Kiwi April

by Dominic - 04/04/2013 16:50:00

April is supposed to be a transitional month, as the season shakes off the last vestiges of winter and basks in the nascent sunlight of spring.

Why it's still chucking it down with snow and freezing then is anyone's guess, just be glad you're not here to witness it.

April is a great month to be in New Zealand, perfect for walks alongside rugged coastlines and brisk swims in idyllic lakes.

If that's not your cup of tea though, here's a look at some great stuff to do this month:

Jazz & Blues Festival - Christchurch - 3rd to the 7th

Jazzy

Whether you're an ardent Miles Davis fan or just like the fantastic ramblings of one of the most expressive forms of music, the New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival is a five day dedication to the two music forms.

King of the Bays - Auckland - 6th

If it's getting a little too cool for you to venture out in anything less than 3 layers or you're of the persuasion that sitting warm and comfortably while yelling at people is an infinitely better prospect, the King of the Bays race could just be for you.

While there are technically four races on on Saturday, it's the 'I'm Going Long' that we're all turning up for when hundreds of slightly over-enthusiastic people in skin tight gear wade into the waters to race, for almost 3km.

Get down there and get telling them to 'stop slacking and try harder'.

Arrowtown Autumn Festival - 12th to the 21st

Autumn is supposed to be the season of colour; in the UK this translates to yet another season of grey misery, but this time with some wet leaves slapping you in the face.

In New Zealand however, autumn does what it says on the tin and nowhere is better at showing that off than Arrowtown.

Originally a gold rush town, the first settles in the area planted deciduous trees, meaning every year the whole area is unveiled as a kaleidoscopic marvel of green and brown and every shade, hue and hint in between.

The Arrowtown Autumn Festival is a 10 day celebration with over 50 individual events including exhibitions, street theatre and parades.

Comedy Festival - Nationwide - from the 26th

A man walks into a bar, and no
one laughs.

Since the Flight of the Conchords made their mark on the world stage, New Zealand's comedy scene is going from strength to strength as everyone clambers to see the next big thing.

Who, or what, that big thing could be is a mystery, but picking up tickets for a few shows at the NZ International Comedy Festival is a great way to find out.

Festival of Colour - Wanaka - 16th to the 21st

With such natural beauty in abundance, New Zealand doesn't need to do much to make anything an impressive sight to behold. The Festival of Colour is a biennial celebration of plenty of things like dance and exhibitions and sports but its real charm is the back drop.

Set against the Southern Lakes you could have a naked supermodel arm wrestling a T Rex and you'd be asking them to duck down to get that lovely tree in the background in the shot.

2013 New Zealand International Film Festival - Auckland and Wellington - from the 18th

With the nights cooling down, you could even be beginning to get slightly bored with staring at the hills and mountains. If that's you, try and look in another direction, there's a view over there as well.

Otherwise, you could give the NZ IFF a go.

Based in Wellington and Auckland a whole array of great films are on, from classics like Lawrence of Arabia and Guys and Dolls, to NZ releases of Oscar nominated films like Kon-Tiki and The ABC's of Death.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Zealand WHV holder starts Christchurch campaign

by Dominic - 21/01/2013 11:45:00

Christchurch is still recovering
from the earthquake 2 years ago.

A New Zealand Working Holiday Visa holder has started a campaign aimed at bringing smiles back to Christchurch after the devastating earthquake in 2011 which ruined large parts of the city and cost 185 lives.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island on 22 February, 2011. The earthquake razed significant parts of the country's second biggest city and triggered a mass exodus of people leaving to find work elsewhere.

The city is still to be fully rebuilt after the devastating effects and many Christchurch employers have struggled to find the necessary labour to contribute in the work.

All in all, Christchurch residents have had few reasons to smile.

But working holiday maker Terry Chung is hoping to change all that with his own personal project Smile for Christchurch.

Terry has been in New Zealand on his working holiday from Taiwan since March last year, he has taken pictures from 14 different cities around the country but feels his work in Christchurch is the most important after seeing so many sad faces around the once joyous city.

