Why Is New Zealand an Underrated OFW Destination?

Ever since the “Lord of the Rings” movie franchise took off, the island nation of New Zealand has been idealized as a magical place, figuratively speaking. With its vast expanses of green mountains, rollicking hills, and lush farmlands, it isn’t difficult to imagine it as the habitat of mythical beings like hobbits, elves, and fairies.

But despite that, Filipinos aren’t exactly lining up to move here, even with the immigration crisis in the US and the growing xenophobia in the UK (Thanks a lot, Brexit). New Zealand isn’t nearly as far and its economy and overall culture boosted the country all the way to the no. 1 spot on the list of most desirable countries to live in last year, so why isn’t it more popular among OFW’s?

Let’s take a closer look:

1. Immigration Difficulties.

Immigration Difficulties
Image Credit: Council on Foreign Relations

Enrico Dela Vega’s story is considered a cautionary tale for many aspiring migrants to New Zealand. Basically, he was a dairy farm worker who got caught up in working visa woes for three months and was unable to provide for his family within the said period as a result.

While it’s true that New Zealand has stringent regulations in place when it comes to immigration and visa application, the process will be easier now that the country has a high demand for migrants.

Back in 2015, the Philippines and New Zealand also finalized a pact called “Arrangement on the Principles and Controls on the Recruitment and Protection of Filipino Workers in New Zealand,”  which sought to make the hiring process for Filipinos in NZ fairer and more transparent.

The annual 100 working holiday slots for Filipinos pondering a move to New Zealand certainly counts as an incentive too.

2. High Cost of Living.

High Cost of Living

The low cost of living in the Philippines makes it a retirement haven for Aussies and other expats from industrialized countries seeking more bang for their 401(k) bucks.

Since they usually have higher taxes, basic necessities like food and transportation are more expensive in Western countries. A McDonald’s cheeseburger meal with regular fries and drink would cost only a little more than Php100 in the Philippines, but its price tag would double in New Zealand.

Getting on the MRT or LRT in Manila, for instance, would only set you back by a maximum of Php15 for a one-way ticket, but doing the same in NZ is equivalent to Php108.

Still, bear in mind that the high cost of living in NZ is offset by your increased purchasing power. And those high taxes coming out of your wages? They happen to be the ones paying for the high quality of the country’s public services (e.g., trains and healthcare), so you at least see where your taxes go (*cough*unlike here*cough*).

3. Tiny Existing Population of OFW’s.

Compared to the burgeoning Filipino population in nearby Australia, OFW’s in New Zealand amount to only 1% of the total populace.

That might sound lonely, but remember that you only need two Filipinos to form a club and NZ has more than a thousand times that. The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand also happens to be very proactive in fostering a strong sense of community for the OFW’s here as they regularly hold events like concerts and forums where homesick Filipinos can meet and establish their own networks.

4. Cultural Misconceptions (i.e., “New Zealand is boring.”).

Cultural Misconceptions

I remember hearing rumors about the shopping malls in New Zealand closing before 6 pm and about there being more cows than people. Now, I don’t know about the cows, but I do know that while New Zealand might not be the world’s party central, you certainly won’t run out of amazing things to do here.

As with Australia, New Zealand offers a lot of outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, running, sailing, and even rolling down a hill in a gigantic plastic ball (yes, really). And the food! Ah, the food!

Thanks to all the green fields in the country, you’ll never want for high-quality meats like beef or lamb. The country’s position in the midst of the ocean also means you’ll always have access to fresh seafood like king prawns and scallops.

5. Employment Opportunities Mostly in Construction Industry.

Employment Opportunities Mostly in Construction Industry

The city of Christchurch was struck by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake sometime in 2011, thus creating a huge and urgent need for migrant construction workers to help the community rebuild.

Now, construction work isn’t the most appealing for many Filipinos out there since it’s dirty and can be dangerous. However, the pay is certainly quite attractive at about Php540 per hour (and that’s just the minimum wage).

Furthermore, because the need for construction workers is so urgent, applicants will probably have an easier time migrating to New Zealand in response to the demand. So, if you have plans of moving your entire family over later on, this ought to make the process a lot smoother.

At first glance, New Zealand might not seem as exciting as countries like the US or Australia. On the other hand, as this article has shown, if you’re looking for peace of mind, a great place for your kids to grow up in, and relative stability in an increasingly and maddeningly precarious world, NZ’s pretty hard to beat.

A Definitive Guide to Reaching the Bay of Islands

With a whopping total of 144 islands and secluded bays, the Bay of Islands proves to be one of New Zealand’s premier maritime park. A beaming ray of adventure awaits as you travel to the Bay of Islands. You can travel by air, sea, and land to get there.  

For people who want to maximize their time, the smartest option is to travel via plane. Begin by searching for an ideal flight operated by the Air New Zealand. Worry not about breaking the bank as their fares are surprisingly affordable.

It is not uncommon to spot a one-way fare for as low as NZ$69 (about PHP2,490). So, sit back and relax as a passenger of a 40-minute to 3-hour flight from the north of Auckland. Witness the  picturesque views between the Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula while you are up there.

Image Credit: Nacho Libre

Embarking on a deep sea voyage is another viable option! Savor the beauty of the area by boarding a cruise, yacht, or kayak. Boat cruises are popular among the tourists. You can easily choose a boat cruise that suits your preferences.

For instance, an OFW seeking an action-packed tour can discover the services of “Rock Overnight Cruise“. Fun activities such as target shooting, dusk fishing, night kayaking, snorkelling, and island exploring await you at the Rock.

