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Embracing Aotearoa: A Personal Exploration of Immigration in New Zealand

Immigration is a deeply personal journey, and for many, New Zealand beckons as a land of new beginnings. In this blog post, we'll delve into the cultural facets of immigration, the challenges and rewards experienced firsthand, the pivotal role of language acquisition, strategies for personal adaptation, the intricacies of raising children in a new country, and the importance of staying connected with one's roots – all set against the backdrop of the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand.

My journey began over 17 years ago when I first stepped into the soil of the beautiful Aotearoa. I was amazed by the breathtaking view, nature and diversity of this country. I think I immediately fell in love with New Zealand. At that time, I only visited this country but I knew that one day, I would return as I instinctively felt the connection to this land.

2.5 years later I arrived in New Zealand and I am still here.:)

Challenges and Rewards

The journey of immigration is not without its challenges. Adapting to a new environment, new tradition, the Kiwi slang, understanding local customs, and navigating bureaucratic processes can be daunting. Each hurdle was a lesson in resilience. However, the rewards are equally significant. New Zealand provides a high quality of life, where we can find work-life balance, live in harmony with nature and just lay back and focus on the really important thing: enjoy life. My husband always told me that New Zealand will be for me like a rehabilitation centre where I will learn how to slow down and value the life I received. He is right, I found peace here and yes, life can be very hectic sometimes but despite these busy periods, I am still less stressed than back in my country while I lived there.

Obviously New Zealand is not a Paradise, there are things that we find unusual, illogical or strange but we have to admit that this country is simply amazing with its community spirit, hospitality and beautiful environment. Although immigration recently became more difficult than 15 years ago, due to the new policies and restrictions, also Covid made it more challenging for so many applicants to start their journey. I still encourage people to explore their opportunities in New Zealand as the reward they can get is worth. 

Compared to when I arrived in New Zealand, more and more information is available to do your pre-research about the country and even Immigration New Zealand is getting better at sharing the latest updates about the policies, news, and events. There are more resources available online you can find and get explored in terms of settlement, finding a property, where to buy groceries cheaper, family events, holiday programs, just to name a few. These resources were not really there 15 years ago and I had to discover everything by myself. However, I warn everyone to believe in everything you can find in different social media groups, so filtering what you read and making your own research  is always advisable. 

Learn a New Language

Transitioning into Kiwi life meant immersing myself in a new language. Although I was advanced in English, the Kiwi slang gave me some headache at the beginning:) As I am passionate about languages, it didn’t take me too long to adapt to this dialect but learning a bit of te reo Māori added a layer of cultural understanding. Conversations with locals and picking up phrases became more than linguistic exercises; they were bridges connecting me to the heart of New Zealand's identity. For 2 years, while we were renting, we had Samoan neighbours and I must say, this was another bonus for me as I could learn a bit Samoan as well. Being curious and showing respect to Pasifika people, opens another door to your cultural improvement and lets you connect to people with different cultural backgrounds.

Raising Children in a New Country

For families, raising children in a new country presents both challenges and opportunities. New Zealand's education system is very different to the European one and promotes the outdoor-oriented lifestyle supporting a healthy and active childhood. From personal experience, my children are well balanced here, they admire outdoor times, they respect nature and are very tolerant with other children. Although they were born and raised here, I am very proud that they could keep their identity, they speak my mother tongue without  having an accent, they read and write in this language and they were able to integrate themselves into this culture which is their home country but they haven’t lost my roots either. Also, raising children bilingual or in our case, multilingual (being the children of a language passionate can be challenging:) ), can just add an extra value to their development. 

Maintaining Ties with Home Country/Family/Friends

Technology bridged the distance between New Zealand and my home country. Regular video calls, sharing cultural traditions online, and participating in local expatriate communities became lifelines. Maintaining ties with home ensured that while I built a life in Aotearoa, the roots of my identity remained firmly grounded in my homeland. This was not the case even 15 years ago when we had to dial up the internet which we couldn’t rely on, calling someone overseas on the phone was extremely expensive, sending letters here took ages to receive. So, we are very lucky in the new technological era that we can keep friendships, maintain connections and family relationships as long as the other parties wish.

Reality vs. expectation

Immigrating to New Zealand was easier and faster even before Covid. Recently there were so many changes that the whole immigration process became more complicated and processing times have been increased. Please be aware that each case is different. It might be quicker to get an approval for someone, while for others it takes months. The current reality is that nothing is fast. You have to be very patient and resilient in terms of finding a job, getting a job offer and waiting for the outcome of your visa application. I encourage you to have a worst case scenario schedule in your mind, you can always be surprised if you get a job offer in 2 weeks or if your visa will be granted in a very short time. 

To sum up

Immigrating to New Zealand is more than a change of scenery; it's a personal evolution. From navigating the cultural intricacies to embracing the rewards of a new life, the journey is marked by a tapestry woven with personal triumphs and challenges. By immersing oneself in the language, adapting to local customs, and staying connected with both past and present, the immigrant experience becomes a rich and rewarding chapter in the story of Aotearoa.


Harmony Immigration can assist you in various ways on your journey including comprehensive immigration services under one roof, crafting personalised CV, preparing you for job, visa interviews & IELTS exam, connecting you with potential employers, translating & verifying legal documents.

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