"I decided to collect smiles for the city," said Terry. "I hope it can bring some happiness."

Terry has been spending his days off from work taking photos of passersby he asks to smile while he busks with his ukulele in the city centre.

He has collected over 700 pictures so far but hopes to reach 1,000 when he will try to set up an exhibition in the city.

You can view Terry's pictures on his Facebook page.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

What to do in the New Year in New Zealand

by Dominic - 03/01/2013 16:47:00

New Zealand is once again riding high on the back of Peter Jackson's hard work; The Hobbit is number one at the box office and everyone everywhere is fantasising about a trip to Middle Earth.

January is one of the best times of the year in New Zealand, the sun is out, the temperatures are high and the beaches, mountains, hills and other breathtaking landscapes are all screaming come on in/up/down, the water/weather/wine is fine.

If you're in NZ this month, here's some of the best things to do and see.

David Ferrer, twice defending
champion at the Heineken Open.

Tennis - Auckland - 7th to the 12th

In New Zealand's biggest men's tennis events, some of the game's biggest names and biggest hitters descend on Auckland to get their eye in in one of the final warm up events before the Australian Open kicks off in Melbourne.

World No. 5 David Ferrer returns to The Heineken Open as the defending champion for the second year in a row but German duo Philipp Kohlschreiber and Tommy Haas stand in his way.

See food and eat it - Auckland - 26th to the 28th

While you might be full to bursting after the Christmas period, by the end of the month you might be starting to feel a bit peckish again.

And what better way to sate that hunger than with some of the best sea food the world has to offer in one of the most idyllic harbours in the world?

The Auckland Seafood Festival does just that when dozens upon dozens of chefs and caterers as well as musicians, beer brewers and wineries congregate in Halsey Wharf to offer up a delectable delight.

Music, in Parks - Auckland - Various dates

While the Music in Parks festival may not be the most imaginatively titled of music festivals, that doesn't mean it won't be worth seeing. With gigs and shows all over the place and every weekend this month, you'd be hard pressed to not to find something you’ll like.

Alright mate, just go home

More music in more parks - Christchurch - 17th to the 27th

Busking isn't respected very often, after all there's less quality control dictating who can stand on a street corner trying to get a tune out of a dying cat than there is on your average Simon Cowell-produced Victorian freak show.

However, once a year the city of Christchurch decides to just that. The World Buskers Festival returns for its 20th year this year featuring a plethora of international acts showing the best street skills (no pick pocketing or knife crime) on offer.

Laneway Festival - Auckland - 28th

At the end of the month sees one of the most popular new festivals stop off in Auckland.

The Laneway Festival is a multi-national tour which features some of the biggest names in new music including Alt J and Bat for Lashes.

Tickets sell out quick so get yours fast.

Luminate Festival - Canaan Downs - 30th

The Luminate Festival is not your average festival. Sure it might have plenty of bands and acts on stage to entertain you while you drink yourself into a stupor but there is also a great focus on celebration and sustainability.

Celebrated on the date of an ancient summer festival, Luminate Festival is ideal for those who want a little more than mudstained hangovers and nightmarish recollections from their festival experience.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Nearly New Year in New Zealand - Events in December

by Dominic - 05/12/2012 16:05:00

It's just turned December in the UK but with time differences, International Date Lines and life on the other side of the world, who knows, it could be New Years Eve right now in New Zealand.

With that in mind, you'll need some party ideas.

Music Festivals

Music festivals provide a good enough excuse to get blackout drunk whenever, it doesn't have to be a special occasion. However, when some of New Zealand's biggest and best just so happen to coincide with New Year's Eve - the biggest party night of the year - we genuinely debated whether to include these through fear of getting some angry calls from some bereaving parents.

But it's your life and you do what you want with it, if you want to choose to see who can down the bottle of Jager the fastest, find out why you need to keep all hands and feet inside the carriage at ALL times or how high a flame you can jump over - that's up to you.

