7 Things You Need To Know Before Moving To New Zealand

Each and every year, thousands of people from all over the world relocate to New Zealand, and it’s easy to see why. With a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle and outstanding quality of life, there’s really no questioning why New Zealand has such a big appeal to those hoping to uproot their life somewhere new. Whether you’re relocating for work, with your family, or simply want to spend some time travelling and working in the country, Kiwis are likely to welcome you with open arms, and you’ll soon find NZ to be your home away from home.

Regardless of your reasoning, if you’re thinking of uprooting your life and moving to New Zealand to begin a fresh new chapter, there are a few things you should know. There is a plethora of information to be found online about the entire relocation process, however, to shed some light and to make it seem a little less daunting, we’ve selected some of the most important things worth making yourself aware of before getting stuck in with your planning.

1. First thing’s first – choosing the right visa.

Perhaps the most crucial thing to clue up on before planning your big move to NZ is the visa application process. If you hope to enter New Zealand, even just for a holiday, you must have a visa. The visa that you apply for will depend on what you actually want to do in New Zealand (holiday, work, study, live?) and how long you will want to stay (temporarily or permanently?) That said, you will still need to take some time to do your research and find out what kind of visa you will be eligible for based on your circumstances, as well as the entitlements it will give you during your time in NZ. There will be different requirements and guidelines depending on many different factors, including the country that you hail from, however, you can find all of the relevant information on New Zealand’s immigration website.

2. There’s a difference between North and South.

Although many countries around the world have notable distinctions between their North and South, this is especially the case in New Zealand, and the two islands couldn’t be more different. One of the biggest differences between the islands is their climates. Although generally void of any real extreme weather, New Zealand does tend to have pretty unpredictable weather at the best of times (it’s often said you can experience all four seasons in just one day), however, there is a notable difference between North and South. In the North, temperatures remain mild throughout the year. On the other hand, winter in the South comes with a bit more of a bite. This is perhaps one of the biggest things to consider when it comes to choosing where to relocate yourself. However, in terms of seeing as much of the country as possible, your travel options in New Zealand are pretty much endless.

3. You’ll need to understand the cost of living.

Due to the fact that New Zealand is an island nation far away from everywhere else, it can be a rather expensive place to live, albeit slightly cheaper than its Aussie neighbour. The cost of living, as well as properties, in major cities such as Auckland and Wellington are generally at the higher end of the scale. Take some time to do research and to get a good idea of what you can expect to earn in your industry in various cities, as well as to get an idea of what your everyday expenses will be. That way, it’ll be less of a shock to the system.

4. The seasons are reversed.

It’s certainly no secret, but in New Zealand the seasons are the exact opposite, and it takes some getting used to. If you celebrate Christmas, you could be celebrating it in the height of summer, and the academic year runs from February to November. Albeit not huge changes to adapt to, but for some, they could be deciding factors when it comes to moving to NZ.

5. You may want to consider renting before committing to buying a home.

When relocating anywhere in the world, finding a place to live before you arrive will make the entire process so much easier. House prices in New Zealand tend to be high, so it may be in your best interest to rent a property before committing to buying a home. This may also be the best option if you’re indecisive about the area you want to settle in. Do keep in mind that rent payments in New Zealand tend to be paid weekly, where utilities are paid monthly.

6. It’s much further away than you might think.

If you’re relocating to New Zealand, one thing that you have to contend with is the fact that it is a long way from virtually everywhere. If you’re moving away from loved ones, you’ll have consider the fact that going home for visits or flying them out to you is going to cost a pretty penny. If you’re travelling to New Zealand as a student to study for a year, you’ll need to factor the cost of travel into your budget, if your expenses aren’t already covered for you. As well, due to its remoteness, it makes travelling to other countries difficult. That said, there are travel opportunities aplenty to be had throughout New Zealand, which makes up for it.

7. New Zealanders are very friendly.

Generally speaking, New Zealanders are very friendly people. Kiwi culture has a fiery passion for rugby and boasts honesty, integrity and trust. As with travelling to any country that is new to you, some research about the culture to gain the respect of the locals really goes go a long way. A few basic Kiwi manners to get you started are the following: take your shoes off before entering someone’s home, and if someone invites you to dinner ask them if they’d like you to bring a plate of food to share. Common courtesy really does go a long way!

This was a guest post written by Stuart Cooke, blog editor at UniBaggage.com.

If you would like to submit a guest post for consideration, please use the form on my Contact Me page.

Slanging Match – British vs New Zealand Slang

In three years, I will have lived in New Zealand for two thirds of my life. You’d think, therefore, that the days of hearing “deck” as “dick” and being laughed at for calling jandals “flip-flops” would be long gone.


Just last week, I confused a room full of people by referring to a bottle of Coca-Cola as “pop”.

