Please note: New Zealand Now content reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and outlook. For COVID-19 related updates to visa and border requirements, click here.
New Zealand is a good place to live, with work and education opportunities for you and your family. Life in New Zealand is different from the Pacific, and having the right information can help you make a successful move.
Decide if New Zealand is right for you
"In New Zealand there is more clock watching and working to a timetable. I have to work quicker. "
Living and working in New Zealand can be very different to the Pacific.
Wages may be higher than in the Pacific, but things cost more. Daily travel times to work can be longer. Workplaces are different too - employers may have different ways of working from what you are used to. Temperatures here are colder than the Pacific and it can take time to get used to this change.
Ask family and friends who live in New Zealand what they like and do not like about living here, and what they found hard when they arrived. Getting advice from your networks is a great way to start planning your journey.
Have a look at our resources to get a better idea of what to expect in New Zealand.
Check your visa options
If you decide to move to New Zealand, you need to check that you can get a visa.
There may be a few different visas that you can apply for, and each one has different rules and ways to apply.
Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tongan or Fijian citizens may be able to register for the Annual Pacific Access Category ballot. Qualifying Samoan citizens can register for the Samoan Quota.
- Visa options
- Find a visa and apply online | INZ
- Pacific Access Category Resident Visa | INZ
- Samoan Quota Resident Visa | INZ
Find a job in New Zealand
Lemeki describes how he built up a successful business in New Zealand
To apply for a visa, you are likely to first need to find a job in New Zealand first.
New Zealand has a lot of job opportunities, but getting a job can take some time. Good preparation will make finding a job easier:
- Start preparing as early as you can by studying hard and doing as well as you can at school. Good school marks will improve your chances.
- Do your research – find out about industries in New Zealand and what skills are in demand
- Learn and practise the skills New Zealand employers want so that you can highlight those in your CV. For example, communication skills
- Get a good New Zealand-style CV ready for yourself and for your partner
- Learn how New Zealand interviews are usually done, and ask for advice and tips from friends and family who have been through the job interview process here
- Contact friends and family in New Zealand and ask if they know of any jobs. Ask if they could introduce you to interested employers before you reach New Zealand
- If you are not confident speaking English, practise speaking it as much as possible with people who can help you.
While most visas require you to find a job in New Zealand, there are exceptions for some family relationships. However, these are limited, and must be supported by a family member, who themselves must qualify or already have a visa. Family visas last at the maximum for the same time as the visa of the supporting person.
Special conditions apply for Pacific Access Category Resident Visa and Samoan Quota Resident Visa. Find out more about these.
Pacific Access Category Resident and Samoan Quota Resident Visas
See our pages on Pacific Access Category Resident Visas and Samoan Quota Resident Visas for more information on moving to New Zealand on those visas.
- Tips for job hunting
- Job and recruitment websites
- CV writing tips
- Skills shortage list checker | INZ
- Skills employers want | careers.govt.nz
Prepare your documents and visa application
Prepare your visa application carefully:
- Gather all the documents you need
- Remember to include your job offer, if you need one
- Get your medical examination and police check certificates
- Make sure you have the correct fees ready
- Ask someone else to double-check everything for you before you submit it.
Get ready for your new life in New Zealand
“I did my research on Oamaru, checking out schools, house rentals – a lot cheaper than Auckland – and I liked that it wasn’t crowded.”
Life in New Zealand may be very different to life in the islands. Being well-prepared will help you and your family feel at home sooner. Here are some things you can do to prepare:
- Get advice from friends and family already in New Zealand, especially those who have recently arrived.
- Find out about your rights and responsibilities as an employee in New Zealand
- Make sure you keep working, save up and take enough money to cover the first few months - you will have a number of unexpected costs when you arrive and are settling in
- Consider living in a smaller town instead of a big city. Smaller towns are usually cheaper to live in, have fewer people and so it can be easier to make friends.
Remember to take all your important documents with you to New Zealand. This includes your driver's licence, passports with New Zealand visas, and birth certificates for everyone coming with you.
The NZ Ready planning tool has more things you need to think about before you leave home. You can use the tool to create a set of information, useful links, and related tasks especially for you.
- NZ Ready tool
- Before you leave
- Living in the New Zealand regions
- Guide for Pacific migrants
- Employee rights and responsibilities
Settle into New Zealand
Moving to a new country is a huge change. It can take time to feel at home and get to know your way around.
Your Pacific community will be an important source of support for you and your family. There are also community organisations that have useful services and information, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB).
There are community organisations that can help with your English. They can help you learn local Kiwi expressions and help you understand how to use English in Kiwi workplaces.
The New Zealand government also provides important information support services. You can use these services to find information about things like schools, doctors, churches, sports clubs, and community groups.
To find settlement information:
- visit the New Zealand Now website
- phone the contact centre on 0508 558 855
- email email@example.com
Information in YOUR language
Sometimes, to be sure you understand, it can be helpful to have something repeated in your first language.
Language Assistance Services (LAS) is a free government service available in over 300 languages, that you can use for talking to any participating government agency - including, very soon, your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
This includes phone and video interpreting, and is available "24/7" - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more about LAS including a list of the participating agencies see our Help in your language page - or contact your local CAB.
Buying things, taking loans, and money transfers
When you are buying things to settle into your new life, remember New Zealand has laws to protect you from faulty goods and other problems you might have as a customer. See more information on the Consumer Protection website.
The Commerce Commission also has information on consumer rights in different languages including Māori, Samoan and Tongan. It also has good advice on taking loans.
If you are sending money back to your family in the Pacific, you can use the tool below to compare costs and find the option that gives you the best value.
NZ Ready online planning tool
NZ Ready is a free online tool to help you plan your move to New Zealand, ensuring you know how things work here and have a hassle-free move.