What Is the Difference Between a Nanny and an Au Pair?

Published on Tuesday, 03 April 2018
Last updated on Monday, 16 November 2020

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Both nannies and au pairs provide individualised in-home child care, however in many ways, the similarities end there. 

Here we look at how nannies and au pairs differ in the table below and you can read additional information in our dedicated articles, What is an Au Pair? and What is a nanny?

Nannies Au Pairs
  • Likely experienced and/or working towards a qualification like the New Zealand Certificate in Nanny Education (Level 5)
  • New Zealander – no need for a visa, non-New Zealander – may be eligible for Skilled Migrant Resident Visa 
  • Can be live-in or live-out
  • Likely agency requires nanny to be 18 years and over, trainee nanny typically 17-25 years old
  • Various child care options, e.g. day nanny, night nanny, nanny share or trainee nanny
  • Employed by the family at an agreed hourly rate. Nannies are eligible for public holidays, and get sick pay, annual leave
  • Paid an hourly rate, dependent on experience, location and agreement. Permanent nanny rate approx $18-$20 per hour
  • No bonus payment at end of a placement
  • Unrestricted employment period, can be permanent or temporary
  • Working hours determined by agreement
  • No proof of bank balance required
  • Nannies providing an early education plan are assigned a visiting teacher
  • Additional tasks, including household duties and cooking, may be defined by agreement
  • May be eligible for Childcare Subsidy or 20 Hours ECE. Home-based education programmes like Hop Skip Learn attract government funding. Possible subsidies for multiple births, domestic support and low income support
  • Likely to have New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency 
  • Likely to have a clean New Zealand driver’s license and their own car
  • Screened, police-checked, reference-checked and interviewed by nanny agency
  • Can be met and interviewed in person by families
  • Offer play-based and structured early learning activities
  • Likely to be trained in first aid and hold a current certificate 
  • Regardless of whether they live-in or out, when not working nannies will have their own interests, activities and friends
  • Fluent English and might speak Maori
  • Some experience – au pair agencies require 200+ hours of documented child care experience
  • Will need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa
  • Live-in, host family must provide au pair with private room and three meals a day
  • Au pairs are 18-30 years old 
  • May work as sole child-carer or mother’s help
  • Employed by the family with room and board included. Family must comply with tax and employment laws. Au pairs paid for public holidays, sick pay, annual leave 
  • Paid minimum wage, currently $16.50 per hour before tax. Weekly net wage approx $178-$240. 
  • Some agencies offer bonus payment at completion of 12 month placement
  • Employed for up to 12 months (or 23 months if au pair is from the UK or Canada)
  • Working hours may vary according to study timetable and other commitments
  • Must prove at least NZ$4,200 in a bank account
  • Au pairs get ongoing support from qualified Early Childhood Education teachers and their agency
  • Provide light household duties and cooking related only to children
  • May be eligible for 20 Hours ECE, Childcare Subsidy and/or OSCAR Subsidy from the government
  • From overseas, providing opportunities for language and cultural exchange
  • Likely to have an international driver’s license and no car in NZ
  • Au pair agency screens au pair and host family. Police and medical record checks, plus child care and character references for au pair. Police check for host family on first placement. Family must comply with health and safety guidelines 
  • Family may have to conduct interview via phone or video and may not meet au pair until they arrive 
  • Activities may be less structured, but include playgroups, outings and child care training sessions
  • May or may not be trained in first aid, course offered by agencies
  • Treated as a family member and included in weekend activities, mealtimes etc. even when not working
  • Good English and unlikely to speak Maori


AuPair Link
Nannies Plus

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