It never ends. My family immigrated to New Zealand when I was ten years old. I should, by now, be comfortable calling cossies “togs” and crisps “chips”. (And chips “hot chips”.) I simply can’t. I call lollies “sweets”, lollipops “lollies” and ice blocks “ice lollies”. (Or, weirdly, “lolly ices”, which I’ve just read is a Scouse thing. My mum’s from near Liverpool, so that makes sense, I guess.)

I call gumboots “wellies”, kindie “nursery” and sammies “sarnies”.

There are some Kiwi-isms I’ve picked up. I usually, for example, say “dairy” instead of “corner shop”, “college” instead of “high school” and “uni” instead of “college”. Some slang words are the same in New Zealand as they are in Britain. Ta, for example. Some, I honestly can’t remember whether they’re Kiwi, British or both.

“Is that a thing New Zealanders say?” I’ll ask my partner.

I’ll never forget the time I told some English friends I was popping to the dairy to get some milk. I ended up having to explain that a dairy was a corner shop and that, no, most New Zealanders don’t get their milk directly from the nearest dairy farm.

But that’s the vision the rest of the world has of New Zealand, isn’t it? We all live pure, bucolic lives free from traffic, tabloids and crass commercialism. When my partner went on an exchange to France, his host family asked him if he would like a glass of Coca-Cola. When he requested a glass of water instead, they replied, “Oh, of course, because the water is so pure in New Zealand. You’ve probably never even heard of Coca-Cola!”



If you want to read more about New Zealand slang, see 10 Silly Things Kiwis Say.

Our First Year in New Zealand

I’ve been going through Dad’s old photographs, watching my sister and I grow up. The photos from 2001, our first year in New Zealand, brought back so many memories: places I’d forgotten we’d visited. I thought I’d share them with you now.

I was ten years old when we moved to New Zealand; my sister was seven. Dad emigrated six months before us, so when we finally arrived with Mum, he was bursting to show us the places he’d discovered. He couldn’t even wait for us to get over our jetlag!

It was the middle of winter, but the weather was still nice. Dad immediately took us to buy wetsuits and surfboards. I’d never been surfing before, as we’d lived nowhere near a beach in England, but I took to it at once. It was like riding a rollercoaster!

My sister enjoyed it too, at least until we realised her lips had gone blue! Maybe surfing in winter hadn’t been such a good idea after all. My sister had already thrown up in the local newsagent’s after OD’ing on kiwifruit, the first time we walked into town. She can’t stand kiwifruit to this day.

Despite the rocky start, and the frankly comical number of accidental injuries she gave herself that first year, my sister thrived in New Zealand. She’s a true nature-lover, so New Zealand is the perfect place for her. She’s currently down in the South Island studying wildlife conservation.

I, on the other hand, didn’t thrive. I missed England too much. I still managed to have fun, though, whether playing at Kariotahi Beach,

Kariotahi Beach

crawling through lava caves on the island volcano of Rangitoto,


or pretending to be Merlin at the Waikato Museum.

Waikato Museum

We visited Auckland Zoo a lot,

Feeding Giraffe at Auckland Zoo

saw many of New Zealand’s North Island waterfalls,

Hunua Falls

had a ride on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway,

Glenbrook Vintage Railway

and found this old plane that someone had converted into a garage somewhere out in the wop-wops.

We went to Cathedral Cove,

Cathedral Cove

the Auckland Domain,

Auckland Domain

the Hamilton Gardens,

Hamilton Gardens

and so many other places – I’m not going to list them all. But I will mention Muriwai Beach so I can show you this picture Dad took.

Muriwai Gannet

It sure was an action-packed first year in New Zealand!

Finally, here’s a picture I found of our first Christmas in New Zealand.

It’s me and my sister jumping on our new trampoline. You couldn’t do that on Christmas Day in England!

That’s It – I’m Moving to New Zealand!

Three weeks ago, one of my articles started getting a lot more views: The Best Place to Live in New Zealand. Can anyone think what could have happened three weeks ago to warrant a surge of interest in living in New Zealand?

A similar thing happened after the Brexit vote. New Zealand Citizenship vs. Permanent Residency became one of my most-viewed posts.

I wonder how many people will actually end up emigrating as a direct result of either Trump of Brexit. Emigrating takes a lot of courage, even if you have a job waiting for you, like my dad did. I must say, though, I’m glad I already live in New Zealand.

I wasn’t always, but this annus horribilis has made me grateful for what I have.

On a personal level, 2016 has been a pretty good year. It’s the year I snatched my life back from depression’s thieving fingers, finally finishing my novel and finding the courage to get up on stage again. Not to mention the courage to socialise.

space-travel-154020_960_720On a global level, however, not so much. From the Syrian refugee crisis to –

Actually, you know what, I’m not going to list everything. It’s too disheartening and you’ve heard it all before. New Zealand is a very good place to be right now. Even with the earthquakes.

