New Zealand | Frequently Asked Questions

We wanted to create a great FAQ section on our blog covering all the Frequently Asked Questions you may be asking yourself for your move or visit to New Zealand. It covers all your New Zealand questions from the tiny things to the big things!

We plan on adding to this every couple of months with a hope it will be a resource you –  our readers will be able to keep rethings!ferring back to every step of your expat move or whilst you are travelling to NZ. It certainly will answer a lot of your questions about New Zealand and will also cover some interesting facts about New Zealand that are great conversation starters when you are here!

This FAQ section includes:

New Zealand Trivia & Facts;

The Nitty Gritty Details;

Everything to do with money;

Tips before you go;

Travel advise in New Zealand;

 

 

New Zealand Trivia & Facts:

Wellington Beehive

What is the capital of New Zealand?

Wellington! The city of Wellington is physically in the middle of the country, which makes it easier for everyone to travel to. Our parliament building is called The Beehive, (apparently it looks like one but I can’t see it!) you should definitely visit it!

How long does it take to get to NZ?

If you’re coming to New Zealand, you’re definitely in for an adventure! In the future, when you’re friends are trying to impress each other by comparing travel times, you can beat them all by telling them your trip to New Zealand took a whole day! Sometimes it can take more than 24 hours though, depending on how much layover time you want.

Why are New Zealanders are called Kiwi’s?

Kiwis are our national bird! Also, our flag is very similar to Australia’s, so during the second world war, our soldiers included the Kiwi bird as part of their uniform to help distinguish them from the Aussies. The name stuck!

Who is NZ prime minister?

After a recent 2017 election, it is now Jacinda Ardern of the Labour party.

How did NZ get its name?

New Zealand actually has two names – New Zealand and Aotearoa. ‘New Zealand’ comes from a Dutch Navigator called Abel Tasman, who discovered New Zealand in 1642, but unfortunately never actually set foot here. If you’re wondering where Old Zealand is, there isn’t one – Abel Tasman named dubbed our islands Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

As for Aotearoa, it is a Māori word and is generally interpreted as ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. The word can be broken up as: ao = cloud, dawn, daytime or world, tea = white, clear or bright and roa = long. In Māori legends, this long white cloud is what Māori explorers first saw of New Zealand, so they used Aotearoa to refer to it. Another possible reason for the name Aotearoa is because Aotea was the name of one of the Māori migration waka (canoes), so they named the land Aotea (Cloud), but when they discovered that New Zealand was much larger, instead of Aotea, it was called Aotea-roa (Long Aotea).

When was NZ discovered?

If you are thinking in terms of European explorers, Abel Tasman discovered NZ on December 13 1642, although he didn’t make it to the land – which is why English Navigator James Cook, who only came to New Zealand in 1769, is often cited as the ‘discoverer’ or New Zealand.

What is NZ famous for?

For quite a few things that you might not realised! For instance, there are quite a few actors in Hollywood that are Kiwis, like Karl Urban of Star Trek fame, Russell Crowe and Cliff Curtis. We also gave the world Lorde and Flight Of The Conchords – you’re welcome. There’s the Lord Of The Rings and its director Peter Jackson also, not to mention The Hobbit films too.

As for New Zealand itself, well, we’re generally known for having too many sheep (which is accurate, apparently there’s about seven sheep for every one person in New Zealand, but we don’t ride them to work or anything), being good at rugby and our amazing scenery –  seriously, you’ll have to see it to believe it!

Where’s NZ located in the world?

New Zealand is one of the most southern countries in the world (we even have flights to Antarctica). We’re about a 3-hour flight South from Australia – but we’re definitely not part of Australia.

What is the population of NZ?

New Zealand is one of the smallest first world countries, with a population of just 4 million. To put that into perspective, Sydney a city in Australia has a population of 4 million and NZ is certainly bigger than Sydney!

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The Nitty Gritty:

What plug adaptor do you use for NZ?

New Zealand and Australia both use the same plug/socket type, type I. Type I plugs and sockets are characterised by their 3 prongs, 2 slanted and one straight at the bottom. If you buy something in New Zealand that has a power cable, you will not need your adapter to use it, it will already be type I.

What is New Zealand’s voltage?

The standard New Zealand electricity voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

What is the international dialing code for NZ?

+64, then the area code. Like usual, drop the first digit when calling to NZ from overseas. For example, an International caller might dial an Auckland landline as +64 9 1234567, because the area code for Auckland is 09. Calling mobiles is similar, for example, +64 21 1234567, because mobile phone numbers in New Zealand often start with (021) or (027).

What is the exchange rate in NZ?

As exchange rates do, this often changes. At the time of writing this, 1 New Zealand Dollar equals 0.69 US Dollars, but it may change by the time you’re reading this. Make sure to check yourself for more accurate information.

What is the time difference & what time zone is NZ in?

Here’s the thing – and this will blow your mind – New Zealand is so tiny, it doesn’t actually have different time zones, it just has one: NZST (New Zealand Standard Time). NZST is GMT+13 in Summer, starting in September (Daylight Savings time) and GMT+12 in Winter, starting in April.

New Zealand tends to be around 18 hours ahead of the USA (though this depends on what part of the USA you are in) and 12-13 hours ahead of the UK, depending on whether its Daylight Savings time or not.

What are the NZ interest rates?

For banking and saving rates check out this article on our website for more information.

Can I bring my medication into NZ?

If you have prescription medicine and you declare it, you will most likely be able to bring it into the country. Even if your medicine is not prescription, still declare it – otherwise you could be fined. Please note that if your medicine is plant-based or has organic matter, it may not be allowed into the country due to biosecurity restrictions.

Are vaccinations required to visit NZ?

No, they are not required. It is always recommended to get routine vaccinations from your doctor before travelling, but no vaccines are required before visiting New Zealand.

What is the emergency services number for NZ?

If you need emergency services like fire stations, ambulances or police, please dial 111. Please refrain from dialing 111 if you’re not in an emergency, so our emergency services staff can focus on people who need help.

What is the diver’s emergency service number?

0800 4 DES 111. Please go to the New Zealand Underwater Association for more diving emergency help.

How much is fuel in NZ?

The price of fuel changes quite a lot here, most recently it has been $1.92/litre of petrol and $1.22/litre of diesel. Check out our money saving tips on fuel prices on our blog post by clicking around about…here!

What is the driving speed in NZ?

On most suburban roads, it’s 50km/h (which is about 30mph), on rural roads it tends to be around 80km/h (around 50mph) and on open roads and motorways, the speed limit is 100km/h (around 60mph). 100km/h is the highest speed limit in New Zealand.

What is the New Zealand weather and climate like?

Honestly, it depends on what city you’re in. All the major cities have nicknames or phrases related to the weather, for instance, it’s common for people in Auckland to talk about “four seasons in one day” and for people to talk about “Windy Wellington”, whereas Christchurch is known as the “Garden City”. However, compared to other places around the world, the climate is pretty mild. It doesn’t snow in New Zealand except on the mountain tops (great for skiing) and since we are so far South, the summer is quite pleasant instead of too hot.

Can you tip for service in NZ?

You can, but it’s uncommon. It’s not expected of you, but sometimes it’s nice to leave a waiter that you really like a tip for some extra petrol money. It’s considered a nice gesture, but New Zealand minimum wage is a living wage, so it’s not required or culturally frowned upon if you don’t tip – most people don’t.

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Everything Money:

money NZ

How much does it cost to go to NZ?

That depends on where you’re coming from, but you should put aside $3,000 NZD for flights.

How much money do I need to go to NZ?

It’s recommended to have around $150 NZD put aside for each day you’re there, so no matter how long your trip is, you will have enough money to travel (not including any domestic flights you want to take, those will be more expensive) and do all the activities you planned for – and some that you didn’t – while you’re here.

Is NZ expensive?

That really depends on what you define as ‘expensive’, but generally, because we have to get a lot of things imported, the cost of living in New Zealand is slightly more expensive, yes. For a more accurate answer on this matter do check out our highly popular article here on the Cost of Living in New Zealand.

What is GST?

GST is the Goods and services tax (GST) is a 15% tax added to the price of most goods and services in New Zealand. In America, this is generally the difference between the price on the label and the price you actually pay when you get up to the counter. That cost is included in the label price, so you know what you have to pay from the start. In England, we call GST, VAT – same thing!

What are New Zealand working tax rates?

This depends on how much you earn. Please consult the Inland Revenue Department’s (IRD) Income Tax chart for specific information. The IRD is a part of the New Zealand government and functions much the same as the IRS in the United States.

What is the KiwiSaver Scheme?

The KiwiSaver is a voluntary work-based savings initiative in New Zealand that helps residents to set up nicely for retirement. There are lots of different schemes you can join and it’s a hassle-free solution to encourage long-term saving. Basically, your employer puts aside 3% of your wages into your KiwiSaver and you do too. To find out about how all this works, check out our article here!

What does NZ money look like?

Crisp, shiny and colourful, as New Zealand’s money was recently redesigned! We have a mixture of notes and coins – the notes are easy to tell apart because of the different colours: five dollar notes are orange, ten dollars notes are blue, twenty dollars is green, fifty dollars is purple and one hundred dollars is pink. You may find the coins a little harder to tell apart because they are all so light, but you’ll get used to it.

