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Living and Working in Wellington, New Zealand

The latest migration statistics from New Zealand show that the nation is losing its own skilled workers to Australia in increasing numbers, thanks in part to the fact that Australia’s economy has weathered the global economic storm particularly well.  New Zealand knows it needs to do more to retain it’s skilled workforce – and at the same time, it needs to work hard to promote its appeal to international skilled workers such as Britons looking for a new life abroad.

If you’re contemplating a massive life change and you’d like to find a place to live where the lifestyle on offer is second to none, where there are jobs, a healthy economy and where everyone speaks English so that your integration will be as smooth as possible, have you thought about New Zealand?  And more specifically, have you thought about living and working in Wellington?

The capital city of New Zealand has undergone a total revamping and transformation over the past 20 years, and it has been given such a new lease of life that a new survey of expats living in the city revealed that all had chosen it because of the quality of life it offered them.  In this report we’re going to look specifically at the job opportunities available to expats who move to Wellington, and what the lifestyle is really like.  We hope that the information will help you to decide whether this very beautiful little city could be your new home abroad.

An Introduction to Living in Wellington

Many who know Wellington well describe it as being more like a village than a city, such is the feeling of familiarity and community that it harbours amongst its residents.  Situated on the southwestern tip of the North Island, Wellington is effectively a gateway to the entire nation.

Many tourists travelling around New Zealand travel through Wellington – usually to catch a ferry to the South Island – and most who visit will be struck by the city’s beauty, the stunning natural surrounds and by the very friendly atmosphere in downtown Wellington.

The climate in the city is described as ‘marine,’ and it is relatively temperate with temperatures seldom increasing above 25 degrees C, or dropping below freezing.  As Wellington is close to Wairarapa, home to some of New Zealand’s best boutique vineyards, you can tell that the weather is relatively good in this part of the nation.

In terms of the appeal of Wellington in general, it lies in the fact that the city combines cosmopolitan with contemporary, and arts and culture with big business, in other words, it’s very easy to feel at home in New Zealand’s capital city because there is something on offer for everyone.

Business Sectors, Jobs and Employment Opportunities for Expats Moving to Live in New Zealand’s Capital City of Wellington

As an expatriate planning a relocation abroad, one of the most pressing concerns on your mind will likely be finding a good, secure, well-paying job to support your lifestyle and that of your family.  Well, the good news is that Wellington has a relatively strong economy.

Home to the nation’s main government offices, there are plenty of public sector jobs available.  What’s more, there is a very strong business and finance sector in the city meaning that those with skills in management, banking or IT for example will find opportunities aplenty.

What’s very different about Wellington however, is that it has many jobs available for creatively talented people in the arts industry too.  Unlike many other international cities, Wellington has a massive and thriving arts industry so that there are jobs for those involved in film, television, music, fashion and theatre for example.

The creative sector is so strong, and it welcomes new international talent – as do the business, government and finance sectors.  This is why Wellington can be a very good choice of destination for relocating professionals migrating to New Zealand under the skilled migrant visa categories.

What’s the Lifestyle Like in Wellington?

The city is practically surrounded by water and a great deal has been made of the harbours, beaches and waterways so that they are accessible and usable, fun and an asset to Wellington.  The city has also been revamped and there is now a café on every corner, and the nightlife on offer is good too!

Thanks to the presence of so many arty individuals in Wellington the city has a really unique flair, and it’s an attractive place to live.

Wellington certainly has all the conveniences and luxuries of a major international city too – but because of its compact nature it can feel very homely and as stated, more like a village!  You are likely to bump into colleagues from work and acquaintances from your neighbourhood when you pop into a bar, a restaurant or when walking or mountain biking in the city’s green belt.  For newly arrived expats this means that it can be very easy to integrate, and you can quickly feel at home living and working in Wellington.

If you’re into sports there are many on offer – water sports are of course hugely popular simply because of the proximity everyone has to so much water!  From sea kayaking to surfing, from sailing to rowing you can try your hand at anything!  Rugby and cricket are played in the parks, and because it’s such a short drive to get out into the country, a great deal of life for Wellington’s residents is enjoyed outside.

It’s fair to say that those who live in Wellington value their social life highly, and so great emphasis is placed on enjoying life as opposed to just working for a living!  Finally, because the way the city is laid out makes everything and everywhere very easily accessible, it’s a commonly considered fact in Wellington that nowhere and nothing is further than 10 minutes away!

Are There any Downsides to Living in New Zealand’s Capital City?

Nowhere is perfect – and Wellington does have a couple of quirky issues that you need to be aware of before you commit to your new life in the city.  The first is the fact that it can be very windy particularly in the winter when gale force winds have been known to rip through downtown.  The newer city development plans take this into account and planners have been careful not to exacerbate the problem by building too many high buildings in close proximity to avoid a wind tunnel effect.

However, there is no getting away from the wind in Wellington when it blows.  It means that you won’t ever need an umbrella (it’ll get blown away), and you will have to learn to be less precious about perfect hair!  The wind is caused as weather systems move across from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean via the Cook Strait on which Wellington sits.

The other negative relates to the fault lines on which Wellington sits.  It’s been quite a while since the city had a major earthquake, but as we saw in 2010, New Zealand can have big quakes and they can cause some damage.

Thankfully all new buildings in the city adhere to international standards for earthquake proofing!  And some older buildings were demolished and rebuilt to ensure they could withstand a quake following a large quake that hit in the 1930s in Napier.

If you can live with these two negatives, you can have an extremely high quality of life in Wellington, in a city that has a very warm, friendly feel, and where there is excellent nightlife, fantastic café culture, a great arts scene and plenty of job prospects on offer too.

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