The best places to raise a family in New Zealand
New Zealand is regularly voted one of the best countries in the world to live.
Parents choose New Zealand because of the high quality of education and the lifestyle the country offers their family. Not to mention the fact that New Zealand is one of the world’s safest and most peaceful countries.
But how do you choose where in New Zealand to settle your family? It’s almost impossible to single out a specific place! It really comes down to what your family is looking for.
Big city lights
New Zealand’s three largest cities also happens to be three of the most popular cities with migrant families settling in the country.
Auckland, on the North Island, is New Zealand’s most populous city. Auckland is also New Zealand’s economic hub, and it’s known as a diverse and cosmopolitan city.
When it comes to things to see and do, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Auckland is home to many museums and historic sites and regularly hosts festivals and sporting events. Auckland is also within travelling distance of magnificent natural attractions such as Rotorua Island, Muriwai beach, and Waitakere Rages Regional Park.
Auckland isn’t short on exceptional schools either. Six of the eight top schools in the latest Crimson-QS New Zealand school rankings are in Auckland!
These schools are a mix of girls’, boys’ and co-ed schools:
- St Cuthbert’s College: A private day and boarding schools for girls.
- Macleans College: Co-education state secondary school.
- ACG Parnell College: Independent co-educational school.
- Auckland International College: Independent co-educational secondary school.
- Auckland Grammar School: State secondary school for boys.
- Diocesan School for Girls: Private girls’ school.
It should come as no surprise that Auckland is also home to New Zealand’s top university. The University of Auckland is ranked as the number one university in the country year after year.
You can’t go wrong with Wellington. In the past it has been voted the ‘Coolest Little Capital in the World’. The city is also regularly voted as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
When exploring Wellington, you can visit several of New Zealand’s largest and oldest cultural institutions, quench your thirst at one of its many bars, cafes and restaurants, and indulge in the arts and cultural events.
With six of New Zealand’s eight best schools in Auckland, there are only two spots left – and both schools are in Wellington:
- Scots College: Independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys and girls.
- Queen Margaret College: Independent girls’ school.
Just like Auckland, Wellington can also boast one of the best universities in New Zealand. The Victoria University of Wellington continuously performs well in world university rankings as well.
There is much to see and do in New Zealand’s oldest city. You can admire street art, marvel at state-of-the-art architecture, dine at world-class restaurants, and take in the creative scene.
Some of the highlights of Christchurch are:
- The Avon River that flows through the city.
- The Botanic Gardens.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
When it comes to education, Christchurch is home to two of New Zealand’s top universities. The first one is the University of Canterbury, which is one of New Zealand’s oldest universities. The second institution is Lincoln University. This University prides itself on giving students ‘personalised attention’, which is made possible by keeping classes small.
Living life at a slower pace
Living in big cities isn’t for everyone. Some of us prefer smaller cities and cities with a more relaxed pace of life.
Known as the ‘adventure capital of New Zealand’, Queenstown sits on the edges of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island.
Queenstown’s lakeside location offers residents the chance to indulge in numerous activities ranging from jet boating to fly fishing. The surrounding mountains are perfect for walkers and hikers as well as photographers eager to capture the area’s beautiful landscapes.
Despite all of the adventure activities on offer, Queenstown is described as quaint and relaxed. The city also hosts many cultural events throughout the year, and it has numerous fine-dining restaurants and cafes.
Whanganui is home to approximately 43,000 people, and sits at the mouth of the at the mouth of the Whanganui River.
The city offers plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. You can visit history museums and art galleries, treat your kids to a day at Kōwhai Park, or take a leisurely cycle or walk in one of the area’s nature reserves.
Living in Whanganui also means you’re only an hour’s flight from Auckland. It’ll be easy for family and friends to visit!
Here’s something you may not know – Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sunrise each day.
Rise with the sun and you’ll get to make the most of the city’s beautiful coastline, forested mountain parks, and surfing and fishing opportunities. Many people do! It’s common to see Gisborne locals surf or cycle before work.
