Moving to New Zealand

Making the move to New Zealand can be a happy decision with a successful outcome. Planning for the difficult moments will help the transition become a safe and easier one for everyone involved.

Like thousands of migrants before you, you will come to see that the challenges you face are almost always outweighed by the benefits.

It’s a big step moving to another country, and for many people New Zealand is a long way away. You may want to learn more about other people’s experiences. Migrating is much more common now than 20 or 30 years ago, and there are lots of resources you can check out.

Be prepared

However you have come to the decision to move to New Zealand, be prepared for the period of adjustment that is bound to take place.

It isn't just your job you have to consider once you have arrived in New Zealand – keeping your spouse and children happy and settled is of vital importance.

Focus on your reasons for moving and do as much research as possible before you arrive. Be realistic and patient, and don’t lose the excitement that got you here!

Settling into life in New Zealand

Before you even arrive, plan to start life in New Zealand as settled as possible. Using the services of a relocation company can help with furnished accommodation on arrival, school enrolments and establishing finance accounts.

Finding a home is one of the most important steps to feeling settled. Try to make your new home feel like your own, and keep important reminders of the home you left in plain sight.

Building a community

There are different approaches to establishing a community in a new country and you will have to take the one that feels most comfortable to you. Ask neighbours, co-workers, friends, bartenders, wait staff, teachers, and the like to recommend things like their favourite fish and chip shop, local bars, sports clubs, children’s activities, stores, and more. Find places you, your spouse and your children can interact with others.

Immigration New Zealand offers links to community directories that may help you to find like-minded people soon after arrival.

Homesickness happens to everyone

Staying connected with family and friends from your home country has never been easier or more cost effective. Free online programs that allow video calling allow you to not just hear, but see, your far away relatives and friends. Often the most important link between distant grandparents and your newly relocated children, programs like Skype can alleviate many feelings of loneliness.

Be patient; it make take some time to fully adjust, but if you want to do so, you will.

Things you need to pack

Moving to another country is complex. There is so much to think about because you are literally bringing everything with you.

It is very important that when you move to New Zealand you bring the following documents. All of your documents should be originals, not copies. If they are not in English, bring a certified translation with you.

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

The weather here changes a lot, so you need to pack a range of clothes including raincoats and warm clothing. Remember too that the seasons are the opposite of what they are in the northern hemisphere.

Check with New Zealand Customs Service about what you can and cannot bring in your bags. New Zealand has very strict rules around things like food. Find out more at the Biosecurity website.

Taking the children

It can be one thing to decide to emigrate as a single or couple, and quite another to take a family of dependants with you to a new country. The last thing you want is a child who is desperately unhappy and makes your time in a new country difficult and strained. Involving children with the whole process can help them to feel as excited as you. Involve them right from the beginning. Allowing them some control in minor decisions about the move can enable them to feel actively a part of the bigger decision. The grief and stress they feel when faced with major change is just as strong as an adult’s and it is important they know they can be involved in the process.

Explore your new home together

Research information about New Zealand together, look at real estate websites with them to show them what houses look like in New Zealand, or give them small jobs, such as to find out where to find their favourite foods in New Zealand. Most schools have websites so show them how their future school looks. Try not to hard sell the move but allow their natural curiosity grow into excitement.

Saying goodbye
Make it a fun adventure
Don’t forget to talk