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Moving to New Zealand? A Guide to Kiwi Living, An Expat’s Guide

An Expat’s Guide to the Process

While there are dozens of reason to go to New Zealand, the lifestyle is number one. New Zealanders are notoriously friendly, approachable, relaxed, and happy, and it won’t be tough to find a group of them that you genuinely love being around.
In addition to being incredibly welcoming, the population of New Zealand also takes success seriously, so this country is a fantastic place to establish a small business or enjoy a career as a freelancer. No matter what you do, you’ll be surrounded by motivated, intelligent people who want to help you succeed.
Another draw of New Zealand is its landscape. Even this country’s major cities are only a stone’s throw from parks, trails, beaches, and open, green spaces. This promotes a healthy, outdoor lifestyle and is part of the reason that New Zealanders are purported to cope with stress so well.
As if all of that weren’t enough to convince you that New Zealand is the place to be, there’s also the temperate climate, ample space, outstanding public healthcare system, and attractive family benefits.

Getting Your Visa

If you’re planning to move to New Zealand in the near future, you’ll need to secure a visa first. There are several different types of visas available in New Zealand, and working in the country means you’ll need to find the one that’s right for you.
One of the main visas in New Zealand is the working holiday visa, which allows people between the ages of 18-30 to stay in New Zealand for up to one year. Alternately, there are temporary work visas and skilled migrant visas available to people from around the world.
Keep in mind that there are several different visa options available, and that finding the one that’s right for you may be an extensive process. Be sure, though, to take the time to sort through the options adequately, so as to save yourself the trouble of adjusting down the road.
One of the most popular visa options in New Zealand is the Residence from Work permit. This is available to people who have maintained a Work to Residence visa for two years. To qualify for this visa, you’ll need to prove that you meet the character and health requirements set forth by the government and that you have an English speaking background or an English certificate.
Because New Zealand’s vis requirements may fluctuate on a regular basis, it’s wise to talk directly to the government about what you’ll be required to apply for and what type of documentation you’ll be required to provide. This will help you save time, money, and stress down the road.

Finding Housing in New Zealand

Finding housing in New Zealand is easier than it is in many places of the world. The rental market in this country is broad, and it’s relatively easy for expats to find everything from commercially-owned properties to private residences rented by couples or individuals. While it’s possible to find long-term rental contracts in this country, expats are often advised that the majority of leases are short- or medium-term agreements, and that moving relatively often is somewhat common. Because the rental market here is so varied, it’s wise to hire a professional real estate agent to help you sift through it. A real estate agent will know where to look for the best flats and will be able to help you determine what’s a fair rental price and what isn’t. Of course, rental prices in New Zealand vary as they do in any other country in the world, and it’s possible to find everything from inexpensive single housing to high-end luxury flats in the most in-demand neighborhoods in New Zealand’s biggest cities. Regardless of what you choose, though, you should be prepared to put up a hefty sum at the get-go. Most New Zealand landlords require tenants to put up the equivalent of one months’ rent to secure the property. Provided the property is returned in good condition, you’ll get the deposit back once you move out.

 

The 5 Best Cities in New Zealand

1. Wellington
Known for its beautiful waterfront position, big-city feel, and close-knit, friendly communities, Wellington often ranks at the top of the list of the best places to live in New Zealand. The city is home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the Symphony Orchestra, and the Te Papa.
The capital of New Zealand, Wellington is home to world-famous Victoria University and is a famous town for students, academics, and professionals. What’s more, it’s also known as the “Craft beer capital” of New Zealand. While the real estate here is not dirt cheap, this is a friendly, approachable, beautiful place to live that offers significantly lower prices than many of New Zealand’s largest cities.

2. Auckland
For expats looking for a lifestyle that offers fun, sand, and surf, Auckland is the place to go. The scenic and beautiful city offers attractions like the Auckland Museum and Ambury Farm. It’s widely considered to be incredibly family friendly and has been ranked (Twice) as the third most livable city in the entire world. What’s more, the University of Auckland is the top university in New Zealand, and its presence in this quiet little town produces plenty of good jobs and educational opportunities for its citizens. Residents and visitors here will enjoy Auckland’s low crime rate, ample shops, cafes, and diners, and friendly populations that love getting outside and enjoying the beautiful scenery the area has to offer.

3. New Plymouth
New Plymouth is the industrial seat of New Zealand. Known for its multitude of oil and gas jobs, this city has a thriving economy, affordable homes, plenty of recreational opportunities, and low crime rates.
It’s often touted as one of the best places in New Zealand to raise a family, and the unemployment levels here are among the lowest in the country. Ideal for any expat who wants a quiet pace of life without sacrificing good jobs, schools, and hospitals, New Plymouth is the place to go.

4. Christchurch
The second largest city in all of New Zealand, Christchurch is a fantastic place for migrants looking to secure jobs in New Zealand. Unlike many of the country’s quieter cities, Christchurch is a bustling metropolis with more than enough amenities, attractions, and activities to keep anyone busy.
The climate of this beautiful city is temperate and welcoming, and the city is famous around the world for its ample cultural and historical attractions. Ideal for anyone who wants to live in the heart of New Zealand, Christchurch is the seat of exciting things to do, wonderful people to meet, and delicious things to dine on.

5. Tauranga
Located in “The Bay of Plenty,” Tauranga is a scenic, shore-side county that’s won a spot as one of New Zealand’s primary vacation destinations. The area is among the most prolific in the country regarding economic growth, and there seems to be no limit to the business and economic opportunities for expats who land here. In addition to being beautiful and prosperous, though, Tauranga is also a safe and exciting place to live, with plenty of unique local shops, diners, and stores to keep you busy.

Pros and Cons of Moving to New Zealand

Just like any place in the world, New Zealand has its pros and its cons. Understanding each can help you make a more informed decision about whether New Zealand is truly right for you.

Pros

Cons

Moving to New Zealand: Every Expat’s Dream

New Zealand is often romanticized among expat communities, and rightfully so. In addition to being beautiful, this country is friendly, approachable, economically prosperous, and diverse. Expats here will be able to choose from a wide variety of cities in which to live and a large selection of jobs, industries, and specialties. The climate of New Zealand makes it easy to get outside and enjoy the attractions at all times of the year and the insistence by the New Zealand population on work-life balance, and healthy family structures make this a civilized and healthful place to live.
What’s more, the food and the craft beer and wine in this country are legendary, and expats will find themselves with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to delicious things to eat and drink.
Regardless of what your reasons for moving may be, New Zealand has a climate, landscape, culture, and population that supports virtually every aspiration. As beautiful as it is sensible, this is a safe place to raise a family, a prosperous place to start a business, a beautiful place to explore, and a calm, quiet place to enjoy the pace of daily life. While it’s not one of the least expensive places in the world, it does offer a quality of life, a natural landscape, a cultural tradition, and a mindset that’s unlike anything else you’ll find in the world.