Housesitters in rural New Zealand


I’m a newbie here and am wanting to find a non smoking, vegan housesitter who is able to take care of my horses, ponies, cats, alpacas and hens on my small rural property on the South Island of NZ while I go away in June and August. I do have 2 lovely dogs (Labrador and Golden Retriever) but they will have to go to boarding kennels while I’m away.

I’ve received notifications that sitters have saved my listing, but when I check their profiles I see that they are on the other side of the world.

I’ve tried searching for potential sitters who would be suitable to do one or both housesits but am not getting anywhere.

Am I doing something wrong or is it simply that noone is traveling my part of the world at the moment?

Many thanks

I’ve had a look at your posting and would say it sounds like hard work, with no mention of places for the sitter(s) to explore in the area - they probably wouldn’t have time as their day would be taken up with the animals. While you say the house is comfortable the pictures are rather dark and the bathroom and kitchen look quite dated. Apologies if I offend but these things may put people off. I do feel that 11 cats and 7 horses to look after is a big ask.
Also the request that the sitters should be vegan while they’re staying is unusual so that limits sitters.


Hello @Working_Class You say you have received notifications that sitters have saved your listing but that when you looked at them they are on the other side of the world. There are many sitters on here who are happy to travel across the world to house sit, certainly @Smiley and @Colin are certainly doing so currently in NZ and Australia as would myself & my hubby so please don’t rule out potential sitters because they live thousands of miles away!

However I would mention that a lot of people favourite sits that they want to do but cannot currently do because the dates don’t work for them. It never hurts to ask though, as there is nothing nicer than receiving a personal invitation from a homeowner. Also invite sitters from other countries as well as local to you, yes you will have local sitters looking to sit especially if they are new and looking to build their review profile or perhaps for personal reasons they prefer to sit local. However there are many people on here who are prepared to travel thousands of miles to house sit so it never hurts to send a personal invite to someone you think would be suitable as they may very well say yes! :slightly_smiling_face:


@Working_Class welcome to the forum and thanks for already linking your two profiles together. It makes it so much easier to find your listing when you have questions.

As others have said, you have quite a menagerie to care for while you are away, and this can be quite daunting for many sitters, but I believe there is a sitter for every sit and it just may take a while to find the right one.

As stated, your large amount of animals are going to take quite a few hours per day to handle and this may lead to a sitter not having much time to explore, but I would suggest you add a general idea of the time that needs to be allotted on any given day as well as add information on the closest town, attractions, etc. so potential sitters can have a better idea before applying.

I wish you the best of luck!

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Thank you for reaching out and sharing that info with me



Hi Debbie

Thank you for the feedback. I’ve updated the info about the cats to make it really clear that 7 of them will be staying in their outside house and enclosures while I’m away. So it will take a minimal amount of time to feed them and give them fresh water morning and night. I’ve tweaked a bit of info about the horses and ponies as well.

I had included info about the local area under one of the headings but I’ve now added it to another heading. I’m part way through completing my ‘welcome’ doc as well.

I really do appreciate having ‘fresh’ eyes looking at my listing.

Many thanks



Thank you for your feedback and observations. I’d mentioned some of the attractions in the local area under one of the headings but I’ve added more details and incorporated much of the same info under another topic.

I’d also attached links to attractions in my Welcome doc but as a newbie I’m not sure when/how sitters access that doc.

There is a bit of walking involved in my daily tasks (but probably less than that done by a dog walker) and over the years I’ve streamlined the tasks to minimise back tracking. I’m in my late 60s and have no problems doing all that needs to be done, including moving 32kg bags of chaff and 40kg bags of grain. I’ve explained that the house sitter’s tasks will be less than what I currently do. Seven of the cats will be in their outside house while I’m away and it will take just minutes to feed them ( I bring them into my house at night in carry cages and take them outside again in the morning and I spend maybe 40 minutes feeding them in multiple rooms. ) Feeding the horses is a streamlined process and I’m looking for a nutritionally suitable alternative to the boiled crushed barley I currently cook and feed.

Re the bathroom and kitchen - aesthetically both rooms may look dated but the hot water in the shower is very hot and the water pressure is excellent. The kitchen is both practical and functional. In addition to the fairly new stove and microwave oven I have a breadmaker (I make all my own bread), all in one cooker (soups, curries, risotto, cooking dried legumes etc) and an airfyer (wedges) . I never eat out or buy takeaway and my kitchen never lets me down. I also shut the door when I’m finished in the kitchen and the wood burner doesn’t have to heat a room that’s not being used,

I understand that asking people to consume a plant based diet for a few days may not suit a lot of people but that’s ok … it’s their choice to look for another place to stay. Just before Covid hit and I was able to go home to Australia I had a lovely vegan Danish couple house sit for me. They loved my home and cooking so much that they asked to come back and stay for a few days in between other house sits.


@Working_Class you are very welcome :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi @Working_Class, I haven’t read your listing, so apologies if you mentioned it. To me, these are two different things: Your original forum post says you are looking for vegan sitters, but later you said they just need to be plant based for a few days.

Here’s the thing: if we see a listing that asks purely for vegans, we pass. But if we see a listing that says, ‘please be vegan during your few days at my home’, then we might reconsider, as it might be a nice challenge for us for a few days. I feel it’s an important distinction.

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I agree with others that your sit will appeal to a very limited number of sitters because of the amount of work involved, the remoteness of the location, and the dietary requirements. I am vegetarian, and love cities and countryside, but would be deterred by needing to do 3 hours work per day.

You say “…it’s difficult for me to get away from home for more than a few hours at a time…” because of the work. Many sitters will want to have more free time to explore the area, or work if they are working from home.

