• Hold down Ctrl key and select the sections you want to print. If using a Mac, hold down the Cmd key.
  • Use Ctrl + A or on Mac, Cmd + A to select all sections (if you are using the Chrome browser).
  • Click "Apply" and the site will customise your print guide in the preview below.
  • Click the "Print" button and a print pop up should appear to print to your printer of choice.

Weather in New Zealand

New Zealand's climate is generally temperate, with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine. However, the climate can vary significantly depending on where in the country you are.

The North Island tends to be warmer and more humid than the South Island, while coastal areas tend to be milder than inland. The country is also known for its fluctuating weather patterns, which can bring sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.

New Zealand is typically wetter than nearby Australia, with higher average rainfall across the country. Overall, the weather in New Zealand is largely milder and more stable than in many other parts of the world, making it a popular destination for expats seeking a comfortable and pleasant climate.

Auckland has a frequently warm and wet, almost subtropical, climate. Summers are humid, while winters are clement and rainy. Tropical cyclones occasionally occur, and cold fronts are not uncommon in the colder months.

Wellington is known for its windy and moderate climate. Temperatures seldom exceed 64°F (18°C), and won't drop much below 47°F (8°C), even in June, which is typically the coldest month.

Queenstown has some of New Zealand's best weather. It has an oceanic climate, with snowy winters and blue skies, while summers bring fresh, warm days.

Christchurch enjoys a dry and temperate climate, with hot summers and manageably modest winters. While winters offer clear, crisp days, and freezing nights, Christchurch does experience some smog and year-round rain.


Pros and Cons of Moving to New Zealand

New Zealand's popularity as a destination for expats is not surprising, given the country's stunning landscapes, mild climate and high standard of living. From the snow-capped Southern Alps to the golden beaches of the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand's natural beauty is truly remarkable. This is coupled with a relaxed way of life and a strong sense of community, making it an ideal place for those seeking a slower pace of life.

However, as with any big move, expats should be prepared for the challenges of transitioning to a new country. While New Zealand is a welcoming place, cultural differences and homesickness can make the adjustment difficult. Expats should take the time to research and understand the local customs and etiquette, especially in the workplace. Additionally, the cost of living in New Zealand can be high, so expats should carefully consider their budget and negotiate their salaries accordingly. With the right preparation, though, expats can make the most of their time in New Zealand and enjoy all the benefits this beautiful country has to offer.

Below, we've put together a list of pros and cons of moving to New Zealand.

Government and policies in New Zealand

+ PRO: Progressive government

The New Zealand government has been praised for its progressive policies focused on the well-being of its citizens. Five major priorities have been put forward by the government: reducing child poverty, improving mental health, addressing inequalities experienced by the Maori and Pacific Islanders, transitioning to a green economy and thriving in a digital age.

+ PRO: It's one of the least corrupt places in the world

New Zealand was ranked second, tying with Finland, on Transparency International's 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index. From an outside perspective, any political scandals that do exist tend to be minor compared to those of other countries.

Environment and weather in New Zealand

+ PRO: It has an astonishing amount of beautiful scenery

In terms of natural scenery, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. For such a small country, it has an amazing range of landscapes, including rainforests, glaciers, mountains, deserts, plains, fjords and a variety of coastlines. 

+ PRO: The weather is just right

New Zealand's climate is a temperate one. It rarely gets too cold or too hot, although it definitely has more sunshine than rain. Winters are warm on the North Island, but the South Island can experience some snow. New Zealand is just about the only country in the world where one could, theoretically, swim at the beach and ski down a mountain on the same day. 

- CON: There are a lot of mosquitos and sandflies

When moving to New Zealand, prepare to deal with mosquito and sandfly bites. Though not dangerous, they can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable. The first summer is always the worst, and expats should make sure to use insect repellent when enjoying the warm evenings. It may also be a good idea to take insect repellent to the beach.

- CON: Skin cancer is a concern

New Zealand is a gloriously sunny country. Unfortunately, it's right under a hole in the ozone layer. This means that New Zealand experiences higher amounts of UV rays, increasing the prevalence of sunburn and skin cancer. The strong sunshine also means that anything placed next to a window at home will lose its colour very quickly.

Safety and location in New Zealand

+ PRO: It's one of the safest places in the world

New Zealand was ranked second on the 2022 Global Peace Index, a global think tank report produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP). The country's high rank is largely due to its political stability, low crime rate and lack of involvement in conflict, both internally and externally.

- CON: It's rather isolated from the rest of the world

New Zealand is a small island country at the bottom of the world. This means that New Zealanders have to fly a long way if they want to visit any other country that isn't Australia or one of the Pacific Islands, making overseas holidays very expensive. Expats may find that they cannot afford to visit relatives back home as often as they'd like to. New Zealand's distance from the rest of the world also increases the cost of imported goods.

Lifestyle in New Zealand

+ PRO: It's a laid-back country

New Zealand is the place to go for a relaxed lifestyle. People don't expect too much, so the work-life balance emphatically favours life. The same is true within the schooling system.

+ PRO: It's uncrowded

In terms of area, New Zealand is just slightly larger than Britain, yet it has only about 5 million people in it. Auckland is the only place in the country where one needs to worry about traffic. The beaches are peaceful, and people tend to be easygoing.