Yes, even with the earthquakes. And I know that’s easy for me to say, living in Hamilton. We felt that one long, scary tremor, but our lives haven’t been disrupted. What I mean is… well, I’m better off paraphrasing the sentiments of a few of my friends on Facebook: At least New Zealanders aren’t battling each other – just Mother Nature.

New Zealand was recently ranked as the 7th safest country in the world by the World Economic Forum. (The UK was 63rd; the US 73rd.) It was ranked as the 4th safest country in the world on the 2016 Global Peace Index. (The UK was 47th; the US 103rd.) And it always appears on lists of the best places you could hope to be in the event of World War III!

Our biggest threats are earthquakes and volcanoes. Sometimes, being tucked far away from everything is good thing.

New Zealand is also arguably one of the best democracies in the world. Having MMP, or Mixed Member Proportional, as a voting system means that everyone’s vote actually counts. Everyone’s vote has equal power, and a vote for a party like the Greens isn’t wasted.

new-zealand-890250_960_720With MMP, it’s rare for a single party to be able to rule without having to form a coalition with a minor party. (Although, of course, that’s exactly what we have now.) It’s a good defence against extremism. Only three other countries have MMP: Romania, Lesotho and Germany. (Germany seems to have learned its lesson regarding extremism, even if the rest of the world hasn’t.)

New Zealand had a referendum over whether to keep MMP in 2011, and voted to keep it by a significant margin. I, myself, have little to no memory of the referendum, which I’ve just realised is strange, seeing as I turned eighteen in 2009, and should therefore have voted in it.


I’ve just realised that 2011 was the deepest, blackest year of my depression. I spent a significant portion of that year scared to leave my room, wrapped in a blanket, trying desperately to blot out not only the world, but my own wretched thoughts. That probably explains it.

Where was I?

Oh, yes.

New Zealand good. Kiwi spirit and all that.

No, but seriously. I’m glad to be living here.


The Best Place to Live in New Zealand

Mount Maunganui

Since moving to New Zealand, I’ve lived in four very different places:

1) Waiuku, a sleepy town south of Auckland,


2) Tauranga, a peaceful city in the Bay of Plenty,

Mount Beach

3) Auckland Central, the busiest part of New Zealand’s busiest city, and

Auckland Rangitoto

4) Hamilton, a city that’s mocked by the rest of the country, but actually has a lot going for it.


I’ve also experienced life out at Bethells Beach, as that’s where my partner’s from. He’d tell you it’s the best place to live in the country hands down, but I’m not so sure. Yes, it’s close to a very beautiful beach and boasts magnificent valley views, but it has its disadvantages too.

The mysterious West Coast (Bethells Beach)

So what is the best place to live in New Zealand? Obviously, I can only speak from my own experience, but someone somewhere might find this useful. I’m going to attempt an analysis of the four places I’ve lived, plus Bethells, beginning with…


Waiuku Weather StoneI was ten years old when we found ourselves in Waiuku, a small town surrounded by farmland. It’s located at the southern tip of the Manukau Harbour and is within easy driving distance of several beaches. The two nicest are Awhitu and Kariotahi, which, despite being quite close to one another, are whole worlds apart. Awhitu has calm waters and golden sand, making it perfect for picnics, whereas Kariotahi has wild waves and velvety, black sand, making it perfect for surfing. It’s also perfect for watching the sun set over the Tasman Sea from the cliff tops.

Waiuku Clock TowerIn Waiuku, we lived within easy walking distance of yet another beach, this one called Sandspit. I was always wandering down there. There was a big slide in the water… It’s still there, actually. I went to Sandspit Road School, a primary school that starts at Year 1 and finishes at Year 8. I remember being quite disappointed that I wouldn’t move up to “big school” in Year 7, as I would have done in England, instead having to wait until Year 9. I was bullied quite badly in the mean time. (I believe this had more to do with New Zealand’s – and especially small-town New Zealand’s – tendencies towards anti-intellectualism and tall poppy syndrome, though, than with me being an immigrant. See The People of New Zealand for an account of my first day of school in New Zealand.)

WaiukuDespite the bullying, Waiuku always felt like a safe town to me. My parents were letting me walk places on my own within days of settling there. The town centre was quiet, but lovely, with a few nice cafes and historic buildings. When my family first moved there, we believed it a wonderfully idyllic place. It was only after a few years that we were itching to get out. My parents both taught at Waiuku College, which had a rather high proportion of newly-emigrated teachers. We soon found out that was because no one who was familiar with Waiuku wanted to teach there. The newly-emigrated teachers were, like us, still seeing things through rose-tinted glasses.

