That was way too easy...
Not 48 hours after submitting my online request for a VISA, I received an email stating that I had been approved. There was no charge and all I had to do was print out my "e-VISA".
A bit skeptical about this but I've read through the terms and it seems to be valid from now through next May 15. Apparently, as long as I travel before May 15, 2008, I will be permitted into the country. Then, I will have to immediately fill out paperwork for a "work permit". I'll be allowed to live and work in the country for one year from the date of my arrival.
When going through customs, besides my passport and e-VISA, I am supposed to have "evidence of funds for maintenance in NZ and for the purchase of a return ticket from NZ". Did some research on this, and based upon what others are saying, I'll need a bank statement with approximately a balance of US$5000...although others say much less.
Another thing I heard that I would need is my proof of traveller's insurance. However, the documentation I received via email from the NZ Immigration Site did not mention this. Probably going to call to confirm the checklist...
Too easy for sure...and free?? Already a good decision.