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.
"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.
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.
If you are from Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga or Fiji, you can register for a ballot under the Pacific Access Category to come to New Zealand. If you are from Samoa, you can register for the Samoan Quota.
Lemeki describes how he built up a successful business in New Zealand
If you decide to apply for a visa, you usually need to find a job in New Zealand first. For example, if your name is drawn from the Pacific Access Category ballot or Samoan Quota, you must have a job offer before you put in your visa application. You will have about eight months from the time that your name is drawn in the ballot to find a full-time (30 or more hours a week) job in New Zealand. This includes the time to complete your checks and make your visa application.
New Zealand has a lot of job opportunities, but getting a job can take some time. Start job hunting as early as you can.
Good preparation will make finding a job easier:
- Do your research – find out about industries in New Zealand and what skills are in demand
- 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
- Get a good New Zealand-style CV ready for yourself and for your partner
- Be aware of the top skills New Zealand employers want so that you can highlight those in your CV. For example, communication skills
- If you are not confident speaking English, practise speaking it as much as possible with people who can help you.
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.
There is a lot to get ready before you apply for your visa. Start preparing early. If things are not ready in time, your application may not be accepted.
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.
Timings to remember
You get around eight months to find a job. This includes the time to get your checks done, and make your visa application.
At the time you submit your visa application:
- medical certificates must be under three months old
- police certificates must be under six months old.
“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.
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 a number of community organisations, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB), that have useful services and information.
There are community organisations that can help with your English, where you can learn informal and local Kiwi expressions. They can also help you with English as it is used in Kiwi workplaces.
The New Zealand government provides important information support services. You can use these services to find information about things like schools, doctors, churches, sports clubs, and community groups.
You can find this information through:
- the NZ Now website
- phoning the contact centre on 0508 558 855
- emailing firstname.lastname@example.org