Mark Pearl

Please note this may not be up-to-date, but may be a handy guide if you have questions about moving from South Africa to New Zealand

Before you make the leap

How long did the process of emigrating take from conception to arrival?

For us it was fairly quick. We got our work visa within 2 months of applying, and I was in Auckland within 5 months. There is a difference between getting a work visa and residency. If we were waiting for residency it would have taken a lot longer. It seems that the general pattern is that people get the work visa first, come over and work and apply for residency once in the country.

If you are offered a job, what availability is expected by the employers.

Do they expect you to be available within a month for two? If so, is it better to start the process prior to looking for a job?

Generally they would like you as soon as possible. I believe it varies from employer to employer. For me my employer was patient and waited the few months it took.

I would recommend going the work visa route first… which means not starting the process until you have work.

Can you update your application at a later stage to reflect that you have found work after submitting your EOI

I see that you are able to submit an expression of interest without having a job. Do you know if you can update your application at a later stage to reflect that you have found one? Would an application without a job prejudice a later application?

I don’t believe you can. But I’m not sure. You can always re-submit but there may be charges for this. Again I’m not sure.

What about pets?

Did you take any pets with you? Is it feasible, on a single salary, to find a property around Auckland with a garden able to house them? (I don’t mind a longer commute if it is further out).

I did not take pets. I believe it is expensive to get them over. It’s also substantially harder to find rentals that allow you to take pets. Last I heard a rentals were costing $20 more per week for pets. But again I’m not sure because I didn’t have one.

To summarise, there are places that takes pets - but they are few and far between.

Do you use a consultant for immigrating

Do I recall correctly that you managed the process yourself and did not use a consultant/agent? Is this because you had a job offer quite early in the process. Do you know if it is advisable to use a consultant? They claim to provide better outcomes

We used a consultant to help us with the work visa. We did the residency visa application on our own. It was useful having someone show us what to fill in where. It’s a cost vs. effort thing. If the cost is not a big factor I would go the consultant route. That said, it is possible to do it all on your own - just can be a little daunting.

Arrival in Auckland

What to avoid bringing into New Zealand New Zealand has strict biosecurity procedures at the airports; fresh food, honey and dairy products are generally challenging to get through immigration. Following is a link that you might find useful -

Auckland Airport

At the arrival hall (level 1), you will be greeted with food outlets (more on Level 2), mobile providers, money changers, and car rental companies. Cabs and other public transportation are located outside the airport.

Getting from Airport to CBD

There are many ways to travel from the Airport to Auckland CBD. The three popular options are Skybus (, Airport Shuttle (, and Cab.

The Skybus takes you from the airport to Auckland CBD; stopping at major landmarks along the way. It does not take you directly to your hotel / accommodation. This is generally a cheaper option if you are traveling alone, but it might be less cost effective if you have a group of two or more. It is less expensive if you booked your tickets for the Skybus online.

Airport shuttle on the other hand takes you from airport to your accommodation. The single price for this service is more costly than Skybus, but might be more cost effective for group travels. Have a look at their website for prices and booking information.

There are many cab companies that operate from the airport and can take you to Auckland CBD. Cabs are metered and metered costs are similar. However, if you booked your ride online via, rates are less expensive; this is just one of the many cab providers.

Living in Auckland

Bank Account

I’ll need to have a bank account open in NZ before I start work - should I (or can I even) get the ball rolling on that ahead of time?

  • I opened a bank account the first day over. It took about 30 minutes.
  • I used my South African credit card before that.
  • You just need your passport and a letter from wherever you stay - a letter from your landlord or hotel is sufficient.
  • I would recommend only opening up a bank account when you arrive as an MYOB perk is that you have zero bank charges at ANZ.

Mobile & Internet Providers

Mobile phone provider offer relatively competitive rates in New Zealand. The three major providers are:

  • Spark (,
  • Vodafone (
  • 2 Degrees (

These providers offers prepaid mobile plans, postpaid mobile plans, home broadband internet, as well as Cable TV.

There are other providers like Skinny Mobile which provides better prepaid deals, but do not have a physical store that you can go to, to get help.


The three major supermarkets in Auckland are

  1. New World
  2. Countdown
  3. PAK ‘n SAVE

New World and Countdown can be found in the CBD (there are two of each in the CBD). Each of these offers members-only deals, which can result in huge savings on certain items . Membership is free. These are the supermarkets I go weekly to get fresh produce.

PAK ‘n SAVE is the more competitively priced option, and usually further away. This is the place I generally go to, once a month.

Living Expenses

What sort of living expenses can I expect?

