ACADEMIC CAREERS IN NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is a research and teaching hub with eight Universities across the country, providing a diverse range of opportunities for academics, researchers and teachers looking for both career development and a rich work life balance in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Rated as the UK Telegraph travel section readers favourite country 2014 makes this a great place to live and work.

KEY STATISTICS AT A GLANCE

8
 
4
 
180k
 
19.5k
UNIVERSITIES
 
TOP 300 UNIVERSITY RANKING *
 
STUDENTS
 
HE STAFF
3.5
=
1.4
+
1.05
+
1.05
ANNUAL INCOME
($BILLION)
 
GOVERNMENT
($BILLION)
 
STUDENTS
($BILLION)
 
RESEARCH
($BILLION)
* Source World University Rankings

RESEARCH

The universities play a prominent part in the New Zealand research environment. The research and teaching functions of the universities are required to be closely interdependent and they are expected to meet international standards of research.

The biennial Research and Development Survey, conducted in 2012 by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, showed that the universities accounted for one-third of the research and development produced in the country.

In addition, the universities are home to the majority (67%) of the country’s researchers, as the following figures from the 2012 survey show.

All of the universities have established commercialisation entities to capitalise on the fast-growing research outputs of the universities. These activities are worth $350 million a year.

NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITY PROFILES

 

JOBS IN NEW ZEALAND

NEW ZEALAND OVERVIEW

New Zealand Facts New Zealand Facts
NEW ZEALAND FACTS
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New Zealand Education New Zealand Facts
EDUCATION SYSTEM
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New Zealand Cost of Living New Zealand Facts
COST OF LIVING
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NEW ZEALAND FACTS

Capital City: Wellington

Population: 4.5 million (newzealand.govt.nz)

Government: Unitary parliamentary democracy, constitutional monarchy

Currency: New Zealand Dollar ($, NZD)

Main Languages: English, Maori, New Zealand Sign Language

Main Religions: Christianity, although atheism & agnosticism are also prevalent

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EDUCATION SYSTEM

System structure

New Zealand’s education system has three levels – primary, secondary and tertiary (higher) education. Although private options are available, primary and secondary education is predominantly funded by the state. School is compulsory from the ages of 5 to 16, but most students continue for at least another two years after this. Depending on the type of state school, parents may be asked for voluntary contributions to fund activities beyond those paid for by the government, and some must also pay the compulsory ‘attendance dues’.

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COST OF LIVING

Geographical variation

Some new migrants find that the cost of living in New Zealand is higher than anticipated. Overall costs are relatively low, but salaries for some professions may be less than in other countries. While locally sourced goods are fairly cheap, imported items can be expensive. The cost of living also tends to be higher in the north, with Auckland considered the most expensive place to live.

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TRAVEL

Driving

The motorways and main roads in New Zealand are generally of a high standard. However, the country’s stunning natural landscape has resulted in some challenging driving routes elsewhere, with bridges, tunnels and narrow winding roads all common outside the main city routes. Combined with the changeable and sometimes extreme weather conditions, these routes require drivers to be alert and vigilant, so always check conditions before travelling.

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WORKING PRACTICES

Working hours

The work week in New Zealand is typically 40 hours spread over 5 days, although reasonable overtime is permitted. There are no standard hours, but most businesses work Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm with a lunch break of 30 to 60 minutes. Work/life balance is considered important and anyone can ask their employer for flexible working arrangements with the expectation that their request will at least be considered.

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BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

Organisational structure

Although there are large corporate organisations operating in New Zealand, it has a larger proportion of small businesses than in many developed countries. This means that organisational structure tends to be quite flat, with managers and employees collaborating closely to foster a real team-orientated environment. Smaller businesses also tend to mean broader roles for workers, giving the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills and really influence the success of the business.

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New Zealand Travel New Zealand Facts
TRAVEL
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New Zealand Working Practices New Zealand Facts
WORKING PRACTICES
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New Zealand Business Etiquette New Zealand Facts
BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
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NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITY MAP

ALL UNIVERSITIES - HOME CAMPUS
THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND
AUT UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
MASSEY UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO
UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO
VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF WELLINGTON

THE REGIONS

New Zealand has the work-life balance just right. That's why the country consistently leads international quality-of-life surveys. It's also a land of diverse regions with distinct landscapes and stories. In this section you can read more about the lifestyle and culture of the six regions our universities are based in.