Rhythm and Vines - Waikohika Estate Gisborne - 29th to 31st

Celebrating its 10th year, 30,000 people are expected to rock up to the Rhythm and Vines Festival where for three days, some of the best acts from around the world including N.E.R.D., Pendulum and Calvin Harris will hit the stages over the course of three days leading up to the big one itself.

Coromandel Gold - Whitianga - 30th to 31st

If you like your festivals to be beach side, then perhaps the Coromandel Gold Festival is more for you. Another three day festival leading up to NYE, acts on show include Shapeshifter, Home Brew and the mighty De La Soul.

La De Da - Martinborough - 30th to 31st

Another great festival featuring many of the same acts as Coromandel Gold, La De Da is also located in prime wine country, so after you've had your fill of the cheapest booze you can find at the festival, you can head out to the wineries and vineyards of the region and cleanse your palette.

Other Christmassy Stuff

It's not even real

Advent Calendar - Auckland - until the 25th

If you had parents that loved you, chances are you were receiving advent calendars until well after it was technically age appropriate, but that didn't stop you opening all the doors before the 10th of December anyway.

But if you're away from home this year on your working holiday you won't be getting one (unless you've got parents that really love you, probably a little too much) so head on down to Silo Park in Auckland for the Wynyard Quarter Advent Calendar when a door of the giant 12 metre high advent calendar will be opened to reveal a lovely Christmas scene.

Christmas in the Park - Auckland - 8th

Everyone knows that Father Christmas was originally green until Coca-Cola came along and decided red was a better look and he's been that way ever since. Not only that, but Coca-Cola has also become one of the best enduring hints that Christmas is on its way ("holidays are coming, holidays are coming...") so it is with barely any bitterness that we recommend the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park festival this weekend.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Backpacker warns of working holiday visa scam

by Dominic - 19/11/2012 12:11:00

A German backpacker who believes she was scammed by her employers has taken to the media to ensure others are aware of unscrupulous employers.

New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

When it comes to working in rural
NZ, knowing your rights can be
essential.

When the 24-year-old woman, who did not want to be named despite having returned to Germany, quit her Marlborough based vineyard job over a dissatisfaction with her pay, she found certain charges deducted from her payslip which she believes were unwarranted.

"They didn't want to pay fair money," said the woman, explaining that her employer charged her a NZ$100 (£50) 'bond' for 'tools deduction' which was not refunded when she finished work.

"My contractor cut money from my pay as a bond and said that they would pay it back when I quit.

"When I and a few other girls quit, we gave our bangs and tools back and have never seen our money again,

"We wrote plenty of emails, their answer was that they don't cut a bond from pay, but the problem is that I can see it on my pay slip.

"Most backpackers don't know their rights so that's why it's easy for contractors to do it."

While this particular backpacker may have only lost out on NZ$100, she highlights a common mistake among the backpacker community: when it comes to work, backpackers rarely know their rights.

Jenny Espiner, visa processing manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says a working holiday is the time to let your hair down, but perhaps not your guard.

"A naive approach to employment rights combined with an optimistic attitude and a desire for adventure and new things typical to a working holiday can make for a nasty combination if you're not careful," said Ms Espiner.

"With many farms out in rural locations, unscrupulous employers can demand unfair payments and leave you without a viable alternative."

The Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry refuses to comment on specific cases but claims complaints overall are down as more people become aware of scams and New Zealand immigration authorities clamp down on employers exploiting their workers.

"Make sure you know your rights by checking the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry site and if you ever have any doubts about a job offer or work location, either contact the ministry or you can contact Visa Bureau at cardhelp@visabureau.com," said Ms Espiner.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Things to do in New Zealand in October

by Dominic - 05/10/2012 10:37:00

While coats are being dusted off and last year's fashions are being goggled at in British wardrobes this month, on the other side of the world in New Zealand spring is just getting underway.

And when New Zealand does a season, it's not quite like anywhere else. Spring in the UK consists of more weeds popping up and more pigeons having a go as the rain gets slightly warmer.