To make the sit more appealing, is there someone you can hire for a few hours a day to help the sitters? Can you offer a car?

I also suggest deleting some of the animal photos from your listing. It’s not necessary to have multiple photos of each animal. A group photo of the cats and horses would help. When there are so many animals, sitters don’t need to see a photo of each one of them.


This sit is a really big ask - but there might be someone out there. While all those animals might only take 3 hours a day (Yikes!) There is the huge responsibility that anything might go wrong, how will the sitter know it might be wrong, and how to handle it.

You might help your chances by posting on your own local listserves/message boards etc. for a local person. And just my opinion, and I’m not a farm girl by any means, but feeding hens their own eggs just seems super icky.

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Thank you for your feedback. I’ve edited the intro to make it clear that my property is rural and not remote.

I guess because I live here and an used to the routine I don’t see what I do as ‘work’ - I simply put on my gumboots and coat, go across to the feedshed, fill some buckets and then use the wheelbarrow to take the buckets over to the horses in their respective paddocks.

Unfortuately, I don’t have any spare funds to pay someone to come here to put out some hay for the horses etc

I can’t offer a car as I need my vehicle to travel to and from Christchurch airport to catch my flights.

Re the number of animal photos - I got a huge surprise when I was creating my listing and discovered that I had to upload a minimum of 2 photos of each one of my cats. But I can see that it’s handy for a sitter to know whether they are talking to Fifi or Fluffy

Thanks again for your feedback

If you are really desperate for a sitter, offering your car could be a deal breaker. Consider asking the sitter to drop you off at the airport, and pick you up again, in exchange for using your car. Not sure how far from the airport you are, perhaps you can even try to co-incide flights with sitters. All about communication and being flexible.

I hope you find someone wonderful, I’m sure there is someone that is a good match. All you need is time.


Unfortunately, Christchurch airport is around 3 hours (plus added time for a cup of tea and toilet break) drive from my place. My flight to Australia departs at 6.30am which means finding accommodation near the airport so that I can drive to the airport carpark and catch the shuttle bus to the terminal and be on time to check in. The highway is on the Canterbury Plains and is the scene of many fatal accidents due to driver fatigue/inattention. Even if the flight times made it possible, I wouldn’t expect someone to do a more than 500km round trip in a strange car.

@Working_Class - firstly you have come to the right place to find a perfect sitter for you.

If the sitters most interested in your sit are “on the other side of the world” can you embrace this opportunity ?

Think about how they will travel to your property. You have said there is no public transport and that you are not able to leave them your car - Can you offer to pick them up from the airport ?

If leaving your car for them is not an option- include the taxi prices so that potential sitter will be able to calculate how much it’s going to cost them to go into town .

You also state need to bring your own gum boots and waterproof coat - again if the sitter is coming from overseas they may be put off by this as it’s going to take up a lot of space in their luggage allowance .
If these are essential , can you provide these for the sitter to use during their stay ?

When your vegan sitters have taken care of your animals they will likely want some time to explore the area and maybe treat themselves to a meal out - can you recommend Vegan restaurants in your nearest town ?

If a sitter has experience with horses, can yours be ridden by the sitter ?

You have provided a very honest and open description of the responsibilities and home but this particular sentence would put me off applying
“ My property is surrounded by dairy farms and I witness some awful sights throughout the year.”

In addition to the responsibilities, you also need to think of all the reasons why a sitter would want to choose your sit - think of all the things that attracted you to choose to live in the area and write it from that perspective.

Sitters are unable to ask HO questions about the sit before they apply ( unless the HO has contacted them directly)
You could contact those who have saved your listing , to start a conversation with them - ask them if they have any questions about the sit or need anymore information .

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What are you back up plans in case of emergencies- for example - If the cats need to be taken to the vet - how will the sitters do this without a car and no public transport available ?

Just a quick response re taxis - I did a quick google search and came up with this: a taxi trip from Christchurch Airport to Oamaru costs around NZ$702.00.

@Working_Class you may need to put your listing on another, NZ specific site, called Kiwi House Sitters. That way you are more likely to find someone inside NZ who already has a car, gumboots etc.


Hi there

I am on Kiwi House Sitters and NZ House Sitters and have contacted numerous potential sitters on both sites. To date each and every one either won’t be on the South Island when I’m away or they are leaving the country at the end of May. I check the latest listings twice a day. I’ve also posted on a couple of NZ House Sitter Fb groups - not my preferred choice for many reasons but I have try.

NZ is a big little country and public transport availability between major centres is sub standard at best . One major bus company covering the entire country but with maybe 2 at most trips per day between some centres. The rail system (outside of Auckland and Wellington is virtually non existent). The ferry service between the North and South Island has been affected with some ferries owned by both operators being out of service in recent times. Prices for flights between the major and regional centres can vary in price dramatically and airports such as Dunedin airport are quite a few km from the city. Hiring a car for the duration of their stay gives travellers better flexibility and independence but the petrol is expensive.

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@Working_Class -

The fact that you are struggling to find sitters has absolutely nothing to do with sitters not travelling to your part of the world.

It is however due to the large amount of animals you have and the large amount of time and hard work involved in looking after them all. A 32kg weight is very heavy!

Added to the mix you are not able to provide a car, (not even a pair of boots!)

You are not interested in the 99% of sitters that are not vegan (or would be prepared to be vegan during the stay).

Finally, just to add the cherry to the cake, you warn that your sitters are likely to witness “some awful sights” from the surrounding dairy farms!

I applaud your honesty but, unless you are able to reduce the workload/restrictions and/or increase the perks, and I am really sorry to have to say this, but I will eat my hat if you manage to find any sitters via trusted housesitters :cowboy_hat_face: