and have fun.
The multi-purpose Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 incorporates facilities for squash, basketball, tennis, volleyball as well as various other sports and a state-of-the-art gymnasium.
The stadium includes a fully equipped gym, lane pools, children’s pools and a sauna, steam room and spa. Find out more here.
Sports Fields and Parks
Blenheim’s Lansdowne Park boasts nearly 13 hectares of sports playing surface including Marlborough’s premiere rugby ground and netball courts. There is also space for junior cricket, softball and sand volleyball in summer. This is also the Blenheim home for the top of the south provincial rugby team, the Tasman Makos.
Marlborough has many sports parks and facilities spread throughout the district, from community rugby grounds and club rooms to a dedicated hockey turf, tennis courts, athletics park, equestrian parks, polo grounds, cricket grounds, bowling clubs and even a roller skating rink. There are also many mountain bike trails and walking tracks.
To find out more about Marlborough’s sports facilities, look here.
Whether it’s a way of life or as an easy weekend getaway, the Marlborough Sounds plays a pivotal role in the lives of many who reside here. With so much amazing scenery right on our doorstep, boating, yachting and fishing is a popular recreational activity. To facilitate that, Marlborough has three marinas in Picton/Waitohi, Waikawa and Havelock, and two active yacht clubs in Picton and Waikawa.
Find out more about what recreational facilities are in Marlborough here.
Parks and Reserves
Aviation history, heritage and passion runs deep and strong in Marlborough. Home to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, the region has a very active aviation community, aero club and pilot training. The Classic Fighters Airshow is held every two years and showcases a spectacular display of aviation skill and re-enactments of historical scenes.
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre features rare aircraft and memorabilia, all cinematically displayed throughout two exhibitions based on both world wars. The museum also houses the private collection of film director Sir Peter Jackson and a classic cars collection.
Marlborough Airport, located just outside Blenheim, has commercial daily flights to several New Zealand centres and is also home to the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Woodbourne. Many private pilots and charter flights also land here.
Marlborough is well-connected to the rest of New Zealand by air, road, land sea. Its uniquely central position makes Marlborough the perfect place to capitalise on all the benefits of regional living, while never being too far from the country’s main cities for work or pleasure. Within Marlborough, there are also several transport options to get around.
The ferry journey from Wellington to Picton/Waitohi is considered to be one of the world’s most scenic. Travelling through the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui and taking in sweeping views of both the North and South Islands from Cook Strait, the daily crossings can feel like a mini cruise.
Owning a car in Marlborough gives extra freedom to explore, or freedom to commute from our smaller towns into main centres for work. With all Marlborough’s smaller towns located within a 45-minute drive from central Blenheim at most, a country lifestyle supported by a town income can truly be a reality here.
Blenheim is located on the junction of State Highway 1, which begins in Picton/Waitohi and passes through all Marlborough’s east coast towns, and State Highway 6, which heads west and takes in Renwick and Havelock.
For more information on distance and travel times on the road, look here.
Marlborough’s position on the main rail link between Picton/Waitohi, Kaikoura and Christchurch means the Coastal Pacific passenger train passes through in both directions each day. Passengers can board at Picton/Waitohi or Blenheim’s railway stations.
Marlborough is perfectly suited for getting around by bike, both on and off-road. Whether you want to start making your daily commute on two wheels or enjoy recreational or competitive riding, there is something for every cyclist in Marlborough.
Discover more about getting around by bike in Marlborough here.
A number of taxi and shuttle services operate in Marlborough. Taxi stands can be found at Marlborough Airport and in central Blenheim. For more information on finding a taxi or shuttle, look here.
With plenty of space to run around and play, Marlborough is a great place to add a pet to your family. There are also many services, shops and facilities to help care for your pet’s health and well-being or to look after them if you head away on holiday.
To find out more about how to register your pet, what animals you’re allowed in urban areas, and where to take them for exercise, look here
Vets, Catteries and Kennels
Whether you’re hoping to fill a lifestyle block with an array of critters or just want a small furry companion, there are a number of vets in Marlborough who can help.
In Blenheim, you’ll find the The Vet Centre, Vets on Alabama and Springlands Veterinary Clinic while in Picton there is the Picton Veterinary Clinic. Catteries and kennels are located across the region including VinView, Whiskers Cat Lodge and Padz and Paws.
Marlborough is a place full of genuine opportunity for those who want to achieve that enviable, wonderful work/life balance.
From those who come here to find fulfilling jobs to those who plant the seed of new business, everything is here to help them grow and thrive.
Marlborough is a place where innovation is celebrated, and where pushing the boundaries of what is possible is always encouraged.
The diversity of Marlborough’s many industries provide varied job and career opportunities for, and together create a connected, resilient local economy.
All this and more is what makes Marlborough so appealing as a brilliant place to work, invest, succeed and enjoy life.
For information about seasonal worlk in Marlborough, please refer to the Work the Seasons website here.
Marlborough, well-known as New Zealand’s premier wine region, also supports a wide range of other key industries that together underpin a vibrant, progressive and robust economy.
Famous for its sauvignon blanc, Marlborough is the largest wine producing region in the country, a fact reflected in its vast stretches of vineyards dotted with picturesque wineries. In fact, Wine Marlborough figures show the region accounts for 77% of New Zealand's total active wine production.