+ PRO: New Zealand has good food

New Zealand has world-class seafood, lamb, wines and cheeses. In some parts of the country, it would be difficult to find a bad restaurant, and the café culture is booming. There's plenty of delicious Asian food around, as well as the best of European cuisine presented in a range of fresh Kiwi styles.

- CON: Life in New Zealand can be rather quiet

While there is plenty to do outdoors, and the larger cities do have a limited but thriving nightlife, New Zealand does not compare to the busy and bustling streets of cities in the UK and the US. While this may suit expats who are looking for a quieter life, young adults and students may find themselves longing for more to occupy their evenings.

People in New Zealand

+ PRO: Really friendly locals

Everyone who's ever been to New Zealand seems to gush about how friendly Kiwis are. This has a lot to do with their relaxed attitude towards life in general.

+ PRO: It's very multicultural

New Zealand is a society of immigrants. Even its native inhabitants, the Maori, have only been in the country for about 800 years. Most of the population is of (relatively recent) European descent, and there are also a lot of people from Asia and the Pacific Islands. While the country still bears the scars of colonisation, racism is minimal, and many cultures are joyously evident.

- CON: Tall Poppy Syndrome

New Zealanders are very down-to-earth people who despise pretentiousness. As the proverb goes, tall poppies will be 'cut down' – meaning that equality is prized and individual achievements aren't something to be boasted about.

Cost of living in New Zealand

+ PRO: Affordable, quality public services

New Zealand's commitment to providing high-quality, affordable public services has helped to create a high standard of living for its residents and has contributed to the country's reputation as a desirable destination for expats and visitors alike. The island country is known for having a high-quality public healthcare system that is affordable for its citizens and permanent residents. The National Health Service (NHS) provides access to a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications and emergency care.

In addition to healthcare, New Zealand's public education system is also highly regarded and provides free education for children up to the age of 18. Transport in New Zealand is also well-developed, with affordable and reliable public transport options available in most cities and towns.

- CON: Dental treatment is very expensive

While healthcare is subsidised in New Zealand, dental treatment is not. Although it's free for people under 18, the cost of both appointments and treatments for adults is alarmingly high. Because of this, just over half the population of New Zealand does not see a dentist regularly, if ever – it's simply too expensive for lower- and even middle-income people.

- CON: House prices in Auckland are extremely high

Auckland is New Zealand's biggest city, with half of the total population of the country living in or around it. It's also about the only place where jobs are available, and it's where nearly all New Zealand immigrants go. It's no wonder there's a housing crisis. Rent continues to go up, with some people having to pay nearly half their income towards it. That said, once moving outside of Auckland, although still costly, reasonable rent can be found.

Work opportunities in New Zealand

+ PRO: Workplaces are egalitarian

New Zealand society is socially fluid. There is little or no talk of 'class', and old-fashioned ideas of 'dressing to impress' are largely frowned upon. The wage gap has widened significantly since the 1980s, but the Kiwi attitude that wealth has nothing to do with a person's value is still alive.

- CON: New Zealand has limited career options

Because of the aforementioned small population, jobs in a specific field can be hard to come by. Many Kiwis who dream big are forced to leave New Zealand upon the completion of their studies. Artists also tend to struggle more here, as the opportunities are fewer.

Public Holidays in New Zealand





New Year’s Day

1 January

1 January

Day After New Year’s Day

2 January

2 January

Waitangi Day

6 February

6 February

Good Friday

7 April

29 March

Easter Monday

10 April

1 April


25 April

25 April

King's Birthday

5 June

3 June


14 July

28 June

Labour Day

23 October

28 October

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

26 December

*If a public holiday in New Zealand falls on a weekend, it is observed on the following weekday.

Clubs and societies in New Zealand

New Zealand has many clubs and societies for expats looking to joinNew Zealand has some of the most impressive scenery, therefore there is no better way to experience it than in the great 
outdoors. Expats will be able to take part in solo and team sports throughout the year under sunny skies.  

Some of the clubs require approval of registration by a committee, and at times the waiting list may be lengthy.

Cricket in New Zealand

Auckland Cricket Association
Featuring a detailed list of all the clubs in the area, the Auckland Cricket Association is a great resource for expats looking to find cricket grounds located close by. 

Cornwall Cricket
Address: 197 Greenlane Road West, Epsom
Tel: 09 623 1529
An Auckland club dedicated to cricket, it is open to all ages. The club is committed to creating an interactive environment for members. 

Sydenham Cricket Club
Address: 240 Brougham Street, Sydenham, Christchurch
Tel: +64 3 365 6046
One of the oldest cricket clubs in New Zealand, the Christchurch club is open to men and women of all ages, boasting over 500 members. 

Footballin New Zealand

Auckland City Football Club
Address: 47A Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Tel: +64 9 629 3262
Auckland City FC is an amateur club with most players having full-time occupations outside of football. However the game is taken seriously, accounting for the Auckland City side winning many times. 

West Auckland AFC
Address: Brains Park, 9a Tamariki Ave
Tel: 09 818 3612 
Open to all ages, the club prides itself on being a family club, perfect for expats moving to Auckland with kids.

Christchurch United Football Club
Address: Domain Terrace, Spreydon, Christchurch 
The teams are known as 'The Rams', and range from junior to senior level. 

Golf in New Zealand 


Royal Auckland Golf Club
Address: Hospital Road, Otahuhu
Tel: +64 9 276 6149
A private club that has been around for more than a century, it is regarded as one of the top golf clubs in New Zealand. 

