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The Ultimate How to Move to New Zealand from America Guide

The Ultimate How to Move
to New Zealand from America
Guide

Moving to New Zealand from America? Our Ultimate How to Move to New Zealand from America Guide covers absolutely everything you need to know about moving from America to New Zealand.

With in-depth information and valuable resources from how to apply for a visa to how to import common household items, from what the New Zealand healthcare and education systems are like, to how to decide where to live, our Moving to New Zealand from America Guide will help you and your family have a safe, seamless, stress-free move to New Zealand.

Chock-full of important international moving tips, as well as insights into New Zealand customs and culture, including everything from table manners, commonly used words, holidays and food, to the sports New Zealand like to play and watch, our Moving from America to New Zealand Guide will also assist you and your family assimilate into day-to-day life quickly and easily on arrival.

As the largest moving company in the world, with over 1,000 service centers across 180 countries, UniGroup Worldwide International Movers will help make your move to New Zealand as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 85 years' experience, successfully delivering 48,000 international shipments annually, our overseas move experts can help ensure your safe, seamless stress-free move to New Zealand from America.

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to New Zealand safely, seamlessly and stress-free

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to New Zealand safely, seamlessly and stress-free

For your convenience, you may:

  • Easily navigate through our Ultimate How to Move to New Zealand from America Guide by clicking the links within the Contents section below.
  • Read our accompanying step-by-step Complete How to Move to New Zealand from Americans Checklist, a full-proof list of easy-to-follow, chronologically ordered tasks designed to help ensure you and your family enjoy a smooth, stress-free move to New Zealand.

BASIC INFO TO KNOW WHEN MOVING TO NEW ZEALAND

Nationality

New Zealand

National Holidays

New Year’s Day, 1 January Day after New Year’s Day, 2 January Waitangi Day, 6 February Good Friday, Date fluctuates Easter Monday, Date fluctuates ANZAC Day, 25 April Queen's Birthday, 5 June Labour Day, 23 October Christmas Day, 25 December Boxing Day, 26 December

Financial Year

1 April - 31 March

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy (New Zealand parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a commonwealth realm

Currency

New Zealand dollar (NZD)

International Dialling Code

64

Country Domain Code

.nz

Road Traffic

Drives on the left

Electricity

230V, 50Hz. NZ plugs

Emergency Numbers

111: General Emergencies
0800 161 610: Deaf TTY
0800 555 111: Crime Stoppers

Time Zone

GMT+12 (GMT+13 from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March)

HISTORY OF NEW ZEALAND

In A.D. 800, the Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand and in 1840, the chieftains signed the Treaty of Waitangi with Britain that stated they would cede authority to Queen Victoria while still retaining territorial rights. 1840 also saw the integration of the first colonial settlement. During 1843 and 1872, various land wars saw the defeat of the native people. In 1907, the British colony of New Zealand became independent and backed the UK during both world wars. The government is still addressing many longstanding Maori grievances. New Zealand assumed a temporary seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 terms.

POPULATION

Population

4,474,549

Population Growth Rate

0.80%

Median Age

total: 37.8 years
male: 36.9 years
female: 38.7 years

Life Expectancy

81.2 years

GEOGRAPHY

Location

New Zealand

Geographic Coordinates

41 00 S, 174 00 E

Area

total: 268,838km2
land: 264,537km2
water: 4,301km2

Geography

Close to 90% of New Zealand’s population resides in Wellington, which is the southernmost capital in the world.

Capital

Wellington geographic coordinates: 41 18 S, 174 47 E

Major Urban Areas and Population

Auckland 1.344 Million; Wellington 383,000

CLIMATE

New Zealand’s temperatures are moderate but can differ per region.

ECONOMY

Over a period of 30 years, New Zealand has transformed from a farm-based economy to a more free-market economy that is able to compete globally. The country’s per capita income feel in 2008 and 2009 after rising for ten consecutive years. New Zealand’s economy contracted for five consecutive quarters between 2008 and 2009.

GDP Per Capita

$37,100 USD

Taxes and Other Revenues

37.7% of GDP

CULTURE

Languages Spoken

English Māori

Major Ethnic Groups

European Māori Asian Pacific peoples ME/LA/African

NATIONAL IDENTITY

National Flag

National Anthem

"God Defend New Zealand"

National Symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation, Kiwi, Silver fern

National Colours

Black, white, red (ochre)

NEW ZEALAND's COUNTRY RANKING

Quality of Life

Ranked 7th of 80 countries

Cost of Living

Ranked 10th of 104 countries

Education System

Ranked 7th of 187 countries

Healthcare System

Ranked 41st of 190 countries

Happiness of Residents

Ranked 8th of 155 countries

Crime Rate

Ranked 80th of 117 countries

Suitability for Green Living

Ranked 11th of 180 countries

How Much Does It Cost to Move to New Zealand?

Calculating moving to New Zealand Calculating moving to New Zealand

The cost of moving to New Zealand from America comprises of a number of expenses, each with their own variables. The largest components will likely be the shipping of your household belongings and the relocation of your family. Beyond that, there are additional costs for storage, insurance and temporary accommodation upon arrival.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Household Goods to New Zealand?

The cost of shipping your belongings can vary dramatically depending on the volume you’re shipping, what you’re shipping, how and from where and to you ship it. For example, a sparsely furnished two to three-bedroom home shipped by LCL (Less than Container Load) or Groupage sea freight from Los Angeles to Auckland or Christchurch could cost US$1,000 to US$2,000, whereas, a heavily furnished four-bedroom home shipped by FCL (Full Container Load) sea freight from and to the same ports may cost twice that. Furthermore, the cost would increase if you’re moving from an inland city or you’re shipping antiques, a piano, wine and/or expensive or bulky items that may require custom crating or packing. And if you’re in hurry to ship your belongings to New Zealand, the same size homes could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars to ship by air freight.

Given all these variables, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a detailed quote from an experienced, reputable international movers like UniGroup Worldwide International Movers.

For more information on the different types of sea and air freight, their respective advantages, disadvantages, and how to calculate their costs, read our in-depth guide, What is the Best Way to Move Overseas? Best Air & Sea Freight Options.

How Much Does It Cost to Relocate Your Family to New Zealand?

The average cost of an economy class ticket from the Washington DC or Portland ME to Auckland or Christchurch is approximately US$1,000 to $US1,500 per person. So, relocating a family of four from America to New Zealand can cost approximately in airfares alone.

Additionally, if you are bringing any pets, there will be costs for their flight, any health checks or vaccinations required, and possible quarantine charges on arrival. Roughly, a cat or medium-sized dog would cost between to join you.

What Other Costs are Involved in Moving to New Zealand?

There are several other costs involved in moving to New Zealand, including:

  • Storage:
    • If you are not moving to New Zealand permanently and opt to leave some of your household goods in America, you may need to organize and pay for secure long-term storage
  • Insurances:
    • When moving to New Zealand, you may need to invest in several different types of insurance, including moving insurance, international health insurance and travel insurance
  • Temporary accommodation:
    • If you plan on searching for a new family home once you arrive in New Zealand, you will need some form of temporary accommodation for when you first arrive. On average, a hotel room in New Zealand costs between US$120 to US$170 per night, while a serviced apartment costs on average between US$800 to US$1,000 per week. So, if you need temporary accommodation for one month, the cost could exceed US$4,000.

How to Apply for a New Zealand Visa

Applying for a New Zealand visa Applying for a New Zealand visa

To apply for a New Zealand visa, American citizens should first determine which visa they are eligible for. New Zealand offers a number of specific visas, which are based on a variety of factors including skills, current job shortages and whether you have received a job offer from a New Zealand employer. The New Zealand Government provides an Apply for a Visa tool that uses your inputted information to determine the visa that applies to you.

Compile Your Visa Documentation

To apply for a New Zealand visa, American citizens will need to compile and complete the following documentation:

  • Visa applicants of all categories must complete the Work Visa Application (INZ 1015) form
  • Two original passport photos that are:
    • 45mm (1.8 inches) by 35mm (1.4 inches)
    • A maximum of six months old
    • In good quality color.
  • Your passport. While the New Zealand Government will accept a certified copy, it strongly recommends that you provide an original to expedite the application process. The passport you use must have validity to at least three months past the date that you plan on exiting New Zealand
  • Details and evidence of your current or most recent partnership status (married, single, de facto, engaged, widowed, divorced). You need to provide copies of your marriage certificate, divorce papers and so on
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to support you and your family, such as:
    • Bank statements, if they are in your name
    • Bank drafts
    • Recognized credit cards, with the availability of sufficient funds
    • Copies of travelers' checks
  • Applicants must show an acceptable level of health, by completing General Medical Certificate INZ 1007
  • American citizens that have spent more than three months in a country with a high-incidence of tuberculosis must provide Chest X-ray Certificate (INZ 1096)
  • A police certificate, indicating that you are a person of good character. At the time of lodgment, this certificate must not be more than six months older than the date of issue
  • If you work application is being filed in response to a job offer, you must provide details of the offer in the form of a ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) code.

Complete the Visa Application Forms

To ensure your application is processed in a timely manner, complete and send in the following forms:

Pay the Application Fee

All applicants must pay a non-refundable, non-transferrable application fee to have their visa processed. The fees vary according to the specific visa you are applying for. You can use this tool to calculate the cost of having your visa application processed.

Submit Your Visa Application

The process for submitting your visa application will vary depending on your category. Many can be applied for online, but some need to be sent in paper form. Use this tool to find specific information on the submission process for your visa application.

The New Zealand Government has a variety of resources that will help to simplify your application process. Visit New Zealand Visas to access these resources.

What is an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Number?

Applying for an Inland Revenue Number Applying for an Inland Revenue Number

Your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number is a unique identification number used to track your tax, entitlements and any other personal details held by the New Zealand Government’s Inland Revenue Department.

Why Do I Need an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Number?

You will need an IRD number if you:

  • Earn an income in New Zealand from any type of source (including employment, benefits, pensions or investments)
  • Join KiwiSaver, which is a voluntary workplace savings initiative
  • Apply for a student loan, child support or tax credits
  • Need to file tax returns
  • Buy, sell or transfer New Zealand property
  • Plan to start your own business or be self-employed.

If you don't have an IRD number, your employer will deduct income tax at the highest non-declaration tax rate of 45%.

How to Apply for an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Number

You will need to apply for your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number by completing the online form.

If you hold a resident visa, you will need:

  • Your passport
  • Your Immigration New Zealand Application Number (from your visa approval email or letter).

Once your application is complete, it will be reviewed by the Inland Revenue Department and your IRD number will be sent to you in:

  • Two working days by text or email
  • 12 working days by mail.

How to Decide Where to Live in New Zealand

Deciding where to live in New Zealand Deciding where to live in New Zealand

If you’re not moving from America to New Zealand to a specific location for work, you’ll need to decide where to live. From low crime rates to superior quality health and education systems, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place for you and your family to call home. Geography, climate and weather can also play a part in your decision, just as unemployment rates, average salary and the cost of living are likely to influence the location of your new home.