What is NZ minimum wage?

As of April 2017, the minimum wage for a working adult is $15.75 NZD.

Can I bring cash into NZ?

Yes. There’s no restriction on how much foreign currency you can bring into New Zealand. However, if you arrive at an airport carrying more than NZ$10,000 in cash you’ll need to complete a Border Cash Report.

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Before you Go:

map-of-new-zealand
Bye Bye England

Do I legally need travel insurance for NZ?

While travel insurance is not legally required, it is highly recommended as the cost of not having travel insurance when coming to New Zealand could be much higher than just getting it in the first place. Read our travel insurance tips for expats here and here for visitors!

Do I need a visa for New Zealand? Will also link to an article

If you are a New Zealand or Australian citizen or resident, you do not need a New Zealand visa to visit New Zealand. If you are not one of these, you will need a visa. Visitor visas are generally issued upon arrival, working visas need to be applied for before you arrive. Click here for a rundown of all the visas.

Is NZ a visa-free country?

Yes, although this only applies to citizens of certain countries. Read the full list of New Zealand’s visa waiver countries.

What is a Working Holiday Visa?

Working Vias allows citizens of certain countries to travel to New Zealand for around a year. We have a lot of different working visas, so it’s best to do your homework and find the one that’s right for you.

Is it easy to work and travel in NZ?

Yes! We have many different work and travel options here, so no matter what your budget, you can get to where you want to go.

How do I bring all my belongings to NZ?

There are many international moving firms you can use to bring your items over to NZ. It pays to do your homework before you arrive. Check out our guide on removal firms for more information and detailed information on what to bring and what not to bring.

Do I need health insurance in NZ?

Like travel insurance, health insurance is not a requirement in New Zealand, however, it is highly recommended. If you decide against getting health insurance and you get injured or need medical attention, treatment could cost you much more than the insurance you forewent.

What is the ACC?

The ACC is New Zealand’s national Accident Compensation Corporation, a part of our government that is responsible for administering universal accidental or injury care. If you get injured while you are in New Zealand and need to go to the Doctor or Hospital, the ACC will be in touch. This is explained further in our article – here!

Is it safe to drive in New Zealand?

It is safe to drive in New Zealand, however, we do drive on the left side of the road, so if you’re not comfortable driving like that, there are alternatives. We have public transport like trains, planes, and buses, or you could take a taxi or Uber – whatever you prefer.

Can I legally drive in New Zealand?

If you have a valid driver’s license in English, or an additional accurate English translation, you are legally allowed to drive in New Zealand. However, this is only valid for twelve months and there are other conditions, so it’s best that you refer to the New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) for more information. A guide to who can drive in New Zealand can be found on this link

Will my mobile phone work in New Zealand?

Yes. You will need to visit a New Zealand phone carrier like Vodafone, Spark, 2degrees or Skinny Mobile to be able to connect to New Zealand phone networks, but it will work once you have done so.

Can I find the same foods at home in NZ?

New Zealand generally has Western dishes, as well as our own signature dishes. We also have a very multi-cultural society, so you will find dishes from all over the world here too. Don’t be afraid to try new foods here, you may be surprised at how good they are!

What foods can’t I bring into NZ?

As our nation is made up of islands, we rely very heavily on our environment to live and therefore we have tough biosecurity laws to protect our environment. Don’t be surprised if New Zealand Immigration confiscates anything that is not processed, as it may be a risk. Any food is considered a ‘risk good’ by New Zealand immigration – so if you have any of the following foods, including food for cooking, you will need to declare it when you enter New Zealand, or you could face a fine:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Dried mushrooms and fungi
  • Honey and honey products
  • Seeds for human consumption and for processing into food
  • Nuts, spices, herbs, and un-popped popcorn
  • Sried, cooked, or preserved fruit and vegetables

Does New Zealand have a tourist tax?

No, although at the beginning of 2016 a border clearance levy of $16 NZD for arriving passengers and $6 NZD for departing passengers was introduced, which applies to both international and domestic travellers going overseas. A tourist tax is currently under consideration by the New Zealand government, but nothing has been decided yet.

How do I find a job in NZ?

There are a few ways to find a job in New Zealand, mostly using online tools. If you’re a student or have graduated in the last year, there is 6Student Job Search (sjs.co.nz) for jobs specifically for students and entry-level staff. If you are not a student or recent graduate, there is Seek (seek.co.nz) or Trade Me Jobs. Those are only a few popular ones, we also have put together a handy resource!

When are the New Zealand school holidays?

The exact dates change every year, but you will notice that our holidays/vacations are very different to those in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in terms of timing. We have our biggest holidays at the end of the year, some organisations ending in December or even November, then starting again in January, or sometimes even February or March depending on whether you are studying or not. The New Zealand government has an official list of all 2018 New Zealand public holidays on their website.

What documents do I need to bring with me to NZ?

Please bring with you a valid passport or travel document and your visa papers. If you are moving to New Zealand permanently, you will need the following documents:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Your academic qualifications
  • References from previous employers
  • Your CV (Curriculum Vitae/Resume)
  • Credit references
  • An international driver’s license or permit

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Travel in New Zealand:

But first…a few epic photos for a bit of inspiration!

What are the most popular destinations and attractions in NZ?

The most popular attractions are tied – it’s a toss-up between our stunning scenery and anything to do with the Lord Of The Rings filming. Queenstown is quite popular due to its range of activities (sight-seeing, jet boating, bungy jumping, white water rafting and sky diving, you name it they have it!).

When is New Zealand ski season?

Mid-June to Mid-October, in the middle of Winter.

What is the New Zealand Great Walks?

There are a lot of fantastic walking tracks here in New Zealand. The Great Walks are 10 walking tracks that New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) have selected as New Zealand’s best walks. If you’re wanting to hike while you’re in New Zealand, the Great Walks are the best place to start.

When is the best time to go hiking in NZ?

Summer can get pretty hot in New Zealand, especially around hiking spots and it can get boggy in Winter – so the best times to go on a hiking trip would be either in Autumn (March-April-May) or Spring (September-October-November). However, if you’re going on an extended trip or going up a particularly high or difficult mountain, please pay attention to all safety precautions asked of you before you begin your hike. The last thing you want to be when you’re exploring New Zealand terrain is under-prepared. If you’re not sure what precautions you should take, please ask a guide before you set off.

Do I need to pre-book accommodation?

Yes, you will need to pre-book accommodation, particularly in more popular spots around holiday seasons. New Zealand is a very popular vacation spot and you may find yourself sleeping under the stars if you don’t prebook your accommodation.

What is the best time to visit New Zealand?

The best time to go to New Zealand in our opinion is in the warmer months. Anywhere from December to March would be ideal as most activities here involve being outdoors and those months have the best weather. We also think this is the best season to visit New Zealand – who doesn’t love the sunshine?!

Does each town have tourist information centres?

Yes, each major town will have it’s own Information Centre. If you can’t find it, don’t be scared to ask a local. We’ll help you out!

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Got a question? Or have we missed anything? Comment below!

Auckland Vs Wellington – Living in New Zealand

During our time spent in New Zealand we have lived in both Wellington and Auckland, we spent almost two years in Auckland when we first arrived into NZ and have been living in Wellington for the last 12 months. Now we have spent a considerable amount of time in each city we thought it was about time we did a comparison: Auckland Vs Wellington for anyone thinking of making the move down (or up!) to the big smoke or New Zealand’s capital.

You can read about the reasons why we left Auckland in favour of Wellington in our blog post here. We still stand by our decision to leave Auckland, in the long term our life there was just not feasible. Maybe if the housing market crashes it will be a different story but for now, it isn’t on the cards. That is not to say we don’t miss Auckland, we miss living in Auckland, the great bars we liked there, the sushi, the friends we made and the weather but thus far Wellington is the first place in New Zealand that we feel like we fit in.

But of course like anything, there is the grass is always greener attitude, Wellington has shown us it’s fair share of disadvantages too! Hopefully, this can help anyone who is thinking of moving out of Auckland or alternatively anyone who is currently overseas and thinking of making the move to NZ and is unsure of what city to start in.

I have covered 5 main factors, housing, people, transport, climate and geographical location. Please remember though this is a subjective viewpoint coming from a couple who have never really lived in a city larger than Auckland before…

After 18 months in Auckland it was time to move...
After 18 months in Auckland it was time to move…

Housing:

For us, cost of living is the biggest change we have noticed from our move from Auckland. The savings aren’t huge (I am talking a couple of hundred dollars a month) but housing down in Wellington is generally at a lower cost than Auckland. We can find a comfortable 2 bedroom apartment/house with outside space with a beautiful view of the sea rather than a busy road for around $450 per week. But on the flip side, the houses are actually a lot older and probably less modern than we are used to in Auckland. There are a lot of old properties here in Wellington that suffer from damp problems or have insufficient heating. But money talks, so it a win for us currently.

If you are interested in further comparing the cost of living to say your lives in England to here in NZ I would suggest you check out our recent Cost of Living Comparison article with our lives in Auckland compared to our old lives in England. We hope to do another one of these soon comparing Wellington to life in England – watch this space!