Akarana Golf Club
Address: 1388 Dominion Road, Mt Roskill
Tel: +64 9 621 0024 
Offering a host of benefits to its members, Akarana is the perfect place for expats in Auckland looking to fine-tune their swing. 

Christchurch Golf Club
Address: 45 Horseshoe Lake Road, Shirley
Tel: (03) 385 9506
The club has a long history, and has held numerous championships. The club offers different green fees and memberships to suit everyone.

Hiking in New Zealand


Auckland Tramping Club
Tel: (09) 630 2591
The tramping (or hiking) club offers competitive rates for expats looking to explore the incredible New Zealand scenery. 

Hockey in New Zealand


Auckland Hockey
Address: Lady Marie Drive, Pakuranga Heights
Tel: +64 9 576 0683
Auckland Hockey is open to men and women, who play alongside each other at all levels.

Harwood Hockey Club 
Address: 238 Wooldridge Rd, Harewood
Open to people of all ages and abilities, this hockey club located in Christchurch.

Rugby in New Zealand


Ponsonby Rugby Club
Address: 1 Stadium Rd, Western Springs
Tel: 09 846 9954
The club has a rich history as one of the oldest rugby clubs in Auckland. The members, or ‘ponies’ as they are known, are committed to playing rugby, whilst still making time for socialising. 

Sydenham Rugby Club
Address: 88 Hunter Terrace, Cashmere, Christchurch City
Tel: 03 332 8875
Members of the club come from various ethnic backgrounds and range from ages 5-70, making it the ideal place for expats to meet friends.

Running in New Zealand


Auckland YMCA Running Club
Address: YMCA Auckland Gym, Corner Pitt St & Greys Ave
Focused on distance running and improvement, Auckland YMCA Running Club offers expats the chance to get fit and socialise. 

Auckland Joggers Club
Address: Cornwall Park, Puriri Drive, One Tree Hill
Tel: +64 9 520 2321
Their motto ‘Fitness with Friendship’ is sure to appeal to expats looking to make friends through exercise. Any level of fitness is accepted, perfect for beginners to advanced joggers. 

Tennis in New Zealand


Mission Bay Tennis Club
Address: 22 Poronui Street, Mt Eden
Tel: 022 0237216
Surrounded by trees, the club’s location in Auckland makes the game even more enjoyable. Open to all ages and skills’ levels, the club also encourages socialising. 

Hagley Park Tennis Club
Address: Riccarton Avenu, Christchurch
Tel: 03 366 2870
With lawn and hard court tennis facilities available, the club is conveniently located in the city. 

Education and Schools in New Zealand

The quality of education in New Zealand is ranked among the best in the world, and consistently gets high ratings in the UN Human Development Index. The education system is known for its emphasis on practical learning, critical thinking and creativity.

Expats moving to the island country with children will have no difficulty finding an affordable and high-quality school. Cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have a broad range of public, private and international schools to choose from. Expats moving to New Zealand with children will have a range of options to choose from depending on their needs and preferences.

It's important to note that the school year in New Zealand follows a different schedule than in the Northern Hemisphere, running from late January to mid-December, with four terms throughout the year.

    Public schools in New Zealand

    The vast majority of children attend public schools in New Zealand, which are funded by the government and offer free education. Known for providing a high standard of education, these schools can be co-educational or single-sex and are usually secular.

    Compulsory education in New Zealand begins at age six and continues until age 16, although children can be enrolled at age five if their parents choose to do so. Most children in New Zealand continue on to Years 12 and 13 to acquire the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The NCEA is internationally recognised and accepted by overseas universities. It is awarded at three levels that correspond to Years 11, 12 and 13, and is designed to assess a student's knowledge and skills across a range of subjects.

    Children in New Zealand are generally placed in state schools that serve their geographic zone. This means that families may need to consider the location of schools when deciding where to live. The best schools often have high demand, which can push up property prices in the suburbs they are located in. Families can also apply for an out-of-zone enrolment if they wish to attend a school outside their designated zone. These enrolments are granted based on a ballot system and are subject to availability.

    Student visas

    Expat parents planning to enrol their child at a primary or secondary school in New Zealand will need to apply for a Dependent Child Student Visa. Children may be treated as domestic students on this visa, so parents won't have to pay public school fees.

      Useful links

      Read more on the government's Study with New Zealand website

      Private and international schools in New Zealand

      Private and international schools in New Zealand offer alternative options to public schools, but they are typically more expensive. Private schools receive some funding from the government, but the majority of their funding comes from school fees, which can be substantial.

      International schools, which cater to students from a variety of countries, are also available in New Zealand, although they are typically even more expensive than private schools. For families who frequently move for work or personal reasons, international schools offer the benefit of allowing students to continue following the curriculum from their home country or an international curriculum available worldwide. Commonly offered curricula include the International Baccalaureate, the British system (including Cambridge IGCSE and A-Levels) and the American system.

      Attending an international school may mean that students miss out on the cultural and social experiences of attending a local school in New Zealand. This is important to note because it may prevent them from fully integrating into the local community.

      Homeschooling in New Zealand

      In New Zealand, all children aged between six and 16 are required to enrol in and attend a registered school. Parents wanting to homeschool their children in New Zealand will therefore need to apply for permission from the Ministry of Education. They will need to prove that their child will be taught as regularly and as well as in a regular school – although the law is vague on what counts as sufficient proof. Once the ministry has granted an exemption certificate, parents are then entitled to claim a state-sponsored stipend to help with costs.