AUCKLAND

AUCKLAND
(AUT, University of Auckland, Massey University, University of Otago)

Auckland is in the North Island of New Zealand

New Zealand's largest city with a population of around 1.4 million

The largest Polynesian city in the world and is also known as “the city of sails”

Ranked 3rd out of 221 world cities for quality of life

Has a perfect 100 km of coastline and is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world

LINCOLN - CANTERBURY

CANTERBURY
(Lincoln University, University of Canterbury, University of Otago)

Located on the east coast of the South Island

No. 2 on The New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2014

Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island, is internationally famed 'The Garden City'

The region is easy to get around with so much to see and do within a short distance!

Home to adrenalin pumping activities, lush vineyards and braided rivers

MASSEY

PALMERSTON NORTH
(Massey University)

Situated in the lower half of the North Island of New Zealand

Known for its rose gardens and has been called the "Rose City”

Public transport and the easy walkability of the city makes owning a car almost unnecessary

Offers an exciting range of adventure activities, including rafting, blokarting and horse trekking

Museums, heritage collections and art galleries are prominent

OTAGO

OTAGO
(University of Otago)

Otago is the second most southerly region of the country

Otago offers it all - adventure, world class vineyards, restaurants and historic sites

Central Otago enjoys extreme seasons that allow snow sports in the winter and water sports in summer

The Catlins area has spectacular waterfalls, dense rainforest and indigenous wildlife, making it a hiker's paradise

Wine has become one of Central Otago's newest claims to fame, it is home to some of the world's best Pinot Noir

VICTORIA - WELLINGTON

WELLINGTON
(Victoria University, Massey University, University of Otago)

Located at the south-western tip of the North Island

Named the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ (Lonely Planet)

Rated the most affordable city in Australasia and voted the world’s 12th best city for quality of living (Mercer, 2014)

Heart of NZ’s stellar movie industry (e.g. The Hobbit trilogy) and home of Zealandia a groundbreaking wildlife ecosanctuary

Known for its vibrant arts scene, world class café and restaurant culture, and active outdoor lifestyle

WAIKATO - HAMILTON

WAIKATO
(University of Waikato)

Situated in the heart of the North Island

Well-known for its underground wonders, black sand surf beaches and rolling green hills

Encompasses the country's longest river and Hobbiton Movie Set

Has a full calendar of events such as art festivals, theatre, river action and more!

Waikato has mountain biking, rock climbing, quad biking and some of the best white water rafting in the country

JOBSEEKER STORIES AND ARTICLES

PhD Student, Academic Tutor and Research Assistant at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
PhD Student, Academic Tutor and Research Assistant at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
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PhD Student, Academic Tutor and Research Assistant at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Why did you choose to work in New Zealand?

 Laura Southgate
Laura Southgate at Milford Sound

My decision to work in New Zealand was largely based on luck and circumstance. Upon completion of my Masters, I decided that I would like to apply for a PhD. My research focus was on the international relations of Southeast Asia, and I wanted to pursue this topic for my PhD. It therefore made sense to apply to universities in the Asia-Pacific, where my research would be more relevant, and the opportunities for funding greater. I initially settled on Australia. However, when I contacted my MA supervisor for a reference, he informed me that he had recently moved to the University of Otago in New Zealand. He suggested I apply for a PhD there, and that he would supervise my research. I was fortunate enough to receive an offer and a scholarship, and I accepted immediately. I believed that studying in New Zealand would allow me to travel to a new country and gain new experiences, in addition to further pursuing my research.

How did you prepare for the move?

The University of Otago was instrumental in helping me to prepare for my move. I received a pack in the post designed for international students moving to the country for the first time. The pack continued advice on housing, local services and amenities, university clubs and societies, as well as information on the university itself. Through the university, I arranged accommodation at an international postgraduate college. I was also able to arrange travel and medical insurance through the university, which saved a lot of time. Although I received my place at Otago fairly quickly, I decided not to take up the position for six months. This gave me plenty of time to save some money and apply for my visa.

 Laura Southgate
University of Otago Central Library

How did the visa process go?

The visa process went smoothly. The university provided me with the relevant documents I needed to prove my eligibility for a student visa. I also had to submit a police certificate and medical certificate. These were costly and time consuming to obtain, but I was lucky that I had no problems. I would recommend that you start the visa process as soon as possible to counter for any delays, and to read the forms carefully and submit everything requested. I found the people at NZ Immigration very helpful at dealing with any queries, and I would recommend anybody not sure about the process or what is required to contact them. This could ultimately save you a lot of time and money.