People make places:

People make places, fact! Another fact: While Wellington is a city, it’s town sized to most of us. The CBD itself is home to just 17,000 people, what? This means unlike Auckland, you’ll  find yourself bumping into the same people and noticing the same people around town!

Within the first week here we met a few people and they said Wellington is built on networks, and it is so true. It really is not what you know it is who you know and it is great. We love it, we get this small town feeling that Auckland couldn’t provide us with. We felt like a number in Auckland we are individuals here. Wellington is also full of unique, quirky individuals and being that is simply exciting. My slight craziness is accepted here. 🙂

The Transport:

Wellington has the SNAPPER card, Auckland has the ATHOP card. They are the same concepts. I would say the cost is about the same as well. But hardly anyone takes the bus here in Wellington! Wellington advertising itself as NZ most walkable city. And they are not wrong. With the CBD less than 2km’s long if you live in the CBD there is really no point in waiting for a bus, walking will get you there quicker.

Wellington also has electric buses. If sustainability is your thing, you will like that.

What about the traffic in Wellington? The commuters from the suburbs moan a little but we really don’t think they have much to moan about compared to Auckland’s issues. You really can’t compare it. There aren’t many highways in Wellington, 2 minutes out of the CBD and it is like driving through a town in England.

Auckland highways
Auckland’s network of highways run right the way through the city.

We loved the cycle lanes in Auckland. Sadly, Wellington isn’t as safe or as leisurely for cycling to work. The roads are often narrower, hilly and there are few bike paths – unlike in Auckland. People who cycle in Wellington sit in one of three camps:

  • Biceps like Hulk Hogan
  • Electric Bikes
  • Sweaty Beasts

Auckland, on the other hand, impresses me with their cycle ways and there continual improvements to the cycle paths. It is the city’s way to reduce the number of cars on the road and I do think in a good number of years they will achieve this. I appreciate the long-term approach Auckland have taken on this issue!

Auckland has the best cycle lanes
Known locally as the Pink Bridge, it connects Auckland’s network of cycle lanes up perfectly, making Auckland a safe place to cycle.

The Weather:

This is my biggest and ongoing annoyance with Wellington. Auckland, being at the top of the North Island obviously gets a better climate. My friends in Auckland told me, Wellington is windy, it is cold, Wellington doesn’t get a summer. My ignorance got the better of me, surely it can’t be that bad? But yes, they were right, it can be.

The inconsistency in the weather in Wellington lies in the wind and it can be pretty bad. Our first summer spent in Wellington wasn’t as bad we first expected it to be though, the wind does die down and summer although less humid than Auckland was a pretty stable one. It certainly was more consistent than the average British summer that is for sure! Please remember though this is a viewpoint coming from very British girl!

You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.

This is so true! On the flip side, when it is great here it is great. Wellington has one of the world’s best waterfronts, it is simply stunning. When the sun is shining Wellington has this vibe, everyone comes outside, everyone is happy and you don’t feel that in Auckland. Even though Auckland has better weather, Wellingtonians seem to appreciate the good days and that is priceless.

Wellington's Waterfront is world class!
When the sun is shining Wellington’s waterfront is the place to be.

Natural Disasters:

This is an issue I contemplated not bringing up on our blog. In November 2016 NZ got hit by a 7.8 earthquake. Although Wellington wasn’t the epicentre it still was felt very strongly here in the CBD. It was quite frankly the scariest thing to witness. I am not one for drama and I don’t like to blog too much about negative experiences, but the reality is it happened, and this blog is also about documenting moments in our life.

Those 60 seconds spent under the dining table (yes that is where we went!) when the earth beneath us shook also shook up my mindset. The fact that Wellington is built on a fault line is not an issue you should ignore either. It’s very possible that Wellington in the future will have other strong earthquakes.

When we moved to Wellington we didn’t even consider earthquakes. They are very serious and not something you’d want to experience. What we have taken away from the experience is to not be fooled by our naivety and realise everything is possible.

The council has been doing a great job since on educating Wellingtonians on what to do in case this happens again. If anyone is interested this website by the council has developed in leaps and bounds over the last year and we have found it very useful.

That being said Auckland is a city built on volcanoes, with more than 50 in a 100 Km area…

New Zealand is a young country in the grand scheme of things and is still very active.

As I have said before…

New Zealand really does have it all!

What is it like to live in New Zealand?

This article was written for people who want to live in New Zealand. It’s a collaboration by people originally from the UK, USA and Germany who now live happily in New Zealand. We have interviewed 15 expats living in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and everywhere in between to answer the question what it is really like living in New Zealand?

You might be worried about moving half way round the world – hell, we were! Hopefully, these stories will help you to address some of your concerns ahead of taking the plunge and moving to New Zealand.

Questions we’ve asked tease out the following information:

  • What they would do differently – if they knew what they know now.
  • How they made friends and settled down.
  • Whether they plan to stay in New Zealand.
  • And importantly, what their quality of life is like here in New Zealand.
 We had quite a few recurring responses as well! Recurring comments such as:
  • The grass isn’t always greener;
  • But if you don’t try you will never know.
  • You will make friends and create networks when you least expect to.
  • And if you struggle there is a great app called Meet Up.
  • From the people, we have spoken to they appreciate the lifestyle  and opportunities NZ has given them and their families
  • Their lives are fuller because they have moved out of their comfort zone into the unknown.

And of course, a big thank you to: Zoe, Paul, Deborah, Dan, Rhonda, Anne, Leanne, both Helens, Heather, Jason, Gaynor, Penny, Lynda, Kerri & Nathan for taking the time to contribute!

 


Name: Zoe Carr, 26Goingnz

Website: livingabikinilife.com

“In reality, no matter what country you are in, if it’s new or you have lived there all your life, there are always going to be life problems.”

Originally from: Suffolk, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?
To take every opportunity as it comes, whether it is good bad or indifferent. I had no intention to stay long term in New Zealand but after my friend went home after a week of arriving and being completely alone and unprepared I put a lot of pressure on myself to settle, to get a job and find a flat that feels like home.
I was hard on myself when my first job didn’t work out when I made the wrong decision to stay in the CBD and I felt like nothing was simple. In reality, I was doing more than fine, I was wanting perfection. I would tell myself to let go, chill out and enjoy the journey. Embrace the things you can’t control!
2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?
I was very lucky with my second job and third month in New Zealand to join a company with a bunch of amazing supportive people. I knew they had my back no matter what and in them initial months when I wanted to go to the movies or go out for dinner someone was always willing. I did find that I needed to expand out of the work circle and moved from a flat in the CBD to a house with flatmates in Mission Bay. To be able to come home and talk to people about my day and have people who wanted to go for walks to the beach at the weekend made an awful difference to my happiness. It wasn’t until the 8-month mark that I decided to branch out more and join adventure groups and expat groups.
Meetup has been my social bible since then. They have groups for everyone and every interest. To reading between the wines, girls mingle, hiking groups, art groups, girls adventure groups I have made some brilliant friendships. People from all over the world who are new to New Zealand, returning to New Zealand or just relocating, they are all so welcoming. Highly recommended and I wish I had known about this sooner. But if like me you don’t do it for a while it’s all about baby steps and moving forwards.
3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?
It’s not home yet; I am still useless at pronouncing town names, I still laugh at the use of the words “rad” and “sweet bro” and I’m yet to say “Eh” at the end of a sentence!
It is however somewhere I have grown to love and somewhere I would like to stay. I have just extended my visa for another 18 months and in this time I am pretty sure this will be another home.
4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

My whole outlook on life has changed thanks to New Zealand and oh my gosh I would not have it anyway. I think the biggest improvement in terms of quality of life is health and well-being. The emphasis on an outdoor lifestyle has made me rethink my lifestyle. I walk through the bush or on the beach most weekends or weeknights in daylight savings. I want to surf, snowboard, skydive, and kayak all at the same time! I buy local food, as the traders at the farmers market are so lovely, why would I not want to buy from them! I respect the environment, hardly anyone litters, I have seen people stop in the street to pick up someone else’s rubbish and take it to the bin!

I am conscious of palm oil, harmful chemicals in my shampoo, what my exfoliator does to the ocean… If you would have asked me these things 18 months ago I wouldn’t have even considered them. In turn, this has just made me appreciate life so much more, it’s the simple things that make all the difference. Thank you, New Zealand!

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Name: Paul Nash, 40goingnz-expat

“Literally, within weeks of getting off the plane, I made the effort to build friendships and network which is so important to make it in a foreign land.”

Originally from; Bath, England 

Now living in; Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

I’m really not into looking back only forward.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

Luckily I am married to a Maori with a huge family which welcomed me with open arms, helps that I am an engineer who’s happy to fix anything and by crikey there are a lot of things to fix!!!!, I also landed a cracking job working for a local security company with a great social environment (people are so welcoming), so literally within weeks of getting off the plane I was building friends and that network which is so important to make it in a foreign land.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Most definitely been here 11 years now I have a black passport!!!!, Don’t worry after 11 years I still struggle to call a vacuum a vacuum, not a Hoover.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

100% the weather got to be the No.1 it makes so much difference to everything work, play and social. It also helps that the big things like housing, fuel, and cars are considerably cheaper than the U.K.

