To continue in the theme of teaching you lovelies the best ways to move abroad I thought that after having lived in New Zealand for the past seven months I feel confident in being able to share with you the things I did right and the things I did wrong during this move so if you decide to move to this beautiful country you can do things without error and with as much ease as possible.
As I am from a country with a working holiday scheme with New Zealand I had this option for one year or two years. As I wasn’t sure if I would like it here I did only choose one year but I’ve since decided to go through the process of extending because I do know that it is particularly worthwhile. I’ve found it to be a very enriching place for me personally. To get the extension I have to prove that I am in good health, which is a requirement of the first visa but no actual medical test was done for me to get the first visa because I got it electronically. However this is a risk because TSA can stop you at the border to look at your medical check. I was just lucky enough to have not gotten stopped, possibly due to my country of origin. I hate to say it but the state of the world is that if you come from a less affluent nation or one with a bit more conflict or even if your name sounds different you will be ‘randomly selected’. I am just lucky enough to not be the sort although this is a double edged sword because the more you travel the more suspicious you can become. It’s really a game of chance, in all honesty.
For more information about whether or not you are able to get the working holiday visa and all it entails the New Zealand immigration website is actually the only immigration website I've ever seen that is a) user friendly and b) clear about how you can apply. It helps that it is in plain English too so there is no need for an immigration lawyer at this stage!
Congratulations! You’ve got your visa and now you have to choose where to move. The country is separated by two different islands and from there, states. I haven’t been to the North Island yet but from what I can gather I’ve made the right choice for me personally. The South has a lot of natural beauty and cities are easily accessible as well which can make activities like hiking, camping and tramping easy to do as well as finding work. If you are in any way interested in skiing, snowboarding, skydiving and even bungee-jumping this would also be the place to do it because of the scenic views you have while you’re doing this. However, if none of that appeals to you the North is much more city oriented. Auckland is often said to be the most expensive city to live in throughout the whole of New Zealand but is also the largest so there are more job opportunities so you must weigh the cost vs the benefit as with any other place, thing or activity you live in, buy or do.
I moved to Dunedin which is a student city which means that during the school year there are a lot of people around and it can be a lot of fun for very little however during the time that the university students are away it can feel very small and more family oriented. For a traveller, like myself, this might not appeal if you enjoy an active social life during all times. Still as everything in New Zealand is fairly close together (compared to Canada) you can easily get to other places that can bring you either closer to nature or further depending upon your wishes. Currently I am in a camp ground, without wifi, near the sea and it didn’t take me very long to get here.
Something I do regret is that I don’t have a driver’s license because in most cities it hasn’t been necessary around the world but the freedom to go and do anything at any time is particularly noticeable in New Zealand strictly because of the options to see natural beauty which can either be a drive away or a bus - sometimes not even accessible without the ability to drive yourself. However hitchhiking is very prevalent in the culture of the country so don’t fret if you can’t drive abroad either but if you have the ability to get your license I would recommend it for New Zealand anyway. The road less travelled can be the most beautiful one, after all.
Depending upon your field back in your home country it can be either easy or hard to find an incoming cash flow. Like most backpackers I have a huge variety of job experience, mostly dealing in retail and hospitality, however I came to New Zealand at the wrong time of year to find a job. It is best to arrive in late Spring or early Summer to find jobs in those fields as this is the time when businesses are busiest - especially in hot tourist spots. Mostly though employment is based on who you know rather than your schools so get out there and network. You have to pitch people like you’re in sales and if you can’t do that it’ll be hard for you to find a job. Otherwise, I recommend you push through it and just have the minimum amount of money to cushion you before you find a job.
Important yet Forgettable
One of the most important things you will do when you get to the country is getting a new bank account and a tax number. They are both fairly easy to get but you must have a flat first because as with any other country the banks require proof of address. Don't forget to bring your photo I.D. when you sign up for the bank to! I'm with Kiwibank because I like supporting smaller, locally run businesses and banks are no exception. They did require that I had proof of address and since I hadn't signed a lease I was able to find a Doctor who would take me as their patient and also write a letter stating my address and that I was who I claimed to be. Essentially he was my guarantour.
As far as my tax number was concerned, this was a bit more of a difficult process partially because the application changed halfway through me filling out the application and because I had already gotten a job by that point and was waiting on pay. Boy was that not fun. The most important thing in this application is that you clearly state you are a temporary resident because otherwise the taxation changes. As I am self-employed and a contractor my abilities for work are different than most others so I won't go through the entire step-by-step process but any post shop will be able to give you information about the process specific to you if you ask nice enough for help.
Afterwards I would recommend getting an 18+ card because many driver's licenses aren't accepted in New Zealand when you're going out and it's not nice to haul around your most valuable possession everywhere (hint: it's your passport) because of the risk, especially as visas are now primarily electronically administered.
Everything past this point it packing your items and finding a flat in your city of choice. Be sure to take lots of photos from your time in New Zealand once you move to the small country.