You may also want to indulge in the magnificent food and wine the city has to offer. Gisborne is especially known for its chardonnay.
You want to be close to all of the best sights and sounds New Zealand has to offer
If you want to experience as much of New Zealand as possible, Hamilton and Rotorua should be at the top of your list.
Hamilton is set on the banks of the Waikato River and only 90 minutes from Auckland. However, the cost of living in Hamilton is much more affordable than in Auckland.
Living in Hamilton means you’re never too far from somewhere to go or something to see. You’ll find New Zealand’s surfing capital Raglan, the Hobbiton movie set, and the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves within driving distance of Hamilton.
Rotorua is a tourist hotspot and an all-year-round destination thanks to its mild climate. It’s never too hold or too cold. Another reason for Rotorua’s popularity is its central location on the North Island. You’ll get to Auckland, Napier, the Coromandel Peninsula, Mt Maunganui, and Mt Ruapehu in just under three hours.
The icing on the cake? Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most affordable cities to live in.
Want to find out if you and your family are eligible to live in New Zealand?
Finding out if you can call New Zealand ‘home’ is as easy as booking a consultation call with us. Our licensed immigration agent will assess your eligibility and discuss your visa options with you.
- Published in Family Immigration, Life in New Zealand
Should I move to New Zealand or Australia?
Should I move to New Zealand or Australia? We bet that’s a question you’ve asked yourself at least once before.
Here’s our tip to help you choose – let the reason for your emigration guide you.
For instance, do you want to grow your career, or is it so that your family can live in safer country? Australia offers more job opportunities but New Zealand is the second-safest country in the world.
Do you see how the motivation for your move could help you decide where to go?
Let’s work through a couple of pull factors together to help you decide between New Zealand and Australia.
(You can also skip to the end of the article where you’ll find a handy recap of all the information.)
Is an affordable cost of living important?
Salary Explorer lists the average annual salary for New Zealand as NZD97,300, while the average yearly income for Australia is AUD90,800.
When drilling deeper into these averages, the highest and lowest annual salaries for New Zealand are listed as NZD434,000 and NZD24,600 respectively. Australia’s highest and lowest annual income come in at AUD405,000 and AUD23,000.
However, looking at salaries alone doesn’t give us the complete picture. One also has to consider the cost of living. It’s the only way to determine how much life you can squeeze out of your salary.
Numbeo tells us that the average prices of consumer goods and services, rent, and groceries are lower in New Zealand than in Australia. However, New Zealand’s purchasing power is 17.49% lower than Australia’s.
Averages can be extremely abstract, though. Let’s instead look at actual prices for everyday items, as shared on Numbeo. To compare apples with apples, we’re going to show all prices in New Zealand dollars.
Please note: At the time of writing, the exchange rate was 0.92(NZ) to 1(Aus).
On average, rent in New Zealand is 7.58% lower than in Australia. You can expect to pay $2,640.79 for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city centre in New Zealand, while the same apartment in Australia will cost you $3,012.19. Choose to live outside of the city centre and your rent for the same size apartment will decrease to $2,131.72 and $2,082.47 respectively.
To keep the lights on and the water running, you’ll have to fork out $184.35 a month in New Zealand, while it will cost you $238.99 in Australia. This is for an apartment of 85sqm and the cost also includes other basic utilities such as refuse.
Another utility we all surely consider as basic these days is the internet. The price for uncapped data over ADSL or a cable at 60mbps or more, will cost just about the same in both countries.
Staying connected costs $81.78 a month in New Zealand and $81.97 a month in Australia.
On average, you’ll spend 6.29% less on your groceries in New Zealand than in Australia. With that being said, it’s not all groceries that are cheaper in New Zealand.