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Name: Deborah Carter, 49

goingnz expat

“I met a kiwi through my husband but then met a group of girls from Yorkshire THROUGH MY HAIRDRESSER!”

Originally from: Yorkshire, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Research in-depth the area that you are going to live in and check out prices of things like central heating and kitchens… cheaper to bring in your container.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I met a kiwi through my husband but then met a group of girls from  Yorkshire THROUGH MY HAIRDRESSER! I recommend joining your migrant or expats group we had neither here and as much as I love my kiwi friends they would be first to say they don’t always get me. Be inviting and open and invite people for coffee or wine.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Straight away I felt at home. Loved the lifestyle. It’s actually now after 10 yrs I am feeling restless and homesick.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

New Zealand is an amazing place to bring up a family, and there are so many beautiful places to visit.  Houses are much more affordable but career wise interesting, to say the least However it’s harder to travel and you need to understand it’s not like having Europe on your doorstep.  For now, it’s perfect but in the future, there’s a big world out there.

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Name: Dan Smith, 29

“I do think that my quality of life has improved since moving to NZ. The work/life balance that is instilled in much of the NZ culture allows for more free time.”

Originally from: Mount Airy, Maryland 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Be prepared to have patience. Things tend to take a little longer in NZ and generally move slower (at lease slower than the part of the US that I am from). Many people tend to be more laid back in NZ.

Expect to spend more money than you think. Everything seems to be more expensive in NZ, including rent prices (let alone the “competitive” rental market). If you have the opportunity, save as much money as possible before moving to NZ so you can enjoy the similar luxuries that you may already be accustomed to.

You will generally get further with people if you are calm, nice and patient, instead of being demanding and take the “my way or the highway” approach. This is regardless of whether you are dealing with a business, cashier, neighbour, friend or a stranger.

Get ready for a more “worldly” perspective on life. International concerns are commonly talked about and reported on.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

In my experience, most Kiwi’s are very friendly and generally nice people. It can be, however, difficult to have Kiwi’s “break out of” their group of friends whom they may have attended school/University with. I have found that many expats tend to be drawn to each other, possibly due to the fact that they may be having similar experiences. Most of my partner and my friends are co-workers, neighbours or other expats whom we have randomly met in bars/restaurants, etc.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I think this depends on one’s definition of the word “home” and whether you can have more than 1 home. I consider NZ to be my home for now, but since I do not have residency/citizenship in NZ and have spent most of my life in the US…I would consider the US to be my first home if I had to choose between the two.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

I do think that my quality of life has improved since moving to NZ. The work/life balance that is instilled in much of the NZ culture allows for more “free time”. Utilizing vacation leave is encouraged and sometimes required in some companies…and there is no shortage of amazing places to see within the country.

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Name: Rhonda AlbomGoingNZ Expat Series

Website: albomadventures.com

“We have more family time now, a safer neighborhood, and a generally more relaxed attitude. I think New Zealand is a fantastic place for children to grow up.”

Originally from: Hibiscus Coast, USA 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Bring less, although keep warm clothing, rent before you buy, be open minded and immerse yourself in the community.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

We found making friends here more difficult than we expected. Like anywhere else, the best way to meet people is to immerse yourself in community activities. After 13 years here, I can still say that over half of my good friends are also expats.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes, I call New Zealand home, although I will always be an American as well. I think it took only about 3 years for me to start feeling like this is home. Our girls are fully integrated and consider themselves Kiwi. They were 3 and 5 when we arrived.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes. For us (coming from San Francisco 13 years ago) the cost of living in NZ is lower. We have more family time, a safer neighborhood, and a generally more relaxed attitude. I think New Zealand is a fantastic place for children to grow up.

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Name: Anne Baumscheiper, 29anne goingnz

“I have definitely learned to relax and enjoy my living environment more :-)”

Originally from: Steinfurt, Germany 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Stay calm and don’t worry so much about how to sort the little things – there will be a solution for everything. Prepare documents you need well in advance and estimate delays.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

Luckily I have been in New Zealand before so a few of the people I met when I arrived here for the first time are still around. We stayed in touch even when I was back in Germany for some time so coming back was easier. I found most of them due to my work and the others through my homestay, current flatmates and some common friends in Europe.  I can’t really say how long it took me – I think it was a process of a few months until I realized that I have quite a good support network here.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I do actually. But I also call Europe home. I know the proverb is cheesy but “Home is where your heart is” definitely fits for me. My heart is here where I feel welcome and enjoy the relaxed way of living but it also is back in Germany where my other friends and especially my family lives.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

It has for me. I find the work-life balance here way better –  I didn’t even realize how much calmer you can get when you live close to the beach/ocean and can easily get there after work even if it is only for an hour.  I realize also that I am traveling even more than I did before over the weekends – to be fair I skipped that a bit in winter –  but the next few weekend are already planned again.  I have definitely learned to relax and enjoy my living environment more 🙂

Name: Leanne Dilnotgoingnz

“There is a great app called ‘Meet Up’  which I would recommend to anyone moving over.”

Originally from: West Yorkshire, England 

Now living in: Wellington

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Don’t bother wasting money going through an agency.  For us, it was a big waste of money and the support or advice really wasn’t there like they had promised.  Had we looked into it ourselves more closely we would have been able to save a lot of money and stress doing it ourselves.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

It’s taken a year to get a close friend also from England and a few friends who we enjoy spending time with when time permits.  Also from England.  As we came over on my partner’s job status I had to find a job before I really met anyone.  Funnily enough, I’m self-employed now and pretty much work solo so you need to step outside your own boundaries to meet people.  There is a great app called ‘Meet Up’  which I would recommend to anyone moving over.  The events and clubs are hosted by volunteers but it’s a great way to get out and about and mingle with people.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

When I’m in England I refer to NZ as home. When I’m here I refer to England as home.  Haha! I’m not sure, ask me again in 5 years!

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes! It’s a relaxed environment.  Very outdoorsy,  even if you’re not that way out in England I guess you slot in.  So many things to do. All the time. I’m not a parent, but after traveling a lot this place certainly is a great place to bring them up!  Kids can be kids here. It’s great!

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Name: Helen Lingardgoingnz

“You may work harder in NZ (sometimes) but the lifestyle is far more relaxed.”

Originally from: Wales 

Now living in: Wellington

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Same advice I’d give my old self Love yourself, Follow your heart… Travel the world.. and the Grass isn’t’ greener – You take YOU with you 🙂

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I went with my partner so I first made friends with his family and then I moved out and got myself a flat, work and made friends that way. When my marriage split up once again I had to make friends. So I used to go to my kid’s school and go up to people and just introduce myself. Plus there’s tons of Meet Ups. Lots of things to do 🙂  It takes as long as you let it 🙂 Like anything 🙂 Just do it.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Currently, my kids (grown up) are back there and I have a house there, so it’s always going to be my home and I very much appreciate my adopted home too.I’m not sure I really appreciated it until I came back to the UK. I love the UK too – very blessed to have two homes !! 🙂

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

I remember when we first arrived in 1999, (back after 6 years away) and realizing it was OK to l let my kids walk up to the park on their own…   I think it’s swings and roundabouts… You may work harder in NZ (sometimes) but the lifestyle is far more relaxed. I bought my house, as a single Mmum  – it has a beautiful view of the sea and it’s an old house, would never have got that in the UK, so I am very blessed.

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Name: Heather Wilson, 36expat goingnz

“My quality of life has improved, as far as not living in built up crowded areas, less stress, less crime.”

Originally from: Cambridge, England 

Now living in: Wellington

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

If having sold a property in UK and buying in NZ and funds are good, buy into investment properties, at least one.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

That was pretty hard, the kiwis where I moved to are very polite etc on the outside but not very welcoming in inviting you over the threshold…so I just got to know people slowly through working but still, they weren’t very sociable.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes its home now, don’t like the way the UK has gone, can never see me returning there unless I was stinking rich and lived on a big country estate lol

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

The quality of life has improved, as far as not living in built up crowded areas, less stress, less crime. But I’m poorer living here I have to say, but then I’m a single parent now…the joys. But I still wouldn’t give up my life here.

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Name: Jason Kennedy, 46jason-expat

“Kiwis can take some time to warm up but once they are their friendship can be very rewarding.”

Originally from: Durham, England

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Be patient as things won’t happen overnight. It takes time to settle into a new country and find a compatible if not better job, friends and social like. So don’t be despondent, good things happen to those who wait and are willing to work hard for them.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I think with being in my early 40s it was probably a bit harder to find friends and a support network. You just have to put yourself out there and get involved with your local clubs, sports, and events. Kiwis can take some time to warm up but once they are their friendship can be very rewarding.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes, I do call NZ home but I can’t tell you how long it will take for me to switch allegiance to the All Blacks.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

I think my quality of life has improved in some ways but not others. I am better off financially and with living in the city it is so much easier to get around and see events, I have been to more concerts in the last 5 years than the previous 20. There are also so many varied and good spots to spend weekends and it feels like you are on holiday. On the downside, it is tough to travel to different countries and hard to replace those lifelong friendships that you have left behind.

