A UK couple in New Zealand: Adapting to expat life in Auckland

  • Dawn and Isaac in New Zealand
Published last year

Dawn and Isaac traveled together to the North and the South Islands of New Zealand after university, and decided to settle in, while joining friends and family. They talk to Expat.com about the way of life in Auckland, and the sentiments of their English expat life.



I moved to New Zealand around a year ago my blog is full of useful tips and inspirational pieces on how to make your move to NZ a success!

Hi, can you introduce yourself, and tell us about your projects in New Zealand?

We are Dawn and Isaac from the sea side town of Falmouth in Cornwall, UK. We moved to New Zealand to follow the sunshine and setup my husband's marketing company. We had thought we'd blog about the experience, in order to help others who may go through the same route, so we also started a blog.

Why did you choose to live in New Zealand?

We chose New Zealand because we had travelled both around the North and South Islands when we finished university. Another factor in our decision making was our support network of friends and family in New Zealand. Having friends and family here really helped us settle in well.

How were your first steps in the country ? Was it easy to find accomodation and to integrate into the society?

Our first month was spent staying with our grandparents, just outside of Auckland, which was lovely. We used this time wisely to research the most suitable for us areas of Auckland to live, to find space for our office, buy a car, and do some job hunting for Dawn. In the first six months, we used Meetup.com a lot, and closely monitored local subs on Reddit. Initially, we spent a lot of time with other Brits and Europeans, but over time we made friends with Kiwis. Auckland has about 20 renters per apartment, so it was difficult for us as newcomers to find an agent, who would take us on. But we persevered and went privately with a landlord in the end.

View of Auckland

How would you describe the culture of New Zealand?

Kiwis are very laid back, which at times can be annoying. We interpreted this as them being disinterested, when in fact, they are just very casual.

Do you have knowledge of the local job market? What are the most dynamic economic sectors?

There are plenty of jobs in New Zealand. However, we've found that the payscales here are often not quite the same as in the UK, or the USA, and that you may have to take a pay cut. This isn't true for all sectors, but is certainly true for travel.

What does your everyday life look like in New Zealand? The rhythm must be different to England's, right?

Our day is quite similar to life in the UK, except that even in the winter, it is fairly warm here. This means that we get to enjoy a more outdoor-related lifestyle for longer periods of time. New Zealanders take a very casual 'hand-shake' approach to business, which we were not familiar with back in the UK.

New Zealand

What is your opinion on the cost of living in New Zealand? Is it easy for an expat to live here?

Life in New Zealand is more expensive than in the UK. It's easy to live here if you have a good job, or you are happy to live slightly more rural, and outside of the main cities. Overall, it is an easy place to live, and it gets easier with time.

Have you travelled a lot around the country? Which part would you recommend?

We've travelled extensively around both the North and the South Islands, and at every given opportunity we go exploring . Our top three favourite spots are: Abel Tasman National Park (near Nelson), Waiheke Island (Auckland), and Queenstown (Otago).

Would you like to give an advice to soon-to-be expatriates in New Zealand?

The advice we'd give is to put yourself out there, forge networks with local and expats. Take your co-worker for a beer after work on a Friday, and go to meetup groups. The more networks you build, the more at home you will feel.