To help you decide where to live in New Zealand, the most important factors are outlined below.

What is the Unemployment Rate in New Zealand?

The unemployment rate in the area you’re seeking to move to will give you a good indication of whether the local job market is stable, growing or contracting. Moving to an area with low or stable unemployment will give you the best chance of finding a job upon arrival. Business Day has published this report on unemployment throughout New Zealand, while the New Zealand Government publishes statistics on employment annually.

What is the Average Salary in New Zealand?

As at the end of 2015, the average salary in New Zealand was approximately NZ$75,000 per annum. However, average salaries vary from city-to-city throughout New Zealand. For instance, in Wellington, the average salary was NZ$80,934 per annum, whereas in Auckland, the average salary was NZ$76,338 per annum. The local average salary is a key indicator of your likely earning potential and important for budgeting prior to your relocation. For further information, visit this report on average salaries throughout New Zealand.

What is the Cost of Living in New Zealand?

New Zealand is a small country with a relatively small population. As such, the cost of living does not vary from city-to-city as much as it does in countries with large populations, such as the United States. However, there are some variations, particularly between urban and rural areas. Investigating the average cost of livingin your preferred location is vital in setting a budget.

The following list provides an idea of the average pricesyou can expect to pay for products and services in New Zealand (although keep in mind that these prices will vary based on both location and provider):

  • Monthly rent for an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment: NZ$2,200
  • A dozen eggs: S$3
  • A liter of milk: NZ$2
  • A loaf of bread: NZ$2.50
  • McDonald’s Big Mac Meal: NZ$12
  • A cappuccino: NZ$5
  • Three course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): NZ$130
  • Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable): NZ$120
  • Monthly electricity for an average home: NZ$220
  • Petrol (per liter): NZ$2.50.

What are Crime Rates in New Zealand?

Finding a safe place to live should be at the top of any expats priority list. Investigating the crime rate in your preferred location will give you a good indication of how safe the area is. The New Zealand Police provide a range of statics and reports on crime rates throughout the country.

What is the Quality and Availability of Health Care Like in New Zealand?

New Zealand has a world-class health care system. With over 40 high-quality public hospitals and more than 3,500 General Practitioners (GPs), you will be able to find health care in all urban center. However, health care may be limited in remote and rural areas.

For more information, visit What is the Healthcare System Like in New Zealand?

What is the Quality of Schools Like in New Zealand?

If your children will be accompanying you on your relocation to New Zealand, it is vital that you move to an area that guarantees them a quality education. Children can only attend public schools located in their local school zone. So, it is best to research local schools when deciding where to live.

Major cities, like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have the greatest variety of schools, while options can be more limited in remote and rural areas. The New Zealand Herald publishes an annual ranking of high schools based on student performance.

For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in New Zealand?

What is Population Wellbeing and the Standard of Living in New Zealand?

The Sovereign Wellbeing Index was developed by Auckland University of Technology’s Human Potential Centre and contains measures of wellbeing, socio-demographics, health and lifestyle behaviors. The Wellbeing Index considers how satisfied people are with their life, how worthwhile they feel, how happy they are, and how anxious they feel. These are useful insights into the type of lifestyle you can expect in your new home.

What are Tolerance and Diversity Like in New Zealand?

New Zealand has always been regarded as one of the most tolerant countries in the world. New Zealanders have been pioneers in important issues such as universal suffrage and tolerance of all races and religions. However, as in all countries, some areas are more tolerant and diverse than others, with cities usually more tolerant than rural areas.

What is the Average Commute Time in New Zealand?

When deciding on where to live in New Zealand, the average commute time can be an important consideration, particularly if you plan to drive to and from work every day. According to a recent New Zealand Government Report, the Auckland region has the longest average commute time of approximately five hours per week. In Wellington, the average weekly commute time is 4.4 hours, while in Canterbury it is 4.2 hours. The Nelson region had the shortest average weekly commute time at 2.2 hours.

What is the Climate in New Zealand?

The climate varies wildly throughout New Zealand. It has a temperate maritime climate, with mean temperatures ranging from 10°C (50°F) in the south to 16°C (60°F) in the north. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C (-50°F) in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and abundant sunshine. It is best to undertake some further research into climate in New Zealand to ensure you choose a location best suited to your needs.

What is the Geography of New Zealand?

The bulk of New Zealand is made up of two islands, the South Island and the North Island. The North Island is more developed than the south and is full of rolling green hills, farmland, and geothermal activity in the form of mud pools, geysers and active volcanos. The South Island features snow-capped alpine mountain ranges, fjords and glaciers. New Zealand contains an enormous amount of geographical diversity for such a small area, so expats are sure to find a landscape that suits them. When researching where to live, ensure you know what sort of geography (and therefore outdoor recreational activities) is predominant in your new home.

What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?

The weather varies throughout New Zealand, so make sure you choose a home in an agreeable climate:

  • Auckland: Warm, wet subtropical climate. Winters are usually mild and wet. Summers are humid. Auckland is the warmest and sunniest city in New Zealand
  • Wellington: Windier and cooler than Auckland, Wellington experiences maximum average temperatures of 16°C (60°F) and a minimum average temperate of 8°C (46°F), even in the middle of winter
  • Queenstown: Home to some of the best weather in New Zealand. The oceanic climate provides snow for the mountain ranges, blue skies all year round and warm temperatures in summer
  • Christchurch: Dry, temperate climate. Summers are hot and winters are mild, with clear, crisp days and overnight freezes. Christchurch receives the least rainfall of all New Zealand cities.

What are the Most Popular Cities to Move to in New Zealand?

For information on the most popular New Zealand cities to live in, visit:

When is the Best Time to Move to New Zealand?

Deciding when to move to New Zealand Deciding when to move to New Zealand

You need to take several factors into account before deciding on when you will conduct your relocation. The most important factors to keep in mind when scheduling your move are the weather (you don’t want to move in either scorching heat or heavy snow) and holiday seasons (when moving is usually more expensive).

Consider the Weather

The weather varies throughout New Zealand, so make sure you choose to move when the weather is most agreeable:

  • Auckland: Warm, wet subtropical climate. Winters are usually mild and wet. Summers are humid. Auckland is the warmest and sunniest city in New Zealand
  • Wellington: Windier and cooler than Auckland, Wellington experiences maximum average temperatures of 16°C (60°F) and a minimum average temperate of 8°C (46°F), even in the middle of winter
  • Queenstown: Home to some of the best weather in New Zealand. The oceanic climate provides snow for the mountain ranges, blue skies all year round and warm temperatures in summer
  • Christchurch: Dry, temperate climate. Summers are hot and winters are mild, with clear, crisp days and overnight freezes. Christchurch receives the least rainfall of all New Zealand cities.

Consider Holiday Seasons

Moving during holiday seasons in any country is generally more expensive. The New Zealand school year is different to the American school year—the longest break takes place over summer, which is from December until February. This period also corresponds with the hottest weather in New Zealand, so it is best to avoid moving during this time.

If possible, avoid the following holiday seasons in New Zealand:

  • All federal public holidays
  • Christmas holidays: One week from end-December until early January
  • Summer break: From late-December to late-January
  • Easter Holidays: Two weeks in March or April
  • Winter Holidays: Two to three weeks in July.

What is the Education and Schooling System Like in New Zealand?

Types of schools in New Zealand, and how to choose one Types of schools in New Zealand, and how to choose one

In the New Zealand Education system:

  • Education is compulsory from the age of six to 16
  • Children can begin school as soon as they turn five; they do not have to wait until the beginning of the next school year
  • The New Zealand education and schooling system consists of four stages:
    • Early childhood education:This stage of education is not compulsory, but 95% of children attend some form of early childhood education. This stage is integrated into New Zealand’s national curriculum, which is known as Te Whāriki. Expats can take advantage of the 20 hours of free early childhood education, funded by the New Zealand Government
    • Primary education: Children begin primary school at age five or six (Year One), until the age of 11 or 12 (Year Eight)
    • Secondary education: Following the completion of primary school, children enter secondary school where most students graduate at the age of 17 (Years Nine to 13)
    • Further education: This stage of education covers both vocational and higher education. Courses include certificates and diplomas, which prepare students for work, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate studies in a conventional university setting.

What Types of Schools are there in New Zealand?

There is a multitude of schooling options in New Zealand, ranging from early childhood learning centers to state and private schools.

  • Teacher-led: These programs have qualified, certified teachers taking 50% of the program. These programs are typically offered at kindergartens, with parents choosing between all-day education and care or part-day sessions. Steiner and Montessori style programs are also available
  • Parent-led: In this early childhood education program, parents or caregivers are involved in caring and educating children. This form of education is about teaching children about the importance of caregivers and family
  • Te Kura (correspondence school): Children that cannot attend the other types of early childhood education can undertake learning programs by correspondence. Parents can borrow a range of games, art materials, puzzles and books to assist with the education process.

State and State-Integrated Schools

Most primary and secondary schools in New Zealand are state or state-integrated schools. State-integrated schools are private schools that have been amalgamated into the state system and are now completely funded by the New Zealand Government. Both state and state-integrated schools follow New Zealand’s national curriculum. However, state-integrated schools may focus on particular interests or subjects (such as music, sport or languages) or may be affiliated with a religion. In comparison, state schools are entirely secular and have no particular focus area.

At both state and state-integrated schools, parents can be financially penalized for non-attendance. Attendance at state and state-integrated schools is also subject to zoning restrictions and it can be difficult to enroll your child at a school that is outside your local zone.

Private Schools

Private schools are funded by a combination of public and private funds. Private schools are exempt from following the national curriculum, which gives these schools the freedom to tailor education to the needs of students. Private schools do not exclude students based on geographical location.

Private school fees can be expensive. As such, it can be worthwhile researching whether your child is eligible for scholarships, which are usually awarded to students with exceptional academic, sporting, artistic or musical abilities.

International Schools

There are 23 international schools located throughout New Zealand, with the highest concentrations in Auckland and Wellington. Dundein, Waikato and Waiheke Island also have international schools. International schools prepare students for the International Baccalaureate examination and diploma, qualifying graduates for entry to universities outside New Zealand. Waiting lists for international schools can be long and the fees can be very expensive. Find your local International Baccalaureate school here.

What Types of Tertiary Education are there in New Zealand?

There are several tertiary education options in New Zealand, all with varying outcomes and entry requirements. The main types of tertiary education are technical and vocational education, community education, wānanga and universities.

If you’re relocating to New Zealand with older children, it is important to familiarize yourself with New Zealand’s tertiary education system, including the types of education available, to help narrow down your child’s choices and develop an education plan. Detailed information on the types of tertiary education institutions available in New Zealand are outlined below.