The Kentish Hotel, WaiukuNot that rose-tinted, though. I mean, compared to where we’d just come from, Waiuku really was great. People mock it, and it does have its bad aspects, but it’s not a bad place to live. I recently returned there for a few hours with my partner, only to find that it’s actually improved in the ten years since I lived there. And it’s set to grow even further. With the Auckland housing shortage and rocketing house prices, Waiuku’s becoming a popular place to commute from. It’s only a fifty-minute drive from Auckland City. Well, fifty minutes without traffic, that is. With traffic, I shudder to think.

WaiukuOnce, I would have said don’t live in Waiuku. Run from it. But I’m not going to say that now. If you’re after a peaceful, small-town life that’s not too isolated, you could do a lot worse. Waiuku’s problems are the problems you’d expect of any small town; its rewards are many.


Mount Maunganui BeachWhen my family lived in Waiuku, we once went on holiday to Tauranga. I never dreamed we’d end up living there! It’s somewhere rich people live. We were never rich. We lived in a tiny terrace with a shared garden in England, but, lifestyle-wise, we got very lucky, I guess. When we moved to New Zealand in 2001, the exchange rate was three New Zealand dollars for every one pound, so we ended up with a house far nicer than we ever could have had in England. Then, when we moved to Tauranga, my nana sold her house in England and came to live with us, so we could get an even nicer house… Yeah, we got lucky.

Red Square, TaurangaTauranga is a balmy, coastal city that’s an extremely popular retirement destination. I love the fact that while it has all the amenities of a city, it’s still quite small. It feels so laidback, especially compared to Auckland – even Hamilton. It has lots of flash bars and restaurants, and plenty of awesome places to go shopping, but it’s relaxed. You can stroll along the harbourfront and climb Mount Maunganui, and you can take your pick of beaches.

TaurangaOf course, being a city, Tauranga has a few different schools to choose from. The school I ended up at, Otumoetai College, turned out to be a lot better for me than Waiuku College had been. Waiuku College had been too small to offer subjects such as Classical Studies, which turned out to be my favourite subject! There were simply more opportunities at Otumoetai. I wasn’t bullied there, either, although that might be to do with the fact that I was now in Sixth Form, or Year 12, and bullying tends to drop off at that age.

Mount Bench(My little sister got bullied there, though. One boy in particular wouldn’t leave her alone. Until the day she lost it in front of the whole school and started beating him up. The teachers hated to punish her, really.)

I was only in Tauranga for two years before it was time to leave for university. I chose the University of Auckland partly because it’s the only university in New Zealand to be ranked amongst the top 100 universities in the world, and partly because it’s only a three-hour drive from Tauranga. My parents still live in Tauranga, so I go back a lot and, every time I do, I marvel at how wonderful a place it is to live.

Auckland Central

Sky TowerI lived in Auckland Central from 2009 – 2013. Three of those years I spent on Whitaker Place, the most densely populated street in New Zealand. (Parking was a nightmare.) Whitaker Place is five minute’s walk from the main University of Auckland campus, so, naturally, it’s chock-a-block with student accommodation. When I lived there, a single room cost about $200 per week to rent and, knowing Auckland, it’s probably gone up significantly since. (And the Student Loan still only goes up to $176.86 per week.) Yes, Auckland prices are horrendous, but what’s it like to live in the city?

Auckland Domain Winter GardenActually pretty good. Auckland’s a very walkable city, and while its public transport isn’t the best, its buses are adequate. There are several great areas you can walk to from the centre: the Domain, Albert Park, Mount Eden and the harbourfront all come to mind. Being New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland has the most jobs and the most things happening. Not being in Auckland, I miss being able to easily get to so many events. Many tourists and immigrants actually find Auckland a peaceful city, because, comparatively, it is. Fewer than two million people live there!

Auckland Book SwapAuckland feels very fresh as a city. Being right on the sea helps, I suppose. There are so many beaches, and nature walks are only half an hour’s drive away. Auckland was recently ranked as the world’s third most liveable city, because it does have a lot going for it. I managed to enjoy living there and, being a student, I really didn’t have any money to spare. If you do live in Auckland, though, be prepared to spend well over half of what you earn on housing, and be prepared to get stuck in traffic.


Garden Place, HamiltonDue to the Auckland housing crisis, more and more jafas are moving down to Hamilton, which is driving up Hamilton house prices, which is p**sing off all the Hamiltonians now having to compete for flats. (Jafa = Just Another F**king Aucklander.) Whenever this fact is mentioned, my partner and I look awkwardly away and begin to innocently whistle. Hamilton is an hour-and-a-half’s drive south of Auckland, and whilst some people are prepared to commute that far, my partner and I came here because it’s where he happened to score an IT job out of uni.

Waikato River, HamiltonWe also chose Hamilton because we wanted to live far enough away from our parents to feel independent, yet close enough to visit easily. Hamilton is an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Tauranga, where my parents live, and two hours from Bethells Beach, which I’ll talk about next.