Bay of Islands

Alternatively, you may select a smaller vessel from the Coastal Kayakers. Coastal Kayakers offers tours and rentals. You will be excited about the tour as it takes you on a journey to Waitangi River, Haruru Falls, and other parts of the Bay of Islands. This is a good idea for a first date.

Your options by land include riding the tours or driving your vehicle. There are numerous bus companies that travel from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. For tourists who want to stretch their dollar, this is a more affordable option than flying. Popular tour buses include GreatSights, Mana Bus, Nakedbus, and Stray.

Let us focus on independent driving. Choose to drive around the Tapeka Point to enter a maritime adventure playground of penguins, gannets, whales, and etc. You may also explore the Bay’s subtropical rainforest by foot.

It is important to stress that driving in this part of New Zealand is not an easy task. So, please be safe and remain on the left side of the road.

Bay of Islands
Image Credit: Hayley Newton

All these and more are in store for you, once you arrived in the captivating “Bay of Islands”.

Visitor’s Information

Phone: +64 9 402 7730
Website: https://www.bayofislandsinformation.co.nz/
Email: info@bayofislandsinformation.co.nz

3 Opportunities for Filipinos Worth Looking Into in New Zealand

Much like Australia, New Zealand is known for its abundance of natural beauty and opportunities for Filipino migrants. At an estimated 40,000, the population of Filipino New Zealanders (or “KiwiPinos,” as they are sometimes dubbed), might pale in comparison to Australia’s 172,000 Pinoys, but this hasn’t stopped the former from flourishing in their adoptive land.

And with New Zealand’s growing clamor for migrants, it’s clear that this trend is here to stay. So, if you’re mulling over the idea of migrating here, let’s take a look at the options available to you:

1. Scholarships.

Image Credit: Lincoln University

All of NZ’s universities happen to be listed among the world’s top 500. They collectively rank the 7th best when it comes to science programs and 3,500 Filipinos were recorded as attendees in 2015 alone.

Best of all, the country’s ambassador to the Philippines announced the availability of 24 postgraduate scholarships to Filipino applicants every year.

These scholarships are offered to Filipino scholars, especially those hailing from the Moro and Lumad tribes, and are rooted in three sectors that are highly relevant to the Philippines: agricultural industries, disaster risk management, and renewable energy.

Interested? Check out this link to find out more.

2. Working Holidays.

Working Holidays
Image Credit: 123RF

Recently, New Zealand had its Working Holiday Visa Applications for Filipinos.

If you want to see New Zealand in all its splendour while exploring your career options in this island nation, their working holiday visa is right up your alley because it will allow you to do both.

With over 100 slots open exclusively to Pinoy applicants every year, this visa is certainly worth checking out online if you want to see what NZ has for you while holding off on any long-term commitments (i.e., longer than 1 year).

3. Jobs on Demand.

Jobs on Demand
Image Credit: New Zealand Now

Now, if you’ve already decided to make New Zealand your home for the foreseeable future, looking for sustainable employment is the next logical step.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of job openings for all sorts of skilled workers from the Philippines. Sectors like agriculture and forestry, construction, engineering, education, transport, and hospitality and tourism, for instance, constantly have vacancies that urgently need to be filled.

There are two things to bear in mind, however, if you wish to apply for any of the spots on the skilled occupations list. One is that you should only apply through accredited recruitment agencies to ensure your safety and security.

Another is that NZ companies appreciate initiative in applicants. Taking a moment to read up on the things that Kiwi employers are looking for could only be good for you thus.

New Zealand has often been described as a paradise of sorts, but it doesn’t mean that getting here would be a walk in the park either.

You would still need to exhibit a fair amount of patience, perseverance, and resourcefulness to make it, but that’s certainly a small price to pay for you and your family to experience the delights of this remarkable country.

Introducing New Zealand’s Iconic Milford Sound

New Zealand’s Milford Sound wears its luster beside the likes of Australia’s Sydney Opera House, London’s Big Ben, and Paris’ Eiffel Tower. It is one of those sights that will immediately insert a lump in your throat and take your breath away!

Located within the Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound was initially avoided by European explorers such as James Cook. They overlook the narrow path ahead as it seems to not lead anywhere else. Some of them are frightened to venture too close to the steep mountainsides as the wind conditions can prevent escape.

The Maori people, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, were believed to have discovered the Milford Sound to collect precious pounamu (i.e., jade). They used traditional pathways such as the Milford Track more than 1,000 years ago.

Maori people

Tu-te-raki-whanoa was the divine figure who shaped the Fiordland Coast according to the Maori legend. He carved the towering rock walls with his weapons of choice – a powerful karakia (i.e., prayer) and a trusty te hamo (i.e., adze).

Despite how many years had pass since its discovery, countless visitors are still eager to see the legendary land for themselves. Milford Sound receives approximately 500,000 visitors each year! Some of them arrive by foot using the Milford Track, while others arrive by multitude of bus tours. Worry not about overcrowding as individuals seem to be miniscule compared to the vastness of nature.

Milford Sound is the “poster-boy” of New Zealand’s South Island for significant reasons. People were captivated by its picturesque roads, well-marked trails, and tranquil cruises that interplayed with transparent waters, temperate rainforests, and steep mountains. These are that the things that make the place ideal to hike, sails, bike, paddle, or fly on.


The boat cruises makes you experience the beauty of Milford Sound in the most spectacular way possible. It is my cup of tea! However, you may try diving or kayaking if you are more adventurous. Another exhilarating path to take is the Milford Track. The track starts at the Northern end of the vivid Lake Te Anau. It conclusion leads you to a boat trip from Sandy Point to the Milford Sound quay.

As a friendly suggestion, visit this awe-inspiring spot from March to April as well as December to enjoy the decent weather and fewer crowds. May you treasure your journey to the iconic Milford Sound!