Living in New Zealand
New Zealand offers a friendly environment which attracts many expats but be aware that they are several different cultural attitudes which you should be aware of before relocating. Its diverse topography offers much in the way of beautiful landscapes from the Southern Alpine mountains to intriguing natural phenomena like the Emerald Lakes. One third of the country is a protected national park so expect gorgeous scenery in abundance.
What to expect when you arrive in New Zealand
English is the de facto language of New Zealand but Maori and Samoan are also spoken in some areas. Maori in particular is enjoying a regeneration, being taught in schools and having dedicated television channels.
Banking as an expat
New Zealanders are big fans of debit and credit cards with 75% of all transactions being conducted in this manner. Migrant bank accounts are available for both personal and business use. Opening an account prior to your arrival will help establish your credit rating. The Bank of New Zealand offers a bank account for migrants, which you may want to investigate. Some banks will also charge a premium for using your credit card overseas or in ATMs so it is best to read up on what the major banks have to offer. You will need a nine digit IRD number from the Inland Revenue to set up an account. The main banks in NZ are Westpac, Kiwi Bank, ASB and Bank of New Zealand.
Driving in New Zealand
It is important to be aware that while New Zealanders drive on the same side of the road we Britons do that there are several differences regarding rules of the road. You will need to convert your UK licence to a New Zealand one and it is wise to prepare yourself by reading up on the rules of the road. Distance and speeds are measured in kilometres rather than miles. The AA also provides a visiting driver training program which is worth a look. A largely rural country, New Zealand has many narrow winding roads outside of its big cities which can take some getting used to especially Baldwin Street in Dunedin, the world’s steepest street which has a thirty eight percent gradient at its steepest section.
Finding a home
Wellington and Auckland are two rich and diverse cities. The former is New Zealand’s political centre and is famous for its harbour view and the Te Papa National Museum. Its varied rental market attracts many young professionals with 24 per cent of them being in the 24-35 age group. Auckland ranked an impressive third in Mercer’s quality of life survey which assessed all major world cities.
Education in New Zealand
The New Zealand education system is excellent with an adult literacy rate of 99%. Primary and Secondary education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16 and those living in the country indefinitely are entitled to free state education between the ages of 5 and 19. Around 14% of adults are educated to Bachelor’s Degree level or higher in the country’s universities or the Maori equivalent Wānanga.
Get support for your settlement in New Zealand
Sign up for social clubs, playgroups for your children and even expat groups to help you get make adjustments and learn about the differences in New Zealand society. You can also get professional resettlement advice, which can pay for itself in helping you avoid costly mistakes in your new homeland.
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In the current times you might prefer that we don't visit your house in person to carry out a survey. This is fully understandable and we can just as easily undertake the survey by video call, using whatever method you're comfortable with, usually FaceTime or WhatsApp.
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