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Name: Gaynor Gemmillhouse goingnz

“You will probably be drawn to people from the same country as you, as they’ve gone through the same journey as you, and that’s okay.”

Originally from: Cardiff, Wales 

Now living in: Christchurch

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Research everything. In fact, have a research holiday!  Get the feel for where you’d like to live. While here price up food, rentals, houses, furniture etc. it’s more expensive here.  Find a friendly rental agent if you’re going to rent for a while, and get her contact details. They’re harder to contact from UK. Tell her the kind of rental you’ll be looking for. The more info they have the better. You don’t want to end up in a filthy damp moldy place.  Take all your belongings with you -it’s cheaper in the long run. Get recommendations for good international movers. Ours were terrible.  Make sure they know exactly how much stuff you have or they will underestimate the size of the container and you’ll end up leaving stuff behind and having to negotiate the cost of them sending it over.  They have the upper hand as they have your stuff.  NZ is not Australia. We have seasons just like

Take all your belongings with you -it’s cheaper in the long run. Get recommendations for good international movers. Ours were terrible.  Make sure they know exactly how much stuff you have or they will underestimate the size of the container and you’ll end up leaving stuff behind and having to negotiate the cost of them sending it over.  They have the upper hand as they have your stuff.  NZ is not Australia. We have seasons just like UK. Warmer in the North Island though. I had several holidays here with my Kiwi husband which helped but I have lots of British friends who had never been to NZ and then moved out. Nothing will prepare you for the isolation you feel. The thought that if something happened to you while out shopping, no one would know who you are. The loneliness. You miss your friends and family and skype is not the same. It takes two years at least to settle and get to know people and you will probably be drawn to British people too as they’ve gone through the same

Nothing will prepare you for the isolation you feel. The thought that if something happened to you while out shopping, no one would know who you are. The loneliness. You miss your friends and family and skype is not the same. It takes two years at least to settle and get to know people and you will probably be drawn to British people too as they’ve gone through the same journey. Know this is exactly what you want and you’re not running away from something.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I found my first friend while working, shes’s British too, and she introduced me to lots of people as she did Zumba classes and had parties.  Join Brits of New Zealand on Facebook, it’s great.  You can find fellow Brits in your area and meet for coffee.  Join things through community centers that you enjoy. You’ll meet people when working although not necessarily become friends but just that social interaction is better than being home alone. It takes about two years before you really find friends.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes and I also call Cardiff home. I have two homes and they both have things I love. Ideally. I would put all the things I love together in NZ and then be fully content.  You will always feel drawn to your country but as time goes on you establish a peace with it.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes and no.  It’s been very hard financially. We got here 5 days before the February earthquake in Christchurch and that made things even harder. I feel the Kiwis tend to prioritize Kiwis for jobs first.  I’ve been here five years and we now have a franchise in the renovation.  It’s very hard work, you’re starting all over again after all.

Having said that I feel more content here. Fewer crowds, less traffic and I can’t complain about immigrants anymore as I am one.  Our house is nearly three times bigger and in a lovely area. We know we’d never have that in the UK unless out in the middle of nowhere. I also enjoy the traveling as the “motorways” are quieter.

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Name: Helen

“NZ still feels like a secret little paradise at the bottom of the globe. I love it!”

Originally from: London, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Do a lot of shopping before you come. Clothes for the next 5 years. Toiletries. Underwear. More toiletries. It’s really expensive to buy those things here and the choice is limited. Plus NZ is so fab you don’t wanna be spending your money on boring things like cleanser and knickers – you want to be camping every summer weekend and going to the snow in winter.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

I inherited a great bunch of mates through my sister who was already here so it was easy for me. Plus I’m in Auckland and there are heaps of migrants here. Took a few years to really have close friends of my own, like the ones I left behind in the UK.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Yes, I do. When I go abroad, it feels good to come home to NZ. Still feels like a secret little paradise at the bottom of the globe.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Yes for sure. My life is not so commercial, I have no idea about the latest phones or gadgets or clothes etc. I go to the most beautiful beaches and there are no apartment blocks or shops or restaurants right there. I live in the busiest city in the country but I can still have a swim in the sea just 10 mins up the road. And when I’m out of Auckland, you suddenly remember that there is hardly anyone here. So totally different from Hackney!

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Name: Kerri & Nathan

“The people here are generally very upbeat, positive and incredibly friendly, which is very refreshing.”

Originally from: Newcastle, England 

Now living in: Rotorua

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Immigrant sooner. Things that you think would never be accepted into the NZ by customs/MAF will be e.g. cleaned garden tools. Best to bring everything and discuss it with MAF once your container arrives. The cost of living in NZ is higher than the UK, but odd things are sometimes vastly cheaper.

Relax, this is New Zealand, things just seem to work. The art of customer service still exists here and oddly, at least in our experience, the governmental services seem to work very efficiently! The housing market (buying or renting) is extremely competitive, so be aware.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

Thought work and school/daycare friends parents for the kids. Facebook groups. Generally getting out there and talking to people who you meet. Within about 3 or 4 months you should have a group of people who you can count as friends.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

Not as yet, we have only been in the country for 7 months. But hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will. But neither my wife or I, have any desire to return to the UK to live. Which is a promising sign given everything we have read suggests the first 18 months will be the most difficult and the biggest strain.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

Vastly. The food and drink is far superior to that we had in the UK. The quality of life is far better, and we haven’t even been through an NZ summer as yet! The people here are generally very upbeat, positive and incredibly friendly, which is very refreshing.

As a family, we are excited by the prospects the country has to offer for recreation, activities and the general beauty of the place, all of which we want to explore thoroughly over the next few years. It’s a whole new world to explore.

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Name: Penny Scutt, 36

“We have a much more relaxed way of life here and to get to spend so much of our time outside….we are very lucky.”

Originally from: London, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

Remember to think of the distance in days rather than miles. My Mmum gave me that advice. Be fully aware of what you are leaving behind and always remember that these days keeping in touch with loved ones is so much more accessible with the use of Skype, Facebook etc, the world is much more connected than it was 10 years ago.

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

It took me a while to find a good circle of friends, to be honest, maybe 3-4 years, probably when my eldest started school, I met other Mums with similar aged children and became part of the school community. Before that, I wasn’t really aware of other groups for Mums such as playgroups and play centers. I was so happy to start meeting people it really helped to finally feel I belonged and that’s when NZ started to feel like home to me.

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I absolutely call NZ home now. It did take a while, to be honest, but that was probably due to the loss of my Father when my daughter was born. I still have waves of missing my other “home” but know that this is where my children and I belong. I used to think if I ever got to go back to England (it’s been nearly 12 years… yikes) I would find it hard to leave but now I know if I ever got back then it would just be a visit and then I would be coming home to NZ… if that makes sense.

4) Would you say your quality of life has improved since moving to NZ and if so in what way?

My quality of life has improved for sure. Not just for me but for my children too. We have a much more relaxed way of life here and to get to spend so much of our time outside….we are very lucky.

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Name: Lynda Taylor, 61

“Things you shouldn’t do are to compare things with the UK or the country you have come from.”

Originally from: Manchester, England 

Now living in: Auckland

1) If you could give your old self some advice (before you moved to NZ) what would it be?

If I were to give myself some advice it would have been to commence this journey 10 years earlier. There is so much to do here but I am no longer brave enough at 61 to do them.  Ie bungy jumping…

2) How did you find friends and a support network in NZ and how long did it take you?

It’s easy to become lazy here. I was so knocked out with the beauty I was just wanting to explore as much if the country as possible.  This is great but its, still just me and hubby.  John joined a football club and we quickly made friends. I took a teaching job at the local college and made friends. During the summer there are lots of free events and they require volunteers. So we did that. Every weekend someone will be having a bbq and it’s odd to have to go to an stranger’s home but in the same way, you have to get out of your comfort zone and do it.  Just have to get out there and try new things….. we even went line dancing…. ha ha!

3) Do you call New Zealand home? And if not, how long do you think it’ll be until you do?

I called NZ home after about a year…I settled in quite quickly. Things you shouldn’t do are to compare things with the UK or the country you have come from.    Tomatoes are cheaper in UK. Chocolate tastes better etc. Stop this you have to embrace NZ and its lifestyle. I missed getting mail through the post as no one knows you here so you don’t get the post.  On the other hand, the anonymity means you can do things you wouldn’t normally do in case anyone sees you.  I.e line dancing dressed as a cowboy or roller blading down the road or dressed as a chicken on the side if the road.  We raised funds for charity and stretched ourselves to do things we wouldn’t get the opportunity to do.

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Have a question or something you’d like to say about moving to New Zealand?

We would love to hear from anyone looking to move to New Zealand and expats currently living in New Zealand. Please leave a comment below or drop us an e-mail directly: dawn@goingnz.com

Why we are leaving Auckland

For us this has been is a difficult post to write. After over 18 months in Auckland and a lot of soul searching we have decided we are leaving Auckland. A combination of reasons has lead us to this decision!

Support Network:

When we first arrived in Auckland we stayed with Isaac’s grandmother for approximately three months. That time was great we travelled, enjoyed the summer and took the time to find a job and a flat! Our flat was just around the corner from a good friend of mine – a friend from home that I have known pretty much all of my life. For almost a year we had friends around the corner and a support network with Isaac’s family close by. Something we will be forever grateful for.

