Any New Zealanders in here?

This past year has been kinda crazy for me, mostly due to realizing I wasn’t going to be with the person I had thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Now I’m feeling not that great about being in my hometown so I’m exploring living I’m a different country for a little bit to get some valuable life experience. I’m 24 and a lot the things I thought I’d do I’m my early 20s kind of got ruined by COVID. I’m also a very quiet/introverted person, and although I’d like to say I’m adventurous, doing something like this is out of character for me but I know it’s something I need to do.

Anyway, for whatever reason I’ve had my mind set on New Zealand, and their working holiday visas seem perfect for me because I’m by no means swimming in money nor do I have a degree/skills that could get me a high paying job. I am a hard worker thought and have experience working in restaurants and warehouses since 16 years old.

Are there any New Zealanders (or people that have stayed in NZ on a similar visa) in here that can offer advice/tips etc for someone like me looking to do this? Any areas to consider strongly? I love nature but also would want to be somewhere where I can go to local music and eat good food. I was reading about fruit picking and how it’s extremely easy to find a job doing that- any cautionary tales about that?


Where are you from Garfield? Are you from a commonwealth country?

This may be relevant to your interests:

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I’m from the states. So it would be quite the journey for me.

Where would you suggest I go instead? Not a lot of places offer these kind of working holiday Visas for Americans, and if they do you have to have a degree or be enrolled in college which I’m not. I don’t have the money to go live somewhere without having a job unfortunately…

Also I’m not going to make money. I’m going to enjoy the nature and a different culture so I’m trying not to think too much about the money part of it.

Totally understand the appeal. If you’re young, with few responsibilities to anyone other than yourself, could be a great adventure. I would think whatever skills you currently have now, could be of value there as well. Maybe try doing a little research and reach out to some potential employers to see what might be possible.

I’m a New Zealander. Kia ora!
A few points:

-it should be easy enough to get work atm if you’re reliable and not too picky.

  • the natural beauty is mostly out in the provinces. So you’d have to decide between staying in the provinces and visiting one of larger cities for a bit of socialisation and culture, or staying in a city and driving out for hikes etc.

-Cost of living will surprise if you’ve come from the USA. Rent is expensive, even in small places; if looking at listings, note they’re usually described per week, not per month. Food is very expensive, even what’s produced locally.

-there is some kinda music scene in all the larger cities but don’t expect too much! Keep in mind that because it’s remote from everywhere you don’t get a lot of touring acts like you do in Europe or the USA. It’s just not worth it for most to fly here and perform for a few hundred people at most.

Happy to answer any other questions.


Looking at that expats document, it seems geared toward people who plan to move to a country on a more permanent basis. You are not planning to go there and build a future and career or start a family. So I would say don’t take that article as the be-all. (But obviously take note of the things highlighted, like cost of living).

I’m not from NZ and have never been there, but from what I’ve heard from friends (kiwi and non-kiwi) it’s a great place.

You are young and want to experience something, so if you’re prepared to rough it a little it sounds like a great adventure to me.

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I’m a US citizen who got permanent residency in NZ, but ended up moving back to the US. NZ was an amazing adventure, and like anything, YMMV. As a potential expat, take a look at NZ’s “long term skills shortage list” on their government immigration site. Those are the skills that people generally are more likely to get awarded visas for. I second all the things @brisket mentioned. NZ is an amazing country, at the least you’re young enough to sample it through the working holiday visa, as you know. Good luck!

Always wanted to visit NZ and finally did it after years and years…was amazeballs…was also single at the time and thinking about finding a willing lass to get me to move there permanently but then unfortunately met someone here in WA, USA and have been stuck here ever since!

