This entry isn't so much a travel diary, but more of a guide on getting started in Auckland, as it occured to me that some people reading this may be thinking of doing the same as me - using Auckland as a base to travel from. So, here's some of the things I found out about getting settled in Auckland.
First off, jobs. I know that on a Working Holiday Visa, you don't really want to think of work, but if you're like me, you'll need finances before seeing New Zealand. So, grab yourself a phone book, and start by introducing yourself to as many agencies as possible. Agencies are your best bet for work, as a lot of firms are reluctant in taking on people on visas, even if you say you'll be here for a year. If you want to try for a one year contract, The Herald comes out daily, and has a big employment section, but the best days for jobs are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. When working, you also need an IRD number. You can download the forms from the Inland Revenue website here, fill them in, and fax them off (mark them "urgent" and they get through quicker!). You can work without an IRD number, but then you go onto emergency tax code (bad move!). If you do use an emergency code, you can try claiming back any excess you have paid before you leave.
Accomodation - there are loads of hostels to choose from, which are the cheapest option, and, while you're getting yourself sorted, it's often worth asking around for jobs at the hostels - you won't get cold, hard cash, but a lot of hostels do offer free accomodation in exchange for work, such as cleaning, reception, kitchen work, etc. So, if money's tight, at least you don't have to worry about paying rent for a while.
As far as permanent accomodation goes, it is often tough finding somewhere in Auckland. There are plenty of flat-shares and accomodations out there, but also loads of people looking. Again, The Herald has property sections everyday, although Saturday is the really big day for it - be prepared to get up early, though, as a lot of property goes straight away (sometimes even by 10am!).
Any equipment you need, household, camping, or other, can be found quite easily if you buy Trade and Exchange, which comes out on Thursdays and Saturdays (Thursdays are the best), or you could try Cash Convertors - there are a few stores, all listed in the phone book. Both places are also good for getting rid of stuff when it's time to go home.
If you need transportation, there's a couple of options - backpackers often sell their cars through notices in hostels, look out for those. Or, the Trade and Exchange has a motor section, but my preferred way was at a car fair - there's one at Ellerslie Racecourse every Sunday, and it has an AA van there who will do free checks on vehicles before you buy them. You don't legally require insurance for your vehicle here, although it is advised to as you are liable for any damages you cause - shop around, and take proof of no-claims with you to get the best deals.
Anyway, then, with all of that done, you are free to start a new life, and have a complete adventure - enjoy!!