Wow, You really want to go, Huh? I’ll answer what I can.
1) Does living in NZ help or hurt. I’m not sure. There have been a couple of people I know of that have been hired out of NZ. Some American, Some Kiwi. I would guess that it would be a help for the winter season if they needed someone at the last minute and there wasn’t enough time to hire someone from the states. If you could quit your job and be ready to go in a day, I would certainly let someone know.
I take it you are not on the South Island otherwise you would have already been to Christchurch to visit the International Antarctic Center. The next time you get down there drop into the US Antarctic Program Offices and have a heart to heart with them about whether they do any hiring out of the office. They should be of help. The offices are on the same site as the tourist attraction. It’s all staffed by Kiwis so as always they are polite and helpful.
2) Technical Jobs- Just because it’s still listed doesn’t mean it’s still open for sure. It’s been pointed out that there is a time lag from the time someone gets a signed contract to the time he gets PQ’d medically and then gets everything wrapped up. The help desk person may be in the system. On the other hand never let the lack of a listed job discourage you. There are so many people who for one reason or another drop out at the last minute. My normal advice to people is to go to the Denver Job Fair and get permission from the recruiters to keep in touch with them. Obviously you would have a hard time, but maybe the HR dept in Christchurch can put you in touch with someone in Denver. It’s worth a try.
3) How long does it take. Answer, a long time. If you mailed or emailed your application you are in the pile with 5 million other people who on a lark might go to antarctica or might not. As with any job, you need to find a way to move your application to the top of the pile. As in the previous answer I would say see if you can get permission from from the Christchurch HR Dept to get a phone number of a dept head someplace to keep in touch. If they are sympathic and give you a phone number in Denver then by all means call. When you do stress your background and stress that you can be there in a day if they need you. Keep in mind that there is only help desk position, but lot’s of related computer support jobs. Let them know your adaptabiliy with your BS in Computers and let them tell you of other jobs you might go for. Rember also, getting any job gets you in the system and makes it easier to get what you want the next year.