Emigrating to New Zealand is becoming an increasingly attractive choice for migrants from all over the world, offering diverse natural beauty, a clean and healthy lifestyle and a multicultural community.
Although New Zealand is regarded primarily as an agricultural country, farming and forestry employ directly only about a tenth of the labour force; with the remainder employed manufacturing and the service industries.
The majority of New Zealanders continue to enjoy a very high standard of living although real disposable incomes have fallen in recent years.
Only a very small proportion of people have incomes that are far above or far below the national average New wealth has been created by the newly booming economy.
Business visitors should wear a suit (and tie for men) for formal meetings. Handshaking both on meeting and departure is the normal form of greeting, unless of course you are greeting a Maori where it is custom to rub noses (hongi) and greet each other with a warm Kiora which means welcome.
Appointments are necessary and business cards are used. Punctuality for business meetings is appreciated. The approach to business tends to be conservative but normal with first names being used after the initial introduction. Very few executives speak a second language.
New Zealand lies in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,900 kilometres south east of Australia. The North and South Island are separated by the Cook Straight, one of the most notorious stretches of open sea in the world, and have a combined length of 2 000 kilometres. To the South of the South Island, and separated from it by the Foveaux Strait, is Stewart Island.
The country has many spectacular landscapes, with rivers, fiords, glaciers, and volcanoes. The landmass is dominated by a mountain backbone which runs roughly through the North and South Islands. In the South Island this feature appears as the high glacial Southern Alps. The highest point, Mount Cook, is 3,764 meters above sea level (it was higher until the summit cracked off a few years ago). On the North Island, the mountain range divides into east and west wings, or rather lower altitudes. The areas of flat land are usually small and pocketed.
New Zealand forms part of the Volcanic Basin of the Pacific, and the large flat area in the Centre of the North Island is a volcanic plateau. The main volcanoes are Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu. A few such as Ngauruhoe, are still active. Areas of baking mud and geysers are found in the central part of the country.
The long, narrow shape of the country gives a range of climates between subtropical in the north and subarctic in the extreme south. However the weather is moderated by the surrounding sea and most of the country has a temperate, sunny climate with adequate rainfall.
Average annual temperatures are 15C in the South. Rainfall, which averages 161cm, is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Amounts vary: the wettest area is the west coast of the South Island (up to 500cm a year) whilst the east coasts are drier.
Winters tend to be less severe than in Western Europe except that there are occasional heavy falls of snow in the South Island. Autumn and winter are from March to August, and spring and summer from September to February. Wind is also a feature with Wellington the worst affected city; it is windy on average 200 days a year.
Wellington is situated at the southern tip of the North Island; it was founded in the 1840’s, on the south-west shore of Port Nicholoson, now Wellington Harbour, off the Cook Strait. Known as Windy Wellington, the winds funnelling through the Cook Strait are at their strongest during spring and autumn and ensure that the air is never polluted. The harbour is magnificent and contributed to the development of the city as a major port.
The city succeeded Auckland as the capital of New Zealand in 1865 and since that time has spread up into the high encircling hills. It considers itself to be the country’s cultural capital.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, lying between two large harbours (Waitemata and Manukau) on a narrow isthmus separating the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. On the landside the city is surrounded by volcanic hills. Surrounded by so much water is not surprising that sailing is one of the major pastimes, so much so that the city has become nicknamed ‘The city of sails’.
The main open space in the city-centre is the 80 hectare Auckland Domain, a mixture of parkland and sportsfield. It also houses the Auckland War Memorial Museum which contains outstanding examples of Maoriart. Mount Eden, which lies around 4 km from the centre, affords a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings.Buildings of note include various colonial-period houses such as Ewelme Cottage and Kinder House, both open to the public.
In the Southern part of the city, Howick Colonial Village is a restored village with buildings dating from 1840-1880; it too is open to the public.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island, with a regional population of over 300,000, it is an important industrial and trading area with a port at Lyttleton as its main distribution centre. Often referred to as the Garden city it could easily be likened to any small city in England.
Dunedin is the most southerly of the New Zealand’s major cities. It has a population of around 120,000 , making it the second largest city of the South Island. Its importance as an industrial centre is increasing, together with its nearby port, Port Chalmers but it is best known for its university.
Other towns include:
Hamilton (105,000), the country’s fourth largest city and centre of the Waikato region; Palmerston North (74,000); Napier /
Hastings (110,000); Taurange (74,000); Rotorua (60,000), an internationally known tourist centre with hot springs; New Plymouth, Wanganui (45,000), Whangarei and Gisborne, all with a population of between 30,000 and 50,000.
Invercargill (52,000); Nelson (45,000); Timaru (28,000).
With a wide variety of landscape and climate, New Zealand has conditions for almost every outdoor sport. Fishing is very popular, especially fresh water fishing in the trout lakes of Rotorua and Taupo, and the salmon and trout streams on the South Island. The general season is October to April inclusive, but year round in Rotorua and Taupo. Deep-sea fishing is available, particularly in the Bay of Islands between late January and early April. A long sandy coastline offers all sorts of water sports, including swimming water-skiing, scuba diving and surfing, and sailing.
