How to Help Your Family Settle into Life in New Zealand

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Moving to a new country is a scary and challenging venture for most people. The stress of starting a new job, finding a good school for the kids, and moving into a new house is a lot to handle at once. The first few months of living somewhere new will always be challenging and you’re bound to feel homesick at some point. While it may take some time before you begin to feel settled, there are many things you can do to make your move feel a little easier. Follow these tips to help you and your family adjust to your new life in New Zealand.

Set Up Your Home

Setting up your home is the first step to feeling settled in New Zealand. After you’ve set up the basics such as your utilities and broadband connection, you can start decorating your new home to make it feel like your own. Make sure to add some little reminders of the house you left behind. Having this familiar feel will immediately help you feel more at home.

Meet the Neighbours and Locals

One of the commonly ‘scary’ aspects of moving to a new country is having to meet new people. But the sooner you reach out to people, the more comfortable you will feel. Begin by introducing yourself to your neighbours, and perhaps inviting them over for a cup of tea or coffee. It’s always good to have a friendly relationship with the people in your neighbourhood, no matter where you’re living.

Once you’ve settled into your new house and have met the neighbours, look for meet-up groups or get involved in the local communities. There are always things to be done in New Zealand school communities and neighbourhoods that you and your family could help with. These community groups really help to bring people together and create special bonds.

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Get the Kids Settled

Kids often feel homesickness the most, especially if they had spent all of their young lives in their previous home. Thus, it’s essential to help your kids adjust to their new life in New Zealand as quickly as possible. After settling them into a new school, consider getting them involved in a sports club or after-school activity where they can really bond with other children. A healthy balance of academic and extra-curricular activities is a great way for your kids to make new friends, but is also an excellent opportunity for you to befriend other parents too.

Get to Know Your City

The sooner you start exploring the ins and outs of your city, the sooner it will feel like home. Find out about sports days and popular NZ festivals, or join a sightseeing tour where you can spend time to truly get to know your city. Visit some of the most popular restaurants and places to hang out, and observe how the locals communicate and behave.

The more time you spend out and about, the better you will be able to relate to New Zealanders. When getting around the city, try to use the public transport system as much as you can. This will allow you to observe the local way of living more closely, and give you a better chance of meeting new people. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with strangers, or ask questions if you’re unsure about something.

Learn about the Maori Culture

When moving to any new country, it’s always good to have a basic understanding of the culture and history. The Maori people are a huge part of New Zealand’s culture and history and maintain their important influence through their customs, technological innovations, artwork, and more.  Visiting a Marae, a New Zealand art gallery, or even local museums will give you and your family plenty of insight into New Zealand and its people.

In multicultural New Zealand, you will likely have the joy of getting to know many Maori people, as well as Kiwis from all over the world who call New Zealand home.  Before long, you’ll be proud to call yourself a New Zealander too.

Posted by Maia Fletcher

Freelance writer Maia Fletcher is based in the sunny city of Gisborne, from the North Island of New Zealand. When Maia isn’t collaborating with various blogs and sites, she loves to spend her time off travelling. To learn more about Maia and her work, visit her Tumblr page.

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