"I swear I've never grinned as much in my life," says Michelle Shaw about the moment they finally knew their family were set to be New Zealand residents.

Michelle, husband Mic and their children Scarlett, 14 and Jarrad, 19, are poised to be among the first to apply for the one-off residence visa, which opens today.

An estimated 165,000 people will become residents, in what Immigration New Zealand calls the biggest change in recent history.

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