Stages of settling in

Moving to a new country is a big life change that involves a lot of adjustments. You will likely feel a degree of ‘culture shock’ at some point.

You might go through emotional stages as you settle in and start to feel comfortable here.

Researchers call this the ‘settlement curve’.

Settlement curve

Curve showing mood. 0-3 months you feel good, 12-15 months you feel down, 21-24 months feeling better again

Feeling down

It's normal to feel down (in a low mood) or homesick when you're settling into your new life in New Zealand.

Sometimes you will question whether you should go back to your old life or try to make your new one work.

This is the time when you will need support. 

Finding support

You should try to set up informal support networks right from when you arrive.

It is helpful to make friends with other new arrivals who you can share experiences with and talk to about your challenges.

Finding a counsellor can be very useful for more formal support.

Immigration New Zealand has services that can help with the practical issues of settling in New Zealand can make the experience easier.

Accessing Mental Health Services | Mental Health Foundation

Access help and support


Family together living in New Zealand

It can be difficult for families to settle in to a new country.

Waitangi Park, Wellington

Settling with a partner 

Being in a relationship can make moving easier.

But even if it is a joint decision, there can be tensions if one partner feels they are following the other to New Zealand at the expense of their own career or lifestyle.

One of you may feel homesick and vulnerable without their family and old friends, while the other may really be enjoying the new experiences.

Being aware of this can help. 

Moving and the effect on your relationship

Settling with children 

A big reason many parents move to New Zealand is to give their children a better life.

Helping your children adapt is important part of migrating successfully.

You do not have to do this one on your own. There are parenting support organisations in New Zealand. 

Parents Centres are a great place to find support networks and are available throughout the country.

Kiwifamilies is a popular website with information to support parents in finding what is available for children of all ages here.

Families on the move: helping kids cope with migration

Your local centre | Parents Centre Aotearoa

Home | Kiwi Families

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