Caretaker Kaitautiaki

Caretakers keep places such as schools, apartment blocks and public buildings clean, safe and in good order.

Caretakers may do some or all of the following:

  • maintain grounds, facilities and gardens
  • clean buildings and dispose of rubbish
  • operate boilers and furnaces used for heating
  • make minor repairs and organise contractors for major repairs
  • oversee security.

Physical Requirements

Caretakers need to be reasonably fit as some jobs may involve lifting heavy objects, bending or climbing.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for caretakers includes:

  • work in the trades, especially carpentry
  • manual labour
  • cleaning or maintenance work
  • experience working with children or teenagers (for caretakers in schools).

Personal Qualities

Caretakers need to:

  • be self-directed and able to work unsupervised
  • have good time management skills
  • be good at problem solving
  • like working outside
  • be reliable.

Caretakers who work at schools must be able to relate well to children.


Caretakers need to have knowledge of:

  • how to use and maintain tools and equipment
  • basic repair skills
  • how to look after plants and lawns
  • what to do in emergencies
  • alarms and security systems.

Those who manage larger facilities may need to have basic computing and administrative skills.



  • may work full time or part time, and may need to work evenings and weekends or be on call
  • work at locations such as schools, apartment buildings, sports grounds and commercial properties
  • work indoors and outdoors in most weather conditions.

Caretakers can earn around $23-$26 per hour.

Pay for caretakers varies depending on experience and what kind of work they do.

  • Caretakers at schools usually earn the minimum wage and $24 per hour.
  • Caretakers at schools supervising other usually earn between minimum wage and $26 an hour.
  • Caretakers who work for private employers usually earn more than this.

Sources: Ministry of Education, 'School Caretakers, Cleaners and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement 14 November 2022 to 13 November 2024', 2022; and research, 2023.

Caretakers may progress to work as property managers.


Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a caretaker.

Some caretaking jobs may require a police background check.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.