What was it like in the first few days/weeks?

Settling in was difficult at first. The flight from the UK was long, and it really hit home how far removed I was from family and friends. Luckily, the University of Otago has been very supportive. They often organise postgraduate events, which helped me to meet other people in a similar situation. Likewise, I found the university accommodation a good environment to meet other students. However, I did find it difficult settling back into a shared housing environment, and this might not suit everybody. I spent the first few weeks acclimatising to my new surroundings, and generally enjoying the summer weather after leaving a cold and wintery UK.

What sort of work were you engaged in? How many hours did you work?

Whilst I initially considered applying for jobs within the university upon arrival, at the recommendation of my PhD supervisor I spent my first two years concentrating solely on my PhD. This allowed me to get ahead with my research. In my third year, I took a position as a Research Assistant to the Head of Department, and also took a position as an academic tutor for one of the modules run by the department. As research assistant, I am expected to work up to eight hours a week performing a variety of research related tasks. This generally involves utilising primary and secondary source information to write reports or submissions, proofreading and editing, or searching for relevant literature. The hours for academic tutor vary depending on how many groups I am teaching, but generally don’t exceed 3-4 hours a week unless there are assessments to mark. As a tutor, I help facilitate group discussions with students based on material they have covered in their lectures. The role also involves marking assessments and generally acting as a first point of contact for student queries. Juggling the PhD, tutoring and research assistant role can be taxing at times. However, these are transferable skills, and I find that each role benefits from the other.

How did you find the Higher Education sector in New Zealand compared to previous experience?

I have found the New Zealand system more relaxed compared to my previous experience studying in the UK. The relatively laid-back culture is evident at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. There is a very good rapport between lecturers and students, and students are comfortable approaching academics and tutors alike. University entrance requirements in New Zealand also differ from the UK, and my experience is that they are more inclusive as a result. As such, the university attracts a wide range of students from across New Zealand and beyond. Teaching groups tend to be very diverse, and I believe this enhances the university atmosphere and the students learning experiences.

How does New Zealand university teaching differ from the UK and the EU?

 Laura Southgate
Dunedin Beach

I believe teaching in New Zealand is similar to the UK, although there are some notable differences. First, the grading system in New Zealand differs from the UK, and is based on A-D grades rather than degree classifications such as 2:1, 2:2 etc. This can take some getting used to at first, especially when marking assessments for the first time. Also unlike the UK system, many students in New Zealand spend three years completing a general Bachelors degree, and can then choose to spend an additional year studying for an Honours degree. The Honours Degree is similar to a postgraduate degree and involves additional papers and a dissertation. These factors aside, actual teaching is very similar, and is usually based on a combination of lectures and tutorials. I have found the quality of teaching in New Zealand to be excellent, and the universities attract academics from all over the world.

What is the social life like?

I have found the social life to be similar as in the UK, although as a student town, Dunedin does get noticeably quieter in the holiday months when students go home. Even during these periods however, there are plenty of high quality cafes, restaurants, markets, pubs and bars to go to. There are also cinemas, theatres and various festivals on at different times of the year. Many people in Dunedin, and New Zealand as a whole, pursue an active lifestyle, and there are numerous mountain-biking and tramping routes around the city. There are also beaches for surfing and ski slopes situated only a few hours drive away. There is very little opportunity to get bored here, no matter what your preferences are.

What have you enjoyed most about your time in New Zealand?

The most enjoyable aspect of moving to New Zealand has been the travelling I have done whilst here. I have spent much of my spare time exploring New Zealand, from whale watching in Kaikoura to wine tasting in Waiheke Island. New Zealand has a lot to offer, and I would recommend anybody coming here to make the most of this beautiful country. It is also important to take a break whenever possible. Studying whilst working can be tiring, and it is important you don’t burn out. Weekends away are a perfect way to relax and see some of the local environment.

 Laura Southgate
University Clocktower

Did you face any particular challenges?

The most challenging aspect about moving to New Zealand was leaving behind friends and family. Due to the distance from New Zealand to the UK, and the cost of travel, I have not been able to visit home as much as I would like. Doing a PhD can be a lonely existence at the best of times, and this is accentuated when moving to a country so far removed from home. However, this can be overcome. There are plenty of opportunities to meet people through the university and through local meet-up groups, and the locals are warm, friendly and inviting. It is just a matter of getting out there and making some connections.

