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.

Butchers can earn around $21-$25 per hour.

Pay for butchers varies depending on qualifications and experience.

  • Apprentice butchers usually start on minimum wage.
  • Newly qualified butchers usually earn $22 to $23 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.