      Homeschooling is not a particularly popular method in New Zealand. Nevertheless, there are good online resources and support groups to help expat parents, such as the Home Education Foundation.

      Special-needs education in New Zealand

      The New Zealand Disability Strategy guides the work of government agencies on disability issues in New Zealand. All local schools and education services provide inclusive education, and teachers and educators are trained to support students with special needs.

      Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (known as RTLBs) are specialist teachers who work across a number of schools in New Zealand. They support schools and manage the additional learning needs of students in a number of ways.

      New Zealand also has a number of residential special schools, where children with educational needs relating to issues such as vision, hearing, socialisation, behaviour and learning can be enrolled. Parents of children with special needs can contact their local office to find out about enrolment. The New Zealand Ministry of Education has a well-developed website that will help prospective parents as well.

      Tutors in New Zealand

      Private tutoring is becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand, with many parents seeking additional academic support for their children. However, the industry can be rife with scam offers and misleading advertising, leaving parents vulnerable to exploitation. To address this issue, the New Zealand Tutoring Association (NZTA) was established in 2008.

      As the only association of its kind in the country, the NZTA aims to unify the tutoring industry, represent tutors and tutoring organisations, act as a lobbying group, and raise the standards of tutoring in New Zealand. By working with the NZTA, parents and students can ensure that they are accessing high-quality tutoring services from reputable providers, and avoid falling victim to scams or unscrupulous operators.

      Useful links

      Learn more about the New Zealand Tutoring Association

      Tertiary education in New Zealand

      Tertiary education in New Zealand offers a wide range of formal and vocational options. Different types of institutions include traditional universities, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs), Private Training Establishments (PTEs), Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) as well as Wananga (Maori institutions).

      Formal courses are offered by the country's eight universities, where students must meet a minimum level of English language proficiency. The University of Auckland is considered the best university in New Zealand, but other universities also provide a high standard of education. Degrees in New Zealand can either be three-year courses with an optional one-year honours degree or four-year qualifications, depending on the field of study.

      Tertiary education is partly state-funded, and permanent resident students have their tuition subsidised. Expats who don't have permanent residency and plan to study for more than three months will need to obtain a Fee Paying Student Visa.

      Relocation Companies in New Zealand

      As with any country, relocating to New Zealand can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a daunting task, especially when it comes to organising visas, finding affordable accommodation, and adjusting to a new culture. And for those moving to New Zealand, the challenges of relocation can be particularly pronounced, given its distance from most other countries. Fortunately, there are relocation companies that can help ease the burden of moving to a new place.

      Relocation companies offer a wide range of services, including pre-departure planning, cross-cultural orientation, neighbourhood familiarisation and assistance with finding a suitable home or school. While these services can be costly, they can also be invaluable in making the transition to a new country smoother and less stressful.

      Below is our list of top relocation companies in New Zealand that offer these services. By exploring their offerings and comparing prices, you can find a company that meets your needs and budget, and help ensure your move to New Zealand is a successful one.

      Relocation companies in New Zealand

      Local companies


      Woburn International Group

      Woburn International are well versed in handling the challenges associated with settling private individuals and companies in New Zealand. They have extensive local knowledge and experience in immigration, skilled migrant placements, emigration, relocation, international remuneration and cultural diversity. Their services include, but are not limited to, home and school searches, orientation and settling in.



      Grace Removals

      At Grace Removals, dedicated consultants will help expats manage home, business and office relocations, as well as any specialist moving logistics. Their destination services also help individuals and their families get the lay of the land when making the move to New Zealand.


      Relocations International

      Relocations International

      Managing national and international moves since 1991, Relocations International is New Zealand's leading relocation and settling company. Their professional team welcomes the opportunity to orientate and settle new arrivals in their chosen city.


      International companies



      SIRVA is a top relocation firm, providing a full suite of international moving services for employee relocation all around the globe. Leading corporations, government agencies, employees and expanding families who are transferring and moving to New Zealand will have all their relocation needs met with SIRVA.


      Accommodation in New Zealand

      Expats looking for accommodation in New Zealand will find plenty of options to suit their needs. From ranch-style family homes in the suburbs to bachelor apartments in the city centre, the type of accommodation available will depend on the location and whether expats are looking to rent or buy.

      While the cost of rent varies greatly depending on the city and distance from the city centre, accommodation in New Zealand is, on the whole, fairly pricey.

      Types of accommodation in New Zealand

      Accommodation in New Zealand ranges from freestanding and duplex houses to apartments and home units. There is also a wide range of architectural styles available, with everything from ultra-modern apartments to older houses that are based on traditional English country styles.

      The term 'unit' is generally used to describe any single dwelling in New Zealand, while the term 'home unit' is one of several modest homes grouped with other similar houses around a driveway. These are either attached, detached or semi-detached, and sometimes share a communal garden.

      Furnished and unfurnished

      House rentals in New Zealand are rarely furnished, and the more bedrooms a property has, the less likely that it will be furnished. Expats will find that it’s typically only one-bedroom apartments that come furnished, as they tend to be used more often for short-term leases.

      Short lets

      Short-term rentals are a popular housing option for expats in New Zealand who need temporary accommodation. These rentals typically last from a few days to several months and are fully furnished, making them convenient for those who need to move in quickly or are only staying for a short period. Short lets can be found through online platforms such as Airbnb or through property management companies.

