My name is Helen. I am a Physiotherapist and I came to New Zealand with my husband (and our cat) in May 2014. From making the initial decision to come to live in New Zealand to actually arriving in the country took me 14 months, most of which was spent preparing and gaining my New Zealand Physiotherapy Board registration.
The easiest part of the process for me was actually getting our visas (work visas), as we had prepared the paperwork really thoroughly, so once we were in a position to apply we could send the papers straight away. In fact, our visas were granted only a few days after our applications were received.
The most challenging part of the process was obtaining New Zealand registration, mainly because of the volume of paperwork and time involved in preparing the registration application. We also only had a short time between having our visas approved and my agreed start date at work in New Zealand, so that period was quite stressful with lots of things to organise in a short space of time whilst at the same time saying goodbye to family and friends. Fortunately we had expected that this would be the case and I think we were as organised as we could be which made things a bit easier.
Having visited New Zealand on two previous occasions I had an idea of what to expect. My first impressions of Wellington were that it was a friendly, small city but that it had lots of things to do and see. It has lived up to this and we both have busy social lives as well as busy working lives.
So far, the best parts about living in New Zealand are that my daily commute to work is MUCH shorter than in England, which means I have more time in the evening to get out running and doing other activities. The lifestyle is much more outdoors-based and we have found that even with it being winter we are outdoors most weekends. Plus, the craft beer in New Zealand is great (or awesome as they say here!)
Having only been in New Zealand for a couple of months, I don’t think I have had time yet to really miss anything from England, but I do miss my family and friends, although we are starting to meet people here and Skype makes the distance seem shorter. Oh and I do miss central
heating a little bit! And Lancashire cheese!
My advice for if you are thinking of coming to New Zealand is that if you need to gain registration to work here, spend the time making your application as thorough as possible, as this will prevent delays with the process. Be as organised as you can be with all your paperwork for both registration and visas and keep copies of everything. Also bring some copies with you as you’ll find that you need copies of your passport etc. for various things on arrival in New Zealand.
Use Accent’ Health Recruitment’s invaluable advice and help throughout the process. I was in touch with them from the very early stages and found Merryl’s help and advice at every step of the process invaluable to making the whole process smoother and less stressful. Accent not only helped with finding me a great job here in New Zealand but also with many other aspects of making the move. It was great to have someone here in New Zealand who I could fire questions at via email, Skype etc. and who ALWAYS gave me the answers.
Finally, if you’re thinking of coming to live and work in New Zealand, go for it! It’s a lot of hard work, time and money to get here and a long way from family and friends but so far we have absolutely no regrets about making the move. We are settling in well and are looking forward to all the things that Kiwi life has to offer.
ABOUT MY JOB IN NZ:
My work as a Physiotherapist in New Zealand is based in a private neuro-rehabilitation unit. Back in England I worked as a rotational Physiotherapist in an acute hospital so the setting for my work is very different here in New Zealand and I am a lot more specialised in my work here than I was in England. However, this was something I specifically wanted from a job in New Zealand and Accent has done a fantastic job of finding me my job here.
Coming from the NHS to a privately owned company has been very different in terms of learning about the different ways that clients are funded etc., but essentially the work is similar to the neuro-based work that I did in England. I have found that I am treated as a more senior Physiotherapist here in New Zealand compared to when I was in England and that expectations here are much higher than in England. It has been a steep learning curve for me - on my second day at work I was the sole Physiotherapist on the unit! But I am enjoying every minute so far.
I wanted new challenges in my work and I feel that my employment here in New Zealand has given me these. I feel that working in New Zealand and for the company that I work for will give me much better opportunities to further my career than I would have had in England. Work is a lot less formal than in England and our uniform is much more comfortable to wear! I am looking forward to working closely with my colleagues to develop our service and my career as a Physiotherapist in New Zealand.