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5 Things to Consider Before Moving to A Small Town in New Zealand

By · April 19 2022
5 Things to Consider Before Moving to A Small Town in New Zealand

The pandemic has raised a lot of questions for people around New Zealand. Now that many people have more flexibility around where they can work, does it make sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars to live in a major metropolitan centre?

In 2020, 12,600 Auckland residents migrated to other parts of New Zealand - the biggest shift in internal migration that year.

There’s no denying that life in Auckland (or any other major centre) is expensive. But is moving somewhere smaller worth it?

The money factor

Can moving to a small town to save you money? Yes and no.

Workers in larger cities are paid more because of the higher cost of living. While you’ll get paid more if you live in Wellington and Auckland, rent, groceries and other factors are generally more expensive

You'll need to crunch the numbers to figure out whether you’ll save money by moving to a small town. Calculate:

  • Your estimated weekly pay
  • The average rent for the region
  • Any extra factors like buying a car

Many people forget that taking public transport cuts down your living costs. A lot of smaller towns in New Zealand don’t have reliable transport systems so you may need to purchase a car. As well as the initial cost of the car, you’ll need to add the cost of petrol and maintenance to your monthly budget.

The job factor

Before you move, consider whether it will be easy to find a job and move up in your career (if this is something you’re interested in). These towns and cities have large enough job markets to support a wide range of industries:

  • Napier
  • Hastings
  • Dunedin
  • Palmerston North
  • Nelson
  • Invercargill
  • Rotorua

If you are thinking of moving to a smaller town, like Whanganui, Gisborne or Blenheim, it's good to find a job before you commit to moving. While you’ll get paid less the cost of living will be significantly lower.

The community factor

When moving cities, keep in mind that you will also leave behind your community. New Zealand is an increasingly diverse country, but some small towns might not have the facilities to make your life feel complete. Before you decide to move, do some research into the following:

  • Churches and religious communities
  • Schools (private/public/alternative education)
  • Community facilities you might use
  • Sport and leisure facilities

If you regularly attend a church of a particular denomination, moving to a small town could mean a loss of connection to your faith. Or, if you’re interested in alternative education, you might find a lack of options for schooling your kids.

Thinking about these elements of your life ahead of time will ensure you make an informed decision that goes beyond just saving money.

The culture factor

Moving to a small town can be great for your bank account. Not only because rent and groceries are generally cheaper, but there are fewer ways to spend money. This can be both good and bad.

If you enjoy shopping in department stores or bar hopping, there could be fewer opportunities to do this in a small town. However, small towns are never dull once you know how the locals spend their time. You might find that with fewer options for entertainment, your family spends more time together, and you grow closer to your loved ones.

Many small towns in New Zealand have excellent access to the outdoors. Kids grow up with a greater sense of resilience if they are allowed to engage in adventurous play.

The friendship factor

Making friends in a small town can be particularly hard. In a city, it’s easy to find like-minded people that share your passions, no matter how niche they are. In a small town, you’ll have to put in more effort.

Here are some ways you can meet friends in a small town:

  • Join as many community groups as you can to get to know people
  • Use Meetup.com to find existing groups you might be interested in
  • Join a local sports club like rugby, tennis, badminton or netball
  • Talk to local workers and introduce yourself when you’re out shopping
  • Start a routine, like going to the same cafe every Saturday for brunch
  • Find Facebook Groups for activities or events in your new town

While saving money is one of the benefits of moving to a small town, there are many factors you should consider before deciding to shift. You don’t have to worry about finding a mover you can trust. We have a wide range of movers at Wise Move that will help you transport nearly anything, anywhere in New Zealand.

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