Where to settle in New Zealand


When you apply as a Skilled Migrant to New Zealand, one of the questions normally asked by immigration is your choice of destination. This is an important part of the assessment process wherein the case officer measures up your knowledge and familiarity of the region as this is an indicator of your capability to settle.

In recent years, there have been steps to incentivise migration to places outside of Auckland but ultimately, the decision of settlement city will depend on the employment opportunities in your field. For Filipinos, the top three cities is centered on the most populated regions – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. For this article, I will breakdown the pros and cons of living in each city, having spent significant time on each.


PROS: 2 million+ population offers greater employment opportunities. Busiest airport offers international connectivity for businesses. Most main offices of NZ companies are based here.

CONS: Housing shortage causing high cost of rent and living expenses. Places too spread apart and poor public transport requires you to buy a car, often one for you and your partner. Crime and burglary are statistically higher.


PROS: Compact city centre, virtually any point is walkable. Average salary is statistically higher. Centre of government where jobs are more stable. More international flavour with cultural events all year round. Bus and train network more reliable.

CONS: One of the windiest cities in the world. Lower population of around 300,000 offers less jobs. Also less choices/range in commercial establishments.


PROS: Earthquake rebuild opens more jobs, albeit temporary, particularly in the construction industry. Canterbury Skill Shortage could be a window of opportunity for some Filipinos. Gateway city to the South Island which is the most picturesque part of New Zealand.

CONS: Snowfall, extreme cold during winter means heating costs are higher. Still experiencing housing shortage due to recent earthquakes. I wouldn’t say it has fully recovered.

Other cities to consider:

HAMILTON: Fastest growing city, one hour drive from Auckland but rents are cheaper.

NEW PLYMOUTH: Highest salaries in the oil and gas industries, currently experiencing positive growth.

QUEENSTOWN: Tourism capital of New Zealand. Particularly attractive for those in the hospitality industry (i.e. chefs)



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