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How to nail your first 14 days after relocating to New Zealand

Guest blogger for our friends at Mobile Relocation Experts, Amanda Sadlier, talks about the key lessons she learned when she moved to New Zealand from the US with her Kiwi husband and children.
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Whether you’re a returning Kiwi expat, an international executive taking up a role in New Zealand or a family migrating to a new life, there’s so much to learn and do when you first arrive. These tips will accelerate your adjustment. And get you through those initial two weeks smiling.

Our guest blogger, Amanda Sadlier, recently moved to Auckland from the US with her Kiwi husband and kids.

Here’s what she learned:

I know from personal experience that the first weeks of life in New Zealand (after surviving managed isolation!) come with palpable highs and lows.

It’s normal to feel a range of conflicting feelings, often changing by the moment.

Here are some tips that helped me sail smoothly into the next stage of our adventure.


What key tasks will help you feel most settled and connected to your new home?

For us, it was securing a house. Others might need to find their new local watering hole or join the perfect CrossFit community.

Prioritise those things. And feel no guilt in pushing other tasks to the next phase of getting settled.

Practice makes perfect.

When you find yourself struggling in a particular area, invest in doing it repeatedly.

Difficult to find your way around? Put away the nav, and take time to get lost and discover the best route

Feel awkward at the local cafe? Make a point of eating/drinking out as often as you can until it feels comfortable.

Is driving on the left giving you nightmares? Spend your free time going for drives and building muscle memory

You've got this.

Create familiarity.

Make your own familiarity by building a routine.

Get a coffee from the same cafe. Cycle the same route. Catch the same train. Take your kids to the same park.

Choose a brand and make it yours, whether it is a brand of breakfast cereal or a type of shampoo.

Soon, you’ll find comfort in the familiarity you’ve made.

Make time to rest.

Your brain is working overtime making serious and mundane decisions. Where will I live, work, send my kids to school? What will I drive? What’s my new phone number? Where do I buy a vacuum? Which side is the driver’s side? What should I call that garment? What’s the difference between all of these different breads?

In the early days, very little runs on autopilot. Pay attention when you feel fatigue, and give yourself some rest.

Coming from the US this fatigue was even stronger because it had been quite a long time since we’d had a full day of functioning outside of our bubble. The transition from COVID lockdown life to busy community was another layer of challenge to master.

Give yourself some grace while you do it.

Use social media strategically.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with nostalgia for the place and people you left, you may want to take a break from social media to be present while you jump into your new life and connect in this community.

Or, if you’ve been on an extended OE, social media might be a good way to reconnect with your Kiwi community and invite those connections back into your daily life.

There’s an app for that.

Get connected with today’s Aotearoa by getting some key apps.

Your bank’s app will be crucial for everything from transferring money to a mate to paying rent and making major purchases. Get the COVID-19 tracer app to track your movements should contact tracers need to reach you. Download apps from your favourite news sources to stay informed on news and weather.

We’ve enjoyed growing our Te Reo Maori vocabulary with a learning app. And finding our new must-listen New Zealand artist on our favourite streaming platform. 

From one who’s been there, I can assure you that before you know it, those wobbly early days will be a distant memory as you confidently settle in.

**Amanda's has also shared her experience of managed isolation (with three young children) - read it here.

Visit Mobile Relocation Experts to learn more.


Amanda Sadlier is a lawyer who writes, runs, and now lives with her family in the eastern bays of Auckland with her partner, George, and their three young children.

Mobile Relocation is thrilled to host Amanda as a guest blogger for this post.

Returning Kiwis can find out more about how we can support you and your family to re-establish successfully in New Zealand here.

By sharing our knowledge through this blog we hope to help returning Kiwis, expats, migrants and their families prepare well for the challenges of relocating to New Zealand, so they can make the most of the experience that lies ahead.

If you’ve got a question or a comment, please feel free to get in touch via our contact page or message Bridget on Linked In.