Then Isaac’s grandmother decided to move up north and my friend decided to move back to England. Within a space of a month we found ourselves feeling secluded in the largest city in NZ. Although we have made other friends through our jobs and Isaac still has some family around it just hasn’t been the same. Not enough to make us want to stay.

Our opportunities have widened:

I have recently become a freelancer – my own boss for the first time. A daunting, but exciting step for myself and one that has given me the freedom to live anywhere in NZ. Isaac already runs his own business and I have joined his club! With the power of the internet and working remotely as accessible as ever this means we can work from just about anywhere that has internet. We no longer have to be in a busy city.

House prices:

News flash – Auckland house prices are ridiculous! Talk about stating the obvious.

News flash – We are both hitting 30!

Something happens when you turn 30 you find yourself contemplating about the future. Sure, we have achieved a lot in our 20’s but purchasing our slice of this earth is not one of them. We know at some point we will need to place some roots down and one thing we do know is we want that place to be NZ but it just can’t be Auckland – we have to win the lottery first before that can happen! Without getting into a rant – this city really isn’t a place for first time buyers.

Our love for NZ:

Something we both agree on is our love for NZ. We love the people, the culture and the life style that NZ can offer us. And sadly Auckland just isn’t providing that for us at this point in our lives. You could argue Auckland isn’t a true representation of New Zealand – I don’t personally think this, but I do know if I wanted to live in a city then I could have just moved to…Bristol. It is all down to personal preference really, cities just aren’t our kind of places – we are Cornish after all!

So off we move to better pastures! House sitting is giving us the opportunity to live in other regions of NZ therefore we shall see where this takes us until we say “I want to live here” once more!

The Cost of Living in New Zealand

The beginning of 2015 marked a year of living in New Zealand for us! Bring out the cake! We can now truly say we are now fully fledged NZ  residents! As we hit the landmark earlier last week, we thought it would be a good idea to go over our finances and publish a breakdown of our cost living in New Zealand vs living in the UK. As you can imagine, this was no small task – we’ve been putting it off… just a little!

There are so many debates these days about how much more expensive New Zealand really is compared to other places around the world. We are constantly hearing about how expensive it is to live in Auckland. And the truth is everyone’s comparison is different – depending on salary, lifestyle and other factors.

In this article we are discussing:

  • Where to compare costs in NZ to your current life;
  • Monthly costs of life in Auckland;
  • A supermarket cost comparison;

 

Life in Auckland
Life in Auckland, NZ

 

You have to do your research before you go:

If you want to do a broader search of the cost of things in New Zealand – as we may have missed a few things below then doing some research before you arrive into New Zealand would be a good idea. Aside from all the unexpected costs that can occur when making such a move, everyday living may come as a financial shock in a new country such as NZ.

A good place to start is to compare the cost of living in NZ with your current location, which can be browsed easily on sites such as Numbeo. This crowd-sourced website allows you to quickly discover the comparative costs of main points of interest, including rent, transport and a selection of groceries. Although not perfect (some of the data hasn’t been updated for 6 months of so) whether you’re coming from the UK, or elsewhere, this will give you a rough idea of how much your Sunday bacon will cost! ($9 bucks FYI!)

It is also worth noting that New Zealand has a GST rate of 15% on almost everything you purchase, with the exception of your income and financial transactions (renting a home or, say, bank charges). You are liable to pay all the GST and other taxes when you become part of the New Zealand’s society and economy.

While it’s useful to see these stats, it’s also important to factor in your new salary if you’ll be working in NZ. It’s no use looking at new costs, and how you will afford them, with your current earnings in mind! A good place to establish an approximate salary based on occupation guide can be found via the Trade Me website here.

cost of living NZ Going NZ

So now you know what your new salary and new living costs look like, but does this translate from your current financial situation and lifestyle?

To be able to comprehend how new living costs will affect you, you need to fully understand your current financial situation. This can be achieved by defining your current spend and disposable income, with a money planner. The website “Sorted” an independent money planner can help you with this! Check it out here!

By creating a tangible list, that takes into account all of your outgoings, you will also be able to recognise all of the infrequent necessities that require planning ahead, such as insurances, as well as the irregular demands that require additional money, such as car maintenance and everyday breakages!

With all of these demands in mind, you can wholly explore the transition of living costs from your current situation to that in NZ. This list of websites will help you calculate some of these core outgoings.

Household expenses (Bills):

Glimp and Power Switch can help you dertermine the cost of core households bills such as electricty and broadband.

Vehicle Costs:

New Zealand Transport Agency is where you go to register and license your car. More on this in our Driving in New Zealand article. And if you want to keep up to date on fuel prices here in NZ, the AA is the website to bookmark.

Insurance:

For all sorts of insurance quotes, health, life, mortgage, income protection Life Direct is a good place to start.

While it’s paramount to plan financially for all of your outgoings in NZ and your new home, don’t forget to think about your desired lifestyle. In calculating all of your costs, think about how you’d like to live in NZ and, hence, how you may intend to use your disposable income. Are you moving to the city where you’d like to enjoy the social scene? Will you have enough money to make that trip down south? It pays to think practically on all these matters.

Can we afford to live the kiwi dream?

So what are our cost’s after one year in New Zealand?

We wanted to know if we are better off living in the UK or New Zealand.

We dragged out all our old bills and comparing September 2014 with September 2015 costs (not summer in the UK and not quite winter in NZ, fair right?) and tried to generalize our monthly costs as much as possible! This comparison is calculated from our old lives in Falmouth, Cornwall to our lives in Auckland – NZ’s most expensive city might I add!

cost of living

Note: All prices are in GBP and converted at the current exchange at the time of writing this article. 

Please also note: Our lifestyle now compared to our lifestyle a year ago is fairly similar. In England we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, had a ‘reasonably priced car’ and we both had jobs that didn’t require a long commute each morning. In Auckland we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, have a ‘reasonably priced car’ and Isaac cycles to work (even in the rain!) and I cycle, take the bus and er walk (honestly!).

To summarize:

The figures really do speak for themselves. Auckland for us is around 300 GBP more expensive for us a month. After doing the maths, we came to the realization that perhaps the only difference is location – we now live in a small, but busy city in a fairly isolated country.

“You have to understand that for two people who come from a small coastal town in Cornwall, it’s a fairly different setting!”

Our flat here is on the main road whilst our flat in England overlooked the sea. The view at breakfast is just a little different! For the same views in Auckland city, we’d easily be looking at triple the rent. We live within our means.

So what about our supermarket shop? Is the price of food higher in New Zealand?

The above research lead me to think more and more about if NZ really does have high food prices, sure mozzarella is expensive ($11 FYI!) … but crisps are loads cheaper, do the costs even out over a grocery shop?

To settle the little argument in my head I thought it was about time I did a direct cost comparison of a grocery shop in the UK compared to a shop in NZ.

I enlisted my mother’s help in this (thanks, Mum!) however my original idea didn’t quite go to plan, I was hoping we could do a similar shop and compare the whole lot, it does seem we shop quite differently – she likes liver and onions (she really does!) for dinner, while I like grilled vegetables and halloumi! So, for the sake of this comparison, we’ve compared 9 essential everyday items like veg, milk, and fruit. Here are the results:

Brand in England if Applicable Brand in NZ if Applicable Volume in England Volume in New Zealand Price in England – GBP Price in New Zealand – GBP Winner?
Bananas N/A N/A 0.415kg 0.362kg 28p (58p a kg) 60p ENGLAND
Apples Gala Granny Smiths 0.517kg 1.55GBP 1.15 GBP NZ
Tomatoes N/A N/A 250g 1.55 GBP 3.91 GBP ENGLAND
Paracetamol Morrisons Basics Singature Range 16pp 20pp 30p 1.50 GBP ENGLAND
Facial Wipes  25pp 25pp 1.00 GBP 2.79 GBP ENGLAND
Tin Foil Homebrand Basics  30CM x 10M 30CM x 10M 2.74 GBP 1.12 GBP NZ
Milk  2L 2L 1.30 GBP 1.76 GBP ENGLAND
Snack Bars Special K Mother Earth  4pp 6pp 1.00 GBP 1.68 GBP ENGLAND
Ready Salted Crisps Walkers Singature Range  125g 150g 1.00 GBP 0.78 GBP NZ
*Exchange rate 0.56 pence to the dollar
TOTAL: 10.72 GBP 15.29 GBP
Percentage? 42.6% MORE

So which Country was cheapest?

“Our Results show New Zealand is on average 42.6% more expensive than the UK”

Hands down England was cheaper for a grocery shop! But I think we already knew that though didn’t we? What is interesting is the differences, some items differ a small amount and some differ hugely.

I can only hope that the almost double the cost of some of the veg items is down to the seasonal differences but what is with the high costs of products such as facial wipes and paracetamol?

I know my investigation is only a small representation of the price difference but I have a feeling if I did another comparison on some other products another time I would get the same result.

Going NZ cost of living
The small change matter’s to this little piggy.

To Conclude:

“I guess from the stats above you could say we are worse off, but we don’t like to think of it that way. As we now live in a country that excites us, we live in a country that has a better climate that offers us new opportunities.”

