A Northland woman who was unemployed for two years before landing a job had applied for three jobs every week during her lengthy job hunt but only got calls back for about six of them.

Kirimoana Tangira had been on the unemployment benefit during those two years but on Monday she began her "dream job" as a fulltime NCEA Level 2 Maori tutor at People Potential Whangarei. She said finding the job was difficult as many of the positions advertised required special skill sets.

"It was quite difficult searching for work. There were few available that suited my skills and knowledge."

The latest Statistics New Zealand figures for the region show a record drop in Northland unemployment in the March quarter, falling 1.5 per cent from 9.9 per cent in the March 2015 quarter to 8.4 per cent in the March 2016 quarter. However despite the drop, Northland still has the highest unemployment rate in the country, along with the Gisborne/Hawke's Bay region, with 6700 people looking for work in the region.


Ms Tangira, 20, said she took up any opportunities that might have led her into a job. She attended Work and Income seminars and landed casual work at Kmart as a result. She also attended workshops and courses and did work experience wherever she could. But she became a little disheartened after applying for several jobs and rarely hearing back.

"I knew I would get a job eventually so I kept applying. I believe you get out what you put in," she said.

Ms Tangira said there needed to be more courses to help lead people into jobs and more jobs available for people who did not have specialised skills.

Adecco job agency Whangarei manager Jamie Rosemergy said the drop in unemployment rate could be contributed to a boom in the construction industry. He said in some cases Adecco received 100 to 150 applications for job adverts. He said often people lacked the skills required for the jobs.

The drop in unemployment in Northland has been seen as a positive step by Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Eru Lyndon who said benefit numbers had also dropped as a result of a "concerted effort to help Northlanders to be more independent". MSD figures show in the March 2015 17,034 Northlanders were on benefits - that number dropped to 16,587 in the March 2016 quarter.