That’s the thing about Hamilton. People are always talking about how conveniently close it is to other places. Oh, it’s great if you want to visit Raglan, or Waitomo, or Hobbiton… As for Hamilton itself, well…

Casabella Lane, HamiltonWhen we said we were moving here, people laughed at us. Hamilton is a small city, larger than Tauranga, but seen somehow as being comprised of farmers with ideas above their station. People mock it as the STD capital of New Zealand, even though statistics show that it’s not. True, the city centre of Hamilton isn’t particularly nice, except for Garden Place and Casabella Lane (in the picture,) there are a lot of beggars, and there’s not all that much to do, but, in all seriousness, Hamilton doesn’t deserve the reputation it has.

Chinese Garden, Hamilton GardensHamilton has three great things going for it: Firstly, the Hamilton Gardens. They’re officially amongst the best gardens in the world and they’re free to enter. Secondly, the Waikato River. While it’s polluted by farm run-off to the extent that you wouldn’t want to swim in it, (though people still do,) it looks very pretty, running directly through the city with plenty of trees, parks and bicycle paths along its banks. Thirdly, Hamilton Zoo is just as good as good as Auckland Zoo, if not better. Hamilton’s also got a lake that’s pleasant to walk around, walking distance from the city centre. Just don’t go there at night.

Parana Park Childrens Garden, HamiltonMy partner and I actually quite enjoy living here. It’s nice to be able to walk and cycle places. (We only use the car for visiting our parents.) It’s got a few excellent playgrounds, (not that we’re planning on having kids any time soon,) and nice-looking houses. Whenever we go back to Auckland, my partner looks out of the window and goes, “Wow, look at the all the tall buildings and flashy lights! I’m not used to it anymore!”

Bethells Beach

Bethells BeachAlthough we met when we both lived on Whitaker Place, attending uni, my partner is from Bethells Beach, a community out in the wop-wops, on the very west coast of Auckland. It’s a rugged place, full of aging hippies living alternative lifestyles. It’s so peaceful. The only sound you occasionally hear echoing through the valley, my partner once joked, is that of a police helicopter searching for marijuana patches. Also known as Te Henga, Bethells Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of New Zealand. I’m not biased. Well, I am, but it’s not just me. So many films, television series and music videos use Bethells for a location, especially those in the fantasy genre. It has a magical quality, something that just draws people to it… The community at Bethells is closer than in any place I’ve lived. People don’t just know their neighbours, they invite them to parties. They even have bands down at the beach in summer.

Bethells BeachBethells is surrounded by the emerald bush of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Whenever we’re driving there, when we get to the edge of Auckland City and the trees start coming up around us, my partner simply sighs in relief. Of course, its isolation is both a pro and a con. It’s a half-hour drive along narrow, winding and sometimes unsealed roads to the nearest shops, further to a big supermarket. It’s ironic that people trying to lead such environmentally friendly lifestyles are forced to use so much petrol. Until recently, the Internet out at Bethells was almost unusable, but it’s getting better. The biggest drawback for me is all the mosquitoes, but apart from that, life at Bethells is almost perfect.

Bethells BeachIf you love nature, want to know your neighbours, enjoy a quiet life, want beach views, don’t get car sick and don’t mind long drives to buy food or, indeed, go anywhere else at all, Bethells Beach is a great place to live.

Tauranga Rocks 4I honestly think you could be happy living anywhere I’ve mentioned. I think it’s obvious, though, that my favourite is Tauranga. It’s peaceful, with beaches right on your doorstep, not to mention Mount Maunganui, and other nature walks an easy drive away, but with all the convenience that cities bring.

Shipping Your Car to New Zealand: A Step by Step Breakdown

(This is a guest post by Jenna Oppenheimer.)

The need for international vehicle transport is intimidating for anyone unfamiliar with the process. There are so many details that mustn’t be ignored and trying to follow a foreign import policy can be extremely confusing. However, if you allow professional transporters to manage the overseas shipping process, the entire experience will be much less stressful and demanding. In fact, it is practically impossible to import a vehicle into New Zealand any other way. Fortunately, auto shipping services are cost effective and advantageous.

TruckAnyone can take advantage of overseas transport services to get a vehicle from the United States to New Zealand. What restricts some individuals from gaining permission for their automobiles to enter the country is the lack of compliance with the set import policies. A transporter is familiar of these policies. Even with the knowledge the transport company holds, calling the Embassy of New Zealand is highly suggested. The laws for import are in constant risk of change. You must be in compliance with the most recent policy in place.

If you need help with shipping your car overseas, you can contact A-1 Auto Transport International to help you throughout the process.

