The top 10 things you need to know about moving to New Zealand

07 October 2012

Nassim, one of Working In’s migration consultants, was born in the USA, raised in Australia and moved to New Zealand in 2009. Here she shares her top tips for making the move overseas.

Moving country can be a daunting exercise and sometimes you don’t know where to start with your plans. I may have only moved across the Tasman, but as a migrant myself coming to New Zealand, the 10 things that we needed to organise and wished we had done some further research on before the relocation were:

  1. Shipping of goods – there are tax implications based on your visa status. If you aren’t a permanent resident or have a work visa for longer than 12 months you’ll be liable to pay customs tax and duty.
  2. Where to live if you have a child attending school – ERO reports, zoning, deciles… Once you’ve decided where a good school is, you’ll normally have to live within certain boundaries making housing rentals in certain areas hard to come by.
  3. Brush up on your Te Reo – lots of signs and words used in everyday life are in Te Reo Maori. Knowing a few basics will make life much easier!
  4. Driving licence requirements – you need a current and valid driver’s license to drive in New Zealand. If your license isn’t in English you may also need an international driving permit or translation. You can do this for 12 months from the date you arrive. After this time you’re required to apply for a New Zealand driver’s license.
  5. Have your bank accounts set up before you arrive – CBA/ASB can help you sort this out and help with the transfer of funds that you’ll have easy access to once you land, meaning there’s no need to worry about how you are going to access cash or EFTPOS. However, not all New Zealand outlets accept credit cards. More information on this can be found here.
  6. Bring your original documents with you – this will make applying for certain things possible and it’s much easier than asking someone back home to forward you your documents!
  7. A furry friend – if you’re planning on bringing a domestic pet with you, then you need to start planning this well in advance of leaving. There’s more information about this at MAF Biosecurity.
  8. Set up a New Zealand post box or a private bag for your mail – you can do this online at New Zealand Post‘s website. Many organisations, including banks, will accept a post box or private bag as your official address until you find somewhere to live.
  9. Brush up on your lingo – even though they speak English, you need to review commonly used terms (such as “sweet as”, “hard case”, “biff” and “trundler”) if you want to follow a conversation with a Kiwi!
  10. Obtain insurance for the move over – not everyone realises that travel insurance doesn’t cover you when you’re moving.

Above all, adopt the Kiwi attitude of “no worries”; expect that you won’t be able to control everything; and that it will all fall into place!

Note: All of this is based on Nassim’s personal experiences, she doesn’t endorse any of the products listed above (or get paid to mention them!).

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