We moved to New Zealand recently and found this place is unique in more ways than one… Just follow the below to get settled in real quick into your new life!
1. Book a BnB for when you arrive
- Accommodation is expensive so book in advance in the locality you plan to get a house. If you are unsure about the location, book something closer to the City Centre. Lot more options available on an Airbnb compared to the hotel websites.
- We booked an apartment through AirBnb for 2 weeks when we first arrived. SS Tip: If you plan to use Airbnb, you can register by using my link (www.airbnb.co.nz/c/swathip235) to get NZD 50 off on your first booking
2. Open a Bank Account
- You can open a bank account from overseas itself. We found the ANZ migrant process to be fast and simple. Register online on their website and then they will get in touch with you. They will primarily need a scanned copy of passport, visa and some forms. You can then remit money to your account before you move.
- Once you reach NZ, go to your branch, show the originals and then activate the account. They will give you an EFTPOS card which can be used at ATM and stores. Cash is rarely used and EFTPOS is a lifeline. The personalised debit card takes time to be issued. Credit Card application will depend on your financial situation. If you get a job, its easy to apply based on the employment contract.
3. Get a Sim card
- Quite a few options available and you could buy one at the airport itself. Popular ones are Vodafone, Spark and 2 degrees. We, however, found Skinny which doesn’t have any fancy stores to be the cheapest and bought it from a store.
- Do note that while texts and calls are cheap, data is relatively expensive in NZ. So, choose a plan accordingly
4. Get AT Hop card
- If you intend to travel by bus or train or ferry, get an AT Hop card. Fares are cheaper than a cash payment, and it makes travelling simple.
- You can buy it from a store listed on their website or a train station like Britomart. Register it online so going forward you can top-up online.
5. Rent a House
- To find properties use TradeMe or RealEstate which have a large database. You can also check websites of real estate agents like Barfoot & Thompson, Crockers, Ray White, etc. Once you select a property, schedule a viewing. Usually, this is through an online system called viewing tracker.
- Once you like a house, fill the application (agent will send you link) and submit it soon. They will ask for details like passport, visa, employment contract (if available) and references. We asked our AirBnB tenant to provide a reference!
- If you get the house you like, you will need to pay up to 4 weeks rent as bond (it’s a deposit which you will get back at end of tenancy), 1 weeks letting fee (+GST) to the agent and up to 2 weeks rent in advance.
- The tenancy can be fixed term (like 6 to 12 months) or variable (both parties can end by giving short notice). We took a furnished house on fixed 1-year contract.
- Get in touch with a service provider like MoovMe who will coordinate for getting your wi-fi, electricity and gas connection set-up. Again, multiple options and plans so choose carefully.
- There are stores called “Superette” around the corner for you to pick up basic groceries. Things are expensive in NZ so head to larger stores like PaknSave or Countdown for variety and savings. Products marketed as their own brands are good quality wise and cheaper (similar to Tesco and Walmart)
- There is no Maximum Retail Price (as mentioned in some countries on goods) so the price of goods will vary across stores and across days. It will take some time to figure out a ‘good price to buy’
- For other home stuff from basic plates to furniture to blankets, you can check out Warehouse and Kmart. They offer cheap Chinese but decent stuff to get you started.
7. Apply for IRD number
- You need to register with NZ tax authorities, called IRD and get your unique number. The online system didn’t work for me, so I used form IR742 (work or student visa)
- Apart from copies of your passport, visa and residence proof, you will also need a bank statement with one entry of deposit and one entry of withdrawal. Your bank will provide this free of cost
- Take your documents to the PostShops or AA offices who will check against originals and take the submission. The process is very smooth and free
- You will get your IRD number by email and post in 2-3 weeks. You will need to submit this to your bank and employer
8. Apply for healthcare
- If you have a residency or work visa longer than 24 months, you can take benefit of NZ public health services. Take your passport and get yourself registered with your nearest clinic. It takes around 3 months to get enrolled. Post that your doctor visits will be subsidised.
9. Get a job
- If you or your partner need to get or change jobs, check websites like Seek, TradeMe or LinkedIn
- Contact recruiters – try the ones specialising in your field to get better results. Try to use references to get interviews as that would be the fastest way!
- Make a Kiwi format CV which is more skill focussed and get ready to make personalised cover letters for the jobs
- Do go for workshops organised by Work Connect, local council or Chamber of Commerce who will help you with the job hunt
10. Join MeetUp!
- A new place means new friends. Download the app Meetup and join groups which interest you. Go for these events and meet new people.
If you are residing in Auckland, you can also get…
- free library card for Auckland libraries
- free entry card for the Auckland Museum
NZ Government website – newzealandnow.govt.nz offers a great deal of information. But feel free to get in touch if you want any more details!