Technical and Vocational Education

This stage of education can be commenced during secondary school and it allows students to specialize in vocational learning. Providers include:

  • Trades academies: Teach trades and technology programs to students between the ages of 15 and 18 through schools and other providers
  • Institutes of technology or polytechnics: Provide introductory studies and degrees that are designed to secure employment
  • Industry training organizations: Train students in specific industries, such as mechanics, construction and agriculture. Courses are funded by both the Government and industry
  • Private training establishments: Provide certificates and diplomas in specific vocational courses, such as travel and tourism.

Community Education

Community education teaches foundational skills (such as numeracy, language and literacy), as well as personal interest topics for adults. Schools and community organizations provide this type of education.

Wānanga

New Zealand has three wānanga (state-owned Māori teaching and research institutions). These institutions teach according to āhuatanga Māori (Māori tradition) and tikanga Māori (Māori custom). They offer certificates, diplomas and degrees. Some teach in specialized areas up to doctorate level.

Universities

There are eight state-funded universities throughout New Zealand. These universities provide internationally-recognized education in specialized professional degrees, from undergraduate to postgraduate, as well as diplomas.

How to Choose a School in New Zealand

To assist you in finding the most appropriate school for your children, visit:

How to Ship Household Goods to New Zealand

Shipping household goods to New Zealand Shipping household goods to New Zealand

If you’re moving to New Zealand, then a huge part of the process is going to involve shipping your household belongings to New Zealand and associated customs requirements. To ensure that your household items arrive in New Zealand safe and sound and clear customs as quickly and easily as possible, be sure to follow our advice on the documents required, customs prescriptions and other tips and suggestions below.

Keep the following considerations in mind when shipping your household items to New Zealand:

  • Many standard household items are prohibited or restricted and are therefore subject to inspection by the Ministry for Primary Industries. These items include food, garden tools and equipment, outdoor furniture and sporting equipment
  • All shipments entering New Zealand must pass through a Ministry for Primary Industries approved facility for unloading and final clearances, including FCL containers. As such, your shipment will not be delivered direct to your new home in the original shipping container into which it was loaded
  • Duty and tax-free entry for household goods is available if you meet the following conditions:
    • You have arrived in New Zealand and hold a document authorizing your residence in New Zealand (such as a New Zealand passport or a visa or permit)
    • Have resided outside of New Zealand for the whole of 21 months before the date of your arrival
    • Have owned and used the household goods before you departed for New Zealand
    • The goods are being imported for your own personal use and not for sale, gift, disposal or exchange.

What Documents are Required for Shipping Household Goods to New Zealand?

For the safe shipment and smooth customs clearance of your household goods, you’ll need to ensure that the following documentation is completed as accurately as possible and provide:

  • A detailed inventory of the goods
  • Customs and quarantine declaration Moving to New Zealand Customs Form NZCS218 Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration
  • If required, Moving to New Zealand Customs Form NZCS218A Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration Supplementary Page
  • A copy of your passport
  • A document authorizing your residence in New Zealand, which may include a New Zealand Passport, visa or permit
  • If you’re sipping diplomatic goods, then you must have a declaration signed by the relevant consulate
  • If you’re shipping items that have been inherited, you must provide a death certificate and either a copy of the will or a letter from the executor of the estate.

For further information, visit our New Zealand Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Vehicles into New Zealand

Importing vehicles into New Zealand Importing vehicles into New Zealand

You can move cars, trucks, caravans, campervans and motorbikes to New Zealand so long as the relevant customs requirements are met. These requirements include safety and emission standards, proof of ownership and cleanliness standards. To help ensure that you meet customs requirements and that the clearance of your vehicle is as smooth as possible, follow our advice below. It’s also worth considering the tax imposed on importing vehicles into New Zealand before you decide to ship your vehicle.

What Safety and Emission Standards Must be Met?

Before attempting to import any vehicle into New Zealand, you must ensure that the vehicle meets all safety and emission standard requirements, including:

  • If you’re importing a used car into New Zealand from America and your car is classified as an MA, MB or MC category vehicle, you need to ensure that it meets the relevant safety standards:
    • An MA vehicle is a passenger car with no more than five seats
    • An MA vehicle s a forward-controlled passenger car with no more than nine seats
    • An MA vehicle is an off-road vehicle that has no more than nine seats, 4WD capability and:
      • An approach angle of not less than 28 degrees
      • A break over angle of not less than 14 degrees
      • A departure angle of not less than 20 degrees
      • A running clearance of not less than 200mm (7.8 inches)
      • A front-axle clearance, rear-axle clearance, or suspension clearance of not less than 175mm (6.8 inches).
  • If your vehicle adheres to the category-specific standards, you will also need to demonstrate that your vehicle is in line with Australian Design Rules (ADR), according to the plate of compliance on your car, keeping in mind:
    • If your car was ADR compliant prior to 1 November 2013, you must prove that is has been fitted with electronic stability control. This bulletin provides information on how to demonstrate electronic stability control
    • If your car is not affixed with an ADR plate, you need to obtain a certificate of compliance from an authorized vehicle manufacturer, which consists of a list of all the ways that your vehicle is compliant. Visit the NZ Government’s site for more information on certificates of compliance.
  • Cars imported into New Zealand also need to be compliant with fuel consumption standards. You can use this tool to access a certificate that you pass on to the entry certifier representative to prove your vehicle is in line with fuel consumption standards.

What are the ‘Proof of Ownership’ Requirements?

To import your car into New Zealand, you must prove that you are the owner of the vehicle by providing documentary evidence of personal ownership and use of the vehicle, including:

  • A dated receipt of purchase, showing the date on which delivery of the vehicle was taken
  • Original registration papers or certified copies
  • Evidence of the date on which the vehicle was surrendered for shipment to New Zealand
  • An odometer reading at the time the vehicle was surrendered for shipping to New Zealand.

What Cleanliness Requirements Must be Met?

All used vehicles are subject to a quarantine inspection on arrival by a Ministry for Primary Industries inspector. If the vehicle is found to be contaminated with soil, plant material or animal material, it will require cleaning. The importer is responsible for any charges for inspection and cleaning (if required). To avoid delays and additional charges, ensure that the following cleanliness requirements are met:

  • Have your vehicle thoroughly cleaned or steam-sprayed before it is shipped. New Zealand Customs requires that the undercarriage and wheels of all vehicles be thoroughly cleaned and free from soil to prevent the importation of dangerous pests
  • Do not ship personal belongings in your vehicle. Cars must be completely empty, except for factory installed equipment.

What Taxes are Imposed on Vehicle Importation?

Generally, vehicles are exempt from any import duties. The only exceptions are motorhomes, ambulances and any other vehicles designed for habitation. The only tax that vehicle importers will face is a Goods and Services Tax (GST). Plus, there is a minor vehicle import fee.

Import Goods and Services Tax

The GST payable upon import is calculated based on the customs value of the new or imported vehicle. Usually this is based on the price you paid for the vehicle at the time of purchase, minus any duties or taxes you paid in America, which have been rebated before arrival in New Zealand.

If you’re importing a used vehicle that you have owned for more than 90 days, depreciation is considered before the GST is calculated. Depreciation is calculated based on the period of ownership and use overseas, as follows:

  • Less than 90 days: 0%
  • More than three months, but less than four months: 13%
  • More than four months, but less than six months: 20%
  • More than six months, but less than nine months: 27.5%
  • More than nine months, but less than one year: 35%
  • More than one year, but less than two years: 50%
  • More than two years, but less than three years: 60%
  • More than three years, but less than four years: 70%
  • Four years or more: 75%.

Vehicle Import Fees

Once your vehicle has arrived in New Zealand, you will need to pay an Import Entry Transaction Fee (IETF) of NZ$29.26, as well as a Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity System Entry Levy of NZ$19.98.

Further Resources on Importing Vehicles into New Zealand

The New Zealand Customs Office regulates the importation of vehicles into New Zealand. They have issued a detailed fact sheet with advice on private motor vehicle imports, which outlines the process and your responsibilities in detail.

How to Import Pets to New Zealand

Importing pets into New Zealand Importing pets into New Zealand

You can take most pets to New Zealand, so long as they are free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and are not deemed harmful to the environment.

General laws and regulations for importing pets into New Zealand include:

  • The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) sets out the health requirements that all pets must pass before being granted entry into New Zealand
  • The following animals cannot be brought into New Zealand:
    • Birds
    • Ferrets
    • Mice and rats (unless they are laboratory animals)
    • Snakes and other reptiles (unless they are imported for use at zoos).

There are specific requirements for importing different types of pets, each of which is outlined in more detail below.

How to Import Cats and Dogs into New Zealand

You can import your pet cat or dog into New Zealand, so long as it meets the relevant eligibility requirements and you follow the step-by-step process required by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Eligibility Requirements for Importing Cats and Dogs into New Zealand

The eligibility requirements for importing dogs and cats into New Zealand include:

  • Only domestic dogs and cats may be brought into New Zealand
  • Your cat or dog must be imported from an approved country—America is an approved country
  • There are a number of prohibited dog breeds that cannot be imported into New Zealand. Dogs that are predominantly or wholly of the following breeds will be denied entry, including:
    • American Pit Bull Terrier
    • Dogo Argentino
    • Brazilian Fila
    • Dogo Argentino
    • Japanese Tosa
    • Perro de Presa Canario.
  • Regardless of treatment, dogs that have been diagnosed with Babesia gibsoni or Brucella canis are banned from import
  • All imported dogs and cats must be of the minimum age documented on the veterinary certificate upon reaching New Zealand
  • Dogs and cats cannot be more than 42 days pregnant at the time of importation
  • Your dog or cat must be free of ticks or fleas upon arrival or the pet will be:
    • Sent to quarantine
    • Sent back to its country of origin
    • Euthanized.

Process for Importing Cats and Dogs into New Zealand

America is classified as a category three country (Specified Countries or Territories where Rabies is Absent or Well Controlled) for the purposes of importing cats and dogs to New Zealand. To import your cat or dog, follow this process:

  • The cat or dog you’re seeking to import must have resided in America (or the country of origin) for at least six months
  • Ensure your dog or cat is fitted with an ISO-certified microchip
  • Ensure your dog or cat has been given a rabies vaccination
  • Reserve a space at a Ministry for Primary Industries-approved facility for a period of 10 days following import
  • After reserving a space, you need to apply for an import permit using Moving to New Zealand Customs Form Application for Permit to Import Cats and Dogs from Countries Where Rabies is Absent or Well Controlled. This must be sent to the Ministry for Primary Industries at least 20 working days before you require the permit
  • If your pet is taking medications, you will also need to complete Moving to New Zealand Customs Form Declaration - Importation of Veterinary Medicines for Use Only on Accompanied Animals
  • Ensure your pet receives all required medical treatments, including that for external and internal parasites and heartworm
  • Ensure your pet undergoes all necessary medical examinations, including for Babesia gibsoni and Brucella canis
  • You must notify the MPI of the arrival of your consignment at least 72 hours in advance. Your notification should include:
    • Flight or ship number
    • Date and time of arrival
    • Consignee's name and contact details
    • Species and breed
    • Number of animals in the consignment
    • Country of origin
    • Quarantine facility booking confirmation
    • Bill of lading reference (if known).
  • Your dog or cat will be cleared for entry to New Zealand once it has been in quarantine for 10 days and you have satisfied all necessary obligations
  • If you dog or cat does not clear quarantine, or you cannot satisfy your obligations, it will be held for further quarantining and tests, returned to America or euthanized. You will bear the cost in all eventualities.

