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About New Zealand

When most people think about New Zealand they imagine "beautiful" "clean", "green" countryside and "friendly people". They are right to think this as New Zealand is all of these things but it is also much much more (also refer to .

New Zealand

New Zealand lies in the South Pacific Ocean, 1,600 kilometers east of Australia. It is made up of the North and South Islands, and a number of smaller islands with a total land area of 270,500 square kilometers. The main North and South islands are separated by a stretch of water known as the Cook Strait.

New Zealand's four seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere's - January and February are usually the warmest months, and July is the coldest. Average temperatures range from 8 degrees Celsius in July to 17 degrees Celsius in January. These averages vary in different parts of New Zealand. Summer temperatures reach the low 30s in many places. There is a lot of difference in climate between regions east and west of the mountains. The average rainfall varies from 300 millimeters in Central Otago to about 13,000 millimeters in the Southern Alps of the South Island.


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New Zealand is a multi-cultural society with a population of approximately 3.8 million people. About 75 % live in the North Island and about 1 million people live in the Auckland urban area. Auckland, located in the upper North Island is New Zealand's biggest and busiest city. Wellington, located in the lower North Island is the capital of New Zealand.

New Zealand's society reflects many years of migration from all parts of the globe. Many New Zealanders are of British decent with others from European cultures. More recently people from islands throughout the Pacific have settled here along with immigrants from the many Asian countries. The largest non-European group of people in New Zealand are the indigenous Maori, New Zealand's first settlers and the tangata whenua (people of the land). Maori culture, art and traditions are an important part of New Zealand's heritage

Known habitation of New Zealand by the tangata whenua dates back over one thousand years. The first European exploration was in 1769 and led whalers, traders, missionaries and finally European settlers to New Zealand. On the 6 February 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands between two sovereign states: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (the British Crown), and the United Tribes of New Zealand and other tribal leaders (Maori). The British Crown gained the right of governorship and the right to settle in New Zealand. Maori kept authority over their lands and all their affairs and gained the rights of British citizens. The Treaty of Waitangi established a partnership between the Maori people of New Zealand and the new settlers, providing a framework for Maori and non-Maori to live in New Zealand together. The Treaty reaffirmed Maori rights and set up a national government, which would help in the settlement of New Zealand.

The present Government of New Zealand recognises the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand. It and previous governments have undertaken initiatives designed to settle Treaty claims. Today the Treaty continues to act as a pact of partnership. It is an agreement, which is the basis of national unity and understanding between cultures. Waitangi Day, 6 February, is a public holiday in New Zealand. In some instances when applying for a job in New Zealand you may be asked about your understanding of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.


New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy and the Head of State is Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand. New Zealand has a parliamentary system of government and democracy. Parliament is usually elected every three years through a proportional electoral system known as Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). New Zealanders are eligible to vote from the age of 18.

New Zealand welcomes migrants who contribute valuable skills and qualifications to our country. However finding a job may be a challenge. If you have not arranged work before you come to New Zealand, you may find it takes you a while to find a job, particularly in your preferred career - even if you have qualifications and experience. New Zealand's labour market has been relatively steady for the past few years. The unemployment rate is approximately 7%.

The job market in New Zealand is very competitive and some employers may not recognise your overseas qualifications and training. Your qualifications may need to be assessed for their comparability with New Zealand's qualifications by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. You may have to consider extra study or retraining to get the job you want. You should be aware that New Zealand may have a different attitude towards to skills and qualifications from other countries. You may have to accept a position at a lower level than you have now. You may also have to think about working in a related job until you can find a job in your preferred career.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a consumption tax imposed on the supply of goods and services in New Zealand. It is not a tax on business or its income. GST is currently charged at a rate of 12.5% on the goods or services.

If you are a New Zealand tax resident, you pay income tax on all income you receive, including your worldwide income. You may be a tax resident in New Zealand and another country. This means you are resident in two countries under the tax laws of each of those countries. If both countries tax their residents on worldwide income, you could be taxed twice. New Zealand has negotiated double tax agreements with many other countries so that this does not happen.

New Zealand's housing lifestyles are many and varied. In urban areas, you will find homes ranging from old villas dating back to pre 1900s) to new suburban homes and inner city apartments. Most urban homes are stand-alone and built of wood. Although they are usually insulated, most do not have central heating or double-glazed windows. Instead they use open fires, wood burners, or gas or electrical heating.

Prices for homes in New Zealand vary considerably whether you are renting or buying. Much depends on where in new Zealand they are - homes in Auckland are generally more expensive than homes in Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin.

New Zealand has a comprehensive, high-quality education system with a wide range of learning options. Some schools offer English language teaching support.

Early childhood services include kindergarten, childcare centres, playcentres and home-based care. Schooling is compulsory in New Zealand for all children from their sixth until their sixteenth birthday. New Zealand has both state (government funded) and private schools. You may enrol your children at any school you like, but most children attend the school closest to where they live. Some schools offer live-in boarding type arrangements. The school year begins in late January or early February and ends in December. It has four terms with holiday periods of 2-3 weeks between them.

New Zealand's tertiary education system includes universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and private training establishments. New Zealand's universities offer courses in arts, sciences, and commerce and other specialist areas. The polytechnics offer a wide range of internationally recognised courses in business, design, technology, hairdressing, building, nursing and journalism. Colleges of education provide courses for teacher and early childhood training.

Health Care
The government funds New Zealand's health and disability system. New migrants who are permanent residents can receive the same benefits as New Zealand citizens. Publicly funded services include both free care and treatment in public hospitals and subsidised treatment in the public or private health sectors for accident victims. They also include subsidies on family doctor visits and prescriptions, particularly for young children, people who need frequent health care and people on low incomes. It is recommended to have private health insurance, which provides faster access to non-urgent and other health services.

New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. If you hold a drivers licence in your home country and an international driving permit, you can drive in New Zealand for a maximum of one year before having to obtain a New Zealand drivers licence. Specific licences are required to ride a motorcycle or drive a heavy or passenger transport vehicle. Road conditions in New Zealand are generally good. The maximum speed limit ranges from 50 - 100 kilometers per hour, depending on where you are driving

BankingNew Zealand has a wide variety of banks and banking services. You do not need to be a resident of New Zealand to open a bank account. Most banks operate automatic teller machines, telephone banking and some banks now offer Internet banking which allows you access to your accounts 24 hours a day. Most banks have special services for new migrants.

Recreation & Lifestyle
Variety is guaranteed wherever you go in New Zealand. New Zealand is a great county for sports and leisure - its expansive countryside offers limitless possibilities. Sport plays a big part in many of New Zealanders lifestyle. You can easily explore the outdoors with tramping, skiing, and cycling, or take up one of many team sports available. Adventure sports such as bungy-jumping, white water rafting and skydiving are also available. New Zealand also has plenty to offer in the arts and is the host of many international arts festivals.

Acknowledgement for provision of information:- New Zealand Immigration Settlement Information Programme. Photos: Christchurch & Canterbury Marketing

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