Pacific migrants play touch rugby in a park

A concise guide for those who are moving to New Zealand from the Pacific Islands.

Moving to New Zealand

Moving to another country is a big step. This guide has useful information about living and working in New Zealand and can help you understand the common stages that most migrants go through when settling in a new country.

The Pacific Newcomers Guide cover

Download the Guide

Useful information in five Pacific languages. 

The content on this page is available as a booklet. Download it now in:

Two PNG workers smile for the camera

The key to success

Prepare and plan for a successful journey. 

Moving to another country is a big step. Immigration New Zealand wants you to settle well into your new life in New Zealand. This guide has useful information about living and working in New Zealand. But before you leave the Pacific, remember to bring these important documents with you to New Zealand for you and your family:

  • Your passport with New Zealand visa
  • Plane tickets (the name on your ticket should be the same as your name in your passport)
  • Departure Card (you get this at the airport)
  • Money for your time in New Zealand before your first pay
  • List of telephone contact numbers for home and New Zealand Birth certificates
  • School qualifications
  • Drivers licence (if you have one)
  • Marriage certificates if you are married
  • Reference letters from previous employers
  • Employment agreement(you must have one for a
  • New Zealand job)
  • New Zealand arrival card and New Zealand Customs
  • Declaration form (you will get this on the plane)

All documents must be originals, not copies. If they are not in English they must have a certified translation.

Remember, there is more than paperwork to prepare for. Living in New Zealand will be different.

When you arrive, remember to contact your new boss because your new workplace will be waiting to hear from you!

The Settlement Curve

The settlement curve

Learn the stages of settling in to a new country. 

New migrants may go through a number of stages as they get used to their new life in a new country. It can take up to two years to feel settled.

The settlement curve shows how your emotions may change as you settle in.  It is different for everyone.

Stages of settling in

The five stages of settlement chart: Excited, surprised, unsure, brave, happy

It will be easier if in your country you prepare for living and working in New Zealand. Do your research and make sure your hopes and plans are realistic


Talk with family and other Pacific migrants about the settlement journey. See if their experience was similar. Know what to expect.

"Sometimes it's the little things that challenge you in a new country. I remember not knowing how to get on to the escalator when I first arrived at the airport."



Tell your workmates and others about how you feel. It can help.

Staff from the Citizens Advice Bureau

Where to get help and support

These people and services are here to help you. 

Information to help you settle

Immigration New Zealand provides new migrants with trusted information about local services that can help you settle in New Zealand. You can use these services for information like where to find a doctor, schools for your children, sports clubs and community groups that you and your family can join.

There are four ways to find this information:
  • Visit
  • Phone 0800 776 948 to ask your settlement questions (you can ask for 'Ezispeak' to speak to someone in your own language)
  • Email your question to
  • Visit a Citizens Advice Bureau in one of 30 areas.

For local contact details visit:

Looking inside a traditional Pacific meeting house

Starting off well

Building your life in New Zealand. 

When you build a house, it is most important that the foundations are strong.

When you come to your new life in New Zealand, strong foundations are also important.

A job is your foundation. A job gives you the income to build and support your life here. Your employment agreement between you and your boss is the foundation for your safety and rights at work. Your Pacific community is an important support in your new country. But the New Zealand government also provides support. Visit or phone 0800 776 948 with your questions. You can go to your local CAB for help with your questions – find the nearest office at

A Pacific worker changes the bedclothes at a retirement village

Work is your foundation

Working is different in New Zealand. 

But it is not easy to work in a new country. 

Here are some tips from other Pacific migrants:

Three migrants telling their tips: work hard, speak up so colleagues know what you think, join in your workmates for social activities too


Not everyone works like New Zealanders

Everyone works in different ways. You will need to get used to the way New Zealanders work. You may also have to work with people from other countries. But first, think about how you work.

Diagram of how different nationalities communicate


Two friends talking on a couch. A young son is listening

Speaking English

English skills can make a big difference. 


Kiwis speak English very fast. They often use informal language and a lot of local expressions like ‘bring a plate,’ ‘icing on the cake,’ ‘bro,’ ‘sweet as’ and “good as gold.”

Ask them to slow down and explain the words that you don’t understand. You will soon find it much easier to follow what they are saying.


Don’t be shy to speak English. Kiwis are keen to help. When you speak English your new workmates may find it difficult to understand you to begin with. Pacific people speak English quietly, but if you speak louder, and take longer pauses, it will help.

English Language Skills

“Practice makes perfect.” If you don’t feel confident, read the newspaper, magazines, talk more to your workmates or take an English language course in your community.Talk to your employer if you want help with your English or contact your local CAB for advice about classes near you.

English Language partners logo

English Language Partners (ELP) is a nationwide service with English programmes for Permanent Residents in 23 locations throughout New Zealand. Some of these programmes are free. Their English for Employees programme helps people with the English used at work. It’s free – but you must be working full or part-time to join this programme.


Look for opportunities to speak English, at work and outside of work. The more you speak English, the easier it will be for others to understand you.

Pacific migrant explaining how ESOL course helped


Even when you feel shy, be brave and say, “Excuse me – can you help me?” Most Kiwis are happy to help, but think it’s more polite to wait until they are asked.


Need more information?

Call 0800 776 948 (ask for Ezispeak to talk in your own language), visit, or email For local services and information workshops see

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