Let’s take a closer look at grocery prices, shall we? We’re going to break it down in four categories:
|1L of Milk||$2.62||$1.80|
2. Meat and diary
|1kg Chicken fillets||$13.07||$11.85|
|1kg Beef round||$19.73||$19.44|
|1kg Local cheese||$10.74||$11.68|
Do you live for work or work to live?
In other words, which one do you value more – your career or your free time?
If it’s the former, Australia is a good first choice. Australia will offer you more opportunities, both in the number of jobs available and in chances to progress your career. That’s simply because Australia has a many big cities with booming industries. New Zealand’s big corporations are concentrated mostly in and around Auckland.
However, if work is more of a means to an end, you’ll find settling in New Zealand will suit you well.
New Zealanders are known for their ‘life is for living’ ethos. They believe a good day’s work should be balanced with time for family and friends as well as the many leisure opportunities presented by the great outdoors. In fact, when it came to work-life balance, New Zealand ranked first in the world in the 2020 Expat Explorer Survey.
Do you prefer life fast or slowed down?
Life in New Zealand moves at a more relaxed pace than in Australia. This can be attributed to New Zealanders’ love for downtime, as mentioned above, and also to the fact that New Zealand’s cities and towns are smaller than those of Australia. As we all know, fewer people equals less frenzy, less traffic, and less crowded spaces.
This is not to say that you won’t be able to enjoy a more relaxed life in Australia. It just means that you might have to skip the cities when choosing where to settle Down Under.
Do you have children?
You can rest assured that whatever your choice, New Zealand or Australia, your children will enjoy a world-class education.
The New Zealand education system puts the student at the center of everything it does, while keeping an open mind about learning and teaching techniques. The mission is to teach children to:
- Problem solve
- Process information
- Work with others
- Create and innovate
You’ll find New Zealand’s best schools in Wellington and Auckland. These schools are a mix of private and public schools, and offer both co-ed and single gender schooling options.
Over in Australia, the world-renowned Qualifications Framework guarantees that schools as well as tertiary education institutions are government authorised and accredited.
Further to this, Australian schools have:
- small classes,
- university-trained and qualified teachers,
- specialist teachers in subject areas, and
- additional learning support for children who need it.
To send your children to the best schools in Australia, your main considerations would have to be Melbourne and Sydney. These cities are home to Australia’s five top primary schools as well as the five high schools. The schools are a mix of co-education and single gender facilities.
To have a look at the best schools in each state or territory, click here for primary schools and here for high schools.
Is good, affordable healthcare high on your priority list?
Again, both New Zealand and Australia are good choices. Both countries have public and private healthcare systems, and the healthcare you’ll receive is world-class.
In New Zealand, eligible residents get free or subsidised health and disability services under the public healthcare system. These services include:
- Primary healthcare visits such as doctor’s visits
- Prescribed medicines
- Public hospital services
- Support services if you have disabilities
Your children will qualify for a range of free healthcare services, all of which are related to their age.
For instance, children up to the age of 5 qualifies for Well Child/Tamariki Ora. This service gives children access to a range of health checks and provides support and advice to new parents.
Australia’s public healthcare system is called Medicare. Just like in New Zealand, public healthcare offers access to free or subsidised medical services and care. Australian citizens, permanent residents, and some temporary residents qualify for Medicare.
If you do qualify for Medicare, Medicare will cover part or all of the following health services when you need it:
- Seeing a GP or specialist
- Tests and scans, like x-rays
- Most surgery and procedures performed by doctors
- Eye tests by optometrists
Medicare also assist with the cost of medicine, mental health care, and screens, tests and scans.
If you do not qualify for Medicare, you’ll have to ensure that you have private medical aid for the duration of your stay in Australia.
Is your family’s safety your main concern?
Perhaps you’re emigrating because your home country is not the safest place. In that case, there is only one choice – New Zealand. In 2020, New Zealand was – yet again – the second safest country in the world, as per the Global Peace Index.
For the index, the state of peace in countries are measured using three domains:
- The level of societal safety and security.
- The extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict.
