New opportunities for sonographers in New Zealand

Migrant stories

When US sonographer Dani Montag and her partner Klint Koether decided to experience life in another country, they considered six possible destinations – New Zealand, the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Dubai.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

“We settled on New Zealand because of the landscape and the outdoors and how easy it was to travel around,” says Dani.

“I hadn’t been to New Zealand before, but Klint had and he’d loved it. He’d really enjoyed the mountains, beaches, waterfalls and forests.”

It turned out to be the right decision. Dani and Klint arrived in New Zealand in November 2016, and Dani says they’ve never regretted their choice. 

Settling in

It took Dani about three months to gather together the paperwork and references needed to be registered by the country’s Medical Radiation Technologists Board.

Dani was offered a choice between working in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, or the Bay of Plenty, a region famous for its stunning beaches and high sunshine hours.

“Klint and I grew up in rural small-town Iowa, so we decided Tauranga would suit us better than Auckland. We’d seen photos and we knew it was really beautiful,” says Dani.

Settling in wasn’t difficult. “Everybody was so welcoming from day one. They made sure I was comfortable and felt at home.”

Dani works in a team of four full-time, two part-time and two trainee sonographers. She is based at Tauranga Hospital and works for Bay of Plenty District Health Board, one of 20 district health boards responsible for providing public health services in hospitals and the community.

A lighter workload

Dani at Marokopa Falls

"We settled on New Zealand because of the landscape and the outdoors and how easy it was to travel around."

Dani Montag

Dani’s working life in Tauranga is similar to back home. The machinery she uses and the patient population she deals with are much the same, and patients are given the same 30-minute appointment times.

However, Dani carries out a wider range of examinations in New Zealand. “I did mainly abdominal and small parts work in the public hospital I worked at in Iowa, but here I also do obstetrics, vascular and musculoskeletal work,” she says.

“I like mixing it up – I don’t get bored because I’m not doing just one thing.”

Dani’s salary in New Zealand is the same as it was in the US, but she has a lighter workload now because she’s not required to be on call at nights and weekends.

She says her patients’ experiences suggest New Zealand’s public healthcare system works well.

“It’s really good that the government seems to provide good healthcare for its citizens without them having to pay an arm and a leg for it,” she says. 

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