The MPI has created a checklist for cats and a checklist for dogs to ensure your pet is approved and you have everything ready for import.

For further information on importing dogs and cats into New Zealand, download the Ministry for Primary Industry’s checklist for cats and checklist for dogs and their fact sheet on importing pets.

How to Import Birds into New Zealand

New Zealand’s isolation means it has a unique population of birds that are rare and endangered. To prevent major poultry and bird diseases from decimating populations, the Ministry for Primary Industry does not allow any birds to enter New Zealand.

How to Import Other Pets into New Zealand

The only other types of pets that can be imported into New Zealand are:

To ensure the successful import of your pet:

  • Check that your pet is eligible for import into New Zealand. Eligibility is largely determined by country of origin, so you must be able to prove that rabbits and guinea pigs are from Australia and chinchillas are from Great Britain
  • Engage the services of a recognized importer (UniGroup Worldwide can assist with this)
  • Ensure you have original veterinary certificates and supporting documents to prove country of origin. Documents must be signed and stamped

Apply for an import permit at least six weeks before your animal leaves America, using the Moving to New Zealand Customs Form Application for Permit to Import Live Animals

  • Fish and marine invertebrates need to be kept in a transitional facility to have their health checked before they are released. You can apply to use your own facility or bear the cost to have the consignment quarantined
  • You’ll also need to notify the Ministry for Primary Industries 72 hours before your arrival and supply details on:
    • Flight or ship number
    • Time, date and port of arrival
    • Names and contact details of the owner and transitional facility
    • Date and time that MPI veterinary inspector needs to be present for the consignment’s arrival
    • Number of each species in consignment.

How to Import Weapons into New Zealand

Importing weapons into New Zealand Importing weapons into New Zealand

New Zealand has a high level of firearm ownership and use, with many people enjoying hunting and shooting. However, there are a number of strict regulations imposed on the importation of firearms, with various types prohibited from entry.

To bring approved firearmsinto New Zealand, American, expats need to:

  • Apply for a visitor’s and import firearms licence online at least a month before departure. The licence costs NZ$25, is valid for one year and allows the holder to import firearms and use firearms in New Zealand for one year. After this period, expats need to apply for a standard New Zealand firearms licence
  • Upon arrival in New Zealand, you need to declare all firearms to New Zealand Customs. You will be referred to a member of New Zealand Police who will:
    • Ask for your passport
    • Check your America firearms licence
    • Collect the NZ$25 licence application fee
    • Issue you with the visitors’ firearms licence if you pass all checks.

What Types of Weapons are Prohibited in New Zealand?

The following weapons are prohibited from entry into New Zealand:

  • Knives with a blade that automatically opens when hand pressure is applied to a spring, button or another device (such as a flick knife)
  • Knives with a blade that is released form the handle or sheath through gravitational or centrifugal force (such as a gravity knife or a butterfly knife)
  • Any knife that is designed to be concealed, is designed for stabbing or throwing or has a double-edged blade
  • Any blade known as a black dagger, black eagle, terminator, urban skinner or throwing knife
  • Bayonets
  • Knuckle dusters
  • Sword sticks
  • Any weapon that is disguised to appear as another object
  • Cluster munitions
  • Chemical weapons.

How to Import Alcohol into New Zealand

Importing alcohol into New Zealand Importing alcohol into New Zealand

Americans, over the age of 18 can import the following amounts of alcohol into New Zealand duty free:

  • 4.5 liters of wine or beer and
  • 3 x 1.125 liter bottles of spirits.

You can use this online tool provided by New Zealand Customs to calculate the tax and duty you will pay if you import more than the above amounts of alcohol.

How to Import Plants into New Zealand

Importing plants into New Zealand Importing plants into New Zealand

Plants can be imported into New Zealand, so long as all requirements set out by the Ministry for Primary Industries are met. There are varying restrictions depending on what you’re importing, from cut flowers and foliage, through to nursery stock. These restrictions are outlined below.

In addition, all expats seeking to import plants should review the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna’s (CITES) website to ensure that imported plants do not contravene with CITES directives.

How to Import Cut Flowers and Foliage into New Zealand

When importing cut flowers and foliage into New Zealand, you will need to:

How to Import Nursery Stock into New Zealand

Nursery stock (including whole plants, tissue-cultured plants, root division, cuttings, scions, bud wood, marcots, offshoots, corms, bulbs, rhizomes and tubers) can be imported into New Zealand. Just keep in mind the following requirements:

How to Find Employment in New Zealand

Finding employment in New Zealand Finding employment in New Zealand

If you’ve already secured a new role (or are moving to New Zealand for a specific employment opportunity), now is the time to investigate employment options for your partner. Or, if you haven’t secured a role, to investigate employment for yourself.

Follow our tips for the easiest job seek possible, from using the most popular employment websites and best recruitment agencies in New Zealand through to how to establish a business in New Zealand.

What are the Major New Zealand Employment Websites?

Some of the major employment websites in New Zealand are:

What are the Major New Zealand Recruitment Agencies?

Alternatively, you may wish to register with a recruitment agency. Some of the major professional recruitment agencies in New Zealand include:

Some of the major executive recruitment agencies in New Zealand include:

Self-Employment and Establishing a Business in New Zealand

If you or your partner are considering self-employment or establishing your own business in New Zealand, the following resources may be useful:

  • The Citizens Advice Bureau is a government resource on all aspects of starting and operating a small business in New Zealand
  • Business is also provided by the New Zealand Government and offers a wealth of advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs
  • New Zealand Now is run by the New Zealand Government and explains the advantages of starting your own business in New Zealand.

Further Resources on Employment

The New Zealand Government provides a range of resources designed to make securing employment easier:

  • Jobs.govt.nz offers a range of resources on securing employment
  • Employment New Zealand provides information on everything from wages to employment policies and dispute resolution.

What is Working in New Zealand Like?

Working in New Zealand Working in New Zealand

New Zealand is a diverse, vibrant country and the working environment is no different. Hard work is generally respected and expected, with enthusiasm and a genuine passion for one’s company, career and industry commonplace. There are many commonalities to working in America: office hours (Monday to Friday, 8am to 5.30pm), as are expected standards of office etiquette and dress code. Plus, communication style is quite like that in America—direct while remaining informal.

How Do New Zealanders Communicate in Business?

American expats should not have too much difficulty adapting to the business communication style in New Zealand. The countries are very similar culturally, which means that American expats will be able to communicate in a business setting in much the same manner as at home.

Business in New Zealand is becoming less formal, but there is still a hierarchy in place and it is still respected. Conversation style in New Zealand is marked by subtlety and understatement. Conversations will be honest, forthright and free from hyperbole.

Greetings

A handshake is the most common form of greeting in a business setting. However, it is a not ritual, like it is some other countries. Your handshake should be firm, brief and accompanied with a smile.

In a formal situation, the spoken greeting should consist of “How are you?” or “How do you do?”. “G’day” and “Hello” are appropriate in more informal situations.

When meeting someone for the first time use their title followed by their surname. After the initial meeting, use of just their first name is expected.

Business Meetings

Business meetings in New Zealand are much the same as those in America:

  • They take place in an office or meeting room on company premises
  • Sometimes, an agenda will be set ahead of time so that attendees know what is to be discussed and can prepare accordingly.
  • A few pleasantries will be exchanged, but business is discussed quite quickly

Email

Communication via email should be no different than any other form of business communication—it should remain professional at all times. When first contacting a person via email, you should use some degree of formality. As your business relationship progresses, you can adopt a friendlier, more casual tone. Some tips for email communication:

  • Your subject line should be clear, succinct, and in line with the content of your email
  • Keep your sentences short, clear and easily understood
  • Include a signature in your email with relevant contact information, such as your return email, cell phone number and landline phone number.

Text Messaging

Business communication via text message is becoming more common in New Zealand. However, the appropriateness of texting as a business communication method varies from company-to-company and industry-to-industry and can sometimes even be influenced by regulations.

For instance, a real estate agent and their client may regularly use text messages for communication, particularly as it is an easy communication method to use whilst on the go. However, a financial advisor may be prohibited from texting clients due to security and privacy concerns.

What are Business Hours in New Zealand?

Business hours can vary depending on the industry, location and even company. General business hours include:

  • Banks:
    • Weekdays: 9am or 9.30am to 4.30pm
    • Saturdays: Most banks are closed
    • Sundays: Most banks are closed.
  • Corporate Offices: Working hours in New Zealand are similar to those in America – 8am or 9am to 5pm or 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, with a half hour to an hour lunch break. However, working over 40 hours per week is not uncommon, with unpaid overtime and weekend work sometimes expected. Some companies also offer ‘flexi-time’, with flexible start and finish times
  • Government: Government offices are generally open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, hours can vary depending on the services and work being completed
  • Retail Outlets:
    • Weekdays: Most shops open at 9am or 10am and close at 5pm. Most shops stay open until 9pm on Thursday and Friday
    • Saturdays: Most shops open at 9am and close at 4pm
    • Sundays: Some stores may be open.

What is the Office Dress Code in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, dress code varies from office-to-office and industry-to-industry, often based on factors such as the type of company (a progressive start-up versus a long-established traditional operation).

Suits are usually worn in corporate environments (usually in a darker color such as black, gray or navy), paired with a shirt and tie and leather shoes for men. For women, a smart suit and dressy shirt teamed with understated jewelry and high-heels is most common.

Casual Friday is also a regular occurrence in many offices, where a more corporate dress code is relaxed on a Friday and employees are encouraged to dress in a smart casual style.

What is Common Office Etiquette in New Zealand?

Office etiquette in New Zealand is very similar to office etiquette in America. Hard work is expected and respected, and high levels of manners and politeness are the norm. While New Zealanders are quite informal in many ways, this informality is always tempered with respect (particularly for more senior management) and political correctness.

However, Americans need to remember that New Zealanders are more reserved and may not appreciate the more boisterous elements of American business culture.

Work Ethic

New Zealanders have a strong work ethic and take their employment very seriously. Awards and incentives are offered, but it is not a common policy for companies. New Zealanders value their home life, leisure activities and time with family. This means that Americans won’t have to adjust to company pressure to put work ahead of everything else, as is the case when moving to some big cities in the US or the UK.

Gifts

In New Zealand, it is not appropriate to give gifts at business meetings or in business settings. In fact, some companies forbid their employees from accepting gifts, mainly due to anti-bribery and corruption policies.

