Photo by Gustavo Acero

So you are thinking of moving to New Zealand. The excitement is surely building as you begin to make plans to live in New Zealand. Why are you going? To work in New Zealand, intern in New Zealand, study in New Zealand, volunteer in New Zealand – or just to enjoy a short learning vacation in New Zealand … it’s going to be a blast. But we suggest you start preparing to live in New Zealand and move to New Zealand now…

Whether you’re planning to relocate to New Zealand for work or study purposes, you should begin preparing your leave several months in advance. There are a lot of things you will have to take care of, so the sooner you start, the better.

Before making any arrangements, familiarize yourself with New Zealand immigration rules. Click here for more info.

Accomodation, Schools, and Permits

If you’re planning a lengthier stay in New Zealand, you should start looking for a permanent lodging option. You can contact a local renting agency and discuss your options. Try to look for homes which are situated near your future place of employment or your host educational institution. Also decide what will happen with the house in your home country. If you plan on selling or renting it, make the necessary arrangements ahead of time. Same goes for the car.

Look into visa and work permit requirements as early on as possible, as acquiring them might take a while.

If you have any children, you should start looking for potential schools a few months prior to your departure. Make sure you look into transfer requirements and don’t forget to compare the curriculum with the one from your home country, as it may differ quite a lot. Also keep in mind that, in New Zealand, the school year starts at the end of January or the beginning of February.  A school year is comprised of four terms, separated by a holiday break.


A good idea would be to start looking for a general practitioner in New Zealand before you even leave home. Check the White Pages.

Culture and Language

New Zealand is an English-speaking country so if you are not an English native yourself, you should consider taking a class or two to perfect your skills. New Zealand English differs a little from the English spoken in other countries, but basic knowledge should help you get along with the natives just fine.

New Zealanders enjoy a laid back and relaxed lifestyle and the general atmosphere is pretty informal, even at work, so you shouldn’t worry about having too much pressure put on you. The locals are pretty big sports fans, which is something you will notice very soon after arriving in New Zealand. You might consider looking for a sports club for your children, as this will make them fit in more easily. For boys, the sport of choice is rugby, while for girls it’s netball.

Quick Tips for Sorting Your Affairs

  • Take out some photographs for immigration paperwork.
  • Check your passport, ID card, and driver’s license to see if they’re still valid. Do this for the entire family.
  • If you own any pets, you can arrange for their relocation as well. Don’t forget to also transfer their vet records.
  • Contact a moving company that can safely transport your belongings to New Zealand. Also consider taking out an insurance. Alternatively, you can also choose to have some of your belongings stored until you return.
  • Pay a visit to your general practitioner for a complete check-up and any vaccinations you may require. Ask for a copy of your medical records.
  • Consult with a tax adviser to ensure that your financial situation is in order.
  • Have some of your money exchanged for New Zealand dollars before you leave home.


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