      Finding accommodation in New Zealand

      House and apartment rentals can be found in the classifieds section of local newspapers and through various online portals. It is a good idea to get used to the main property websites before making the move to New Zealand, as browsing these websites will give expats an idea of the types of properties available and what the rental market is like. Popular property websites include Trade Me Property, Real Estate NZ and Harcourts.

      Expats shouldn't struggle to find a property to rent in New Zealand. That said, those who are pressed for time should consider using the services of a real estate agent. As these professionals have a knowledge of the property market in their respective areas, they are in a good position to help new arrivals find exactly what they're looking for.

      The demand for good rental properties in New Zealand is high, so it's also important to make contact early.

      Useful links

      • Trade Me is a New Zealand website similar to eBay, with property sections for selling or renting accommodation.
      • The website is widely used in New Zealand.
      • Harcourts is a well-known real estate company in New Zealand.
      • For short-term rentals, Airbnb is an option.

      Renting accommodation in New Zealand

      Renting a property in New Zealand can be a straightforward process, whether for a short or long-term stay. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is responsible for housing legislation and official processes. As a government agency, the MBIE provides standard contracts that outline the responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. In addition, they offer dispute resolution services, hold rental deposits, and provide information about average housing prices in different areas on their website.

      However, expats should be aware that finding suitable accommodation in New Zealand can sometimes be challenging, especially in popular cities like Auckland and Wellington. It's also important to consider factors such as the location, price, and the condition of the property before signing a rental agreement. Taking these factors into consideration will help expats find suitable and comfortable accommodation during their stay in New Zealand.


      Lease contracts in New Zealand are called Residential Tenancy Agreements (RTAs). Expats signing an RTA will need to choose between a periodic tenancy, which lasts until either the landlord or the tenant gives notice, or a fixed-term tenancy, which lasts for a set amount of time. Fixed-term contracts are usually signed for 12 months, but they can be shorter or longer depending on the landlord's preferences.

      When signing the agreement, it's essential for both the landlord and the tenant to clarify whether pets are allowed on the property. The signed tenancy agreement should be given to both parties, and it's recommended to keep a copy in case of future disagreements.

      Costs and fees

      Rent in New Zealand is usually calculated weekly, and expats should therefore keep this in mind when considering the value of the rent advertised. In the past, real estate agents used to charge a letting fee when a tenant first signed a lease, which usually amounted to one week's rent. Recent legislation has, however, banned agents from charging tenants any fees.


      Expats will also need to pay a deposit, or 'bond', of up to four weeks' rent in advance. The landlord will then deposit this at the Bond Centre of the MBIE, and the landlord and tenant will both be issued a receipt. A tenant needs this receipt to claim back their deposit once their lease ends and they leave the property. If there is any damage to the property that is determined to be the fault of the tenant, the repair costs will be deducted from the deposit before it is returned.

      Termination of the lease

      To terminate a rental lease in New Zealand, expats must provide written notice to their landlord or property manager. The amount of notice required depends on the type of tenancy agreement and the reason for termination. In general, expats should give at least 21 days' notice, but it's important to check the terms of the lease agreement for specific requirements. The notice period for ending a fixed-term tenancy before the agreed-upon end date is typically negotiated between the landlord and the tenant.

      Utilities in New Zealand

      When talking about real estate in New Zealand, the word 'outgoings' is often used to refer to all of the costs incurred by the landlord, such as rates and taxes. Tenants in New Zealand are usually responsible for any outgoings they use, including utilities such as water and electricity. Utility costs can vary depending on the area they live in and the type of accommodation they choose. In general, the main utilities that expats will need to consider are gas, electricity, water and waste removal.

      Electricity and gas are often provided by the same company in New Zealand, and the main providers are Genesis Energy, Mercury Energy and Contact Energy. Most companies offer different plans and pricing options, so it's worth shopping around to find the best deal. Expats should also be aware that New Zealand uses a different electrical outlet type (Type I) to many other countries, so they may need to purchase adaptors for their electronics.

      Water is supplied by local councils, and bills are usually sent out quarterly. The main providers are Watercare in Auckland, Wellington Water in Wellington, and Christchurch City Council in Christchurch. In some areas, water may be metered and charged based on usage, while in others it may be included in the rent.

      Waste removal is also the responsibility of tenants in New Zealand, and this usually involves putting bins out on the street for collection on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Most councils provide separate bins for general waste and recycling, and some also offer green waste bins for garden waste. It's important to follow local council guidelines for waste disposal to avoid any fines.

      In addition to these utilities, expats should also be aware of other outgoings such as internet and phone services, which are provided by a range of companies including Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees. See Keeping in Touch in New Zealand for more details.

      Useful links

      Buying property in New Zealand

      Locals in New Zealand prefer to buy rather than to rent property but, for expats, it may be a good idea to rent at first while they explore the property market. Once an expat decides that they are ready to buy property in New Zealand, the process will typically only take a few weeks to complete.

      Expats moving from the Northern Hemisphere should keep in mind that north-facing properties in New Zealand are warmer than south-facing ones. Homes with a plaster finish will also generally not be as secure against the weather as others may be.

      The cost of buying a home in a big city, especially in cities such as Auckland and Wellington, is significantly higher than it is elsewhere in the country. Property owners in New Zealand are also charged property rates by the local council. These can be hefty, depending on the area, and are worth looking into before committing to a property.

