New Zealand⎜10 best tips to settle down

 How to settle down in New Zealand in 10 steps

Many of you are asking us the steps of an installation in New Zealand with a WHV (Working Holiday Visa), and that's a good thing !

First of all, know that there is nothing complicated and Kiwis are the least stressed people in the world and this is reflected in their procedures ! Take it easy :)

This article will help you and is in add to another one about our WHV in New Zealand.


1- Look for an accommodation

When you first arrive, you will probably book your first nights in a hostel. There are dozens or even hundreds in Auckland City. The same is true in Christchurch and Wellington.
We reckon it’s better to book your first nights before arriving in New Zealand so you don’t have to think about it once there. To book your first nights, we recommend the websites, or and the app Campermate really helpful for travelers.


2- Bank account

Once all your stuff are safe in your room/dorm, the first thing to do is opening a bank account. There are several banks to choose from: ANZ, BNZ, KiwiBank or ASB. We advise the ANZ bank which is the most present in New Zealand, so easy access, which is very responsive when you have a problem (we experienced it) and which asks only one address to open an account . Ask your hostel to provide you a document stating that you are staying with them. Most hostels do. We did it with the X Base Auckland.


3- Phone

Wifi is present throughout the city, in the streets and in the cafes. But it's much better to have his own package, we agree. There are two main operators in New Zealand: Spark and Vodafone. The simplest option is to buy a prepaid rechargeable card every month ($30 NZD on average). Simply visit one of the Spark or Vodafone shops in the city and choose the package that suits you best. Don’t worry, they know very well backpacker’s needs. We opted for a prepaid card from Vodafone for $29 NZD per month with 50 minutes calls, unlimited texts and 2 GB. This suits us perfectly because we don’t call much and the wifi is everywhere. And with Vodafone, calls for France cost only $2 NZD for 1 hour of conversation. How good is that ? :)


4- IRD

After activating your bank account (= carried out a transaction), make the request of your IRD (= Inland Revenue Department). This is the mandatory tax number to work in New Zealand. The approach is simple and free. Download the form IRD742, fill it out and sign it. Send this form with photocopies of :
- your international driver's license
- your passport
- your tax number of the country of residence
- an attestation of your New Zealand bank account
Send all those documents to the following address: Inland Revenue, PO Box 39010, Wellington Mail Center 5045, New Zealand.
The time to receive your IRD number is between one and two weeks.


5- Look for YOUR PLACE

Once all these steps are completed, you are ready for the roommate search ! It’s a funny part in New Zealand as there are plenty of choices if you are not too demanding about the area. Several sites allow you to find accommodation :
- Trademe
- Easy Roomate is a mobile application that works well
- Facebook pages for backpackers like New Zealand Backpackers
- Ads in hostels


6- Look for a job

This step isn’t mandatory if you only plan to travel but we still want to write this point for those who need it. If you want to work in hospitality, the best solution is to do door-to-door with a resume and give it a try. There is also a Facebook page that worked well for us: Auckland Hospitality Jobs.
Otherwise there are TradeMeJobs and Seek sites which offer a wide choice of jobs in all sectors.
You can also use temporary agencies that will find you a list of offers corresponding to your profile.


7- Everyday life 


There are two main supermarkets that can be found in every neighborhood of each city : Countdown and New World. The first is a little bit cheaper but both offer a free loyalty card that offer many discounts. Think about asking your card :)
There is also the Pack N’ Save store that can save you a few bucks if you buy wholesale, but they are less present and you often need a car to get there.
Of course, as everywhere, we find all these convenience stores in New Zealand, and which triple the price of each product.
We avoid them though :)

Public transport

Auckland is a young and dynamic city, but its transport network leaves something to be desired ... Only buses and four train lines. The central station is Britomart. Transportation is expensive (minimum $3.85 NZD for a bus ride in area 1) so consider taking an AT HOP card available in a few convenience stores for $10 NZD. This card reduces the price by at least 50% on each trip.


8- The 18+ card

This card can prove that you are over 18 years old and so, yes, you can enter in a bar, a club or a liquor store. It costs $35 and you’ll tell me you don’t need it. But yes you do need it ! Because even if it’s not mandatory, it replaces your passport that you can leave quietly to sleep at home without any risk of losing it during the night. To receive this card, you just have to go to the post office to ask for this famous document, to fill it and to provide a photo of identity of less than six months and (this is funny) to pass in front of a Man of Justice who attests your honesty and will provide you another document. Usually you can go to the Library or a police establishment to make an appointment with this person of faith.
You can also download the first document to be filled instead of going to the post office.
The 18+ card takes about two weeks to arrive by post.


9- Buy your car or your van

In WHV there is the word « Holidays ». We are sure you will be really excited to discover this country. You already think you could wake up in front of the ocean or stop in the middle of mountains watching the stars with your van ? Too easy ! As you know, Kiwis make your life easy and procedures simple. Begin to be owner of your own vehicle is also a child’s play in New Zealand.

For short stays (or « road trip »), we advise you to go for a rental vehicle. New Zealand offers many agencies all over the country. The advantage is you won’t have to worry about the sale before you leave the territory.

How to buy a van or a car ?

  • Facebook groups : we definitely advise you those communities on Facebook like Backpacker Cars New Zealand. You’ll find out your favorite vehicle (car, van, bus…). There are many of it but be really quick because many other buyers are on too.
  • Trade Me : this is THE New Zealand website when you want to buy something. You’ll be able to bid or buy straight up.
  • Car fairs : it runs over weekends on car park.
  • Garage : not as commun as other options because lot of people (especially travellers) think they’ll be ripped off. You will have a warranty on the vehicle you buy, which is a real advantage.

Our tip : check out rental companies, there are quite often vehicles in good condition despite of the high mileage.

What to do before to buy a van or car ?

The thing to do before you buy your van or your car will be to realize a mechanical check (inspection). This step is important to avoid unseen issues that may occur after the sale. Any professional mechanic will do it for few dollars.

Registration and fees for your car or your van ?

  • Registration (or rego) : before to buy it, check the vehicle is still registered (you can ask the current owner about the expiring date). When you buy your vehicle, go to the closest post office with your driving licence, passport and the buying form (which is actually in the post office). You’ll have to pay a tax (really small) to confirm you are the new owner and that’s it ! Make sure, you keep an eye, afterward, on the expiring date of your rego. You can renew it online at the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) website.
  • WOF (Warrant Of Fitness) : this is the technical agreement of your vehicle. Each vehicle registered before the 1st of January 2000, will have to pass this inspection every 6 months. Those registered after the 1st of January 2000, will have to pass an inspection every year. It is illegal to drive a van or a car without a WOF updated.
  • RUC (Road User Charges) : this is the diesel fee. If you drive a diesel vehicle and only in this case, you will have to buy kilometers. It’s like a licence that you renew by 1000. The price might decrease gradually depending how much you buy.

Our tip : stickers are on the windscreen for the three categories we told you above.

Insurance ?

Insurance is not compulsory in New Zealand but we advise you highly to contract one. We recommend you to contract a third party with eventually fire and theft options. That will cover damages you may cause during an accident (we hope you won’t !).

You are now ready to go in New Zealand :)

Thank you so much for reading this article little birds. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions below, that could help others ;)

Cheers, Claire & Arthur