How has working overseas helped your career?

I feel that I am in a much better position to advance my career after moving to New Zealand to work and study. Aside from the PhD, which will undoubtedly help my career once completed, I have also developed teaching and research skills that I did not have previously. As a country with a small population, I believe there are more opportunities to advance your career in New Zealand than perhaps in the UK, where competition for roles is high. At the University of Otago, I have been privileged to receive a scholarship, work on research tasks with the Head of Department, and teach and engage with students through tutoring. I don’t believe I would have received these same opportunities had I stayed in the UK to study, and I believe I will gain a better career because of this.

Have you got any advice for other academics or students planning to work in New Zealand? 

 Laura Southgate
Postgraduate Housing

1. Housing in New Zealand can be low quality and very expensive. Many people who move from countries such as the UK are surprised by the lack of central heating, insulation or double-glazing. I would advise anybody moving from abroad to find accommodation once you have arrived, rather than arranging anything from a distance. Speak to your university and enquire about short-term university owned housing as an option while you find somewhere to live.

2. If possible, spend a few weeks in New Zealand acclimatising before starting work. Travel to New Zealand is long and tiring, and it can take a while to settle in. I would recommend taking time to explore your new surroundings, including neighbouring cities or sightseeing attractions. You are inevitably going to be very busy once you start work, and you will be glad you took this opportunity when you arrived. 

3. For students who plan on moving to New Zealand to study or work, I recommend making the most of what your university has to offer. Attend conferences, events, socials and functions wherever possible. You will make friends, as well as professional connections. Also, don’t be afraid to take on paid roles within the university. Whilst it may be time out of your research, you will develop skills that will help you gain employment when you finish.

New-Zealand-Immigration-Information-on-Working-Visas
New Zealand Immigration – Information on Working Visas
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New Zealand Immigration – Information on Working Visas

by Sarah Marten 

If you apply and are granted a position with a New Zealand University it will be offered on the provision that you are able to obtain a New Zealand Visa. However, the university will be able to provide assistance and guidance to newly appointed staff from overseas.

Most work and residence class visa categories require a person to have a job offer before they can get a New Zealand work or residence class visa.

A university or other employer can support someone in their application for a work or residence class visa if they can establish the applicant is eligible and that there are no New Zealanders available to do the work. This largely depends on the type of job being offered, and the skills and experience in doing that job.

Applicants must also meet the Government’s health and character requirements and their qualifications and work experience must be verified.

The following organisations can also provide help with visas for working in New Zealand: 

www.immigration.govt.New Zealand 

www.visabureau.com/newzealand

The New Zealand Department of Immigration has a number of different immigration streams including:

1)      Work to residence – Talent category

Skilled workers can be employed under the “Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Policy”. Accredited New Zealand employers can offer work to non-New Zealand citizens or residents without having to prove that there are no suitably qualified New Zealanders able to fill the post. Workers accepted under this category can become eligible for New Zealand residence after two years.

Currently there are eight universities in New Zealand accredited to offer positions to overseas academics without the need to prove there are no suitably qualified New Zealanders able to fill the post: University of Auckland, Massey University, the University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington, Auckland University of Technology, University of Canterbury, University of Otago, and Lincoln University.

Under this category you need to be working in the new job for a minimum of two years and be earning at least $55,000.

If you have any children or a partner who plan to study at tertiary level during your stay in New Zealand, they will be charged international student fees if you are granted a visa under this category.

This visa category allows you to work and live temporarily in New Zealand for 30 months, but after working under this category for 24 months you are able to apply for residence under the Residence from Work Category. 

2) Skilled Migration Visas

There are a number of requirements for skilled migrants under the New Zealand points-based system including: age, heath and character, English abilities, a recognised qualification and work experience, family already in New Zealand and a job offer.

An offer of employment qualifies for points under the system if:

  • the offer is for genuine, full-time employment in which the employee earns a salary or wages or holds a contract position. Positions paid by commission or retainer do not gain points
  • the offer is for ongoing employment
  • the employer has a history of good work practices, such as meeting all New Zealand immigration and employment laws
  • the employment of the applicant meets all New Zealand immigration and employment laws and policies.

This category allows you to work in live in New Zealand permanently and is the most direct pathway to New Zealand residency. 

3) Visitors’ Visas

Visiting academic staff who are British citizens or holders of a British Passport are eligible to visit New Zealand without a visa for up to three months and may study one course of up to three months, or undertake personal studies. 