      Advice on buying property can be found on the government-run Real Estate Authority's 'Settled' website. is another indispensable website that provides data on 1.6 million homes in New Zealand, presented in a simple-to-use map visualisation.

      Useful links

      • is the government's guide for property buyers and sellers in New Zealand.
      • Another useful resource for determining property values is's map tool.

      Other useful housing information

      Houses in New Zealand are often made of wood and, as a result of this and the varied climate, expats may be surprised to find that many homes lack proper insulation, which can lead to a variety of issues. To mitigate the effects of poor insulation, expats can take several steps.

      One way to combat the cold is to install insulation in walls and ceilings. Additionally, expats can invest in energy-efficient heating systems, such as heat pumps, to help reduce energy consumption and heating costs. It's also recommended that expats ensure their homes are properly ventilated to prevent moisture build-up, which can exacerbate the effects of poor insulation.

      Articles about New Zealand

      Doing Business in New Zealand

      Expats planning on doing business in New Zealand are sure to find that the country's friendly yet professional corporate atmosphere is well suited to their ambitions.

      New Zealand's openness to international trade, lack of government and business corruption, free-market economic reforms, and its reputation for encouraging foreign investment mean that it is recognised as one of the most business-friendly countries in the world.

      Its stellar reputation for business does, however, mean that there is a high degree of competition. Having an awareness of the country’s business norms will give expats an added advantage in the corporate environment.

      Fast facts

      Business hours

      Generally 8.30 or 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

      Business language


      Business dress

      The business dress code in New Zealand is difficult to pin down, although appearing well groomed and presentable is highly valued. In more formal business settings, men tend to wear traditional dark suits while women wear business suits or conservative dresses. Some industries do, however, exhibit a relaxed dress code where jeans and sports jackets are not an uncommon sight. The dress code varies depending on the industry.


      Greetings in New Zealand are fairly casual and consist of a handshake and direct eye contact.


      Gifts are not usually exchanged during business meetings. That said, if invited to a colleague's home, be sure to take along wine, chocolates or flowers to say thank you. Gifts are usually opened in the presence of the giver and should not be overly expensive.

      Gender equality

      Women are treated as equals in most workplaces in New Zealand, often rising to senior corporate positions.

      Business culture in New Zealand

      In some ways, the business culture in New Zealand conforms to a typically British model in that it is formal, reserved and conservative. That said, the country's corporate culture distinguishes itself with its characteristically South Pacific warmth and friendliness. This creates a relaxed yet professional atmosphere.

      Business structure

      Although the general approach to management in New Zealand is hierarchical, with decisions being made by senior-level executives, ideas, input and collaboration from all members of the organisation are also highly valued. At the same time, although formal titles such as Mr and Mrs are not commonly used in New Zealand, expats may wish to use them rather than first names until they are told otherwise.

      Work ethic

      Business etiquette in New Zealand will be familiar to expats who have worked in Western corporate environments before. New Zealand businesspeople tend to favour forthrightness, honesty and hard work over self-aggrandisement and empty promises. They will be far more interested in what someone actually does, rather than what they say they can do.


      Although Kiwis can initially be reserved, they are generally friendly, hospitable and willing to help. Rewarding personal relationships are often developed between business associates.

      When raising a point or responding to someone else's ideas, present points directly with supporting facts and figures. While a relaxed, human-orientated atmosphere is prized in the New Zealand workplace, business decisions remain unemotional and are motivated by the company's best interests.

      Expats should expect some informal conversation before getting to 'the agenda' at business meetings. Sport is a massively popular topic of conversation, and expats may want to have one or two complimentary things to say about the All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby team, for good measure.

      Meetings and punctuality

      Business meetings should be scheduled at least a week in advance. They should then be confirmed a few days before they are due to take place. Be punctual. Lateness can be seen as a sign of unreliability or even indifference. If possible, avoid scheduling meetings in December and January. This is holiday time in New Zealand, and many people will be on leave.

      Maori culture in the New Zealand workplace

      Expats who want an added advantage when doing business in New Zealand should keep in mind that although the country is largely Western in character, the indigenous Maori culture plays a significant role in the lives of many residents. As such, while it may not be necessary to learn the intricacies of traditional protocol, displaying an awareness of their culture is sure to go down well with Maori business associates. Maori culture emphasises the importance of building relationships and of showing special respect for elders.

      As an example, there is no specific ritual for the exchanging of business cards in New Zealand, although it is typically done when meeting a potential associate for the first time. A nice touch, if meeting with someone with a Maori background, would be for an expat to get one side of their card translated into te reo Māori, the local language.

      Dos and don'ts of doing business in New Zealand

      • Do be polite and reserved, yet willing to develop personal relationships with colleagues

      • Do get involved in 'team-building' exercises; these are taken quite seriously in New Zealand

      • Don't try to prove your credentials by talking about them. Rather, show your worth to employers and associates by working hard.

      • Don't make comparisons between New Zealand and Australia that could be perceived as negative or disrespectful, as this can be a sensitive issue for some people

      Work Permits for New Zealand

      New Zealand's safety, stability and English-speaking environment, along with its positive attitude towards entrepreneurship and foreign investment, make it an attractive destination for expats seeking work permits for New Zealand. As a result, cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are becoming popular choices for those who want to establish their own businesses or work in New Zealand.

      Except for those moving to New Zealand from Australia, expats will need to have a work permit/work visa to legally work in the country.