In some instances, it may be appropriate to give business associates small gifts (such as chocolates, wine or flowers) when invited to a colleague’s home or for a client's Christmas gift.

Do’s and Don’ts of Business in New Zealand

To help ensure that you’re successful in the New Zealand world of business and to avoid any faux pas when you first arrive:

  • Do behave conservatively at all times
  • Do dress formally for initial meetings and interviews. After this initial meeting, follow the example set by your colleagues
  • Do start by addressing business associates formally using their title and surname. It is likely that business associates will ask to be referred to using their first name
  • Don't be late for meetings or appointments
  • Don't waste time making small talk
  • Don’t chew gum or use a toothpick in a business setting
  • Don't use slang to describe social, religious or ethnic groups. Political correctness is important. Don’t risk being rude or offensive.

What are Common Customs and Social Norms in New Zealand?

Customs and social norms in New Zealand Customs and social norms in New Zealand

If you’re an American moving to New Zealand, you’ll need to investigate local NZ customs and common cultural differences in to help you and your family assimilate more easily into New Zealand culture on arrival. Luckily, you can follow our in-depth guide below that takes you through everything from patriotism and table manners, through to metric versus imperial conversions and words commonly used in New Zealand (but not in America).

What is Patriotism Like in New Zealand?

New Zealanders are extremely patriotic, much like Americans. New Zealanders show their patriotism in several ways. Flying the New Zealand flag is not uncommon, and the singing of the national anthem regularly occurs in schools and at national events. As such, making denigrating comments about New Zealand will not be received well.

What is Religion Like in New Zealand?

Christianity is the most common religion in New Zealand, with approximately 48% of the population declaring an affiliation. Of Christians in New Zealand, approximately half are Catholic, with the Anglican and Presbyterian churches also having larges followings.

As a multi-cultural society, freedom of religion is a right of all people residing in New Zealand. Approximately 6% of the population is non-Christian, with Hinduism and Buddhism popular throughout the country.

Interestingly, in the 2013 New Zealand Census, 42% of the population declared that they had no religion at all.

What is Considered Good Manners in New Zealand?

Much like in America, good manners and politeness are important in New Zealand. To ensure that you are exhibiting good manners when you arrive in New Zealand, follow our list of tips:

  • If someone does something nice for you, thank them
  • Hold the door open for people behind you; never let it slam in their face
  • Respect your elders
  • Always say “excuse me” if you’ve interrupted or bumped into someone
  • Try to help other people if they need it, such as a person carrying a pram up and down stairs on their own or someone picking up dropped shopping
  • Keep the volume of your voice down in public; try not to shout or argue
  • Punctuality is important in New Zealand, with many people finding it rude and disrespectful to arrive either late or too early to a social event or appointment
  • New Zealanders politely stand in line when appropriate, such as when waiting to purchase tickets
  • Personal hygiene is very important in New Zealand so be sure to maintain good habits when it comes to showering and brushing your teeth
  • Do not stare at other people
  • Do not stand too close to other people; give them ample personal space
  • Do not ask personal questions (such as their age, religion, political stance or how much money they make) of someone you have only just met
  • Be respectful around Maori areas, particularly sacred spaces. You should always remove your shoes before walking into a Maori sacred space and be careful not to sit on any eating surfaces.

What is Considered Good Table Manners in New Zealand?

New Zealand table etiquette is essentially the same as in America. So, to ensure you make a good impression at your first dinner party or your first meal out at a restaurant, follow these handy tips and tricks on good table manners:

  • Eat politely and chew with your mouth closed
  • Never talk with your mouth full
  • Try not to make too much noise; do not slurp or loudly munch or crunch
  • If something on the table is out of reach, politely ask someone to pass it to you
  • Lift food up to your mouth, rather than bending over to eat it
  • Place a napkin on your lap when eating
  • If in a group, wait until everyone has been served before you start eating
  • Keep your elbows in when cutting food
  • Always use cutlery when eating; never pick up food in your hands, expect in rare exceptions to the rule, such as fried chicken and corn on the cob.

There is also some behavior that should be avoided when eating in New Zealand, including:

  • Burping at the table
  • Picking your teeth at the table
  • Licking your fingers at the table
  • Placing your elbows on the table
  • Smoking at the table
  • Speaking with your mouth full.

How Do New Zealanders Communicate?

New Zealanders communicate in a reserved fashion. To help ensure you’re neither offended, nor offend others, when you first arrive in New Zealand, follow these rules:

  • Avoid being too boisterous or asking personal questions
  • When speaking, it is important to make and maintain eye contact
  • Some topics of conversation, such as religion, politics and the treatment of Maori people, should be avoided at social gatherings, until you know the other guests well. Safe topics of conversation include sports, hobbies, travel and one’s children
  • New Zealanders maintain a social acceptable ‘buffer’ of personal space between one another during social gatherings
  • New Zealanders often acknowledge presence in non-communicative ways by waving, raising an eyebrow or nodding.

Does New Zealand Use Metric or Imperial Units of Measurement?

New Zealand uses the metric system, unlike the United States which uses the imperial system.

The Imperial system is based on the old British system of measurement (as ordered by the king, hence the name Imperial). The units of measurement in the Imperial system are yards, miles, feet, inches, pounds, ounces, and gallons.

The Metric system is an internationally agreed system of measurement. Based on the mètre des Archives and the kilogramme des Archives introduced by the French in 1799, the metric system uses the units of meter, kilogram and second.

Units of Measurement

Units of measurement in the Imperial system, versus those in the Metric system include:

  • 1 inch = 2.54 cm
  • 1 meter = 3.28 feet
  • 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
  • 1 gallon = 3.78 liters
  • 1 kg = 2.2 lbs.

Some tips and tricks to help remember how to convert units of measurement include:

  • Converting miles to kilometers: Five miles is equivalent to 8 kilometers (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1 kilometer equals 0.62137119 miles). To convert miles to kilometers, the easiest way to formula to use is: divide the number of miles by five, subtract the answer from the number of miles, and then double the number left. For instance:
    • 100 miles ÷ 5 = 20
    • 100 – 20 = 80
    • 80 x 2 = 160km.
  • Converting pounds to kilograms: 2.2 pounds is equivalent to 1 kilogram (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1lb equals 0.45359237 kilograms). To convert pounds to kilograms, halve the number of pounds, and then subtract one tenth of the result. For instance:
    • 100lbs ÷ 2 = 50
    • 50 - 5 = 45kg.
  • Converting gallons to liters: One liter equals 1.8 imperial pints, and there are eight pints in a gallon. Therefore, one gallon equals 4.55 liters. To convert gallons to liters, multiple the number of gallons by nine, and then halve the answer. For instance:
    • 100 gallons x 9 = 900
    • 900 ÷ 2 = 450 liters.
  • Converting inches to centimeters: One inch is equivalent to 2.54cm. So, to convert inches to centimeters, you simply need to multiply by 2.45. For instance: 100 inches x 2.45 = 245 centimeters
  • Converting feet to meters: There are 3.28 feet in a meter. So, to convert feet to meters, take your measurement (in feet) and divide it by 3.28. For instance: 100 feet ÷ 3.28 = 30.48 meters.

Temperature

In New Zealand, temperatures are expressed in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit (as in America). A few key temperatures to remember:

  • 32°F = 0°C (freezing)
  • 70°F = 21°C (comfortable)
  • 100°F = 38°C (uncomfortable).

New Zealand uses the metric system, much like Australia. So, Australian expats will have no difficulty in understanding units of measurement (which will be in centimetres, metres and kilometres) and temperatures (which will be in Celsius).

Do New Zealanders Use Different Words to Americans?

Americans and New Zealanders speak differently, often using different words for the same concept. In addition, in the US, American English is used (rather than the Queen’s English, which is most common in New Zealand). This means that sometimes the same words are spelt differently. Peruse our lists of words below to help ensure you know which words to use, as well as how to spell them, when you arrive in New Zealand.

American Words Versus New Zealand Words

There are many words that are specific to the American vernacular. As such, it is unlikely that New Zealanders will understand what you are trying to say. To avoid confusion in day-to-day conversation, try substituting the following New Zealand words for their American counterparts:

  • “trunk” versus “boot”
  • “cell phone” versus “mobile phone”
  • “gas” versus “petrol”
  • “bell pepper” versus “capsicum”
  • “Fall” versus “Autumn”
  • “root” versus “barrack”
  • “restroom” versus “bathroom”
  • “nightstand” versus “bedside table”
  • “ballpoint” versus “biro”
  • “pail” versus “bucket”
  • “downtown” versus “CBD”
  • “drapes” versus “curtains”
  • “flat” versus “apartment”
  • “bangs” versus “fringe”
  • “vacation” versus “holiday”
  • “pitcher” versus “jug”
  • “college” versus “uni”
  • “sweater” versus “jumper”
  • “lobby” versus “reception”
  • “eraser” versus “rubber”
  • “jacuzzi” versus “spa”
  • “faucet” versus “tap”
  • “flashlight” versus “torch”
  • “billfold” versus “wallet”
  • “clap board” versus “weatherboard”
  • “diapers” versus “nappies”
  • “cookie” versus “biscuits”
  • “stroller” versus “pusher”.

What is a Credit Rating?

Maintaining a good credit rating is important in New Zealand as it influences loan and credit card applications. There are three major credit bureaus in New Zealand (Equifax, Baycorp and Centrix ), which collect credit rating information. Several factors affect your credit score, some of which include:

  • The number of credit accounts you hold
  • The amount owed on your credit accounts
  • Your total available credit limit
  • Your total debt
  • Your promptness in paying bills
  • Payment or credit issues, such as bankruptcy, loan defaults or foreclosures.

What are the Most Popular Sports to Play and Watch in New Zealand?

Most popular sports to play and watch in New Zealand Most popular sports to play and watch in New Zealand

New Zealanders are one of the world’s most passionate nations when it comes to sport. They love watching it and they love playing it. So, participating in sport is a great way for an expatriate to settle into their new home. Whether it's basketball court, a golf course, or a rugby pitch, almost every town in New Zealand has some form of recreational facility.

The four main professional-level sports in New Zealand are rugby, cricket, basketball and soccer. Find out more information about these sports below.

Rugby

The support for the national New Zealand rugby team—the All Blacks—is all-pervading. The whole country watches the All Blacks games and with the amount of success the team has enjoyed on the world stage, it’s no wonder. The All Blacks are the best team in international rugby union and are the only team to win the world cup on three occasions.

The Mitre 10 Cup is the professional rugby competition for New Zealand clubs. It consists of 14 teams, divided equally between the Premiership Division and the Championship Division.

The Bledisloe Cup is an annual competition between Australia and New Zealand. A great example of the friendly rivalry between New Zealand and Australia, this competition has been held since the 1930s and includes three matches. New Zealand has held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.