- The degree of militarization.
A number of indicators are captured within each of these domains, including violent crime, violent demonstrations, the homicide rate, and political instability.
The only country that did better than New Zealand was Iceland. Considering that Iceland is an island nation with a population of only 364 134, we reckon New Zealand might as well have been at number 1.
Australia reclaimed its number 13 spot on the Index in 2020. This puts Australia above countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.
To recap the answer to the question “Should I move to New Zealand Australia?”
There really isn’t a standard answer to the question of whether you should move to New Zealand or Australia. As you can see now, it depends on what you want for yourself or your family.
- Is an affordable cost of living important? You’ll spend less in New Zealand on average on everyday goods and services, but your purchasing is 17.49% lower than in Australia.
- Is it grow your career? Then Australia with it’s many big cities and career opportunities should be your first choice.
- Do you want a better work-life balance? Choose New Zealand, where the motto is “life is for living”.
- Is it so that your children can have a good education? They’ll get that no matter which country you move to.
- Do you value good, affordable healthcare? Again, either country is a great choice.
- Do you want to move to a safe country? New Zealand is the second-safest country in the world!
Chances are, the reason for your emigration is a mix of one of more of these factors. In this case, our suggestion is to draw up a pro and con list to help you decide.
Let us not forget however…
Whether you go to New Zealand or Australia is also dependent on your family’s eligibility to emigrate to either country. That’s why it’s important to consider your reason for moving but to also do an immigration assessment so that you can ensure that you are making an informed decision.
If you qualify for both countries, as some people do, lucky you! Then you’ll be able to pick and choose the country that’s the best fit for your family.
- Published in Family Immigration, New Zealand Immigration Advice
The New Zealand Government has removed the start date criteria from the border exception for critical health workers. Medical professionals in New Zealand welcomed this decision.
What does this mean for health workers?
New Zealand has border restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are some exceptions, though. The border exception for critical health workers is one.
The exception allows eligible candidates from overseas to enter New Zealand to work. However, this exception had a start date requirement. The requirement meant that new, approved employees had to start working for their New Zealand employer on or before 31 March 2021.
Now there is no start date requirement for critical health workers, which means the border exception is indefinite.
Please note, though, that health workers still must meet all of the other border exception requirements. Start dates are also still dependent on the availability of places in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
What type of health workers are eligible?
The removal of the start date criteria applies to the likes of:
- Registered health practitioners, including nurses, doctors and paramedics – this includes those working in hospitals, practices, and aged care facilities
- Internationally-qualified nurses, who still have to register in New Zealand
- Workers that operate and maintain medical equipment
Please book a consultation call to find out if your occupation is eligible.
Why was there an expiry date on the border exception in the first place?
The border exception for critical health workers was one of the first exceptions Immigration New Zealand put in place. The expiry dates allowed Immigration New Zealand to review the exception to ensure it was still required and that it was attracting the workers New Zealand’s health care system needs.
This is what the healthcare sector had to say
New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Chief Executive Dr. Grant Davidson welcomed Immigration New Zealand’s decision.
“Many of our rural practices rely on international doctors being able to enter the country to support their communities. About one-third of practices in rural areas have long-term vacancies and there aren’t enough doctors in New Zealand to fill these spots”, Davidson said. He continued, “Border restrictions have been disrupting our placement of essential health workers in jobs beyond March 2021. We are pleased this barrier has been removed.”
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners also praised Immigration New Zealand for their decision.
College President Dr. Samantha Murton said, “This is a major win for our GP clinics across New Zealand who are struggling to recruit enough doctors. Now with greater certainty at the border, general practices can attract overseas-trained doctors – and get them here, meaning more patients seen by a doctor and releasing some of the tension on other struggling GPs.”
Stay up to date with other COVID-19 related changes
We expect to see immigration changes for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic is with us. Join our thousands of followers on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in the know about future developments.
- Published in Latest posts, News, Working in New Zealand