The winterless North’ – a place where the sun rarely hops out of vision. That’s what the Kiwis call Northland, and it’s easy to see why. Just one glance at the weather forecast on any given day will show you just how warm Northland can get, making the region one of the most popular places in New Zealand for skilled migrants, but the big orange ball in the sky isn’t the only thing that Northland has going for it.
We’re not even talking about the sumptuous scenery, endless unspoiled beaches and rich culture on offer (though of course, you’ll get all that too!) – the job opportunities on offer for skilled, experienced people are ample and varied, meaning that you should definitely consider Northland when planning your move to New Zealand.
What do you need to know about Northland?
Steeped in Maori culture and tradition, Northland was first landed upon by the explorer Kupe some 800 years ago. Today, around 30 per cent of the Northland population identify as Maori, and Whangarei, the biggest city, has a sizeable Maori contingent. It was also in Northland that the Treaty of Waitangi (New Zealand’s founding document) was signed back in 1840.
If you live for the great outdoors, you can’t go far wrong with Northland. Fishing, boating, cycling and hiking are all hugely popular pastimes here, and with a population of just 150,000, you can often drive or amble for hours without seeing another human being – we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or not!
Additionally, you’re never more than 50 kilometres from the coast in narrow Northland, so beach bunnies are catered for wherever you decide to settle, whether that’s Whangerei, the bright lights of Paihia or scenic Kerikeri. Now that you’ve learnt a little of the lifestyle Northland has to offer, let’s take a look at what it’s like to live and work here.
Living in Northland
Northland is a region based on community – it’s likely that you’ll soon be on first-name terms with the local shopkeeper, taxi driver and police officer alike. There’s always something going on no matter where you live, be it a local food festival or music event. Speaking of food, Northland is gaining a burgeoning reputation as a gastro hotspot, with a myriad of locally grown and produced delicacies to be had.
It’s this lifestyle that attracts so many skilled migrants to Northland. Some 10,000 people from the UK and Ireland call Northland home, with Europeans and Asians making up the rest of what is already a hugely diverse population. In fact, some 125 people a month are reported to move to Northland each month – can so many folk be wrong?
Here’s what you need to know about working in the region, from top-performing sectors, to opportunities for qualified migrants.
Working in Northland
Let’s get one little thing out the way first – the job market in Northland isn’t quite as large as it in some places, such as the Auckland region or those with big cities. Even so, there are still plenty of pickings for those who know what they’re looking for, so perseverance is the name of the game when job hunting in Northland.
As with many of New Zealand’s more rural areas, Northland’s biggest sectors include tourism and farming. Behind those two powerhouses are wood processing and marine engineering – indeed, some of the world’s biggest, most expensive superyachts were built in Whangarei, according to New Zealand Now. Cement manufacture is also big business, as is dairy processing.
Be sure to take a look at our jobs board to keep up to date on the latest job offerings in Northland – it’s constantly updated, so you’ll always have a good idea of what’s up for grabs.
What to do in Northland
Putting down your tools for the day means it’s time to head home for the day for a well-earned rest – or does it? In Northland, you’ll find a raft of things to see and do when your working day is done – here are five of our favourites.
It’s known as Ninety Mile Beach, but that’s a bit misleading as its length is actually 90 kilometres. Stretching between Ahipara and Scott Point, the undulating sand dunes found along the northern half of the beach roll almost as much as the sea waves themselves – after you’ve finished bodyboarding in the sea, why not take a wild ride on the sand on a dune board?
If you can manage it, dig for the endemic tuatua at low tide – but you’ll have to be quick, as these little guys burrow fast, but try and snaffle a few. The clam is a fine delicacy, especially when boiled and eaten on the shell. If you’re a keen fisherman, bring your rod along – snapper is abundant in these waters, so you could be having a main to go with your tuatua starter before the day is out.
Cape Reinga is the northernmost point of New Zealand. Perhaps the most incredible natural feature of this place is that it’s where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and you can actually see the fury and foaming of the waters as the two bodies of water clash
Another thing to so at Cape Reinga is to seek out the ancient pohutukawa tree next to the lighthouse. This is said to be where Maori spirits travel to after they have passed, before descending into the sea and the underworld.
How about visiting New Zealand’s biggest kauri tree? The ‘Lord of the Forest’ dwarfs even some of the large mature trees growing nearby, and at a height of well over 50 metres and girth of nearly 14 metres, that’s hardly surprising.
Tane Mahuta is reached by following a short walk from the signposted car park. There are two viewing platforms and seating to help you get the finest angle of the giant tree. Be sure to stick to the paths as, despite their massive size, kauri roots are highly sensitive to foot traffic.
After viewing the ancient kauri, head to the Kauri Museum in nearby Matakohe. You’ll discover more about these fascinating giants, their uses when felled, and efforts to promote the recovery from deforestation.
Mangawhai is the place you’ll want to be if stargazing is your thing. Though it’s only a small township, this actually counts in the favour of the astronomer as there is very little light pollution at night – meaning a glowing galaxy of stars come out to play.
Talking of galaxies, you can see a real, living one in the Waipu Caves – made up of glowworms. That’s right – by entering the caves (be sure to bring a torch!) you can find countless glowworms illuminating the world around you. It really is a sight to behold – you’ll almost believe your back in Mangawhai!
Northland is the place to be for the outdoor adventurer and culture vulture. You should give moving to Northland serious consideration when making your move to New Zealand – we look forward to seeing you on the beach!