Step One: Schedule Your Transport and Call the Embassy

phone-293995_960_720Schedule your transport with a reputable international shipping company at least two months in advance. Then, call the Embassy for the set of laws regarding vehicle importation. There are several other matters that you must remain in control of too, if you wish to meet the strict deadlines you’re given during the preparation process. Your transport company will help you meet the import policy requirements and even go as far as collecting the pertinent proof needed for Customs’ approval.

Step Two: Collecting Proof for Customs

Collecting proof for Customs is often time consuming. With this being said, New Zealand happens to be one of the most easygoing countries when it comes to vehicle importation. There are hardly any restrictions set on the vehicles allowed to enter the country and it just so happens that New Zealand is one of the very few countries that remain duty-free. The only thing truly required aside from the standard documentation is proof that the vehicle passed the NZTA inspection. Below, are some of the forms you will need to present to Customs.

  • Vehicle Title and Registration
  • Proof of Insurance
  • License and Passport
  • Original Purchasing Invoice
  • Bill of Lading
  • An Accurate Odometer Reading
  • Visa or Work Permit

Step Three: Organize and Ready the Vehicle for Overseas Transport

fuel-meter-311685_960_720The transport company will always help you with the process of shipping, yet there are a few things they need you to be responsible for. The tasks requested by the transport company are to ensure the safety of the vehicle and those caring for it while it makes its way to its new home in New Zealand. The prepping should only take a day or so at most. The automobile will need to be cleaned inside and out. All fluids and tires should be topped off, except for the fuel. The gas tank should read no more than ¼ full. Alarm systems should be disabled and if asked, the battery should also be disengaged.

It is also highly suggested and even sometimes obligatory that a personal inspection is done before transport. Pictures of the vehicle should be taken and any damages the vehicle suffers from should be noted. This will help with your final inspection after the vehicle’s arrival in New Zealand so that you can assure that no further damages were attained during its international travels.

Step Four: The Drop Off and Pick Up

car-312338_960_720When all facets of the auto import policy have been addressed for the Customs office to give their certification of approval and the car has been prepped for transport, the vehicle is ready to take off. Drop the vehicle off at the designated terminal or port if you didn’t purchase door to door services. Make sure you arrive on schedule.

As the automobile makes its way towards New Zealand borders, it can be witnessed through real-time satellite tracking services. These services are usually free of charge and very beneficial. It is crucial that you are at the port the day that the vehicle is due to arrive. Tracking services will help you monitor the vehicle’s progression during the shipping process so that you are more aware of its arrival, although an auto transport is good at sending out reminders and alerts.

crate-310787_960_720When you pick your vehicle up from port, you should give it a quick yet thorough inspection. Make sure that there are no new markings that could have been due to the shipping process. If you see anything of concern, inform the transport company in case it is necessary to file an insurance claim.

Jenna Oppenheimer, a native to Florida, USA, calls the paradise of Costa Rica home. She enjoys the natural beauty of her present country and spends much of her time surfing in the ocean, hiking in the mountains, or writing about her travel experiences. She is 22 years old and previously attended Florida Atlantic University where she studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.

From the Diary of an Immigrant Child

I’m rubbish at keeping diaries. Only once in my life have I kept one successfully: my first few months in New Zealand. I was ten years old, friendless in a brave new world, and I wrote. And guess what? I recently found that diary in the bottom of my old toy chest at my parents’ house.


The ten-year-old me

I’m twenty-four now, so reading through what the ten-year-old me had written was both hilarious and heartbreaking. I was absolutely obsessed with Harry Potter. I know we all were at that age and still are, but the number of Hogwarts-based dreams I recounted is ridiculous! The number of times I reported my little sister Lucie hurting herself is also ridiculous. I remembered her being a clumsy child, but not that clumsy!

Anyway, I thought I’d take the best bits from the ten-year-old me’s diary and share them here. If you’re planning on emigrating with kids, you might find it enlightening. Or mildly amusing, at least. I was surprised how few spelling mistakes there were, but I’ve kept them for authenticity’s sake. I’ve also – would you believe – removed a lot of my Harry Potter-related ramblings.

So, here we go. (I’m going red as I write this.) Presenting the diary of an immigrant child…

Sunday, 29th July, 2001

My name is Abigail Jane Simpson, I am ten years old and this is my new diary. I’ve never kept a diary before. I’m only going to write in it when I feel like it. I’m going to name it, though. As I’m Harry Potter-mad, I’m calling it ‘Hermione’. I’ll write all my poems and stories in it, and my secrets too. I love new notebooks. This is a Harry Potter notebook. I can’t wait until the film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone comes out. Everyone says I should be Hermione…

aircraft-435656_640Well, I’ve just moved to New Zealand. Last Friday. We were all really tired, my mum, my little sister and me, as we were flying for over twenty-four hours and had a stopover in Singapore. I bought some really pretty clothes there. Then my dad picked us up at the airport and we went to the oldest pub in New Zealand to meet my dad’s new friends. (He’s been out here six months already. I almost forgot to cry when he left us at Manchester Airport.)