      New Zealand offers several working visa categories, each with specific requirements and loopholes. Immigration New Zealand’s website is a useful and up-to-date tool for helping expats navigate this complex system. It will assist expats in finding the visa that suits their field, their skill set and their intentions.

      Whether they are skilled workers or labourers aiming to fill a skills shortage, it's crucial for expats to thoroughly research the work permit process before applying.

      Useful links:

      Types of work permits in New Zealand

      Working Holiday Scheme

      Nationals of certain countries are able to apply for a working holiday visa for New Zealand. The Working Holiday Scheme visa allows expats to stay and work in the country for one year – 23 months if they are from the UK or Canada. It is designed for young travellers wanting to fund their travels around New Zealand; expats planning to work in the country for longer than a year should therefore look into longer-term options.

      Generally, working holiday visa applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old and up to 35 for some countries, prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves, and have proof of onward travel out of New Zealand. Expats will need to have medical insurance to cover their stay in New Zealand as well as evidence that the main reason for their visit is a holiday with work being secondary to this.

      Applications for a working holiday visa must be done online. After making their application, expats will be notified within 20 working days about the outcome of the application.

      Skilled Migrant Visa

      The skilled migrant visa is available for those wanting to move to New Zealand to live and work permanently. To be eligible, applicants must be younger than 55 years old, pass a health screening and criminal record check, and speak English. Eligibility for this visa is determined by a points system where points are received for age, experience, qualifications and employability. Currently, New Zealand is only accepting applicants with 160 points or higher.

      The application process starts with submitting an Expression of Interest which describes their family, skills and experience. If the Expression of Interest is accepted, the applicant will be sent an Invitation to Apply.

      For expats from countries that are not listed among the approved countries for the Working Holiday Visa, the Skilled Migrant Visa may be the route to take if wanting to find work in New Zealand.

      Entrepreneur Work Visa

      The entrepreneur work visa is for people who want to work in their own business in New Zealand. Applicants need to provide a detailed business plan and have at least NZD 100,000 to invest in the business. They also need to claim a minimum of 120 points on the immigration points scale.

      The visa is initially valid for 12 months in the start-up stage of the business. It can then be extended for another 24 months once the business has been set up. If the visa is granted, expats can buy or set up a business without living in New Zealand permanently. They can also use this as a first step towards New Zealand residency.

      *Please note that visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

      Visas for New Zealand

      Expats who need visas for New Zealand can choose from a range of options based on their travel plans, such as visas for holiday visits, working holidays, or long-term stays.

      Each visa type has its own application process, which can be found on the official website of Immigration New Zealand. To ensure they are fully informed about the requirements, expats may also consider hiring a professional visa processing agency.

      Before submitting their visa application, expats must make sure their passport is valid for at least three months (preferably six months or more) beyond their planned arrival date in New Zealand. They should also ensure that their passport has enough blank pages for the necessary stamps.

      In addition to paying an application fee, applicants will need to provide several passport-sized photos and any other required information. It is crucial for expats to double-check that their application is complete, as incomplete ones will be rejected.

      Useful links:

      Tourist visas for New Zealand

      Travellers from some countries don’t need a tourist visa for New Zealand. The transit visa waiver agreement includes nationals of the US, the UK, Japan and Germany, among others. That said, even if someone’s country is on the visa-waiver list, they will need to supply evidence of funds and proof of onward travel, as well as get an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) before they travel.

      Applicants for a New Zealand visitor visa may need to provide a health certificate and will likely need to provide a police certificate, as well as having a genuine intention to use the visa for their visit.

      Visitors require proof that they have a certain amount of money per month of their visit, and a passport that is valid for at least three months, but ideally six months or more, after their departure date.

      The longest that someone can stay in New Zealand on a visitor visa is nine months. During this time, they are not allowed to work or study for longer than three months and must obey New Zealand law. Expats will face deportation if they disregard these conditions.

      Work visas for New Zealand

      For those who want to live and work in New Zealand, there are several work visa options available. It's crucial for expats to select the appropriate work visa for their particular circumstances when applying for work visas for New Zealand. There are different visas for expats wanting to work in the country temporarily and for those seeking permanent employment.

      Work to Residence visas for New Zealand

      The Work to Residence visa for New Zealand allows holders to work in the country and apply for a resident visa after two years. In order for an expat to apply under the programme, their skills must be deemed necessary by a New Zealand employer, or they must have exceptional talent in certain fields.

      Applicants must fall within several categories in the Work to Residence programme. This includes skilled workers with a job offer from an accredited employer, those in occupations on the skills shortage list, expats with exceptional talents in art, culture or sport, or those who plan to establish a business in New Zealand.

      Permanent resident visas for New Zealand

      Those who have worked temporarily and decided to stay and live in the country will need to apply for permanent residence visas for New Zealand.

      New Zealand permanent residents are not citizens, but they are allowed to remain in the country indefinitely. They are eligible for all the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to healthcare, education and voting, as well as being able to leave and re-enter New Zealand as often as they like.

      Requirements for permanent resident visas

      To be eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa for New Zealand, applicants must have had a resident visa for at least two years continuously as well as meet at least one of the following criteria:

      • They have spent at least 184 days in New Zealand during each of the two years preceding the application

      • They can prove they have tax residence status with proper documentation

      • They have made an investment of NZD 1,000,000 or more in New Zealand for two years

      • They have at least 25 percent or more shares in a business in New Zealand that benefits the country in some way

      • They own a family home in New Zealand and have maintained paid employment for at least nine months within the two-year period

      • Those who are not self-employed will need to provide proof of employment in New Zealand. 

