I have been putting off getting a New Zealand drivers licence since I moved here. My New York licence was still valid here and I was allowed to use it legally for a year after moving here so there really was no rush. However, when I was filling out a form for my residency a few weeks ago, I noticed that I actually had been here a year. I couldn’t put it off any longer.
This was more of an annoyance than anything else, I thought. Now I would have to take a test – probably just a written test but a test nonetheless. Although the only real major difference is the fact that we’re driving on different sides of the road, New Zealand road tests have other questions that I’m not used to at all. For example, New York written tests never have the need for questions about what to do when there is livestock on the road. What would you do if you come to a random cow crossing, for instance? Now I’d have to read the manual. I’d actually have to study for something. That’s what my students have to do – not me! I haven’t had to study for a test in 10 years!
Would you pass a New Zealand road code test?
Take a practice test!
I went to town to get the manual and see what I actually had to do to achieve the goal of obtaining a valid licence. The results were hilarious. Since I’m from an exempt overseas country, this was the process:
1. Present your valid and non expired drivers licence.
2. Present us your valid passport.
3. Present proof of residence in New Zealand.
4. Pay the fee.
I went back the next day with my New York drivers licence, my passport, a random bank statement, and paid them and they took my picture and mailed me a licence. It came yesterday, almost exactly a week later. I can’t believe I put THAT off for a year.
One of the many things that I like about New Zealand is how it seems to be just second nature to not waste as much. Right when I moved here, I noticed little things like switches on the power sockets and how stores don’t automatically give you a bag for your purchases (some even charge you for a bag as more incentive to not get one or to bring a reusable one). New Zealand also gets over 15% of its power through renewable sources like wind and solar energy. I’m all for it. I hopped right on the bandwagon. I use reusable shopping bags (I did back in New York anyway so that wasn’t a big switch) and I started a recycling program in my house. Let me tell you about it!
In my town, you’re almost forced to recycle. It costs money for your garbage to be collected but it doesn’t cost anything if you are recycling. It is a few dollars for a town council garbage bag (they won’t collect the garbage in anything else) or you can pay for a hire-a-bin company to give you a big garbage bin and once it’s full there is a set fee to have them come empty it. Either way, it adds up fast. However, most things these days can be recycled. Paper, plastic, aluminium, glass, and cardboard – just sort it and put it out and it costs nothing to collect. This makes the trash you do have far more condensed and therefore it doesn’t have to be collected as frequently. Save your money!
Josh and I have a hire-a-bin and we choose to sort our recycling into our own bins and bring them to the local dump and recycling centre when they are full.