Yesterday we got new bikes. Mine is cool. More like a boy’s bike. Then we went shopping for some homely stuff. Dad didn’t have very nice stuff living on his own. Except the seti [sic] and the television. It’s bigger than the one we had in England. New Zealand is a nice place, but the house we’re living in at the moment is grotty. Dad took us to the beach afterwards with our new wetsuits, but it’s winter in New Zealand so the water was freezing. Lucie’s lips went blue.

Auckland Museum

It was to Auckland today. We went round the harbour and part of the museum. When we got back, we rode our bikes up and down our street. (My sister Lucie and I.) Mum went to bed early, so Dad, Lucie and me played Mystery at Hogwarts, which is like Cluedo, but better because it’s Harry Potter. When we’ve moved house, I’m aloud [sic] a kitten. I’m going to call it Crookshanks. (Hermione’s cat.) I’m also going to collect different editions of Alice in Wonderland, as I already have four.

I should be asleep now. I’m going to email my friends tomorrow…

Tuesday, 31st July, 2001

Dear Hermione,

I’ve been at the playpark today. On my bike. We went to the supermarket in the morning and then I went to pick up our library cards on my own. The playpark is by the library. I was there a long time. I met a twelve-year-old girl with long, blonde hair named Emily. We found that we both like Harry Potter. She has a younger sister too. She guessed that I was English because of my accent. Maybe we could be friends. I hope we meet again…

Wednesday, 1st August, 2001

The air raid siren has just gone off again. Dad says it’s not an air raid siren. It’s for the firemen. But it sounds exactly like an air raid siren, like the one that used to go off and Gran had to hide under the table when she was a little girl. It goes off and the firemen have to just drop what they’re doing and go. They’re just volentry [sic] locals. I have a lot to learn about Kiwis and Mauris [sic]. The Mauris [sic] hunted the moer [sic] and it went extinct. Dad thinks they should do a Jurassic Park on it.


Awhitu Beach

Sometimes I get annoyed with my mum. She nags me and just stops in the middle of something. Today it was doing my hair. She talks about the last time I did this and the last time I did that and I get so frustrated listening to it and try to get away as quickly as possible.

We went to another beach today. The sand was so soft. We tried to play pettonk [sic], but the balls kept getting buried. I got into the bath as soon as we got home.

Thursday, 2nd August, 2001

Dear Hermione,

I’ve just written a postcard to my friend Ashleigh. My sister’s just watched Jurassic Park for the fourth time in a row. We rode our bikes around the grounds of Waiuku College, waiting Dad for come out. We got separated and Lucie had a moody on the way home. We need to be up early tomorrow because we’re visiting Sandspit School. The last few days have been okay, but I’ve been a bit down as well.

LittleAbbyI’m going to tell you a secret now, Hermione. Back in England, I have this friend called Luke and guess what – he hugged me twice before I left. Twice! In front of everyone! My best friend Elizabeth only hugged me once.

I’m looking at the photo of me and her now. (She gave me a photo of me and her as a leaving present, in a nice frame.) I miss her.

Friday, 3rd August, 2001

We walked to Sandspit Road School today. We talked to the headmaster. It looks like a nice school. I’m starting in a week. It’s better than Bracken Lane, my school in England, because it doesn’t have a uniform. It also has a jungle gym and a swimming pool. And school finishes earlier in New Zealand. I wish I could go to Hogwarts instead. I’d be in Ravenclaw.

Sunday, 5th August, 2001

We bought a house yesterday. The bedrooms are massive.

Today we went to another beach. Lucie was trying to throw a big stone into the water and it my head. I’ve got a nasty bruise. There was sheep shit everywhere.

Thursday, 9th August, 2001

Dear Hermione,

Lucie’s making me read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to her until my throat hurts. It was absolutely boiling this afternoon. It’s supposed to be winter! I fell off my bike because a butterfly went into my eye.

Saturday, 11th August, 2001

I feel nervous about Monday. I’m starting school on Monday.

Monday, 13th August, 2001

Dear Hermione,

witch-hat-309449_960_720Today was my first day of school. I felt sick last night. I looked in the mirror and my face was white. Then I thought about Harry getting nervous before the Sorting Hat put him in Gryffindor. I’ve got a picture of him playing Quidditch. He’s got this really determined look on his face. It made me feel a bit more determined. But I still didn’t sleep well. School ended up being great. I think I’m going to really enjoy it.

