Moving to New Zealand with Children

Moving abroad can be very daunting by yourself or as a couple. Add children to the mix and it can be even more complicated. However, when you are moving to a country as welcoming and as beautiful as New Zealand, it is worth it. In this article, we look at the challenges that you may face, and some of the benefits of moving to New Zealand with family.

Culture Differences in New Zealand

One of the main go-to reports for expats getting an initial insight into a country when doing their research is the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey. The annual report ranks countries on the various factors that someone moving abroad will need to know about, such as healthcare, quality of life, political stability, ease of settling in, etc.
In the 2019 survey New Zealand ranked 5th in the world overall and 9th for the “Little Expats” category. In particular, the HSBC report points out that New Zealand has a slower pace of life than many countries, especially if you are used to living in a busy city.
This can take some getting used to, however it makes for a better work/life balance, meaning that you can spend more time at home.In fact, one of the most mind-boggling parts of everyday life that many newcomers to New Zealand have to adjust to is the local obsession with walking around with no socks or shoes.
A challenge that often causes friction when moving to a new country, especially when moving with children, is the language barrier. However, because New Zealand is a former British colony language will never be an issue.

Schools and Education in New Zealand

Public schools in New Zealand are very highly regarded and are free for residents and citizens, although expats with a temporary visa may have to contribute to fees. Should you wish to pay a little more, there are private schools available that offer the internationally recognised Baccalaureate or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
One slight difference with schools in New Zealand is that their academic year runs alongside the calendar year (January – December). In 2015 the OECD published the largest ever global survey of schools. In this report, it placed New Zealand in position 12 for education and schooling. Comparatively, the UK was placed 20th, and they placed the US 28th.
Moving on from school, all eight of the universities in New Zealand are in the top 500 universities in the world, as ranked in the QS World University Report. The largest of which is the University of Auckland which is home to around 29,778 students, 7,000 of which are international students, representing 120 countries.

Keeping Your Children Active

You do not have to be a big rugby fan to know the reputation of the All Blacks rugby team. Sport, and in particular rugby, is a big part of the lifestyle with many young people choosing to spend their time outdoors. New Zealand has a reputation amongst expats for having low quality television networks and shows. Pair this with the warm, but comfortable, climate and it is no wonder that so many people spend their free time away from the sofa.
The weather in Auckland typically stays between 10 degrees Celsius in July and get up to 20-25 in December and January. This favourable weather encourages local children to go out and enjoy sports and outdoor activities, which means that families stay fit and active.
According to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 76% of expat parents living in New Zealand felt that their “offspring are more healthy living in New Zealand”. There are plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors too, with open beaches, forests, not to mention the picturesque filming locations for the Lord of the Rings films.
One benefit of New Zealand being such a small country is that everything the country has to offer is within easy reach. For example, you are never more than 75 miles away from a beach.

Music and the Arts

If you would like to surround your child with art and culture as they grow up, New Zealand is a well-equipped country to help you do so. Based in Wellington, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performs regularly all over the country. Alongside its regular programme of classical music, the NZSO often plays concerts of film music and scaled-down children’s concerts. Members of the orchestra also pay regular visits to schools and community centres to teach young people about music. There are also many art galleries, museums and cinemas in large towns and cities.

Staying Safe

One of the biggest concerns when moving abroad with children is knowing that they will be safe. Thankfully, New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. New Zealand placed 2nd in the Global Peace Index in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and placing either 2nd or 3rd every year since 2008.
The Global Peace Index (conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace) annually ranks countries on factors such as the number of violent crimes, level of perceived criminality within society, political instability and terror and the number of jailed persons. Comparatively, United Kingdom placed 45th in 2019, Switzerland was 10th and New Zealand’s friendly local rival, Australia came 13th.

Moving to New Zealand

One of the main logistical challenges that you might face when moving to this beautiful country is the restrictions on what you can and cannot take with you. Most notably, any outdoor equipment such as tents, walking boots, watersports or diving equipment and even golf clubs. This is primarily because of how closely the country guards its wildlife and environment. For the full list of restricted items visit the NZ Government website.
Here at Cadogan Tate, we have helped many families move to New Zealand, and it is easy to see why it is such a desirable place to live. Even those few New Zealanders that move abroad for a career typically return when the time comes to start a family. For more information on how we can help you, visit our moving to New Zealand page.