Born Luis Alexander Rubashkyn in Colombia, the 26-year-old was officially recognised as a woman though she had not undergone sex-change surgery.
Ms Rubashkyn told the Herald at the time she was “so appreciative” she could live as a woman here and that she had “found paradise”.
But seven months later, she is realising paradise has its share of hurdles.
After sending out more than 50 job applications, the qualified pharmacist has not been able to find an employer.
“I think if I was working at a pharmacy on K’ Rd I will fit in very well but nobody is willing to give me a chance,” Ms Rubashkyn said. “People are still afraid to give someone like me a job.”
The New Zealand Transport Agency had refused her application for a driver’s licence.
“They will not recognise my previous licence which stated I was male, and also because I looked very different in my photo,” said Ms Rubashkyn.
“They wanted me to provide a medical certificate to prove my gender change, but how do I do that when I have not had any surgery?”
She said hormonal treatment had made her more feminine.
Ms Rubashkyn was referred for resettlement to New Zealand by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She migrated only after she was assured that her gender of preference could be issued in her travel documents without the need for sex change surgery.
A letter from the UN high commissioner, lodged with her resettlement documentations, said it accepted Ms Rubashkyn as female.
Immigration New Zealand issued her with a New Zealand identity certificate that stated her gender as female.
Despite the setbacks, Ms Rubashkyn said she was making “huge progress” in her personal and social life.
Just before Christmas, she got engaged to her overseas boyfriend.