Saturday, 25th August, 2001

About school: I like it, but I’m not being stretched enough. I’m bored at the moment. Yesterday I taught some of the girls how to play High Low, a skipping game I played with my friends in England. Miss Charteris wanted a go, but she only lasted a few seconds! Then there was a long line of people wanting a go. They all tried together, but it didn’t work, so we had a girls on boys tug-of-war. The first round, we let go so all the boys fell over. The second round, the rope snapped so we all fell over.

Monday, 27th August, 2001

I saw Emily again, but she ignored me.

Turei, 4th Hepetema, 2001

Dear Hermione,

I’ve written the date in Maori today. Mum’s really annoying me. I’m preparing my school speech.

On Friday night, we went round to our dad’s teacher-friend’s house. He’s got twin six-year-olds called Abigail and Elizabeth – what a coincidence!

wavesOn Saturday, we went surfing. The waves were brilliant. In fact, they were quite dangerous. I could have drowned! Grandma was scared when I told her about it on the phone. But we stayed at the beach a lot longer than planned. It was a boiling day. Dad had the car key around his neck. He was passing the key to mum, but he dropped it in the sea and it disappeared. He searched for it frantically, but there was no hope. How were we going to get home?

Mum went up to the lifeguard. He tried the old bent wire trick in the car door, but we’ve got a Japanese car. A bit of wire snapped off inside the door. It’s still in there! Then the lifeguard offered dad a lift home to get the spare key. Dad said he’d rather break a window of our house than break a window of our car. We’re moving house in two weeks anyway. So Mum, Lucie and I were left sunbathing at the beach while Dad and the lifeguard went home.

Dad said he was there trying to break in through the window in his wetsuit and this old lady came and Dad said, “Don’t call the police! It’s my own house!” and the old lady said, “No, I just wanted to see if you wanted any help.”

Mane, 24th Hepetema, 2001

Lucie was playing in the creek and she slipped and cut open her ear. There was blood everywhere! She had to be taken to hospital. Her ear has a bandage on it now. She looks like a pixie.

Tuesday, 25th September, 2001

It was hot in the morning and most of the day. We were in the garden just about all day. Not bad for the equivalent of March, eh? I wrote a poem:

Warming sunlight streaming through the
Twisted shadows of flowering plants
A sapphire sky
Driftwood and pine cones
Neatly arranged rocks
Enclosed by sweet blossoms
Creating a beautiful picture that can’t be painted.

Saturday, 30th September, 2001

oyster-576545_640Lucie was playing at the beach and she slipped and cut open her hand on oyster shells. So that’s another bandage. She’s grounded until she’s fully healed. We were at the Geelen’s bach. I got bitten to death.

Sunday, 7th October, 2001

Lucie’s not been very well. She threw up last night. She’s so hot that she feels cold. She thinks evil shadows are climbing up her bedroom walls. Mum did tell her not to put her head under water at the hot pools.

Sunday, 14th October, 2001

THE SHIPPING HAS ARRIVED! It’s starting to feel more like home now.

Wednesday, 31st October, 2001

Dear Hermione,

What a day to be poorly! I had to come home from school. I’m not going trick-or-treating tonight. It’s not like Gran lives around the corner anymore anyway.

Thursday, 8th November, 2001

Today we got the afternoon off school because there was a storm yesterday, which made one of the drains overflow and the whole school stinks! Luckily, Shrek just came out on video and Mum bought it for us.

Saturday, 1st December, 2001

We saw the Harry Potter film today! I drew a scar on my forehead with Mum’s lip liner.

Thursday, 6th December, 2001

People were teasing me for having hairy arms, so I put hair removal cream on my left arm, but it burnt all the skin really badly. I had to take a day off school because I couldn’t move it. When I went back to school, people kept squeezing it and made it worse.

Saturday, 8th December, 2001

Yesterday was the Waiuku Santa Parade and today we had our first Kiwi barbecue.

Sunday, 9th December, 2001

I spent all day writing my novel today. It’s about a girl called Sarah, and her friends, and an evil wizard.

Monday, 24th December, 2001


A sunny New Zealand Christmas…

I can’t believe that it’s Christmas Eve! This year has passed by like a rocket! Dad coming over here… My last few months with my friends… Saying goodbye to Grandma… Shopping in Singapore… Seeing Dad again after six months… Starting school… Moving house… Settling into the Kiwi lifestyle… Now we’ve got our Christmas decorations up at the same time as the paddling pool!

It just feels wrong.

Christmas won’t be the same without Nana, Gran, Grandpa or Uncle Damon. I really miss my friends too.

Lucie slipped and cut open her face.

Monday, 14th March, 2016

I’m not crying after reading that. I’m not. I’m not!

If you want to read what happened in the lead-up to me starting this diary, see Last Night of the Poms: The Story of Our Move to New Zealand. See also Why New Zealand Made Me Write and The Existential Crisis of an Immigrant Child.

Featured Image: “Girl Writing” by Berthe Morisot (1891)