When I first arrived in New Zealand for my working holiday, I was full of adrenaline and excitement! I was so eager to explore this new and foreign place that for a moment, I forgot what I had to do before I could start my working holiday proper. To help you remember this part of the working holiday before you start having fun, here’s my list of first things to do 🙂

1. Get your mobile network set up

glenorchy new zealand

Check out your options before you sign up for anything long or short term. To help you out a bit, I’ve also written an overview on the mobile operators available in New Zealand where I shared my experience too on the mobile operator I used that I was very satisfied with!

An important consideration I had was that connection must be good in both the North and South Island. The main reason is because I was expecting extensive travel across both islands during my time in NZ. Good connection was inherent for directions and weather checking day on day too. In addition, it’s especially important to help me find essentials such as food or petrol along the way when I was on the go!

2. Apply for a bank account

auckland new zealand

To start working in New Zealand, you need to have a local bank account. Try to do this in bigger cities where there are more branches around. Make an appointment through the bank’s customer service hotline first before heading down physically. This helped me to skip the queue when I went down to the bank to complete my application. They would even help you identify the closest branch to you so all you need to do is appear at the set time slot and bring the necessary items to open your bank account successfully.

I’ve listed these necessary items below for your easy reference.

  • Proof of local address – My Airbnb receipt is actually sufficient for this as advised by the bank representative then. However, a disclaimer here is that this was back then in 2017, so do double check to see if this is still acceptable now.
  • Identification document – Your passport or equivalent
  • Initial cash to put into your account – Make sure you pick the right account suitable for you. There was no minimum amount required for the account type I’ve picked since I only planned to stay for the short-term.

3. Apply for your IRD number

You can apply for your IRD number very easily at any post office or even online. This is necessary before you can offically be hired for any job to start your working part of the holiday.

Your IRD number keeps track of the tax you pay. As an individual working in New Zealand, you need to pay taxes to the Inland Revenue. Hence, this number is important for you to identify how much taxes you’ll need to pay by the end of the financial year in New Zealand. I have further written another article on how to file your taxes in New Zealand, so have a read if you’re keen to understand how it works!

4. Find a job

strawberry picker new zealand

Start looking around for jobs as soon as you arrive if you want to start working already. That’s why it is important to plan and budget for your trip beforehand to decide what you want to do first. Browse job sites such as backpackerjobs or even Facebook groups to see the type of jobs available. Do enough market research so you know what to expect at interviews. You might even want to do this before you arrive in New Zealand.

I wasn’t successful in my New Zealand job hunt when I started it in Singapore, but contrastingly found some almost immediately when I arrived. However, I had friends who managed to secure jobs before arriving so I guess this really boils down to luck at some point!

5. Decide your mode of transportation around the country

driving new zealand

I think this is something you should start thinking about even before you arrive. Instead of the first thing to do in New Zealand for your working holiday, it’s probably more of a pre-arrival consideration that I would recommend anyone to think about. Basically you can choose to:

  • Buy your own vehicle
  • Rent one for the time being
  • Hitchhike
  • Share costs with friends that already own a vehicle
  • Take the popular Intercity Bus that has both the FlexiPass and Travel Pass for your consideration

There’s so many different factors involved in this, so have a good think about it to see what suits you and your budget the best!

6. Find your long-term accommodation

This also depends on where you would be working at. If you’re planning to keep being on the move, then maybe investing in a self-contained vehicle or caravan to save on accommodation would be better.

However, if you’re going to be at a town/city for some time, do find a place that would be suitable for the long-term. Some jobs do provide accommodation as part of the remuneration, so it really depends on what you prefer. I personally stayed at a homestays that were near to my workplaces where rent were very affordable too. That worked out quite well for me so hope you’d find one that you’d prefer!

Good luck!

By now, hope you have all these things on your to-do list before you start your New Zealand working holiday proper. All the best to you!!!

You might also enjoy: