They've given it to an Aus' />

It might not be on Hamilton Island, but the Kiwis think it must be the "second best job in the world", and guess what?

They've given it to an Australian.

The leaseholders of a tiny ecological island at the top of the North Island advertised a caretaker position to imitate Tourism Queensland's hugely successful Best Job in the World promotion for Hamilton Island.

"It's got to be the second best. It's just wonderful there," volunteer manager Jill Smith said of the island paradise inhabited by kiwi birds and native bush.

There's a catch though. The two gigs couldn't be more different.

Unlike the $150,000 salary deal to hang out in tropical luxury on Hamilton for six months, the Kiwi winter season job doesn't pay a cent.

"And there's nothing plastic fantastic or flashy about us either. We're just a little trust without the very deep pockets of Australia's tourism boards," Smith said.

"We're talking almost totally uninhabited, completely natural, environmentally friendly, utterly peaceful, really."

It wasn't hard to sell. Aroha Island - "aroha" meaning love in Maori - is nestled in the heart of New Zealand's beautiful Bay of Islands.

It measures just 400 by 200 metres and is home to many more birds than humans.

The New Zealand media went to work promoting the gig as the ultimate escape from the global recession. It was promoted worldwide, with Smith receiving more than 150 quality applications from as far afield as America, India, Pakistan and Mexico.

"Some of them were really sad, heart-breaking really. It seems there are many people out there who would jump at the chance to escape their life, even when they won't be paid.

"It must be a sign of the tough times."

Ten Australians were among the applicants - most from Queensland, funnily enough - but it was a NSW environmental worker who read about the opportunity in the paper who made the cut.

"She's fabulous, enthusiastic and passionate about nature and wildlife, so she's just the woman for the job," Smith said.

"And she's lucky. It's the second best, maybe even the best out there."