New Zealand And Working For Propellerhead
The thought of moving to the land of hobbits and sheep and working for a company you don't know can be daunting, especially if you're based on the other side of the world. But do not fret. New Zealand is an incredible country filled with nice people and exciting places to explore.
We've collated some common information about Propellerhead and New Zealand. Have we missed something? Let us know!
About Propellerhead, And The Way We Work
As you'll know by now, Propellerhead is a software services company building products for a number of New Zealand entities. We pride ourselves on our use of the right technologies, the hiring of smart people, and our carefully thought-out, beautiful offices.
We believe a few things help make this a special place to work:
Our typical client engagements are large-scale, but often start small. We concentrate on the right combination of methodology, architecture, technology, and operating model. We believe software’s ‘natural state’ is live, in front of real users, and used for the purpose it is intended. The earlier we can deliver working software the sooner we are creating value. We are passionate advocates for open-source software, open data, and open ideas.
Propellerhead has moved away from traditional company hierarchy, and practices a flat organisational structure that takes its influence from Holacracy. We made this change to be able to empower smart people and allow them to make their own decisions.
Work is organised around cross-functional, self-managing teams, each including roles needed to contribute to successful delivery of value. The most effective team size for us is roughly 5 people, with each person playing one or more roles. We adopt this structure for its leanness and flexibility: as teams are internally self-organising, this allows them to focus on managing their work rather than people.
Upcoming Badge System
Pretty soon we’re planning to start assigning skill-based ‘badges’ to our employees. It’s an experiment designed to recognise the ability of our team, help ensure a transparent system, and is something that allows employees to take charge of their professional development. Business and technology magazine Idealog covered it - you can read about it here.
We have tried hard to create a tranquil and empowering environment for our team. Features of our offices include:
We're in the heart of Auckland in Freemans Bay, right next to popular eatery and bar La Zeppa and our largest inner-city park Victoria Park.
The most cost-effective way to get to our offices is by public transport. Auckland Transport buses stop very close to our offices (and you'll have the pleasure of using the AT Mobile app, which we have built and maintain!). Team members also cycle, motorbike, walk, train, or are dropped off by family members. If you'd like to drive, there are parking buildings between 5 and 15 minute walks away, or you can park for free in Ponsonby (30 minute walk away).
We have arguably New Zealand's best office for a software development company!
New employees are given a brand new, latest model Macbook Pro and an 18" x 34" curved LG monitor to use at work. If you need anything else, we can likely provide that too.
You will of course have an electric standing desk!
Italian Coffee Machine
Our office has an excellent Italian coffee machine and unlimited artisanal beans.
We have plenty of snacks available and we are happy to oblige snack requests :)
Birthday Cakes & Shared Lunches
On your birthday you'll be able to choose two cakes to share with the office. We can also order savoury cakes for those without a sweet tooth! Also, every two weeks we have a full company shared lunch.
Our bathrooms contain mens and womens fragrance bars, filled with luxury fragrances.
It's very common for us to celebrate holidays and other special occasions with champagne and treats :)
On Fridays employees can spend half their day learning new things related to their role at Propellerhead, if they don't have a piece of work to get finished.
Our office contains a library for our staff to use as they please, filled with books on better ways of working and software development.
We regularly fund conferences, training days and event tickets.
In-Office Event Series
We're planning an event series for some time in 2018, hosted in our offices, where we bring developers from many of Auckland's leading companies together to talk about interesting technologies.
*We'd love to improve our knowledge sharing - if you have an idea, please let us know!
Propellerhead actively supports STEM and IT related initiatives, including Shadow Tech Day and Shadow IT (events allowing female high-school students to 'shadow' a female IT professional for a day in the workplace), MIT Code Camp (a boot camp teaching high-school students coding and computer game development), and JHack (an event bringing together over 100 students from over 20 high schools to complete in a series of programming challenges).
We also recently donated 27 computers and 27 monitors to the charity OMGTech!, to help with their mission of teaching young New Zealanders how to utilise technology.
We have provided sponsorship for the Junior Dev Auckland Meetup and Hardware Meetup AKL.
Would you like to know anything else about Propellerhead? Please let us know!
About Auckland and New Zealand
Most of our team are from around the world. Countries of origin include Germany, Austria, Poland, France, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Croatia, China, Korea, Taiwan, Argentina, Columbia, South Africa, India, Canada and Tahiti.
What's the visa process?
It's illegal for us to give immigration advice, so we can't tell you which visa to apply for. But recent European employees have applied for one of three visas:
It’s taking on average one month for new employees to receive the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa.
The Immigration New Zealand website is very detailed, so please spend time going through it: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas
We have recently become an Accredited Employer with Immigration New Zealand, so new employees can now apply for the Talent Work Visa. These visas are often easier and much faster, and are a direct path to residency.
What should I do first?
Here’s a great checklist from Immigration New Zealand: https://nzready.immigration.govt.nz/
What do I need in order to be granted a visa?
Take a look at what's required for your entry to New Zealand here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/work/explore-work-visa-options
Do I need an immigration advisor?
Most employees who have successfully moved to New Zealand haven’t used an immigration advisor. If you'd like help, however, you can enlist the services of one and they can help you with visa preparations.
What happens if I don't get my visa before the date I'm supposed to start?
If your visa is taking longer than average, we can try to speed things up with Immigration New Zealand by writing you a letter requesting you have your visa granted.
What happens if I start after the date on my employment contract?
