Working Holiday New Zealand 2019/2020 – The Preparation


(Note: This post is not complete and I will constantly update it with more research information. I’m publishing it earlier so that I can find/gather more people(strangers) that are going over to NZ this year. Feel free to email me ( or IG DM me @flyhoneystars so we can share information! Should the response be good, I’m thinking of creating a group chat as well but let’s see how things go!)

Have updated my actual experience in orange below (Last Update: 19 July 2019).

Join the Telegram Chat Group for NZ Working Holiday Visa 2019/2020:

I’m a month away from my career break of the lifetime and the preparation is pretty bad; given that I had supposedly started planning since Jan this year with my first hidden page about my decision to go to NZ.

Since then, I’ve gotten no response or rejections for all the Ski Resorts that I have applied for. I guess the competition for ski jobs is real and I was perhaps too honest in my non-ability to ski/snowboard. Sad to say, I have never Ski or SnowBoard before and my plan to learn cheaply by working for a ski resort ain’t working out. This is life. Full of harsh realities and disappointments.

Jobs aside, I can look for one after I land and settle the paperwork, let me list down the number of nonsense that we have to settle before we fly.

The long list of things to settle at home

  1. Suspend my mobile line
    • I’m using Singtel and my plan is like $60 a month.
    • I can choose to suspend my line and contract by paying $20 per de/re-activation and $10/month.
      6 months x $10 + $40 = $100
    • However, by suspending your line, you will not be able to receive OTP which may be required for some credit cards/CDP trading
      So, now I have to figure out which credit cards i’ll be needing and check if they have alternative methods to OTP.
    • Update from a ‘Random Reader’ of my blog (Option only valid if you’re in Singapore)
      • Purchase a StarHub PrePaid card which enables you to enjoy data roaming in many countries (including NZ, Australia, China, Canda, Japan, Korea, and the list goes on).
      • Ensure that you do a top up (min. $10) every 90 days and this will keep your sim card active
      • This prepaid card allows you to use data overseas at reasonable rates ($10 for 1gb; valid for 28 days)
  2. Ask for an extension for signed (beauty) packages
    • Thankfully I don’t have a lot of these; just my facial for now.
    • But for many other girls, they might have manicure/hair/massage packages to clear.
  3. Ensure that you have paid for your insurance or remind yourself if you have any due payments while you’re overseas
  4. Ensure that you GIRO your bills or pre-pay them in advance
    • For my phone bills, I intend to pre-pay that $100 in advance so I don’t have to worry about late charges when I’m gone.
    • Remember to settle your income tax as well.
  5. Decide which credit card you will be utilizing and which banks you will need to do eBanking for (and ensure that you bring your token or opt for mobile app token)
    • Should you have credit cards that need an annual fee waiver, do ensure that you have someone at home to assist you with it as most banks require a call-in.
    • Note: I wanted to cancel a card from a particular bank and they offered me 3-years free annual fee waiver ^^
    • On a side note, I’m planning to depend on YouTrip for my cash withdrawal(s) and emergency spending fund when I’m overseas.
      No idea how it will go but I’ll update when I’m there.
    • Note: for online shopping websites that require 3D Secure payment, they may require SMS OTP and should you suspend your mobile line, the transaction will fail.
      I will be attempting to change my mobile number from my local number to my overseas number and I hope it works. Will be updating on this when I arrive as well.


Summary points (If you don’t want to read my complicated story above)

  • One-way on economy saver to New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch) cost 28,000 miles on Singapore Airlines
  • I booked my tickets one month prior to my departure (May for June) and it was possible as it low season; which explains the spontaneous escape Business Class promotion.
    If you’re flying spring/summer (Nov-Feb) which is the peak season, I suggest you book at least 3 to 6 months in advance.


If you’re intending to work in New Zealand, it is kind of necessary to have a local mobile number. It seems like the people/recruiters rely heavily on SMS and Phone Calls (especially for Job interviews) instead of messaging apps such as WhatsApp/Line/WeChat/KaKaoTalk.

After a lot of research and complicated calculations, I’ve decided to go with Skinny for my mobile plan.

I’m a huge user of data (my current plan in SG is 10gb/month) and I foresee myself suffering in NZ with the no/low connectivity but we shall see.

  • At $26, Skinny offers 2.5gb data and should this be insufficient, I can opt for the $36 plan for 4.5gb data.
  • There’s this thing called ‘DATA BINGE‘ where you can enjoy unlimited data for a certain amount of time! 12 hours cost $4. I really love this flexibility!
  • You can also top-up your credits using a credit card via the Skinny Mobile App (as seamless as it can get).

The best part of it all – it has a REFERRAL buddy rewards which allows you to earn $20 credits and your buddy (that you referred) will receive 4gb data!

  • Should you require a Skinny Buddy Rewards code, you can use this code: JXHZV3H and receive FREE 4GB of Rollover Data!
    Note: Only valid for a $16 or above plan and till 31 Oct 2019.

