The mutual feeling between Europeans right now is one of chaos. Politics has gone mad, climate change is impacting us all and it’s the 2020 Euros next year, which tends to bring out the best and worst in people.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were somewhere far, far away, with rolling hills, more sheep than people (frankly, ideal) and one of the most stable political dynamics in the modern world?
That’s right – New Zealand, we’re looking at you.
Luckily for New Zealanders, most of us can’t just book a one-way flight and head to the land down under’s smaller, colder sister.
However, that is exactly what I’ll be doing in three months time.
As a British citizen, I’m lucky enough to be able to achieve a two-year working visa. But having only briefly been to the country once before, it’s hard to know where to start with moving there long-term.
So, if New Zealand is on the horizon for you, what do you need to know to make it a reality?
New Zealand is divided into two islands, the north and the south. There are three main cities across New Zealand: Auckland and Wellington (north) and Christchurch (south). However, there is so much to see, and with a reputation as the adventure capital of the world, many migrate to New Zealand to explore its incredible landscape.
Whilst many assume New Zealand’s climate to be similar to Australia, it’s actually much colder and its most similar European comparative is the UK.
Finally, New Zealand only has a population of 4.7 million people, which can be compared to Ireland’s 4.8 million.
New Zealand has an extremely weak currency, which may seem to work in favour of EUR/GBP, however, when you live over there, you quickly stop converting and start realising how expensive life is.
Salaries may sound higher than in Europe, but the cost of living works out to be more expensive, which is why it’s important to have some kind of contingency plan with work/life balance. Naturally, the higher-paying jobs can be found in the city, however, this is also where the higher rent prices are. As mentioned, many people choose to live in the countryside, so if you are moving to NZ and have flexibility (and a drivers licence), that’s definitely an option worth exploring.
As for me, I’m beginning my New Zealand adventure by au pairing for a couple of months. Au pairing is a fantastic way for solo-travellers to settle into a country whilst also maintaining second jobs and exploring their new environment. Au pairing allows me to get into a new pace of life, whilst also applying for jobs without the worry of paying rent.
Whether you’re looking to move to your own apartment or au pair (boarding), most of us like to have a couple of home-pleasures. Even if it’s just a couple of boxes and bags, if you’re organised, there are cheap and easy ways to send your belongings overseas.
For instance, our U-Crate 50 is ideal for transporting the essentials – and we ship to New Zealand!
You read that right, in case you didn’t know, New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. Which most people adjust to fairly quickly… until they come to a roundabout.
Another life lesson to know for NZ is that the wifi is – in my experience – fairly terrible. You have to remember you are literally at the end of the earth, and that means the lifestyle you’re used to in Europe may not be quite so achievable in NZ. Part of this, I think, is because New Zealanders are one of the few cultures left who emphasise the great outdoors over consumerism. And with the lakes and mountains they’re surrounded by, who can blame them?
One of the most relieving things to note is that whilst NZ is the closest neighbour to Australia, it doesn’t share the Australian reputation of being the home to anything and everything that wants to kill you. In New Zealand, you’ll find pretty much the same threats as in any other European country – unless the sheep decide to form a coup… with over 25 million more sheep than people in New Zealand, we wouldn’t stand a chance.
Depending on where you’re from, you’re likely to need health and travel insurance. Although the cost will be subsidised for temporary-residents (those working there) that’s under the condition of their visa and it’s always important to check out the Government website to clarify.
Despite not offering fully-covered health insurance, New Zealand does offer a unique service, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Essentially, everyone in New Zealand is covered financially by the ACC in the event of a personal injury at the result of an accident. Whilst you won’t be covered for aches and pains, if you’re in an accident, you can rest assured you won’t have the financial burden during recovery.
New Zealand has become wise to how sought-after it is by international immigrants, so getting your foot in the door if you’re over 31 is difficult. The Government do offer a number of immigration schemes which you may fall under, but if you’re under 31 your best chance is getting a Working Holiday Visa, which entitles you to either 12 months (EU) or 23 months (UK) working in the country.
If you’re hoping to hop on a plane and join me in a few months, I can’t really blame you. With the visa sorted and plane ticket booked, make sure you plan ahead of time and send over a few belongings for when you land. If you don’t know where you’ll be staying, don’t worry! UPakWeShip offers an update-later policy on shipments to make your life easier.