Beaches are invariably clean, as is the seawater. Mountain areas, especially in the South Island, are good for skiing between June and October. In other seasons, mountain climbing and tramping are popular pastimes in the various National Parks and State Forest’s. White Water rafting is popular.
The hot springs at Rotorua are a famous tourist attraction. The most popular spectator sport is rugby, New Zealanders live and breathe it (the All Blacks are world famous).
Other sports include cricket, athletics and horse-racing. There are numerous golf courses and plenty of tennis courts available for hire.
Cinemas in all towns throughout the country show recent British, American and Continental films. The theatre and ballet are well patronised, particularly in Wellington and Auckland. There are orchestras in the main cities but relatively little opera.
The main cities also have folk jazz clubs and night-clubs. Ethnic groups are popular with performances by Maori, Pacific Islander and Asian troupes. Nightlife has improved in recent years due to the rise in numbers of tourists. Casinos have been built in Auckland and Christchurch. In addition to hotel restaurants, there is a wide variety of restaurants in all the main towns.
Restaurants serving French, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Italian and other types of cuisine can be found in all the major cities.
The main cities have museums and there are more than 250 museums and art galleries throughout the country. Some contain fine collections of Maori carving. The Antarctica Exhibition at Christchurch is worth visiting, especially for those with children.
Crafts of all kinds are very popular and there are adult education classes for a variety of crafts, the most popular being pottery. Many communities have art centres.
More than half of New Zealand’s houses have been built over the last 25 years. Most people in New Zealand choose to live in privately owned detached houses; usually these are bungalows constructed of wood, some painted in bright colours and with tin roofs. Many have sizeable gardens and gardening is one of the country’s most popular leisure activities.
Housing costs are well above the national average in Wellington and especially in Auckland where the market for rented accommodation has become particularly scarce. House prices in Auckland have soared, encouraged by the influx of wealthy Asian migrants.
There is a compulsory education for children between the ages of six and 16. Most education is in state-run schools, although there are a number of independent, fee-paying schools, mainly run by religious organisations.
Note that zoning in a state school is a very important factor when choosing somewhere to live. If you live outside the zone for the school of your choice, your children will be lucky to get a place.
The education system includes kindergartens and play centres catering for children from the age of three. Pre-school kindergartens are fee-paying, but subsidised by the government.
It is known that New Zealand was discovered and settled by Polynesians before 1000 AD. Over a period of time, these colonisers of the south-west Pacific settled and gradually emerged as a distinctive people – the Maoris. A notable feature of Maori culture is a lifestyle attuned to the ecology and environment of New Zealand. By the time the first Europeans arrived there was a population of 1,000,000, most of them living in the North Island.
Today the total population numbers around 3.5 million – 2.6 million live on the North Island and the remainder on the South Island but are still somewhat eclipsed by the 60,000,000 sheep. Almost 80% are of European origin and the majority came by choice to escape from poverty or oppression. As a result of intermarriage, there are few full-blooded Maoris; for census purpose, anyone with half or more Maori blood is counted as a Maori (9.6% of the population). Most live in the northern part of the North Island. Many Pacific Islanders have settled in recent years and now make up under 5% of the population.
Population density is less then 13 per square kilometre. Eighty five per cent of the population live in urban areas, with more than 1.5 million in the four main settlements of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
The culture and way of life is noticeably British in origin, although its expression has a distinctly New Zealand flavour and society is virtually classless. Indeed, the people are noticeably egalitarian; personal qualities rather than wealth and position are what command liking and respect. New Zealanders are generally very relaxed and informal with first names being used after a very short acquaintance. They are also very hospitable and will readily invite people to their homes for a drink or a meal.
The Dutchman Abel Tasman visited New Zealand in 1642 but found the residents hostile, and it was not until after Captains Cook’s voyage in 1769 that sealers and traders from Sydney, Australia and whalers from America, Britain and France founded trading posts. Missionaries from Britain were followed by settlers from South Wales during the slump in 1830.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by Captain William Hobson and the Maori chiefs who thereby recognised Queen Victoria. The treaty was also recognition of the rights of the Maori to maintain peaceful possession of their land under the British Crown. In 1840 New Zealand was declared a separate colony.
If you want to work in New Zealand, you’ll be assessed on a points system related to a range of employability factors, including qualifications, work experience and age. You will certainly need a good standard of spoken and written English.
And you’ll receive extra points if you have a genuine offer of employment in New Zealand! It’s not as straightforward as it sounds, though. Points for qualifications are allocated according to the New Zealand qualification to which your qualification is comparable, so we may need to obtain an assessment from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Also bear in mind that registration may be compulsory for your occupation before you can work in New Zealand.
Perhaps you are not interested in working for someone else. You would prefer to establish, buy or invest in a business in New Zealand. If so, you may qualify for business investment migration. This is also assessed on a points system, with factors such as business experience and investment funds taken into consideration.
Whichever you choose, up-to-date advice is essential because the New Zealand government recalculates the pass mark on a regular basis. If you do not want to work when you arrive in New Zealand, you may still qualify if you are able to invest funds over there for a specified period of time.
If you have family connections with New Zealand, this will certainly help your visa application. We will fully explore this possibility on your behalf.
All advice about New Zealand immigration matters and representation before the government of New Zealand is provided by a Licensed Immigration advisor.