Very interesting news...
I have to wonder how long this appointment will actually last. Not that Stiefel doesn't have significant organizational experience, but he's never run a full company before and moving to NZ is a huge change. Unlike his past positions, this is not a summer program which only requires seasonal work, or a school director position where most of the on-the-ground work is done by others.
I assume that this will mean, for all intents and purposes, the end of his performing career at ABT. Unless the seasons and rehearsal periods are at completely different times, the length of the trip between NY and NZL (essentially two days with time difference), makes it very difficult to commute without risking health and performance quality. Stiefel is certainly at the age (and injury history), where easing back from performing is not unexpected, but Murphy is younger. WIll she be happy to be apart from Stiefel for long stretches, or ready to limit herself to performing and non-performing opportunities in Australia/NZL/Asia?
I also wonder whether Stiefel will end up feeling limited by being out in NZL. NZL, is from all accounts, a gorgeous and welcoming place (albeit expensive comparatively), but it can be very hard to be so far from friends & family, and from performing/directing/teaching opportunities. You can't just hop on a train or flight, and get somewhere in several hours if you want to guest teach, or run part of a summer program or perform. My understanding is that even at the larger and better funded Australian Ballet, it can be frustrating for dancers because, other than for the stars, distance and travel costs/time make it difficult to find performing or learning experiences outside Australia.
My feeling is that he'll last several years, but eventually return to North America. Anyway, I wish the best to Mr. Stiefel and the RNZB. It's great, small company with a solid foundation.