Cricket

New Zealand’s national cricket team are called the Black Caps. Like the All Blacks, they attract considerable national interest. The Plunket Shield is the top test domestic cricket competition. The Ford Trophy is the top domestic one-day competition and the McDonald’s SuperSmash is the top domestic Twenty20 competition. As in America, cricket is played over the summer months.

National Basketball League (NBL)

The National Basketball League is the premier domestic basketball competition, which runs from the middle of March to the middle of June. The national team is nicknamed the Tall Blacks and Steven Adams; a New Zealand national is a starting player for NBA team Oklahoma Thunder.

Soccer

The Stirling Sports Premiership is the top national competition, featuring ten teams with the season running from October to April every year. The national team is known as the All Whites and qualified for the 2010 World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Other Sports in New Zealand

Apart from the four main professional-level sports, there is also significant interest in sports such as sailing, golf, tennis, water sports and winter sports, particularly on the South Island.

Playing Sport in New Zealand

It won't be difficult to join a local sporting team. The best place to start is at a local YMCA or local private club. If you’re interested in cricket, rugby or basketball you may find that informal games are held down at local parks, pitches and courts.

Fitness in New Zealand

New Zealanders are passionate about keeping fit. Most cities and towns have local fitness facilities. YMCAs are a great option for exercising on a budget, while private gyms and clubs offer an incredible range of facilities at a higher price. Some of the larger private gyms include:

New Zealand has plenty of options for free exercise, with extensive hiking and biking trails. State school facilities are also open for public use on weekends and holidays.

The Alpine region on the South Island also offers world-class winter sports facilities.

What Holidays and Traditions are Celebrated in New Zealand?

Celebrating holidays and traditions in New Zealand Celebrating holidays and traditions in New Zealand

There are many different types of holidays and traditions celebrated in New Zealand, from religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter, through to cultural celebrations. Understanding New Zealand’s holidays and traditions will give you a great insight into the overall culture of the country. Read our guide below so that you understand the meaning behind each tradition, as well as how and when they are celebrated.

When are the School Holidays in New Zealand?

The New Zealand school calendar four terms with the following holiday periods:

  • Term one holidays: Two-weeks from mid-April
  • Term two holidays: Two-weeks from early July
  • Term three holidays: Two-weeks from late September
  • Term four holidays: Six-weeks from late December.

When are New Zealand’s Public Holidays?

New Zealand observes several public holidays, each of which is outlined below. If a federal public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it is moved to the first available weekday.

New Year’s Day (1 January)

New Year’s Day celebrates the beginning of the new calendar year. Generally, people attend large parties on the night of 31 December, ringing in the New Year at midnight.

Waitangi Day (6 February)

Waitangi Day is New Zealand’s national holiday. It celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Maori chiefs. The day is closely tied to Maori culture and viewed as an opportunity to learn and celebrate the Maori culture that has shaped New Zealand.

Good Friday and Easter Monday (March to April: First Friday and Monday After the First Full Moon After the Vernal Equinox)

A Christian holiday, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion three days prior. In New Zealand, both Good Friday and the Monday are public holidays, just as in America. New Zealanders often use this extended weekend to go away on holidays, spend time with their family and enjoy the outdoors before winter sets in.

ANZAC Day (25 April)

ANZAC Day celebrates the first military operation by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli. It is a national holiday in New Zealand and Australia, and it celebrates the sacrifice made on that day by Australian and New Zealand soldiers and in subsequent battles. The day is marked by solemnity and reflection.

Queens Birthday (First Monday of June)

New Zealand’s head of state is the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s actual birthday is in April, but it is celebrated on this day.

Labor Day (23 October)

Labor Day is a celebration of worker’s rights and a commemoration of the day that Samuel Parnell won the right to an eight-hour working day. The day was first celebrated in 1890 and most businesses are closed so that employees can enjoy a day of rest with family and friends.

Christmas Day (25 December)

Just as in America, Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and, as Christianity is the most widespread religion in New Zealand, it is the biggest holiday of the year. Most businesses are closed on Christmas Day and many on Christmas Eve as well.

Most people decorate their homes with Christmas lights and Christmas trees, and children believe that Santa Claus will visit their home and bring them gifts, so long as they have been well-behaved.

Boxing Day (26 December)

People use the day to extend their Christmas holidays and spend time with friends and family. Stores all over New Zealand also have Boxing Day Sales, meaning hordes of shoppers descend on the major outlets to take advantage of the bargains.

Other New Zealand Holidays and Festivals

In addition to federal public holidays, there are various other holidays, festivals and celebrations observed by the New Zealand population, each of which is outlined below.

Valentine’s Day (14 February)

Much the same as Valentine’s Day in America, this festival is celebrated in memory of St Valentine. It is a day dedicated to love and people exchange gifts and create special occasions to celebrate their relationship.

St Patrick’s Day (17 March)

Again, as in America, St Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture, remembering the Christian Saint Patrick, who is one of Ireland’s patron saints. On this day, people often wear green to commemorate the occasion and people head to pubs to drink Guinness and listen to Irish music.

Passover (14th Day of the First Month of the Jewish Year)

Passover is a Jewish tradition, which lasts for eight days and celebrates the survivals of the Jews in Egypt. The tradition is marked with ritual dinners called Seder and Jewish New Zealanders may take the day off work to celebrate this occasion.

Mother’s Day (Second Sunday in May)

Just like Mother’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their mother, often buying presents and gifts.

Father’s Day (First Sunday in September)

Once again, just like Father’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their father, often buying presents and gifts.

Halloween (31 October)

Halloween began in European cultures, which believe that on this day magic is at its most potent, with ghosts and spirits able to contact the physical world. Halloween was first celebrated to keep the evil spirits at bay.

The day isn’t celebrated to the degree that it is in New Zealand, but young children still love to dress up as something scary and go door-knocking for treats.

What is Food and Drink Culture Like in New Zealand?

The eating and drinking culture of New Zealand The eating and drinking culture of New Zealand

A key way to experience the culture of a new country is through their food and beverages, and New Zealand is no different. Not only does New Zealand have its own unique foods and drinks, it also offers a range of culturally diverse options due to its rich cultural heritage. You’ll also need to be aware of some cultural norms when it comes to food and drink in New Zealand, such as expectations around tipping and the legal drinking age.

Does New Zealand Have a National Dish?

New Zealand is a blend of cultures, which makes identifying one particular national dish difficult. As in most modern countries, food trends change regularly and there are always new food fads appearing on the culinary scene. However, there are a few foods that are unmistakably Kiwi:

  • Hangi food
  • Pavlova
  • Lolly cake
  • Colonial goose
  • Pork and puha
  • ANZAC biscuits
  • Pineapple lumps
  • Afghan biscuits
  • Hokey pokey ice cream
  • Whitebait
  • Sausage sizzle.

L&P is also the national soft drink. This lemon flavored beverage was first made in the town of Paeroa and it is a staple throughout New Zealand. New Zealand also produces world-class wine. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is consistently one of the highest selling wines in the world, as are high-quality Pinot Noirs and Rieslings.

What are Restaurants Like in New Zealand?

New Zealanders love dining out and dining experiences in New Zealand are usually casual and free of pomp. Although, high-scale restaurants do exist.

Auckland features a diversity of cuisines, featuring everything from Chinese, Japanese and Korean to fine dining, casual eateries, and takeaway outlets. The best areas for dining in Auckland are the suburbs of Ponsonby and Parnell, while the Waterfront area and Mission Bay feature excellent seafood restaurants.

You’ll find plenty of dining options on Manchester and Colombo Streets in Christchurch. Cafes offer hearty breakfasts and brunch options. Pubs offer fantastic meals and you can find street vendors in Cathedral Square.

Wellington also offers a diverse range of cuisines, including Italian, Thai, French and Malaysian. Families will find plenty of casual dining options, and Cuba Street offers bohemian eating experiences in small restaurants and cafes.

How to Find a Restaurant in New Zealand

There is no standard restaurant rating system in New Zealand, although newspapers and magazine regularly print reviews. The easiest way to find restaurants and view their ratings is by visiting review websites:

How to Tip in New Zealand

Tipping is not commonly practiced or expected in New Zealand. At fine restaurants, a tip of ten percent can be given if the service was exceptionally good.

What is the Legal Drinking Age in New Zealand?

As per the New Zealand Sale & Supply of Alcohol Act, the minimum legal age to purchase alcohol in New Zealand is 18 years old.

However, New Zealand has no minimum legal drinking age.

Therefore, although people under the age of 18 are unable to legally purchase alcohol, they are legally allowed to consume alcohol. The onus is placed on their parent or guardian to supervise the responsible consumption of alcohol.

Shopping for Food in New Zealand

New Zealanders benefit from high-quality, fresh food. Cities and towns have supermarkets with a variety of products, while specialty stores, butchers and green grocers are also readily available.

The most common means of shopping for food is in large chain supermarkets. These are self-serve, with people pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles. Some of the larger supermarket chains include:

Dairies (small one-off corner stores) have longer opening hours than supermarkets and can be used to purchase essential items such as milk and bread.

Meal-kits that are delivered to your home are also popular in New Zealand. Major brands include:

What is Housing Like in New Zealand?

Housing in New Zealand Housing in New Zealand

If you’re not moving to New Zealand from America for work or your employer hasn’t secured housing for you, you’ll need investigate potential properties to buy or rent in New Zealand.

What are the Best Real Estate Websites in New Zealand?

A good place to start your search are some of the most popular real estate search websites. These will give you an idea of the type of housing available, as well as the average cost. Try:

What is Renting Property in New Zealand Like?

If you’re planning on renting property, keep in mind:

  • the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) administers the rental process in New Zealand. This makes renting property very fair and straightforward. The responsibilities of landlords and tenants are clearly defined and there are clear dispute resolution processes in place. All decisions made by the MBIE are final
  • Furnished accommodation is rare, although with enough effort expats should be able to find furnished properties
  • Rent is usually paid twice a month, in advance
  • If you enlist a real estate agent to secure a rental property, you will be charged a fee of one week’s rent
  • Renters are required to pay a deposit of four weeks’ rent in advance. This deposit is held by the MBIE until the landlord and the tenant have satisfied the requirements to have the money released
  • Fixed-term tenancy and periodic tenancies exist in New Zealand. If you are unsure about how long you will remain in one place, you should sign a periodic lease to ensure you don’t lose money breaking the contract of a fixed-term lease.

What is Buying Property in New Zealand Like?

If you’re planning on buying property, keep in mind:

  • You will be charged property rates by the local council and depending on where you buy, these costs can be quite high
  • Engage the services of a local, reputable real estate agent. Some of the largest estate agents, which have offices in most cities, include:
  • Organize inspections of properties that meet your criteria for when you arrive.

What Types of Housing are there in New Zealand?