If you wish to stay longer you should apply for a Visitor’s Visa, which will allow you to stay in the country for nine months. You will be required to show that you have enough funds to support yourself, and any family accompanying you, for the length of your stay.

4) Other Visas

Academics may also be eligible for a Specific Purpose or Event (Temporary) Visa if they have an invitation by a university or short-term job offer, and the university can confirm to Immigration New Zealand that the prospective employee needs to work in New Zealand for the period of time requested, and they are qualified or skilled in areas relevant to the purpose or event, and their skills, attributes or expertise will benefit New Zealand

Microbiologist Working in Science Management, Wellington, New Zealand
Microbiologist Working in Science Management, Wellington, New Zealand
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Microbiologist Working in Science Management, Wellington, New Zealand

Fiona Thomson-Carter is a Scottish microbiologist. After post-doctoral research in medical microbiology, she was the clinical scientist at the Scottish Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter and E. coli from 1992-2001. During the 1990s Scotland experienced major outbreaks of E.coli O157 infection, which attracted significant media attention and resulted in legal actions. Following these events, Fiona was able to contribute knowledge gained from the Scottish experience to several EU-funded initiatives. In 2001, she emigrated to New Zealand with her family to take up a science management role with a Crown Research Institute, a government-owned agency performing public health and forensic science. While working in New Zealand, Fiona has been able to broaden her experience by being involved in the science sector there, beyond her immediate role.

 Fiona Thomson-Carter
Mount Victoria, Wellington

Why did you choose to work in New Zealand?

Living in the Highlands of Scotland, I was always impressed by the “can do” attitude of Kiwi back-packers who jumped on planes to travel 12,000 miles to the UK. Having met NZ microbiologists at international conferences and hearing the quality of their science, when an opportunity presented itself, I decided to make the move even though I had never been to NZ. In 2000, with my previous role ending NZ seemed an attractive proposition.

How did you prepare for the move?

The Crown Research Institute, ESR (Institute for Environmental Science and Research) with which I had secured a science management role made everything really easy, paying for our family’s relocation – flights and household contents. The biggest challenge was convincing our daughters, then aged 10 and 6, that we were going to NZ long-term and not just for a holiday. Our journey to Wellington went well and we were greeted by colleagues and put up in accommodation for a few weeks until we found a rented property (our furniture transported by sea, arrived a few weeks after we did.) Everything that could be done to make us feel welcome was done. Kiwis are naturally friendly and hospitable. I did do some prior research on living in New Zealand, there are useful materials available including the NZ Immigration Service website.

How did the visa process go?

New Zealand has a real appetite to attract talented people and tries to facilitate their arrival. My future employers had applied for a talent visa for my husband (also a scientist) and myself. These were fast-tracked as science among others, is a preferred profession. After initial entry to NZ, we had to obtain subsequent working visas and ultimately, permanent resident’s visas. Becoming NZ citizens is still an option for us. The process is necessarily bureaucratic but it has been simplified and every effort is made to ease entry of science talent to NZ.

What was it like in the first few days/weeks?

We explored Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, which has a vibrant café culture – great coffee and food, museums and art galleries. Wellington is a compact city, built around a spectacular water-front with views of mountains and sea. The deep-water harbour is a major recreational area for rowers, sailors and passing wildlife such as orcas. Nowhere is more than 20 minutes from a beach and it is also easy to reach unspoiled rural environments. Our priority was to find a good school for our daughters, which was easy; high-quality education is readily accessible in the public school (state school) system. We began house-hunting, which is quite a mission. It seems no two houses in Wellington are the same, they are quite individual going from old “colonial” wooden cottages and villas to glass-and-chrome architectural statements. We received a lot of advice and support from the relocation agent brought in by our new employer to help us. We learned our first few words of Te Reo; Maori are the original settlers of NZ and the Treaty of Waitangi between Maori and the then-government is the founding document of NZ. There is no language barrier in NZ for English speakers, historical links with the UK remain – driving on the left for instance, however, Wellington is a cosmopolitan city.

 Zuoqin Wang
Cricket at Westpac Stadium

 

What sort of work were you engaged in? How many hours did you work?