I did a working holiday visa there in 2001, so any specifics will be way out of date, but I look back on it as one of my happiest years so far. Months spent hiking through the South Island wilderness cemented a serious love of wild places. There’s a network of trails throughout the country, with basic cabins dotted everywhere. Not sure how it is now, but back then I got a dirt cheap Backcountry Huts Pass that lets you sleep in any of the huts (outside of the most popular trails). Six months accommodation in some of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever seen, for about a hundred dollars. I hitched everywhere the whole year, with a longest wait time of about 20 minutes. Whenever I got low on cash I stopped to pick fruit for a few weeks. It was always easy to find work back then, with an eye on the picking seasons for each region. Had a stint as a carny with a traveling fair for a while, and taught juggling for a bit too. The hitching often led to work ideas / offers when I told people what I was up to. People were almost always friendly, and I can’t think of a much safer place to be, really. I avoided the cities mostly, and can’t speak for the music scene. But the wild side of things I can’t recommend highly enough

You’ll love it here. The natural beauty is everywhere, even in large cities. People are friendly. Afterwards, go to Australia for better weather and around 50 per cent higher wages. You’ll need to, to cover your expenses in New Zealand, which can be a little higher.

Hah! Sucker!!!
(Just joking. Born and raised Washingtonian, now Oregonian ex-pat)

I’m from UK and spent about 6 months in NZ travelling, I bought a camper van over there and took my time. I loved it and I wanted to move there, but circumstances didn’t allow unfortunately. People are amazing, the natural beauty is amazing, history is amazing, nothing wants to kill you unlike Oz - sorry Oz, love you too :slight_smile:
I’m into outdoor sports and Lord of the Rings so it’s literally paradise for me.
Hope to visit again one day!

New Zealand has long been top of my list of places to flee, for many reasons.

If you decide on it then I wish you the best of luck and maybe we can share a beer and some tunes one day :v:

I did something similar to what you are talking about when I was 22, except that I went to Japan. Been here since 1999.

Japan’s a great place to consider, although I think a four-year college degree might be needed.

Part of me wants to switch to an island vagabond lifestyle - Aotearoa (aka “New Zealand”) for a few months, Fiji for a few more months, Japan for a few months, etc.

Sorry if I missed the applicable earlier post, but how did your career path take you to Japan and keep you there?

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I’d prefer not to give out all the specifics, but pretty much every Westerner I know that’s been here long term started out teaching English in some capacity. It’s the easiest way to get a working visa, and pays pretty decently (at least it did back in the day). After that, people kind of go in all different directions. It’s pretty common for people to meet their spouses here after being here for a number of years, so lots of people move to spouse visas, and you can apply for permanent residency after 10 years.

I ended up falling in love with learning the language, so I studied Japanese pretty intensely once I got here and ended up becoming a translator, and have worked in a couple of different industries. I think there’s quite a bit of opportunity here once you know the language.

One downside to living abroad is that as you get older it can be pretty rough seeing your parents age and not being able to see them very often. Telecommunications technology is much better now than 25 years ago, which helps staying connected, but it doesn’t replace seeing people in person.

On the flip side, moving to somewhere like Japan, there’s enough new stuff and stimulus to keep you excited for a life time. Even after this many years, I learn new things every day, and still feel like there’s so much left to see, do, experience, learn. Plus, the music gear here, don’t get me started. Haha.


Your sharing is much appreciated.

I just got back from visiting relatives in Hawaii, before they all move to mainland USA in a few weeks. Can’t beat staying at the home of a resident relative/friend and having them take you around, as opposed to being stuck on a tourbus-centric tour. I believe I got a balanced view of life on Oahu at least - high cost of living, vulnerability to supply/service shortages (because you can’t just drive to a neighboring state), great distance from non-Hawaii-resident family , etc. vs all the great Hawaiian/Asian eateries, being able to drive to any lovely beach or waterfront coffee shop within minutes for your favorite morning routine, before heading to work or other daily routine, and in year-round fantastic weather.

I took Japanese classes at a JC but admittedly haven’t been working to maintain it. I’m sure I’d be tripped up by Kansai-ben or other dialects/accents. I do have great memories from those two classes. I saw Shogo’s YT video in which he says the food isn’t as healthy as I think it is, but the cuisine is still a big draw for me.

Anyway, thanks again and you’ve provided good food for thought.