If you want more readings, you can refer to the comparison post by BackPacker Guide which is pretty comprehensive.


Once you’re done with settling your phone line, the next thing you should be doing is to set up a bank account.

You will need a bank account to apply for IRD (tax number) and without it, you will not be allowed to work and get paid.

According to ANZ’s website, you are able to register for an account (via ANZ) before arriving in NZ.

Follow the instructions here for more info.

To summarize the steps, 

(Before arriving in New Zealand)

  1. Apply for the account online (Choose between Go, Freedom and Online account)
    • I haven’t figured out if Go or Online makes more sense.
  2. Submit your documents – Visa, Passport etc.
  3. Pre-book your branch appointment (My friend in QT couldn’t get an appointment for 2 days)
  4. You can transfer funds into your account (even before you arrive)

(After reaching New Zealand)

  1. Visit the branch to activate to complete identity check.
    • Requires New Zealand Proof of address
      • My friend mentions like the Hostel/Hotel you stay in can use their letterhead to write a letter or something
    • Tax Identification number (from home country)
      • For singaporeans, it should be our NRIC
    • Copy of Passport & Visa (would be good to prepare this beforehand)

(My experience)

My host prepared a really simple letter for me. Basically it just states that me (my name) is staying at the above address. She also gave her mobile number in case the officer needed clarification. There was also a sign off by her. In addition, she provided a photocopy of her electricity bill as ‘proof’ of her address. It was a good to have but not necessarily compulsory according to the officer.

I opted for the ANZ Debit Card and you have to pay $10 annual fee per year which was deducted upon my first transaction.

Well, the best part of being on ANZ is that you will get to customize your own card for free (technically you kind of paid $10). This is an optional service and you have to request for it on your own online.

Click the link here:

They have a super long list of guidelines on what cannot be on the card which includes all copyrighted images including images of celebrities, brands and even words/phrases are not allowed! I wanted to try to see if ‘flyhoneystars’ was allowed but I decided to give up and chose a photo which I’ve taken that has a bit of meaning to me. Do note that they will take 2 days to approve your image and another 5 to 7 days for the card to be sent to you.

When making payment via EFTPOS (their version of NETS), always select chq, not savings or current. I have no idea why but that’s the way it won’t fail.

Also, their PIN is 4-digits and not 6-digits. I have no idea why too. I always thought 6-digit would have been more secure.

Information from: BackPacker Guide


Documents required

  1. Proof of a Functional New Zealand Bank Account (completed identify check) with Bank Account Number
    • Usually, banks can print out a statement for you
  2. Passport and Working Holiday Visa Application Number
  3. Tax Identification number (from home country)
  4. Register at Inland Revenue Department (IRD) website or hardcopy form
  5. Wait for your IRD number (sent to you via email/text) in 2 working days
    • I applied for mine on Wednesday and received the email on Friday!

For more in-depth information, you can refer to here.

Note: Taxes seem to be 11.95%, assuming you don’t earn more than 14,000 NZD per year.

Tax can also be refunded after 31 March every year; for the Tax Year 1st Apr – 31st March. Read more here.


I haven’t figure out the best type of insurance to purchase but here’s my analysis so far

  • Purchasing from Singapore
    • Can only buy before you fly and can only claim when you are back
      1. Single Trip Plan – can cover a maximum of 182 days – $323 on allianz bronze (after 50% discount)
        • If I intend to extend more than 6 months, I have no idea how.
        • Price is quite costly; about $400-600
      2. Annual Plan – can only cover a max of 90 days per trip – $193.20 silver or $249.08 (after discount)
        • Might not be able to claim if I don’t return to SG in 90 days.
        • Price is reasonable; about $200-300 and I can use it for other trips.
  • Purchase from New Zealand (MUST BUY 2 DAYS BEFORE YOU FLY)
    • Orbit Protect Working Holiday Insurance – 6 months @ $170 NZD (+$25.50 for baggage cover)
        • What is covered:
          • Medical expenses capped @ $250k (Excess @ $50)
          • Medical Evacuation
          • Travel Disruption
        • Not covered
          • Luggage is optional
          • Pre-existing medical is optional
          • Vehicle

  • Purchase from worldwide partners (insurance made for travelers)
    • Safety Wing @ $36.96USD per month excluding USA
      • New Start-up catered to travelers. Can purchase any time (not before you fly) and you pay your premiums on a monthly basis.
        This means that should you end your trip earlier, you don’t have to pay excess.
      • Can cover up to 12-months, and can be extended.
    • World Nomads @ $591 USD
      • Can’t remember much but their coverage is quite decent. The price tho =/

In conclusion, most people who have gone for working holiday recommend Orbit Protect as it is the most value for money *touchwood* if nothing happens.

However, I need to do my due diligence to ensure that the coverage is sufficient otherwise cause when something is too good to be true. #whatmakesmylifecomplicated

My Conclusion: I bought OrbitProtect for 6 months + annual insurance by Allianz (in case I decide to go home within 90 days) Don’t ask me why I had to buy it, I just had to =/


I’ve been procrastinating and now it is -7days and I’m panicking. Here’s my super longwinded packing list for Winter/Spring!

