Relocating to New Zealand

Expatriates Tell Their Story And Experiences

Many different paths lead expatriates to relocating to New Zealand. The country attracts immigrants from all over the world. Since each condition age, status, education, qualification, and language differs every expatriate has a personal story to tell.

Some years ago we came to NZ on an extended visitor visa. Main objective of our travel was for the children to gain English as a second language, learn about a different culture, and country. Therefore we set off before school start to visit a friend on the other side of the world. Up to this point there was no intention of moving to New Zealand.

How did our relocating to New Zealand story start?

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Curious and well prepared with back packs full of toys to pass the time on the plane we boarded. It was the children's first flight and a mammoth one in length.

On the plane we met a family of newly expatriates that just was in the middle of relocating to New Zealand. We became friends, and caught a bit of their infectious excitement about the country we were to visit for the first time. Our great lesson we took was about opportunities in life and that everything is adjustable at any time.

While travelling and taking part in everyday life of our host family, love and appreciation for NZ grew. Part of this was a visit to a local school. The approach towards school and education was the final tip to know this is the country for us. With a new goal in mind we focused on what we wanted and did everything necessary to get there.

In retrospect I believe it was a miracle.

Piha BeachSend an e-card of New Zealand beach sunsets.


Our situation:

Single Mum, close to 40 years, living apart (still married), some friends but no family living in NZ, two children aged to start school, trade qualification, and a bachelor degree, limited financial resources, English a second language unused for more than a decade. Summed up, the total opposite of the perfect immigrant, young, highly educated and years of experience.

Now I had to speed up recovering the language. Get the papers together that were still on the other side of the globe. Conquer obstacles like for months delayed mail, misunderstanding on given advices, in particular those of Immigration New Zealand and NZQA. Overcome hard to decipher fax copies that were the base for translations and ultimately for the evaluation of qualification. Understand the application process and more importantly figure out what to apply for. All while keeping the two children entertained and teaching them English . Undeterred keeping focus on the outcome we made it, sometimes just.

Experiences on how long the application and decision process would take differed a lot. However, knowing that we came with nothing and had to start all over we had to budget. Therefore we did the application all by ourselves. It is possible.

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Was the process of relocating to New Zealand difficult and become expatriates?

Once the right questions were asked and the right people contacted to advance our application: No, but the way to this point was scattered with surpises.

Accommodation wise we were lucky. We stayed in a sleep-out, did house sitting, lived in a bus standing in the front yard of friends until we finally moved into a rented home. We knew what we wanted and what we could afford and succeeded on our first attempt.

Job wise was a bit more challenging. An advantage was that one of my professions was a trade. A company was found that was willing to grant employment and to fill out the official papers. An obstacle arose soon since this relation didn’t last too long. In return this had an adverse affect on the application of residency. Given advice did not state clearly the relation between job, "Work Permit" and "Variation of Conditions". The resulting conflict was only just in time resolved by an impartial ombudsman.

Lucky a friend had the idea to contact this institution otherwise …

What would I have done differently?

A guide like The New Zealand Immigration & Relocation Report would have certainly taken out the guesswork at times and fostered, knowing exactly what to look for during the application process and making sure to get appropriate answers. This is in particular important for those planning to do it on their own and whose first language is other than English . Find out beforehand about requirements and what application to aim for. Have all important papers at hand and properly translated, according to previously researched use of terminologies that describe a qualification. The NZQA can only evaluate what they have in black and white and what they can compare to their standards. A translator is impartial and has only general knowledge of country specific terminologies that often depend very much on where they came from. Anything specialised should be properly researched that your translation qualifies you for the profession you aim to venture into.

Once the goal of relocating to New Zealand is reached photo invitations welcomes your New Zealand stories you may have gathered and are willing to tell.


Tell Your Story about Relocating to New Zealand

You relocated at some stage to New Zealand to live there. Our community would love to hear your experience as an expatriate in New Zealand.

    How did you decide on moving?
    Do you have some advice on how to go about it?
    Give your tip on finding work.
    Was it easy to find a place to stay?
    Pass on your insights on immigration issues.
    What are your recommendations to people planning to make this move?

Thanks in advance for sharing.


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