In New Zealand it's an explosion of colour, of activity, of breathtaking scenery emerging from clouds, of dreamlike lakes thawing and when the kiwis come out to play.

So if you're in New Zealand this October, you'll be looking for some stuff to do:

Definition: bad ass.

Roller-skating - Auckland - until the 13th

You may have thought roller-skating's popularity died a death a long time ago and was strictly the domain of greased up guys in thongs and not much else skimming the beach sides of California, but you'd be wrong.

The World Roller Figure Skating Championships is the best example of a sport so graceful it makes swans blush. If you're having a post-Olympic Games crash that the new football season and whatnot is failing to abate, this could be ideal.

South Island Masters Games - Canterbury 6th - 14th

And keeping things in a sporty frame of mind, the South Islands Masters Games offers a week-long festival ram packed full of professionals tearing each other to pieces in all sorts of different sports and even more amateurs taking even sports far too seriously.

Head down there to watch some blood, sweat and tears, not necessarily in that order and probably all three from some individuals.

Poker - Nationwide - All month

If you like the idea of a bit of healthy competition, but aren't into the healthy part of sports and outdoors, perhaps a bit of gambling is for you.

The National Pub Poker League gets into full flow in October and matches can be found in pubs across New Zealand.

The Visa Bureau strictly advocates a purely gamesmanship, in-it-for-the-lark innocent approach to gambling so if you want to go all in with a pair of 2's and face losing your flight home, or perhaps a finger or two to the knuckle, you can't blame us.

"No really, it was funny, you
probably had to be there"

Comedy - Auckland - 8th, 15th and 29th

If the prospect of a friendly night in the local playing cards genuinely does present a threat of either bankruptcy or grievous bodily harm to you, perhaps another alcohol infused pursuit is for you.

Throughout October, every Monday will be the Mocktober Raw Comedy Night where comedy's old guard mixes with as many as 10 new faces sweating, panicking and dry hurling their way through two minute routines about wobbly trolley wheels and Facebook pokes.

Nelson Arts Festival - Nelson - 12th - 28th

For the past 18 years, the Nelson Arts Festival has been putting on hundreds of plays, musicals, bands, comedians and everything else you can think of on a not-for-profit basis.

The festival also includes the Nelson Masked Parade when thousands of people hit the streets masked up, creating a mugger's dream scenario and a nightmare like state for the fuzz.

What doesn't sound fun about that?

Auckland Marathon - Auckland - 28th

And finally we have one of the biggest and best events in New Zealand throughout the entire year: the Auckland Marathon.

It doesn't matter if you've not spent the last six months getting up at four, forcing down some raw eggs and pounding the pavement in training every day, get down to the route with some sugar and salt-laden foods and shout encouragement at the thousands upon thousands of runners as they pass to try a bit harder.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Seasonal September - Things to do this month in New Zealand

by Dominic - 03/09/2012 16:20:00

So while winter edges its icy fingers around the corner in the UK, it's only just beginning to recede in New Zealand, meaning that thanks to a landscape with more beaches and mountains and fields and lakes than Peter Jackson could swing a camera at, there's all sorts of cross-seasonal fun to be had in New Zealand this September.

Who can tell whether this guy is
having the time of his life or is
right now regretting not stopping
to smell the roses once in a while?

Freeskiing - Wanaka - until the 8th

If watching idiots hurtling down a giant rock strapped to two pieces of lubricated plastic while protected only by a thin layer of Lycra doesn't quite promise enough danger for you, try freeskiing.

The purpose in regular skiing is to stay on the ground with your skis kept parallel to each other; the purpose of freeskiing is to spend as little time on the ground as possible with your skis going all over the shop.

The North Face Freeski Open of New Zealand is one of the largest events of its kind in the world and is now in its eighth year.

While the event is open to amateur skiers, we recommend that you simply stand under the ramps and 'oooh' and 'aaah' as some crazy people contort themselves over your heads.

There's also bound to be some pretty spectacular crashes.