Traditionally a pastoral farming district, over the last half century much of Marlborough’s productive land has been transformed into vineyards, taking advantage of the region’s ideal climate and soil types. Still, some areas – and even generations of families - continue to produce excellent quality beef, sheep and lamb products.
Away from the vineyards, in the paradise of winding waterways and lush native bush that are the Marlborough Sounds, significant industries besides marine farming include specialist marine services, Port Marlborough and a significant proportion of Marlborough’s growing tourism industry.
All these industries are supported by a wide variety of small and large businesses, professional services, retail outlets, social and healthcare services, construction trades, education and many more key industries that together form Marlborough’s successful, varied and growing economy.
Recent data shows that Marlborough’s primary industries of agriculture, forestry and fisheries - including wild shellfish and crayfish - continue to make a significant contribution to the region’s GDP (gross domestic product) each year.
The largest contributor to Marlborough’s GDP is manufacturing, which takes into account Marlborough’s many wineries and also some of its thriving aquaculture industry, which predominantly produces Pacific Salmon, Greenshell Mussels and oysters in the Marlborough Sounds. It also includes Marlborough’s aviation industry, particularly aeronautical design and manufacturing Airbus New Zealand and local airline and aircraft maintenance company Sounds Aero.
Positive employment growth within a region demonstrates economic and social well-being. It indicates good business confidence, which means higher investment, stronger consumer spending and, ultimately, more career opportunities and improved lifestyle choices for those who live and work here.
Marlborough’s job market is robust and growing across many major employment sectors including viticulture and wine, construction, agriculture, education and hospitality.
The region’s unemployment rate is lower than the New Zealand rate, and a tight labour market means salaries must remain competitive to attract the workers that are needed to drive the local economy. It also means that those looking for that all-important work/life balance have choice, opportunity and potentially flexibility to achieve their goal.
For an in-depth look at New Zealand’s labour market, go here
Marlborough, like many areas of regional New Zealand, is experiencing a critical skills and labour shortage. This is particularly true within its burgeoning wine industry, the growth of which is also fuelling a need for more staff within a range of other important industries and services.
This puts those who want to come to Marlborough to work and enjoy our fantastic lifestyle in a great position. With ample choice, there is a higher chance of finding that dream job in one of our many industries that excite and opens doors for the future.
A Wine Marlborough work survey report revealed all levels of the wine industry require more labour, and permanent, skilled positions, particularly those required in the vineyards, are the most difficult to fill compared to unskilled roles. The fast-growing industry is working with local partners and government organisations to address the issue, including fast tracking international applications for people whose skills are on the skills shortage list.
Across all industries, demand for skilled and highly-skilled workers in Marlborough is forecast to exceed national growth. Although many are employed directly within Marlborough’s wine industry, which still needs more workers, growth is driving demand across many other sectors that play essential supporting roles. Hospitality, education, healthcare, retail, construction and many more are all in need of more staff; the jobs are there for the taking.
With such a feast of opportunity, there really is no better time to secure a fantastic job, lifestyle and future in Marlborough than right now.
To be able to work in Marlborough you will require a visa. Immigration New Zealand has all the information you will need to ensure you are permitted to work in New Zealand.
In Marlborough, working hard is all about achieving a great work/life balance.
Here, we get the most of each working day so that when the job is done, we can enjoy our amazing wines, delicious local cuisine and diverse landscapes that stretch from alpine mountains to the calm waters of the Marlborough Sounds.
We like the flexibility of picking the kids up from school, of playing sports after hours, and of getting out to enjoy Marlborough’s magnificent outdoors on the weekend.
Working in this region probably means becoming part of a small team of people. Small enterprises – firms with fewer than 20 employees – make up the majority of all businesses in New Zealand, and Marlborough is no exception.
For this reason, our work culture centres on bringing a “can-do” attitude, independent thinking, pitching in to meet a shared goal and injecting a healthy dose of Kiwi ingenuity when the need arises.
And although a solid work ethic is a bonus in this vibrant region, we like to have fun: After all, this is a place where wine companies race each year’s vintage across Cook Strait on superyachts, companies take up rowing and office Christmas parties happen on a launch cruising the Marlborough Sounds.
Light on traffic and rich in natural beauty, in Marlborough the daily journey from home to work is less a commute, and more a scenic drive, bike, walk or even a boat ride.
In a region devoid of traffic lights, you’re more likely to navigate around a slow-moving grape harvester during vintage than sit in a real traffic jam.
Within Blenheim, drive times from the suburbs to the centre of town do not exceed 10 minutes, and parking is as little as $4 a day. However, many choose to leave the car at home in favour of a daily bike or walk.
Both Picton and Seddon are a mere 30-minute drive from downtown Blenheim, while Ward and Havelock are around 40 minutes. Renwick is an easy 10-minute commute from town.
Then there’s those who live in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds and take the boat to town for work. There are many Sounds residences within a 15 minute cruise of both Havelock and Picton: Living the idyllic life by the sea while retaining employment in town is more than just a pipe dream in Marlborough.
Still, others take the 15-20 minute hop across Cook Strait from Marlborough or Picton Airport to Wellington for the working week, a few days or even just a meeting. There really is no better way to get the best of both worlds.
For more information about parking, road and transport in Marlborough, look here.