Butcher Ringa Tapahi Mīti

Butchers cut, prepare and sell meat.

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Butchers may do some or all of the following:

  • break down and bone animal carcasses into cuts of meat
  • make mince, sausages and other smallgoods
  • help customers choose meat, and give advice about cooking methods
  • cure and smoke meat
  • sharpen and maintain knives and butchery equipment
  • keep the workplace clean and hygienic
  • package meat for display
  • order and carry out stocktakes of supplies.

Physical Requirements

Butchers need to have good hand-eye co-ordination. They also need to be reasonably fit as they often stand for long periods and may have to lift heavy items.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for butchers includes:

  • any work in kitchens
  • food hygiene courses
  • retail work
  • farm work
  • work at a meat processing plant or as a meat packer
  • work as a clean-up person in a butchery.

Personal Qualities

Butchers need to be:

  • careful and safety-conscious
  • organised and able to follow directions
  • able to use their initiative
  • skilled in handling, preparing and presenting meat products
  • good at customer service.


Butchers need to have knowledge of:

  • different cuts and grades of meat, and how long they remain fresh
  • how to prepare and cook different types of meat
  • how to safely use knives and other butchery equipment
  • food hygiene legislation and regulations.



  • usually do shift work, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends
  • work in butcher shops or in the butchery department of supermarkets
  • work in conditions that may be cold, due to moving in and out of freezers, and hazardous, due to working with knives.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Home economics (food and nutrition) is 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.

Butchers can earn around $23-$25 per hour.

Pay for butchers varies depending on qualifications and experience.

  • Apprentice butchers usually start on minimum wage.
  • Newly qualified butchers usually earn $23 to $24 an hour.
  • Experienced butchers usually earn $23 to $25 an hour.

Source: careers.govt.nz research, 2018.

Butchers may progress to own and work in their own butchery, or manage a supermarket butchery department.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required.

To become a butcher you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Trade Butchery (Level 4). Skills4Work oversees butchery apprenticeships.