Here are the things I had to figure out once I arrived in country on my working holiday visa.
1) Read the declaration form on the plane carefully.
New Zealand is strict about foreign contaminants, so make sure to mark the form if you brought any tents, hiking shoes, or sporting equipment.
2) Make an appointment with a bank.
In New Zealand, you need to make an appointment with a banker to set up an account. These appointments might not be available for a few days, so make sure and get on the list as soon as possible after arriving in country. The easiest way is to walk up to a teller and ask to make an appointment. It is more direct than making an appointment online.
I tried to set up my account online before the meeting, but it would have been more of a hassle for the woman to find and edit the information than to just start from scratch.
Eftpos cards are similar to debit cards. Vendors take money from you bank account. These are very common in New Zealand
3) Apply for your IRD number online.
The online application is much easier to do than in person and takes about ten minutes. You need your bank account information, so be sure you have your bank account set up already.
When it asks for your branch, location, etc., for your bank, those are the digits preceding your actual account number. This can be found either on your bank account online on on the account information sheet you
4) Buy or rent a van.
I have seen a few people get around New Zealand hitching or by the Kiwi Experience, but most opt for buying or renting a campervan. Whether you rent or buy largely depends on how long you intend to stay. In general, most people who are staying for fewer than two months rent. Those who are staying longer buy a van, then sell whenever they leave the island.
If you buy a van, it is recommended to get an inspection. It is a big investment, so it makes sense to ensure everything is working properly. On the test drive, make sure and check that the signals, lights, windows, etc. are in working order. Also try to incorporate a big hill into your test drive, as some vans struggle to make it up hills, of which New Zealand has many.
In the past few years, campervan dealerships have begun opening up, especially in Auckland. Some of these are reputable (though the prices are higher than you could find privately), but there are also many of which are just looking to make a quick buck. Be judicious and trust your instincts.
5) Find a job
Although your working holiday might be more holiday than working, eventually you will have to find a job. The Backpackerboard job listings used to be the de facto resource, but lately many scam jobs have been posted. It is still a good resource, but read carefully to see what exactly the job entails. There are many “working hostels” that you pay to help you find a job. From what I have heard from the other backpackers, it seems more like a way for the hostel to get more people to stay.
Indeed can be a good job posting board to check daily.
If you are staying at campsites in the area in which you wish to work, occasionally employers will stop by to chat with backpackers about jobs, or have jobs posted on a physical noticeboard.
6) Have Fun
Get out and explore New Zealand. Working is only a means to an end.
If I missed anything, please let me know so I can add it in!