So you’ve decided you want to relocate to New Zealand — how exciting! First, take a moment to relish in the adventure of such a grand step in your life. Immigrating to a new place can be scary, but it can also be a new chapter of your life worth celebrating. Maybe you’re on the fence about whether this is the right move for you, and that’s ok, too especially in light of the Corona Virus / Covid-19.  We’ve put together a list of 6 things to know before you go, to help you consider taking the plunge, and to make sure you have done your due diligence before catching that plane!

1. Corona Virus / COVID-19

At present, moving services are still operating as normal in Australia with transport being classified as an essential service and as such international furniture removals as well. New Zealand however at present (April 2020) is on lockdown for removal services. There is good news however in that the ports are still operating so your goods can be collected from the port, unloaded into our depots in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga and Dunedin. It cannot be delivered, but what this ensures is your goods are not incurring heavy port storage fees and in a safe environment. When the lockdown is then lifted, your goods will be quarantine cleared, customs cleared and then delivered. We hope this will be lifted soon, but regardless of what the future holds its good to know your goods are well protected and secured.

2. Consider the Cost

The first major expense, especially if this is for a Skilled Migrant Visa, is the application cost and expression of interest fees, which can add up to well over $3k. Although most things are more expensive in Australia, such as restaurants, clothing, and real estate, there are some things more expensive in New Zealand.  Automobiles and gasoline are approximately 35% more expensive in New Zealand, as well as most meats, and the internet. It’s important to map out costs for the first year, and make a general plan for your living arrangements. You need to consider if you will be renting an apartment in a city or buying a house, if you will take public transportation or renting a vehicle, and even the costs associated with your child’s education. Don’t try to do estimates in your head – it’s important to collect the information, such as a spreadsheet, to really see the difference.

3. Learn some of the Local Laws

I once had a friend from New Zealand who was on a student visa in the US.  He was pulled over for a traffic violation, and after the officer requested his license and walked back to his vehicle for processing, my friend drove away, thinking the transaction was done and his license would be mailed back. Needless to say, the officer had to chase him down again, suspicious of more than just a traffic violation, and he was lucky to get off without being arrested! Who wants that embarrassment? That being said, learning the local traffic laws isn’t just about convenience, but can also save your life, as well as the lives of others. Make sure you understand normal protocol for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as acceptable rules regarding overtaking other vehicles. As you acclimate over time, you can expand your knowledge, but this understanding is good even if you’re taking a short term stint overseas.

4. How to handle emergencies

Having a basic understanding for emergency situations is good as well, regardless of how long you’re staying in another country.  Before you leave, store the Australian Embassy information somewhere you can easily access it, such as a contact in your phone and in an email to yourself or notepad app.  Until you become a citizen, the Embassy can assist with further visa and immigration questions you have while staying in New Zealand. It is also a good idea to program into your phone the Fire and Emergency services number (dial 111 or Text 111 if hard of hearing).  Emergency situations are stressful enough without having to wonder which phone numbers to remember.

5. Local Culture

I know what you’re thinking, Enough with the precautions, already! Having the serious stuff taken care of and out of the way, don’t forget to look into the local culture.  What’s the work culture like in your industry? Like Australians, New Zealanders like to socialize after work to build camaraderie.  To help you fit in at the workplace, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the local slang, and there’s even a site to assist with this. Also, take time to expose yourself to Māori language (Te Reo) and culture. The Māori culture has a huge influence in New Zealand’s history, and is still impactful today with common phrases and names used interchangeably with English. Make sure you have a list of awesome things to check out once you’re there – museums, wine tasting, and sporting events (ahem, Rugby), just to name a few. And don’t forget the great outdoors – New Zealand is packed with adventures around hiking, kayaking, and soaking up the sun.

We are just as excited as you are in revelling in such a big – but worthy – change on the horizon! Take your time reviewing your resources to ensure you’re selecting the right visa, and make sure you’ve got the basics covered. Do your research on government sites to ensure accurate advice for all the official stuff, but then have a blast envisioning your new life and experiences you have a chance to share with new friends. Remember, you’re not alone in this – we’re here to help at Palmers Relocations, we pride ourselves on being the specialists in relocating to New Zealand. We’re just a click away and look forward to assisting you with your questions or concerns on moving to New Zealand. You’ll be calling yourself a “kiwi” in no time!

References for further reading:
Nationmaster.com Comparison between Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand Now Gov Site