Kiwi Working


The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving Home to NZ

When I decided to leave sunny Sydney after 12 years and finally return home to New Zealand, I searched the net for a nice and neat moving checklist.  Surely the millions of Kiwis who had made the trek back before me had some hints and tips to smooth the journey?  Apparently not.  No worries, I sorted it myself, but sharing is caring, so here are a few pointers to learn from my moving ‘’hits and misses’’.


Plan ahead and get as much of your “life-admin” out of the way before you arrive. For me this was things like:

  • cancelling direct debits and subscriptions
  • consolidating my bank accounts, finding a good foreign exchange company (TorFX) and setting up alerts to get a good rate
  • setting up a bank account and electricity, phone, internet etc to start from when I arrived

Decide on whether or not to ship.  For me shipping my household goods was a great idea – I just wish I’d shipped more of the little things you don’t think you’ll need (like a cheese grater and wooden spoon) but add up pretty quickly when you have to buy new.  Shipping my car was a different story though that hasn’t ended so well (in fact I didn’t have my car after a month in NZ).  I wouldn’t recommend if your car has ever been in an accident – even if it was just a little bumper bump at the lights years ago that was repaired, as the structural standards for importing a vehicle to New Zealand are very strict and getting the vehicle re-repaired to meet compliance regulations can be a very expensive exercise.

Reconnect with your old friends and network,– but only if you genuinely want to get back in touch; remember that Facebook friend cull 5 years ago was done for a reason!

Make an effort to make new friends. Say Yes. To anything. Even when you would really much rather stay home and binge watch Orange is the New Black because you’re about 5 years behind the rest of the world.

Explore.  I haven’t lived permanently in NZ since Uni, so I am super excited to rediscover this beautiful country!


Incessantly whinge about the things that you don’t have here (choice for high protein/low carb lunches), have too much of (rain) or just isn’t quite as good (public transport).  However, I think it’s perfectly fine to moan about things that have clearly gone awry in your homeland (Why the hell am I paying $5.39 for butter in a farming nation?!)

Start a sentence with, “Well back in Sydney…” It gets really old, really fast.

Take it to heart too much when people don’t recognise you’re from New Zealand.  12 years in Australia is bound to give you a bit of a twang, but no worries, your accent will be sweet as, in no time!

Most of all, don’t lose track of your friends overseas.  For one thing, they’re the ones who won’t mind at all if you break all the rules above and go on about all the things you love and miss!

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