We spend $6500 per month for a family of 4 Our biggest expense is housing, we pay $600 per month, typically you can get a place for between $550 & $650, but housing is tight and can be a challenge

Useful calculator for living expenses based on income

Container / Bringing your stuff over

Should I bring my stuff over? Is it worth shipping major appliances and furniture?

Fridges etc are significantly more expensive in NZ, if you have stuff you would like to bring over and can afford to do so I would recommend it. Be careful though, you may battle to get it to fit into your place, i.e. we brought a Fridge/Freezer combo over and were very very lucky we found a place that could accomodate it.

Do you have any recommendations for shipping companies and scheduling this stuff?

We used Brytons (

We found they were fine, pretty much the same experience that everyone else had with shipping. One word of advice is be prepared on the day of them boxing things for all hell to break loose. They bring a crew in and they just do their own thing, no pointing out what you want packed and what you don’t. My advice would be that you move everything you don’t want packed/shipped into a locked room and you don’t let them in that room until everything else is packed.


What do cars cost?

Second hand cars are cheap in NZ. If you are happy with a japanese second hand car you will find many bargains. European cars tend to be more expensive


What am I looking at for housing?

Finding a place to stay is a real challenge. There are many crappy New Zealand houses out there. Once you find a place to rent you need a deposit. We needed four weeks deposit to put down for a place which is a significant amount converted to rands and I had to spend time trying to find a place (it was $2400 = R24000 deposit). Generally they won’t rent a place to you before you have seen it so it is unlikely you will be able to sign a rental before you arrive.

Where to live

North Shore

A lot of South Africans settle on the North Shore, partly because it feels very similar to South Africa, partly because there are already a lot of South Africans in the area.
Travelling from North Shore to Town can take a while during peak hours, right now I travel to work before 6:00am and while there is traffic it flows. Coming back in the evenings, traffic starts to hit stand still around 5:00pm to 6:00pm.

You can take the bus, there is an express lane for the bus. Be aware that parking near the bus stop is a pain as there is not enough parking near many of the bus stop areas.

Most difficult adjustments

What were your most difficult adjustments?

Most difficult adjustments were not having extended family around. We had to be really intentional about “putting ourselves out there” and meeting new people, taking every opportunity to interact. We still miss having close friends but are working at it. Housing was the other big adjustment, the houses are different here and it took time adjusting to that.


Primary School (age 5 upwards)

Kids can start school as soon as they turn 5 which is different from South Africa. If they turn 5 mid year, they start mid year in a bridging class
A lot of schools are zoned, which means if you live in the zone you can attend the school, if not you have to apply.
Schools are rated by deciles currently, although there is talk about adjusting this.
We’ve found very little difference between a decile 4 and a decile 6 school and were happy with our son at both. We noticed at the decile 4 school the kids got a lot more sponsored “stuff”.
School uniforms are expensive, $100 NZD per uniform. Not all schools have uniforms so it depends on where you settle.


Don’t know much about this…

High School

How do your kids get in to High School

Regarding high school, my understanding is there would be some sort of assessment done to establish where your kids were at educationally, and then they would put them in the appropriate class. I’ve had conversations with various friends with kids in high school, some have a great experience - others have it really tough. You would be eligible to apply to any high school zoned for your area. Different schools have different intake waiting times, so it would really depend on where you live. In general education is really good here.

Selling House in SA

What if I haven’t sold my house before I leave?

We sold our house before we left. My guess is if you sold it while in NZ you would just need to sign documents, it costs about R600 to get documents across.

Misc Costs Breakdown

What sort of Misc Costs did you have?

  • How much do we pay in donations to Daniel’s school a year - $100 to $200
  • How much do we pay per month for medical aid - $80
  • How much did Daniel’s school uniform cost - $80 to $90 per set
  • How much does daycare cost per week (under 3 years) - $20 p/h
  • Once they hit 3 they get 20 hours free a week
  • Free for children but you need to register with a doctor (including script)
  • Rent $600 p/w deposit of 4 weeks on 12 month lease
  • Car insurance $50 p/m
  • Internet $90 per month
  • Basic Household Insurance $30 per month
  • Food costs about double $800 per month
  • Degree certified (R8000)
  • English tests (R4000 per person)

Here’s a useful link to a fairly realistic budget

Working at MYOB

When will I get my salary?

Salary is paid monthly, around the 15th.

What is the dress code at MYOB?

Dress code is casual, I wear Jeans and a TShirt, which is the norm. I would recommend stocking up on Jeans and Shirts before you leave, they are substantially more expensive in New Zealand as far as I can remember.

Getting to the Office

The MYOB Auckland office is located at 12 Normanby Rd, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024. It is relatively convenient to get to the office by public transportation. The closet train station is Mt Eden.

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