Ice Skating - Napier - 13th to the 17th

While New Zealand might be easing its way into a spring mood with longer nights and warmer mornings, if you're British, you know what September really means. It means get the heating turned on, the kettle boiled and the Christmas tree up.

It could be hard for you to fight your Northern Hemisphere roots while all the Kiwis around you start whipping out the flip-flops, so don't. Embrace the change and head down to the Harcourts Winter Wonderland Ice Rink later this month to get all your nostalgic homesickness out of you so you can just appreciate not being at home, where it's almost definitely raining.

Gig time

Old school gigs are the best: a chance to revisit your youth, pluck out some old albums, dress like it's 1982 and get some body poppin' done.

OK, so you might not want to embarrass yourself that much but if you're up for some old school flavours this month and you're in Auckland, head on down to the Bacco Room on the 7th to see Photek, one of the pioneers of the Drum n Bass genre, tear it up like these young whippersnappers wouldn't believe.

Alternatively, Bone Thugs N Harmony will be playing Studio on the 28th. One of Hip Hop's original and best duos, get down there for some ultra high speed rapping fun.

Fringe fever - Hamilton - 20th to the 6th October

Fringe festivals are where it's at. You might not see any big names or famous shows, but there's always plenty of names and shows of the future on offer, giving you ample opportunity to get on your future high horse about how you 'saw them when they were good'. The 16 day Hamilton 2012 Fringe is no exception.

With plenty of comedy, music, film and theatre shows, as well as just abundant opportunity to get drunk, what more could you want?

People will tell you you'll never
be able to afford one of these,
but don't let anyone ever tell
you you can't ruin a party on one.

Ships Ahoy - Auckland - 27th to the 30th

And speaking of opportunities to get drunk, where else better, or cooler even, to get drunk than on a boat? The Auckland On Water 2012 Boat Show held in Viaduct Harbour will be so full of rich people boasting about how rich they are that it seems almost insulting not go to down there and drunkenly insult them. What's the point in them having ill informed stereotypes about the 'youth of today' if you're not going to go and reinforce them every now and then?

Or if you're rich enough you could just buy a boat and change teams. Bring your own beer (and cotton Dockers). Unfortunately it's not likely that there'll be any spectacular crashes.

Mountain biking - Taupo - 15th

You never forget how to ride a bike, that's what they say. Let's see how quickly you forget when you're flying down hills scattered with very solid trees, in the dark.

That's right, the Jamis Bicycles Day-Night Thriller's main event - the Rocky Mountain relay - is a 12 hour relay event where teams of up to five take it in turns to ride down hills as fast as possible without becoming a kerplunk ball.

While we would love it if some of our lovely Visa Bureau clients managed to win, we think watching again is the safer option.

Pretty awesome crashes are almost a guarantee here.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Zealand working holiday Facebook page launch

by Dominic - 24/08/2012 15:17:00

If you're going to New Zealand on a working holiday visa, you'll need a few things: people to go with and stuff to do. In short you'll need the New Zealand working holiday facebook page.

Our spanking new Facebook page dedicated to working holidays in New Zealand does exactly that, with all the answers and people to meet to make sure your working holiday in New Zealand is as good as possible.

We at the Visa Bureau have been helping people escape their mothers' clutches and have the time of their lives for years and you literally can't get any further than New Zealand. If you're already a fan of our Australian Facebook page, you'll know that we at the Visa Bureau go out of our way to make sure of a few specific things:

  1. That you can go
  2. That you get there in one piece
  3. That you can meet up with other people going
  4. That you can find somewhere to stay or live throughout your trip
  5. That you can find somewhere to work
  6. That you can get the answers to any working holiday related question you might have, no matter how specific it is or how stupid you think it sounds
  7. That you can make sure that no matter where you are in the country, you're never far away from the party

Our New Zealand Working Holiday page is going to be no different, right now we have just two fans, come and join them.

You might be thinking getting back from Australia means your life is now just a nice gentle trundle downhill forever but it doesn't have to be that way.

Come and join us and make sure the best year of your life is only the best year of your life, so far.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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