Housing types, styles, and even availability vary from area-to-area and even city-to-city. However, some general facts you can expect about housing in New Zealand include:

  • Housing prices and rent are more expensive in major metropolitan regions; you can expect to pay 25% more to buy a house in Auckland than in other parts of New Zealand
  • Houses do not usually come furnished
  • Kitchens in New Zealand houses usually come with an oven, a stove, range hood and a dishwasher but expats will usually have to supply their own fridge and microwave
  • Houses generally have several bedrooms and bathrooms, a lounge room and separate living area, a separate kitchen and laundry and sometimes a study or media room, as well as a finished basement
  • Laundries in New Zealand houses usually include a washing machine and dryer
  • Despite the cold weather, houses in New Zealand won’t necessarily have central heating. If you’re moving to a colder part of the country, you should ask about heating and insulation before you buy or rent.

What are Houses Like in New Zealand?

There are several types of houses in New Zealand, including:

  • Detached: Free-standing properties that have their own backyards. These yards can range in size from 550m2 right up to more than an acre
  • Home Units: A group of similarly-designed modest houses all sharing one driveway
  • Apartments: Smaller houses that are part of a complex and may share common facilities, such as gardens and common areas.

What Architectural Styles are Common for Houses in New Zealand?

Houses in New Zealand may be any one of several different architectural styles:

  • 19th Century: Built during the early years of European settlement, these houses are usually of the Georgian, Gothic revival and classical revival and commonly built of wood, brick and stone. The Treaty House at Waitangi is a classic example of this period of architecture
  • 20th Century: Usually large and grand, with a focus on English architecture and handcrafted materials. These homes are designed to look similar to the Second World War American styles, such as art deco and the Californian bungalow
  • Modernism: In the 1930s, houses began to reflect the modernist movement, featuring flat roofs, open planning, and the heavy use of glass. Blocks of state flats also used modernist styles. The use of exposed timer and Maori designs also became popular during this period
  • Postmodern and Neo-Modern Architecture: This style of housing features sleek lines, lots of glass and vast spaces. This period influenced many apartment buildings in New Zealand, as well as the conversion of office and warehouse buildings into housing.

What is the Best Way to Get Around in New Zealand?

Getting around in New Zealand Getting around in New Zealand

Perhaps the only drawback that American expats will experience when arriving in New Zealand is the lack of public transport. There is some public transport available in major cities. However, you will very likely need your own private car, particularly if you wish to travel around New Zealand.

What are the Road Rules when Driving in New Zealand?

If you plan to drive once you arrive in New Zealand, there are several different road rules of which you should make yourself aware: New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road. This means that:

  • You'll need to take extra care when pulling out of intersections, roundabouts and one-way streets
    • The gear stick will be in your left hand
    • The indicators and windscreen wipers will be operated by your left-hand
    • When crossing the street, you need to look left for on-coming traffic.
  • When making a right turn, pass in front of cars making similar right-hand turns across the intersection
  • For more information about driving in New Zealand and road rules, visit the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Can You Drive in New Zealand with a Foreign Licence?

Americans can dive in New Zealand for 12-months after arrival using their American drivers’ licence. After this initial 12-month period, Americans will have to convert their American licence into a New Zealand driver’s licence. To do this:

What is Public Transport Like in New Zealand?

New Zealand doesn’t enjoy the extensive public transport system that is present in America. However, where public transport is available, it is clean, efficient and well organized.

Trains

KiwiRail is owned by the New Zealand Government and handles both freight and passenger trains. Expats can use KiwiRail to take long-distance journey across the North Island and the upper part of the South Island. You can plan your journey and book tickets online. KiwiRail also owns the train networks in Wellington and Auckland.

Buses

Buses are the main form of public transport throughout New Zealand and the only mode of public transport in Hamilton, Dunedin and Christchurch. The largest bus company is New Zealand is NZ Bus, but other private companies operate around the country. Companies that offer inter-city bus travel include:

Ferries

You can travel between the North and South Islands by ferry. Interislander ferry has three vessels that regularly transport passengers across the Cook Strait. Blueridge Cook Straight Ferry also offers a ferry service across Cook Strait. The journey takes approximately three hours and the ferries are equipped with restaurants, play areas and Wi-Fi.

Taxis and Uber

New Zealand has a wide range of taxi services, allowing commuters to book single-use, as well as group transport and shuttle options. Booking over the phone is the best way to organize a taxi. However, empty cabs can be hailed from the street. Expats can even use taxi services to organize day-tour packages.

A relatively new company, Uber is an app-based ride share cab company. Using Uber, you can hire a driver to pick you up in their private car and take you to your desired destination. The nearest driver is at your pickup location within minutes.

What is Air Travel Like in New Zealand?

It can be quite cost effective to fly between cities in New Zealand. So, it’s worth researching your options when planning a trip. Regular domestic flights run from large airports in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown, with flights also operating to smaller regional airports. Shuttle buses from city centers to airports also help to make flying a cost-effective option.

Low cost airlines operating in New Zealand include:

What Items are Prohibited when Shipping Goods to New Zealand?

Prohibited items when shipping goods to New Zealand Prohibited items when shipping goods to New Zealand

Many dangerous or prohibited goods cannot be shipped to New Zealand. People attempting to import prohibited items into New Zealand may be subject to a penalty and the items may be seized by customs officials.

What Items are Prohibited Entry to New Zealand?

General items prohibited from entry into New Zealand include:

  • Agricultural items and food
  • Brushes that contain animal hair or bristle
  • Chemical weapons and chemicals that may be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Controlled drugs and utensils
  • Dog tracking devices
  • Explosives, including fireworks
  • False or misleading goods
  • Hazardous substances
  • Hazardous wastes
  • Laser pointers (high power)
  • Objectionable material (contained in CDs, DVDs, magazines and so on)
  • Ozone-depleting substances and goods containing these substances
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Radio jamming equipment
  • Radioactive materials.

What Wildlife Products are Prohibited Entry to New Zealand?

Wildlife products prohibited from entry into New Zealand include:

  • Antarctic toothfish and Patagonian toothfish
  • Medicines that contain bear, tiger, turtle, musk or Aucklandia root
  • Any elephant items, including ivory jewelry, carvings, tusks and so on
  • Any whale or cetacean items, such as whalebone carvings, dolphin teeth and so on
  • Big cat skins or coats
  • Any item made from turtle meat or marine turtle shell
  • Many big game hunting trophies
  • Some orchids and cycads
  • Any products made from endangered or threatened wildlife, as defined by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

For more information, download our Guide to Moving Dangerous, Prohibited and Restricted Items.

What Items are Restricted When Shipping Goods to New Zealand?

Restricted items when shipping goods to New Zealand Restricted items when shipping goods to New Zealand

When shipping items to New Zealand, some items are subject to restrictions and will require additional precautions. People attempting to import restricted items into New Zealand may be subject to a penalty and the items may be seized by customs officials. To help ensure that your goods are not seized and that your entire shipment is not delayed, follow our guide on restricted items.

Iraqi Cultural Property

The import of Iraqi cultural property of historical, cultural, scientific, religious or archaeological significance is highly restricted and subject to United Nations Sanctions.

Money

You must declare cash totaling more than NZ$10,000 to customs officials upon arrival. False and counterfeit money will be seized and the importer will be prosecuted.

Trademarked Items

Imitation products represented by a registered trademark are restricted. The items most frequently identified as having false trademarks are perfume, jewelry (including watches), cameras, tape recorders and musical instruments. Pirated copies of copyrighted books are also restricted.

Food (Including Herbs and Spices)

Food can cause delays in customs clearances, so it is recommended not to include food in a general household goods shipment.

For more information, visit New Zealand Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

What is the Healthcare System Like in New Zealand?

The healthcare system in New Zealand The healthcare system in New Zealand

The healthcare system in New Zealand is funded by general taxation and all residents receive free or subsidized healthcare. The standard of the public healthcare system is high, but some expats may choose to give themselves extra coverage by investing in private health insurance.

Americans can only access free public healthcare if they are issued a residency permit for 24 months and can prove that they will remain in New Zealand for that entire period of time. You can prove you will remain in New Zealand for 24 months by providing a work contract, a lease or a mortgage agreement. Immediate family members will also be eligible for free public healthcare.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health provides a range of information on how to enroll with your local doctor and how to find your local doctor.

What is Health Insurance Like in New Zealand?

The standard of public healthcare is high in New Zealand. However, waiting lists can be long and not all aspects of healthcare are covered, such as dental care. The cost of accessing health services that aren’t covered by the public healthcare system can be extremely costly. It may be worth investigating private health insurance options.

Major Health Insurance Providers

Some of the major health insurance providers in New Zealand include:

What are Emergency Medical Services Like in New Zealand?

If you have a medical emergency that requires urgent attention, you can call for an ambulance. In New Zealand, the number to dial is ‘111’. You can also call the free national health line for advice on ‘0800 611 116’.

In the Wellington area, Wellington Free ambulance services are available at no charge. In other areas, there is a charge to use the ambulance, even if you don't personally request an ambulance.

Alternatively, you can go directly to a hospital-run emergency department (sometimes called Accident and Emergency or A&E units), which are open 24 hours.

The Ministry of Health has more information about what to do in a medical emergency.

How Do Pharmacies and Prescription Medication Work in New Zealand?

Pharmacies or chemists are very similar to what American expats will be used to at home. There are numerous chemists in urban areas and they are usually well stocked.

American prescriptions will not be filled by New Zealand pharmacies. You will need to take a copy of your American prescription to a New Zealand doctor and have them write you a local prescription. Some of the largest pharmacy chains include:

How Do Electricity, Water and Gas Utilities Work in New Zealand?

Electricity, water and gas utilities in New Zealand Electricity, water and gas utilities in New Zealand

When moving to New Zealand, you’ll need to understand how electricity, water and gas utilities work, from the biggest utility companies in the market, to connecting your services, as well as whether your American appliances and electronics will work in New Zealand.

How to Connect Your Utilities in New Zealand

Once you’ve found a property to rent or buy, you’ll need to organize the connection of your electricity, water and gas utilities. Some things to keep in mind:

  • New Zealand produces much of its electricity through hydroelectric and geothermal power and wind, meaning it enjoys some of the cleanest and most abundant energy in the world
  • Depending on where you live, gas will either be piped to your home or supplied in an LPG bottle
  • The smell of natural gas may be different than what you’re used to in America, so make sure you know what the gas smells like in your area so you’re aware of any leaks
  • There is strong competition amongst electricity and gas suppliers in New Zealand, so do your research to get the best deal
  • Local councils administer water supplies and rates vary from council-to-council
  • The biggest electricity utility companies in New Zealand include:
  • The biggest gas utility companies in New Zealand include:

Will My American Appliances and Electronics Work in New Zealand?

Your American appliances and other household electronics may not work in New Zealand due to three potential compatibility issues: the plug, the voltage and the frequency.

The different power plug is easy to overcome with a plug adapter. However, the difference in electricity voltage and frequency can be more challenging. In the US, electricity is 100 to 110 volts, at a frequency of 60 Hz. In New Zealand, electricity operates at 220 to 240 volts and 50 Hz. This means that most of your household appliances and electronics should work.

