Moving is never easy. You’re leaving the place you call home and starting a new life elsewhere. There are tons of beautiful cities out there, but there’s no place like Christchurch. If this is where you’re headed, you will absolutely love it here. “The Garden City” as called by locals is the largest one in New Zealand’s South Island. With spectacular parks and sceneries, coupled with art and cultural experiences, there’s always something to look forward to in this city.

Apart from the fun side of things, there are other important matters that you need to take into consideration before you relocate. Hence, here’s a quick guide for you that could help make your move more organised and informed.

Employment opportunities

There are plenty of job opportunities in Christchurch, especially in sectors such as manufacturing and information technology. Websites like Dindolo, SEEK, Jora, etc. could be useful in your job search, especially when you can do it from the comforts of your home. Job openings would be suggested based on your interests and qualifications, helping you conduct a more streamlined search.

The only downside is that Christchurch is an earthquake prone city. The employment percentages may fluctuate when a disaster happens, but rest assured that it has been relatively stable in recent years.

Work permit process for foreigners

Before you begin work, remember to get a legal work permit by following the steps below:

  • Get an employer’s nomination where he/she will complete a nomination form in your stead.
  • Upon the acceptance of the nomination form, you will be asked to apply for a visa.
  • Go for your visa appointment, this is when you will find out if your application is successful or not.

This would then entitle you to apply for a professional visa, which lasts for up to 4 years.

Housing and cost of living

Looking for the perfect house to settle in and call it your new home can be nerve wracking. Am I making the right choices? Is this neighbourhood safe at night? These are just some of the concerns that might run through your mind as you begin the search for that ideal house.

Here are the current yearly estimates for the cost of housing in Christchurch:

  • 1 – 2 bedroom houses: $341, 0050
  • 1 – 2 bedroom units: $324,850
  • 1 – 2 bedroom townhouses:$452, 900
  • 1 – 2 bedroom apartments: $476,400

Suburbs like Fendalton, Redcliffs and Northwood go from $750,000 to a million dollars while Bishopdale, Spreydon and Avonside are estimated at $350,000 to $450,000. These suburbs are beautiful, serene, warm and have the best amenities.

Sites such as One Roof, Trade Me and Right Move could be useful in helping you kickstart your search.

Schools and education system

If you are relocating with your children, living in a neighbourhood that is within close proximity to their schools would definitely be a plus. Like most cities, education in Christchurch is segmented into preschools and middle schools, high schools and colleges. In Canterbury (Christchurch’s border city), the main providers for tertiary education are University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT). There are a total of 155 schools in Christchurch, all of which provide a high quality of education. Simply head to Rate My Teachers for a more detailed list of schools and their ratings.

Driving license and its requirements

If you hold a driving license from your home country and it is in English, you are entitled to drive in Christchurch for 12 months. In the event that it is not in English, you would need to have an official translation of your license with you or obtain an International Driver’s Permit. For those of you who are living in Christchurch for more than a year, you would need to apply for a New Zealand driver’s license.

Road rules in Christchurch are similar to that in the UK and operate on a left-hand drive. Traffic is generally smooth except during rush hours and when driving in areas with narrow or winding roads, remember to exercise caution, especially if you are not experienced with such terrain.

Healthcare systems

New Zealand is ranked number 10 in the world in terms of Healthcare and services. If you’re planning on relocating here, be rest assured that your health is in great hands. In the case of an emergency, be it a fire emergency, medical emergency, or any other kind of emergency, the number to call is 111.

Medicare benefits

Being eligible for medicare benefits entitles you to receive free healthcare and medical supplies. To enjoy these, you would need to be either a legal citizen, have applied for a permanent visa, or are visiting for medical purposes. To apply for a Medicare card you will need to:

  • Fill out the Medicare application form online.
  • Print out the form and with other documents, visit a Medicare center.
  • Once your application is approved you can visit the doctors with the card and you’ll be given a discounted medical bill and free medicine.

Medicare has Bulk Billed doctors which have already been paid by them. With your newly received Medicare card you can visit them and get treated, all for free! Medicare offers a wide range of health care services which includes antenatal and postnatal care, oncology care, psychiatric care, child care, virology and lots more.

Food and culture

New Zealand is filled with rich tapestries of art and culture woven into its very core. From the food to the accents, music and spirit of the people, Christchurch is a city brimming with culture. Various cuisines can be found served in restaurants, from vegan meals to gluten-free meals, junk food and happy meals, there’s something for everyone’s palate. From bars, restaurants, suburban dining cafés, bars, sushi houses, markets to dessert and ice cream bars, one would definitely be spoilt for choice. Simply head to Christchurch for foodies and select your preference.

As for the arts, Christchurch is home to museums and galleries that showcase its English heritage, along with theatres where you can view live plays and shows. These include the Christchurch Art Gallery TePunao Waiwhetu, The Arts Center, The Court Theatre, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, The Piano, Scape, Festa and lots more. The city can be said to be breathing art, with murals and street art found as you turn almost every corner while walking down streets. To view these and more head on to arts and culture.

With that, we hope this guide was useful for you! Moving is definitely not something easy or smooth, but with sufficient preparation in advance, we are sure the move will go well for you. And hey, if you need help with your move, give us a call and we’ll be there to guide you every step of the way!

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