I think the lesson here for us is to stop analyzing it so much and think of New Zealand as a girlfriend. A high maintenance one at that! She is very good looking and has charm. To put up with the good lucks and charm of that sexy girlfriend we have to put our hands into our pockets and “Suck it up”. To live here in NZ the cost of living in New Zealand is something we have to start putting up with. This analogy this has really helped us clarify our thought process on the price issues.

As we roll into year two we are getting nearer to our lifestyle goals, something we felt wasn’t achievable back in the UK. We believe NZ is worth the extra expense and we hope you think so too!

Are you thinking of moving to New Zealand or arrived and finding things to be a bit more expensive than you’d hoped? We’d love to hear from you so feel free to get in touch!

Migration Expos in the UK

Whether you’re simply thinking about making the move to NZ or in the stages of planning it, attending migration expos in the UK is a great way to learn more about life out there, and help you make those all-important decisions!

We went to the London one in 2014 and I don’t regret the effort – one year in and I am on the path to living our dreams in NZ! At the time I had a number of questions swimming around my mine:

Is New Zealand the right place for me? How can I make the move? How can I get a job?

If you find your self asking yourself any of these questions as well, then there are experienced people who can help you decide what’s right for you at one of these events.

Expos are brimming with UK and NZ based companies that can help with the big move, as well as recruiters hunting for skilled people for jobs. You’ll also meet lots of other people who are in the same boat, which is a great opportunity to get networking!

Expos happen across the globe, but in the UK there are two main events for those looking to go to NZ:

Firstly, there’s the The Working International Expo in London.

This happens three times a yea – unfortunately, they have been and gone for 2017! Look out for more updates soon for 2018 events. Tickets are usually around £18.00

Providing information on Australia, Canada and New Zealand, this event is described as your ‘one-stop moving shop’ as it really does help you plan the whole process, from visa assistance to setting up afresh following the move.

‘Working In’ hosts the event and is recognised as one of the world’s leading organisers of international job and migration. The experts present at the event are plentiful and can help you with every detail, including:

  • Finding a home in NZ
  • Transferring a pension
  • Exchange rates
  • Setting up bank accounts
  • Transferring your belongings; as well as yourself!

This video shows some happy campers at the expo, explaining how the event has been of great benefit:

Secondly, there’s the Down Under Live Expo.

This happens three times a year across the UK. Again these events were just in February of 2017, but keep checking back with us for updates on the dates for the 2018 events.

This event is unique in that it offers a seminar programme (see their Facebook page for details and updates) with experienced speakers presenting in a friendly environment, along with question and answer sessions so you can discuss any concerns.

The show is backed by the top magazine for life downunder, “Australia & New Zealand Magazine”, meaning you can be confident that you’ll receive impartial and practical advice.

Again, there are experts providing a wealth of information on the immigration process, including property agents and recruiters.

That said, it’s worth going to one of these expos with questions and ideas already in your mind. What property size might you need? What industry would you like to work in? Which aspects of the move do you need advice in – will you need to transfer a pension?

Also, remember these events offer an opportunity to make an impression. Seeing as recruiters are there and looking for their next great asset, it’s important you have an up-to-date CV to provide them, along with an enthusiastic attitude!

If you make the most of what’s on offer at an expo then you can come away having considered and started planning all the aspects involved in moving to NZ. Trust me it is a worthwhile day, or two, out!

When family & friends come to visit your expat lifestyle!

We have been getting a lot of questions lately about how we’ve have settled into our “expat lives” in New Zealand, the things we miss about home, the differences and the struggles we have faced. A year into the move we were fortunate enough to tell the readers of Expat Arrival’s about our story. And one thing we mentioned back in December was how much we missed our family and friends.

Being away for such a long time you tend to shut down those feelings as a coping mechanism, and that had been the way until the Christmas just gone! My parents are now here and arrived just before Christmas as did my sister who surprised me with her presence for the holidays! I am sure anyone who has lived away from their home country for long periods of time will agree – having family and friends from home visit you in your new life causes whole a mix bag of emotions!

But it isn’t just your emotions it’s their emotions too that need to be consider so I have asked for my sister’s help to clarify our thoughts of our time together – Give me a holla if you can relate to this!

Me and My Sis in NZ
Me and My Sis in NZ

Dawns Thoughts:

“Christmas 2015 was pretty epic not only was it our first official Christmas in NZ (finally settled!) on the 22nd December my Christmas changed when my sister turned up in my doorstep and surprised me for the holidays. I already had my parents staying for three months, (they have just retired and are taking a gap year!) and this simply was the icing on the cake.

Upon her arrival I was a mix bag of emotions, at first I felt shock (I thought I was dreaming, literally) and then I felt anger (ooo the secret had been kept from me for months) then I felt frustrated, (where is she to sleep, I don’t have a bed for her!) and then finally I felt excitement of the next two weeks of fun we were about to have.

Having someone surprise you like that makes you feel really special and that is a fantastic feeling.

I spent the first few days feeling that this must all be a dream and in a weird way you’re almost waiting for something to go wrong! Then one morning I snapped myself out of it and thought these are the type of days you are going to talk about forever (even when we are 80 in our rocking chairs) so I started to enjoy every moment with the family I hadn’t seen for a year and half.

And then two days later when you have to share a bathroom with five people and your sister borrows your hair straightener’s and doesn’t put them back and your house is turning into a slice of chaos you have flash backs of being fourteen again and in your new found teenage angst you get angry at the situation you are in and you lash out! Ring any bells? Thank fully for me that was only one day then it was back to enjoying this amazing time together!

I found myself wanting them to have the best time ever I felt like to them NZ was never on their ‘Bucket List’ and it never would of been if it wasn’t for me, I wanted them to fall in love with this beautiful country too I wanted them to understand why I now live here!

And because of that I wanted to get them out of the apartment as much as possible to ensure they get to see as much as New Zealand as humanly possible in the time that have! Then I found myself getting frustrated when I found them sat on the sofa too tired to go and watch a sunset!

But then I realised time unfortunately is not on any ones side and you just have to go with the flow and enjoy every moment you have with them. So that is what I did, life is about family, good times and creating memories I blocked those bag of emotions away and enjoyed every second! Until next time sis! “

NYE in Paihia
NYE in Paihia

Sally’s Thoughts:

“As I walked through the Auckland Airport arrival doors I was taken aback by the array of expecting faces staring back at me, all waiting for their loved ones to walk through the door next. This made me realise how far I had actually travelled and how important it is to visit family who have moved to another country. Panic started to set in as I scanned the faces with my tired eyes, ‘Where are my parents?!’ Luckily for me my parents were right at the front and waving frantically at me!

My parents were in on the ‘MI5 Top Secret Plan’ to surprise my sister Dawn with a surprise visit to Auckland for Christmas and New Year’s, we had kept it from her since August! We experienced some close shavings of exposing our plans but she never cottoned on…I actually think she never thought I would be able to come so far in the near future to visit her and if I ever did it would be a meet half way scenario in say…Bali.

So as we approached the apartment block where she lives, it felt surreal and had to ask my Mum to pinch me as what I had been planning and thinking about for months had finally arrived. I knew Dawn would be ecstatic that I came over to see her but I was also worried of her initial reaction.

Now I have NEVER seen my sister speechless before, and boy I was not expecting that initial reaction…then a more familiar reaction of excitement and jumping up and down played its self out.

So I was now here in Dawns territory and she and her partner were very accommodating to my unexpected arrival…luckily my parents thought sleeping arrangements through and brought me a blow up bed which they hid in their suitcases as we expected this would be Dawns first worry!

After a year or so of seeing my sister through my iPad screen as she was eating her breakfast and me eating my dinner, I felt like I had literally jumped into my iPad screen and was now in her apartment looking out of her balcony and in their time zone…although my body wasn’t!

Excitedly Dawn started reeling off the things we can do together, swimming with Dolphins in Bay Of Islands, cocktails in the city….but the reality is you have a schedule to keep and although we didn’t do them all we were still able to cram so many amazing sites and experiences in! Bethells Beach, the boat trip around Whangaroa Harbour were my highlights….but now I am back in the freezing UK (depressing) I soon realise that being able to see my sister settled in her new home, with a job she loves, with these beautiful places literally on her doorstep that that was the highlight of my trip. I can now relate to her in a way I couldn’t before, I sometimes could not understand why and how she could move so far away from the UK – But all I see now in her is drive, courage and a sense of adventure which I find is rubbing off on me….here’s to the next trip sis!”

20160103_174756
These memories last a life time!
SAM_2052
Family fun
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Banter!
SAM_2040
Loving Life!

SAM_1904

Getting a Mortgage in New Zealand

If you are considering buying in New Zealand your starting point would be to decide what area of New Zealand to move to!

Click here to check out my areas of Auckland article post for tips a brief rundown of areas within Auckland.

You may have already decided this, which is great your next step would be to know the the legality’s of buying a home in New Zealand.

If you have met the government’s requirements to work or live in New Zealand as a skilled migrant (We hate this terminology as much as you do!), you will almost certainly meet banks and other lenders’ mortgage requirements!