However, it is recommended that you check the power labels or instruction manuals for ‘110-240v 50/60Hz’ for all your electronics before plugging them in for the first time in New Zealand. Also keep in mind that televisions and video and DVD recorders may operate in different digital formats and standards, which may make them incompatible in New Zealand.

You should therefore thoroughly check the manuals of all your appliances and electronics to ensure they are compatible with New Zealand voltages and frequencies, before incurring the cost of shipping over items that might be useless upon arrival. Buying new or secondhand appliances and electronics once you arrive may not only be more cost-effective, but your only solution.

How Do Cell Phones and the Internet Work in New Zealand?

Mobile phones and the internet in New Zealand Mobile phones and the internet in New Zealand

There is a range of cell phone and internet providers in New Zealand, all of which offer different services at different rates. Be sure to do your research into which package best suits your needs before signing on the dotted line.

Internet services are of a very high quality in New Zealand. ADSL is the most popular option, but expats can also choose to connect via a prepaid 3G service. Again, be sure to shop around to get the best deal, paying careful attention to speed and download allowances.

The main cell phone providers are:

The main internet providers are:

How to Keep in Touch with Family and Friends Back Home While in New Zealand

Keeping in touch with family and friends from New Zealand Keeping in touch with family and friends from New Zealand

Moving across to New Zealand is an incredible opportunity to explore new opportunities in your professional and personal life. However, there's no denying that you'll miss family and friends left behind. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to keep in touch, from cell phone phones and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps, like Skype and WhatsApp, through to the postal service.

Phone

To make an international call from New Zealand, you'll need to dial:

  • The international access code, which is ‘00'
  • The international country code for the country you wish to call (this is '1' for America)
  • The area code. For example:

    • '907' for Alaska
    • '302' for Delaware
    • '808' for Hawaii
    • '208' for Idaho
    • '207' for Maine
    • '406' for Montant
    • '605' for South Dakota
    • '802' for Vermont
    • '307' for Wyoming.
  • The number of the person you wish to call.

Different carriers will have different international call rates, so make sure you confirm these rates early on.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Apps

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Apps

If you use any of these apps while you're connected to Wi-Fi, you'll save a lot of money. You also won't have to worry about international country codes—just click on the contact and press call. You also have the option of making videos call over Skype, Facebook Messenger and FaceTime, helping you feel more connected to your friends and family.

Internet

Most areas of New Zealand enjoy some sort of connection to the Internet. The Internet offers you round-the-clock access to the people you miss back home. Email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all allow you to stay connected and you can also use your computer to make international calls via Facebook and Skype.

Most cities throughout New Zealand will offer free public Wi-Fi access points, so keep an eye out for the Wi-Fi symbol to increase your connectivity and make the most of free communication opportunities.

Postal Service

New Zealand Post runs the national postal service and it is regarded as an efficient service. Expats need to be aware that there is a cut-off in late-November for sending post at economy rates due to the Christmas post rush.

Prices and delivery times vary according to weight and destination and you should be aware that sending bulky mail to an international destination can be quite expensive. You can get a price estimate for sending a letter or a package by using this online tool.

Post offices are known as PostShops in New Zealand and most cities and towns have at least one PostShop. Opening hours are usually 8.30am to 5pm, with some shops open until 8pm on Fridays and short opening hours on Saturdays.

What Tax Do I Pay in New Zealand?

Paying tax in New Zealand Paying tax in New Zealand

As with any developed nation, there are several taxes that you’ll be required to pay when living in New Zealand. Luckily, the New Zealand taxation system is incredibly simple compared to other countries, with income tax and sales tax being the main forms of taxes. These taxes are outlined below.

What is Income Tax?

If you are an employee, income tax is taken directly from your paycheck, so you won’t need to set aside money each month. If you are self-employed or have your own company, you will be responsible for paying your own income tax.

To ensure you’re paying appropriate income tax, you’ll need to apply for an Inland Revenue Department number as soon as you arrive in New Zealand; this is the same as your tax.

Employees and self-employed taxpayers need to complete a tax return each year. This is like the tax return you complete in America in that you need to state how much money you’ve earnt and how much tax you’ve paid, so the Inland Revenue Department can decide if you’re owed a refund or you need to pay more tax.

Visit the Internal Revenue Department’s Guides and Forms pageto download all the forms you need to fill out, as well as useful guides to help you while filling out your tax return.

What is Sales Tax?

The sales tax in New Zealand is known as a Goods and Services Tax (GST). The GST is taxed at a flat rate of 15% across all purchases, apart from residential rents and financial services.

What is Property Tax?

Local councils charge property tax in the form of council rates. These rates vary from council to council, so do your research into rates before you decide on where to buy.

What to See and Do in New Zealand?

Things to see and do in New Zealand Things to see and do in New Zealand

New Zealand is considered one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. Every corner of the islands that make up New Zealand is packed with a variety of stunning landscapes, which is why New Zealanders, expats, and visitors become so passionate about spending time in the great outdoors. However, New Zealand has much more to offer than stunning natural landscapes. It would be almost impossible to list every sight to see, so the list below should be viewed as a starting point. Make your own discoveries about the natural and cultural wonders that New Zealand has to offer.

Bird Watching

New Zealand is a bird lover’s paradise. Stewart Island gives visitors the best chance to see Kiwis in the wild. Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay gives you access to the only gannet colony in the world. If you’re near Dunedin, make sure you visit Taiaroa Head to see the colonies of royal albatross, as well as the Otago Peninsula to come face-to-face with yellow-eyed penguins.

Blue Penguin Colony

Oamaru on the South Island is home to a blue penguin colony, and adults and kids alike will marvel as they waddle up the beach towards their nests, which are contained in an old stone quarry on the waterfront. The best time to visit is between November and December when up to 250 penguins call the Oamaru foreshore home.

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga sits at the very top of New Zealand and it allows visitors to do all the things that New Zealand is famous for in one place. You can go tramping along the scenic path to the Cape Reinga Lighthouse, sand board down the enormous dunes and walk amongst 2,000-year old trees at Puketi Kauri Forest.

Christchurch

Neo-classical architecture makes Christchurch one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cities. Whilst Christchurch has also been the site of devastating earthquakes, the city has largely recovered and visitors will love the relaxed atmosphere, friendly locals and bustling café culture. Christchurch is also famous for its beautiful gardens and a visit to the city’s botanical gardens is a must. The Giant’s House sculpture sitting on the hills above the Akaroa district give Christchurch its own Parc Guell.

Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect holiday destination. It is easily accessible from Auckland and features of ancient rainforest, sandy beaches and even warm pools at Hot Water Beach. It also features plenty of world-class point breaks for the keen surfer, and while Americans will need to adjust to the colder water, they’ll love the empty lineups and long left-handers.

Fjording

Norway may be famous for its fjords, but the sea inlets that dot the coast of the South Island are just as spectacular. Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound offer incredibly sea kayaking opportunities and of natural beauty.

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers

These two glaciers are found in the Westland National Park and are unique in the way they stretch from the heights of the forest to the coastline. These glaciers are just two of the 140 that dot the national park and seeing them up close is a truly magical experience.

Hobbiton

Lord of the Rings fans will love visiting Matamata. The area features the Hobbiton Movie Set, which was used during the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Visitors can walk amongst hobbit holes on their way through the lush, rolling hills.

Kaituna River

The Kaituna River near Rotorua offers expats the chance to raft down the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. You’ll plunge down the 7m (22 foot) fall for a truly unforgettable experience.

Lake Tekapo

Sitting at the foothill of Mount John on the South Island, this lake is impossibly turquoise. The glacial dust gives it its otherworldly blue and the best place to view this natural wonder from is the observatory point at the top of Mount John, which is also home to the University of Canterbury’s Observatory.

Maori Culture

In Wellington, you can visit the Te Papa Tangarewa Museum of New Zealand and the Auckland Museum to gain a fantastic insight into Maori culture, both past and present. Whilst in New Zealand, you should also try to attend a hangi (traditional frat cooked in an earth oven), visit a marae (a Maori meeting hall) and experience the power of a haka.

Mount Cook

At 3,754m (12,300 feet) tall, Mount Cook on the South Island is the highest mountain in New Zealand and a destination for mountain climbing enthusiasts from all over the world. If you don’t feel like putting your climbing boots on, you can take the TranzAlpine train trip for a journey through the Southern Alps.

Queenstown

Queenstown is paradise for lovers of adventure sports. There’s basically nothing you can’t do from this town. It’s a gateway to some of New Zealand’s finest skiing and snowboarding slopes, as well as ample opportunities for rafting, bungee jumping, rock climbing and caving. On top of all of that, it sits on the scenic Lake Wakatipu and is full of world-class dining and nightlife, meaning it really is a treat for all the senses.

Rotorua

Rotoruais high on most tourists lists and it is truly a place of natural wonder. It is here that you can see first-hand the geothermal energy that makes up the core of the earth. Witness this geothermal energy bubble to the surface in the many whirlpools, geysers, thermal pools, steam jets, and sulfur pits, as well as the volcanoes at nearby Tongariro.

Sky Tower

There’s no better place to see Auckland—New Zealand’s biggest city—than from Sky Tower. You can even abseil down the 100m (330 foot) building if you’re feeling particularly brave. Otherwise, stay safe inside and watch the wonder of glittering Auckland from the sky. As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is also a fantastic place to sample the diverse nature of New Zealand’s culture.

Tongariro Crossing

You can complete the Tongariro Crossing hike in a day trip. The hike features everything from deep valleys to volcanic lakes and dramatic mountain slopes. It is also the setting for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings series.

Waitamo Caves

Featuring over 300 limestone caverns, this cave system on the North Island gives visitors the opportunity to abseil into the darkness and explore the underworld. This system is famous for its glow-worm grottos and the underground river system that makes it perfect for black water rafting.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

If you’re going to move to New Zealand, you need to visit the birthplace of modern New Zealand. You can stand on the space where 40 Maori chiefs signed a treaty with the British Crown, see the house where the treaty was signed and take in the magnificently detailed whare, which features carvings to represent all the Maori tribes of New Zealand.

Wine Tasting

New Zealand is a premier wine producer. Hawke’s Bay on the North Island features over 70 wineries and is famous for its Pinot Noir. The Marlborough area on the South Island has exploded thanks to its status as the producer of the world’s most popular Sauvignon Blanc and there are plenty of other vineyards scattered around the country to keep even the most ardent wine fan busy. The best part about wine tasting in New Zealand is that the best wineries are often situated in some of New Zealand’s finest scenery and there’s nothing quite like cradling a glass of world-class wine while watching the world go by in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Further Resources on What to See and Do in New Zealand

For further information on what to see and do in New Zealand, visit:

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We have been furnished with the above information, however, UniGroup Worldwide Moving gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. UniGroup Worldwide Moving cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Guide.