Initially I was responsible for a group of 50 microbiologists and virologists performing national surveillance of important infectious diseases. It was a full-time role, 40 hours being the standard working week here. In relatively senior managerial roles there is an expectation that extra hours will be worked, not unusual for public health activities anywhere e.g. emergency responses. In my subsequent role as a General Manager reporting to the Chief Executive, I managed a group of 160 scientists engaged in public and environmental health science – microbiology/virology, molecular biology, epidemiology, food and water quality and safety and radiation science. The very nature of our science meant that responses to crises had to be prioritised so flexibility is required. The scope of the science practiced allows opportunities to become more generalist than specialist, quite usual in NZ. In addition to applied science delivery, I was also able to become involved in associated research projects. Building external relationships with clients, stakeholders and the broader science sector were also critical.

How did you find the science sector in New Zealand?

The science sector in New Zealand broadly comprises universities, Crown Research Institutes and private research institutes. There are world-class research facilities and teaching available. Unsurprisingly, given the importance of the primary sector to the economy there has been a strong focus on agriscience however, there is also an emphasis on wider innovation and smart technologies. Scientists here are highly collaborative and have extensive individual and organizational networks globally, which helps to mitigate risks associated with NZ’s comparative geographic isolation. Many international scientists choose to come here to work. Science is much higher on the public agenda in New Zealand compared with the UK. The Crown Research Institutes deliver to their sectors e.g. agriculture, marine, forestry to name only a few but within a unique construct: delivery of applied science and research in a commercially-sustainable environment. Over the last few years a number of national science challenges have been identified as areas of major focus for NZ science in the next 10 years. In common with the UK, bids for research funding outstrip the funds available. Extensive peer review processes are in place to ensure equitable allocation of funding.

Universities can be comparatively large with more than 10,000 students who, in addition to their studies, become involved in community and sports activities.

How does the New Zealand science sector differ from the UK and the EU?

New Zealand universities’ curricula, research and organisational structures are comparable with UK and EU universities. The major difference, as outlined above, is in the role and mandate of the government-owned Crown Research Institutes, which employ most scientists in NZ. There are particular areas of research important to NZ for example, geology, seismology, agri- and horticultural science and environmental science. There are several independent research institutes, which are leaders in their respective fields.

 Fiona Thomson-Carter
Cuba Street at night

What is the social life like?

Wellington has numerous restaurants, cafes and bars. The arts scene is dynamic with festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. A significant contributor to NZ social life is the ability to play or be involved with a huge range of sporting and outdoor activities. Participation in sport is actively encouraged from schooldays onwards and the majority of Kiwis play, coach and/or umpire some form of social sport or outdoor activity.

What have you enjoyed most about your time in New Zealand?

New Zealand with its temperate climate, even in Wellington, which has a reputation for being windy, offers an attractive lifestyle beyond the working environment. I am simply able to spend more time out-of-doors at the weekends and in holidays, than I could in Scotland. Equestrian sport is a family passion and it is much easier to own and manage horses here. Even usual family living can be outdoors more in the summer months. NZ scores highly in international standards of trustworthiness and lack of corruption and that is apparent in the welcoming and hospitable attitudes of Kiwis coupled with the desire to do the right thing. NZ punches above its weight in regard to sporting achievements and it is a particular thrill to be able to go to the local stadium and watch the All Blacks take on international rugby teams.

Did you face any particular challenges?

We were made very welcome by colleagues and the local community and adapted quickly. The biggest challenge is really in the distance away from family and friends in the UK, although we do host a regular flow of visitors coming to NZ for holidays or work.

 Fiona Thomson-Carter
Oriental Bay Beach

 

How has working overseas helped your career?

In making the move from the laboratory to general science management, I have been able to acquire a lot of new knowledge and expertise and to be effective at a senior level. Many different opportunities have been made available to me throughout the science sector and in working closely with clients and stakeholders who need scientific input. The NZ hierarchy is flatter than the UK’s and it is more likely that scientists will have direct interactions with government Ministers and their senior officials. This helps to highlight and endorse the relevance of the science performed. I have developed a much greater skill-set than I would have been able to in Scotland.

Here are a few tips for academics planning to move to New Zealand:

  1. Be prepared to be collegial and collaborative. NZ science operates in a co-operative environment and sharing of knowledge and joint objectives are important.
  2. NZ has a small population, less than five million, the universities and other research institutes are generally located in or near, the larger cities. There may be fewer opportunities in the purely rural areas.
  3. Last but not least, NZ recognizes Maori as the original settlers and the special relationship Maori have with the natural environment. Accordingly, Maori values and priorities must be incorporated and appropriately addressed in all areas of research.