Mortgage lenders tend to split those wanting to buy homes into two categories. They are:

Mortgage Category 1 – Permanent Residence. Banks and other lenders will provide you with identical mortgage offers to New Zealand citizens. This includes loans up to 95% (or more) of the value of the property you are buying.

Mortgage Category 2 – Work Permit. Banks / lenders will require more of a financial commitment from you than they would from a permanent resident. This varies from the most lenient lenders who require you fund at least 20% of the purchase price to lenders with stricter rules who will require you fund at least 50% of the purchase price. If you shop around, you should be able to find a loan to fund 80% of the price of your dream home.

If you are buying for holiday home purposes or you are on a temporary visa they would base the decision of category two but may even be a bit more stricter others may not be interested at all. So again shop around to see what rules and deals individual lenders have, a list of all the bank in New Zealand are at the bottom of this article. And if you want to read all about opening a bank account just click here!

Good News Folks

There are no restrictions to the type of property you can buy if you are a permanent resident. However if you are on a work permit or temporary visa you are restricted to buying properties less than 5 hectares (12.5 acres) in size. However, this is reduced to less than 0.4 (1 acre) hectares in size for properties next to or on a sensitive area (e.g. nature reserve).

The banks will generally lend up to 4.5 times your annual gross household income (if you have no other significant debts or outgoings). Obviously you need to be realistic in terms of how much mortgage you can afford by your out goings each month and you will need to factor mortgage rates available to you.

Mortgage Interest Rates in New Zealand

The below graph is from March 17th 2014, this will give you a very good indication of mortgage rates, if you are interested in the more up to date information click here, they have gone up a bit since this article was written so it may be worth to signing up to the interest.co.nz newsletter for information on the go.

Last Updated 17 March 2014

Type of Mortgage ANZ ASB Kiwibank Westpac
Bank
Variable Rate 5.99% 6.00% 5.90% 5.64% *
6 months fixed 5.39% * 5.35% 5.40% 5.40% *
1 year fixed 5.69% * 5.69% 5.49% 5.49% *
2 years fixed 6.29% * 6.29% * 5.99% * 6.29% *
3 years fixed 6.65% * 6.60% 6.40% 6.35% *
5 years fixed 7.20% * 7.20% 6.90% 7.20% *

* These rates are available only for home buyers who borrow 80% or less of the property’s value.

Like with the UK there are different types of mortgages available, very similar to the UK but they just have different terms!

A Table Mortgage – The repayments are fixed over the term of the loan. For the first few years you will only be paying off the interest, and eventually you will start to pay off the principal.

A Reducing Mortgage – Here you pay off a fixed amount of the principal each month, which means that the interest charges will fall as will your repayments.

Fixed or Variable Mortgage – Whether you choose between a table or a reducing mortgage you will need to choose whether the interest rate is fixed for a period of time or whether it is variable and can change when the central base rate changes.

The Purchasing Process:

Like with the UK most land and home sales are completed using a estate agent, they can take three – four months but do expect longer!

A really informative and comprehensive guide about the purchasing of houses in New Zealand can be found at the governments Department of Building and Housing website, click here! To find your perfect check out websites like Trade Me or Real Estate.

Those websites can really help you decide what you can afford in New Zealand, we recommend taking a print out of your ideal home to the mortgage adviser when you visit them so they can inform you how much you can borrow and what interest rates they can offer you.

KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant:

If you have been paying into the KiwiSaver scheme for 3 years or more may be entitled to the new scheme that was set up by KiwiSaver on 1st April 2015. You can also if you prefer withdraw your funds in order to help you buy a new home (on top of the money you can get from the grant if your qualify) To find out if you qualify and to find out more about the KiwiSaver scheme make sure you click on the kiwi below!

kiwisaver

Discovering Electric Bikes in Auckland

We were looking for something to do last weekend in the city that was free, worth doing and as newbies to Auckland helped us meet new people. A few weeks ago I posted about cycling in Auckland and we love to get out on our bikes whenever we can, when we found out Auckland Council along with Next Bike and ‘Bikes and Barbers’  (who provided us with the E bikes) were doing a tour of the city on electric bikes, we thought why not!

When we first moved to Auckland I looked at getting an electric bike, my cycle to work is all down hill one way for half an hour and on the way home when I am tired after a long days work – let’s just say it can be a challenge. I love the cycle path to work though and the council are constantly making more places accessible on bikes, good stuff!

Tearing myself out of bed at 8am on a Sunday morning, even for something free is difficult, the weather forecast was wrong and I’d forgotten my coat…I know!

Bikes and Barbers
Bikes and Barber’s

Tomas is the chap who runs the Bikes and Barbers shop, it has opened recently after great success from a branch on Waiheke Island. He greeted us with a smile, he is a very enthusiastic chap who knows his beans when it comes to bikes. Julian Hulls from Next Bike gave a safety brief which involved a bit of slalom round some cones and we were off!

Julian lead the way, we were a motley crew of all ages – mostly older people, but some other 20-30 year old’s too. The ride it self gave me a new found confidence to cycle on the roads of Auckland. Before this, I tended to stick to cycle lanes and pavements – I also hated crossing the road with my bike!

E Bike Rest Stop Auckland
Rest Stop

There was plenty of rest stops during the cycle including a stop for some coffee and something to eat. Sometimes the rest stops were a bit long, but with a large group and oldies it was to be expected. I’d recommend bringing suitable clothing – gloves, coat, jumper, hat. If you don’t wear it remember most of the bikes have baskets!

We were a small group of individuals all here for the same but different objectives. My partner wanted to “test these bad boys out” as he put it and was keen to test how fast and how much juice one of these E bikes had and I just wanted to find out if  E bike is a viable alternative to catching the bus or cycling to work. After our cycle both mine and my partners bike batteries were at over 75% charge after 20 km, so this sort of bike would be more than suitable for commutes and with proper care should be worth the hefty initial outlay.

E bikes in Auckland
Motley Crew of E Bikers

Overall the day was fun, educational, informative and a confidence builder for us. Being a bit of a critic I’d have liked to have gone a bit further and had less ‘this is how you ride a bike’ time, I can see for some of the riders this was necessary though as the group had varying abilities.

E Bike Auckland
Exploring Auckland the best way

So, if you are thinking of buying an E-bike to get around Auckland and New Zealand, or just fancy a jolly, hit up Bikes and Barber’s or get in contact with Julian from Next Bike’s, they are hoping continue this scheme with the support of the Auckland Council.  Thanks for a great day guys!

How hard was it really to get a flat in Auckland?

Before we arrived in New Zealand we wrote the article about How to Find a Home in New Zealand. We must have done as much research as anyone! Looking back I think we had under estimated the challenge and I do wonder if anyone else did as well!

It has now been 3 months since we were flat hunting, we happened to have arrived in peak season, it was the middle of the summer and right when of all the Auckland students were arriving for the start of their new school years. This meant we were up against thousands of students needed somewhere to live fast!

As with any new town or city you move to we needed to view some properties and figure out what we can get for our budget and suss out the areas we wanted to live in. We used Trade Me to find some properties in a few areas we like or heard a lot about. To find out more about the regions of Auckland check out our article here!

Flat hunting in Auckland can be a challenge...
Flat hunting in Auckland can be a challenge…

Our experience was a challenge and we hope others reading this can take on board our experience and learn from it! Here are the lesson’s we learnt – fast!

Lesson Number One:  Don’t Be Late!

These agents don’t wait for no one!

It was our first viewing and we had it scheduled at 11am and safe to say new city meant we got lost! We were 5 minutes late (okay maybe more like 8, but still!) we were stood outside the property and the property manager was not there. We rang him and he said he drove by the property 5 minutes ago saw no one was waiting for him and drove off. No text message, no phone call to see if we were stuck in traffic he simply couldn’t be bothered to wait a few minutes. The properties in Auckland are that much in demand they know it will be snapped out of their hands within days of being advertised.

Lesson Number Two: Get Your Application Ready to Hand in whilst you are viewing the Property.

On our second viewing we made sure we were 20 minutes early for! But this time this was an open viewing with around 20 other people waiting outside the property to view it! It was like queuing in a Chinese sweet shop! People were so desperate for the place they wanted to hand in their applications without actually inspecting the property. We soon realised you actually have to hand in your application at the time of viewing the property. This ensures you introduce yourself to the agent, get on their radar so they remember who you are!

Queuing to View a Flat
Queuing to View a Flat

Lesson Number Three: Be Quick!

We had a third day of viewing ahead of us, this time we came in force with our application’s ready and came extra early! Again they were all open viewings but with slightly smaller groups. In between one of the viewings we had an hour to kill so we decided to hop on Trade Me and see what new properties were listed that day. We found one only a ten minute walk from where we were parker.  We decided to call them and within 30 minutes we were viewing the property. The property manager said she only put it on trade me less than an hour ago and she already had 7 phone calls! Anyway she liked us so we filled out the application there and then, she was straight to the point if you can move in Sunday the place is yours with no credit checks needed and no letting fee, just a bond/deposit. We snapped the offer right out of her hands as lo and behold we didn’t get the other properties we viewed as the competition was so tough!

So there you have it our top tips for bagging a place to live in Auckland from our first hand perspective! Good Luck!