If for whatever reason you can't start on the date listed in your agreement, we can amend your offer with a new date. We are flexible with this and understand that there are sometimes unforeseen events.
What if I have a partner and kids?
You can’t include a partner or dependent children in your work visa application, but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to you. Here's more info: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/join-family/explore-family-visas
Here’s what most new team members do when relocating to New Zealand:
Book AirBnB accommodation for 1 - 3 months prior to moving
Look for a house or flat to rent when they get to New Zealand
Most people moving here book an AirBnB for their first few weeks/months of living in New Zealand. This seems to be the most convenient option and not too expensive if you pick the right places and organise well in advance. When people first arrive in New Zealand, they'll either be alone, with a partner, or with their entire family including kids.
To be most cost-effective, look for a room in someone's house with a lot of great reviews. If you’re bringing your family and want an entire apartment/house, book well in advance to get the best deals, or look slightly outside suburbs that are within walking distance from our offices.
Price will depend on whether you want an entire house/apartment or are okay with a room in someone else’s house. Rooms can be from $30 upwards per night. Entire houses are around $80 upwards. If you contact the host, you might be able to negotiate a deal for staying longer.
It’s common for people to look on TradeMe for long-term houses, apartments and rooms for rent.
Living somewhere close-ish to our offices is great, as you can often easily walk to work.
Suburbs close to us are:
Suburbs further out, but still a good distance include:
St Marys Bay
There are plenty more - a map will help you find them
Suburbs further out than that:
Further out means you might need to use the motorway. This can become congested in mornings/night times and travel times can be lengthy. If you don't mind this, then anywhere else in Auckland is fine to live too.
The further in advance you start looking, and the more places you investigate, the easier you'll find it to book places for longer and more cost-effectively. Often you can book rooms or houses for weeks or months at a time. Check in with places you're interested in - most hosts seem to be extremely helpful.
Process of Renting
Sooner or later, new employees will want to find a house to rent long-term. As mentioned above, TradeMe is a very common place to find rental properties.
The process can seem daunting, as housing in Auckland especially is competitive and landlords often have many people to choose.
Here’s a few tips from recent emigrants who have all found houses to rent:
Available houses will have ‘open-homes’ where everyone interested in the property views it at the same time
If interested, you’ll need to fill in a number of forms containing quite detailed information, so be prepared for this
Houses are competitive, so often aspiring tenants will be so eager to get a place that they’ll complete the application on the kitchen bench during the open home
You’ll have the most success if you’re quick, and ready to move in. If you like a place, offer to take it right away. Don't wait until the next day, or "consider"
If a landlord doesn’t select you, don’t worry. This can happen sometimes as landlords will often have many people to choose from. Just move on and try another house
Cost of Living
Living in New Zealand is more expensive than parts of Europe, but cheaper than others. It’s important to note that New Zealand typically prices accommodation and utilities Per Week, not Per Month.
Article of interest:
Houses vary from NZD$300 per week for a cheap, small apartment, to over $1000 for a very nice house. It’s common for people renting to pay upwards of $500 per week. Renting entire houses is quite competitive in Auckland so it's something you'd want to start organising as soon as you can.
Costs For You To Consider:
Day Care: This isn’t free, and prices vary https://www.huggies.co.nz/parenting/family-budgeting/cost-of-baby/child-care-costs
Primary School: This is free, or almost free in New Zealand.
Rent: $300 to $1000 per week: https://www.barfoot.co.nz/market-reports/2017/december/rental-report
Food (including groceries and eating out): $200 to $400 per week.
Public Transport: maybe $40 per week https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/fares-discounts/bus-train-fares/
Transportation/gasoline: $50 per week
Clothes: depends on family
Health Insurance: $15 to $50 per week https://join.southerncross.co.nz/quote/step2
Extra Spending Money: this will depend on your interests and hobbies
New Zealand was ranked first on the global Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 2017, and has ranked consistently in the top two since 2012. The Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranks countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys."
Auckland can be navigated by car, motorbike, bicycle, scooter, train or bus. If you’re lucky to live in Auckland Central, you’ll be able to walk to work. The outer suburbs of Auckland and beautiful natural areas such as beaches and native bush are best accessed by car. It’s common for newcomers to purchase a car once they get to New Zealand. It also allows them to travel to different parts of New Zealand with ease.
Transport - Immigration New Zealand
Transport - Tourism New Zealand
Your Drive - car sharing
Zoomy - cheaper New Zealand version of Uber
New Zealand food is well-known to be fresh and tasty. You’ll find no shortage of great places to eat, and supermarkets filled with fresh food around Auckland. Often your food bill will be more expensive than other parts of the world, however. As an isolated, small country, we often can’t reduce the cost of food like bigger countries can.
Shopping - Immigration New Zealand
Top Restaurants - Tripadvisor
A gourmet supermarket is Farro Fresh
Auckland has a number of farmers markets where you can buy fresh produce and other items.
English is the de facto official and predominant language of New Zealand. Almost the entire population speak it either as native speakers or proficiently as a second language. The Māori language (te reo Māori) of the indigenous Māori people is also an official language, as is New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Many other languages are used by New Zealand's minority ethnic communities.
English language for your visa - Immigration New Zealand
Public holidays and anniversary dates - New Zealand Government
New Zealand History & Government
History & government - Immigration New Zealand
New Zealand is a wonderland for people who like outdoor activities and nature.
Take a look at How To Move To New Zealand, an information hub built by people who have made the journey here. It contains a lot of valuable info about what you can expect, and what you need to prepare.