Things that I wish I’ve brought: more plastic bags, rubber bands, clips for sealing food. They are so environmentally friendly here that you don’t get any plastic bags. Also, more warm clothing. The coldness here is no joke.


I haven’t figure out this yet as I’m currently staying in a HelpX.

What is HelpX? It is something like woofing where you are able to get free accommodation in return for helping the host with a few hours per day, which could range from 2 to 5 hours.

My current HelpX host (will share more details after I move out) is really awesome and everyone in the house is so perfect too. For my first weekend, they invited me on a stargazing trip to a nearby town, Geraldine. Although this trip has been pre-planned even before my arrival, I still feel very touched that I could get invited. Traveling and coming to New Zealand alone is pretty tough as I won’t get to do such activities much but I’m so glad for that adventure this weekend.

When I secure my first job, I may be moving to somewhere that is more convenient to my workplace.

Right now, I’m surfing trademe like crazy for decent housing and also checking out various facebook group. It’s like finding a needle in the haystack (no idea why I’m so picky this time round) but I guess I’ll update there’s something.


I haven’t had much luck in this. Initially, the plan was that I buy a car within a week of my arrival and tomorrow is my Day 7 and I’m still car-less. On a side note, I had to rent one for my interviews tomorrow. It cost me $30 + $15 (insurance, excess $300) for one day, 24 hours. I have to return the car with full petrol tank so I’ll get a taste of how expensive driving really is tomorrow.

When buying cars, you can either choose to buy from a dealership or any random person who sells it.

Buying from dealership

When purchasing from a dealership, you kind of get slightly more credibility and there may be a chance that the dealer provides a 3-month mechanical warranty (excluding wear and tear) where you can send the car back for repair should there be anything wrong.

Most dealerships (at least for those around my area at Cashmere) deal with imported cars and this means that the cars will cost at least $5,000 as it takes about $2,000 to settle all the import and registration nonsense. The only cars the dealers could offer me under $4,000 were trade-in cars.

Speaking of which.. I was considering this car I saw on Wednesday. Did a test drive on Friday and when I contacted the dealer on Sunday, he told me that the car was sold on Saturday. He said he couldn’t help it since I did not offer a deposit ><

Buying from random person online

This is the cheaper method but you’ve got to take all the risk and the moment the money and key exchange hands, you’ve got no turning back. Anything that happens to the car, you’re on your own.

You can search via Facebook Marketplace, Facebook community or Trademe. Alternatively, you can walk around the streets and look for cars with ‘For Sale’ signage.

Despite surfing the net for like 3 weeks (Started 2 weeks prior my arrival), I’ve still not found any to my liking. I am damn picky and scaredy cat and as of now, I’m still car-less.

Sighs, the moment I start my job (hopefully), I will need a car. Someone send help.

(Update below as of 19 July):

The same dealer offered me to buy a Honda Fit for $3,990. It was a car in his inventory which was used for car rentals. Surprisingly, it was a 2007 Honda Fit with only 90k mileage. I have no idea why he suddenly decide to sell me that car but out of desperation, I did a test drive and confirmed the purchase the next day. It feels like a pretty decent deal given that it was only 12 years old and low mileage.

That being said, I did have an issue with my car. There was an acceleration jerk issue (which I googled and found that I’m not the only one with this issue). I brought the car back to the dealer 3 days later and he did a drive (need to accelerate between 40 to 70km/h) and he concluded that there was this transmission issue and did a replacement for me. The good thing about buying from a dealer was that they provide 3 months warranty – you can bring the car back if you have issues.

Seems like a common issue based on this forum:

Since the replacement of I have no idea what, my car has been pretty decent. Let’s hope that it will bring me to far places safely~~


(To be updated)

(30 June: Going for 2 interviews tomorrow. Wish me luck.)

Update below as of 19 July:

From the previous 2 interviews, I accepted the job in a larger plant nursery (the other was a small family business) which is pretty massive. I think at any one point (given that it is winter), there’s about 20 to 40 staff working?

Anyway, you can read more about my job hunting in my other post –


That’s the end of my preparation post. Don’t forget to check out the other posts I’ve written in my Working Holiday New Zealand category!

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  • Hey! Really inspiring to go for a working holiday. Just a suggestion for your OTPs, suspend ur Singtel mobile line and get a star hub prepaid. Transfer all your otp to this number instead as they have free roaming in NZ, and ensure there is balance in your account and renew the number every 6months. For the credits inside, u can use it to activate data packages which can be used in SG/ NZ/ other countries. Other Sg telcos might also work, just need to check if there’s a charge for roaming. Enjoy and look forward to reading more of your travels! 🙂

    • Hey! Thanks for your suggestion. I didn’t think about it actually but I guess I’m gonna try it out since I have a spare Starhub prepaid lying around.
      Thanks for reading! Hope you will find them useful some day~~