      * Please note that visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

      Transport and Driving in New Zealand

      New Zealand is a small country with well-connected urban areas. When it comes to day-to-day travelling, expats will find that all New Zealand cities, and most towns, have buses that are convenient to use. Auckland and Wellington even have city-suburban rail services.

      On the other hand, those travelling long distances or to more rural cities will find public transport lacking; indeed, most people in New Zealand own a car for convenience's sake.

      Despite the occasional narrow mountain road, it's easy to get around New Zealand by car. The North and South islands are connected by ferries that cross the Cook Strait several times daily. These ferries are used to transport both cars and people between the islands.

      Public transport in New Zealand

      Cities in New Zealand are compact and pedestrian-friendly, with excellent public transport options. Comprehensive maps and timetables for the different modes of public transport are usually available for free at libraries, convenience stores and stations. Fares and timetables for buses, trains, ferries and dedicated school buses are also accessible online for most cities.


      The state-owned KiwiRail operates both freight and passenger trains in New Zealand. The company provides long-distance services across the North Island and the upper part of the South Island, as well as operates interisland ferries. 

      It's easy to purchase single tickets and multiple-ride passes both online and at train stations across the country. Single tickets can typically be purchased when boarding a train, except in Auckland, where tickets have to be bought in advance. Auckland also offers commuters a prepaid smart card for travel on different modes of transport called the AT HOP card.


      Buses in New Zealand form the backbone of the country’s various public transport networks. They are often the primary or only mode of transit in cities such as Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin. Local bus services are typically contracted to private companies. The largest of these companies is NZ Bus, which operates services under different brand names in Auckland and Wellington.

      It is usually possible to get single-ride tickets and multiple-ride passes. Buses in Auckland also accept the AT HOP card.

      There are many private bus companies in New Zealand that offer intercity travel. While some of these are primarily aimed at tourists, expats will find that it should still be possible to find affordable one-way tickets between towns and cities.

      Taxis in New Zealand 

      Expats will have access to a wide range of taxi services in New Zealand. There are a plethora of operators in different areas of the country. Commuters can also use single taxis, group transport and shuttle options. New arrivals who want to get to know their surroundings can also take advantage of services such as day-tour packages.

      The most reliable way of getting a taxi in New Zealand is to book in advance with a local service, either by phoning the company directly or booking online. That said, taxis can be hailed off the street or found at taxi ranks, especially in larger cities. Government bodies such as Auckland Transport provide taxi information online.

      App-based rideshare services such as Uber and Zoomy are also active in New Zealand. Many expats prefer using rideshare apps as they allow for automatic credit card billing, and greater control over their route.

      Useful links:

      • Uber and Ola are globally known ridesharing apps.
      • New Zealanders also use local ridesharing service, Zoomy.

      Ferries in New Zealand

      Owned by KiwiRail, the Interislander ferry service has three vessels that regularly travel across the Cook Strait between Wellington on the North Island and Picton on the South Island. An alternative service is the Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry, which is run by Strait Shipping Limited, a privately owned company.

      The journey takes around three hours, and it's possible to transport goods that range from cars to livestock. Ferries offer onboard services such as WiFi, restaurants and play areas for young travellers.

      Useful links:

      • Interislander has everything expats need to plan and book their ferry trips.

      Driving in New Zealand

      It is possible to get just about everywhere on both islands in a regular car. Crossing between the North and South islands on a ferry is also fairly easy.

      Road rules in New Zealand are similar to those in the UK, and cars drive on the left-hand side of the road. Driving in New Zealand is not usually stressful, except perhaps during rush hour in big cities. Drivers exploring the country should exercise caution, as many roads in New Zealand's rural areas vary in condition and can be narrow or winding.

      Driving licences in New Zealand

      If their home country's driving licence is in English, expats can drive with it in New Zealand for up to a year. Otherwise, they will need to carry an official translation of their licence or acquire an international driving permit. After living in New Zealand for more than 12 months, expats need to convert their licence to a New Zealand driving licence.

      Expats with valid overseas driving licences can convert their licences by applying at specialist overseas conversion sites. Applying for a licence conversion requires the usual things, such as proof of identity, an eye test and having one's photo taken. People with certain medical conditions must provide a medical certificate proving their ability to drive safely. Those from countries without centralised licencing authorities (e.g., India, Pakistan and Tonga) must provide extra documentation as evidence of validity. Depending on where their licence was issued, expats may also have to take written and practical tests.

      Useful links:

      Domestic flights in New Zealand

      Travelling between cities using domestic flights in New Zealand is often cheaper, especially when travelling from one island to the other. Regular domestic flights operate between large airports in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown, as well as smaller regional airports. The larger airports also have shuttle buses that run from town to the airport. Several airlines offer domestic flights in New Zealand, including Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Air Chathams and Golden Bay Air.

      Keeping in Touch in New Zealand

      New Zealand is an English-speaking country with reliable media, both local and international mobile phone providers and an efficient postal service. As a result, expats shouldn’t have any problems keeping in touch in New Zealand. There have been improvements in recent years, although expats who want fast internet may find it more expensive than in many parts of Europe or the US, particularly in rural areas of New Zealand.

      Internet in New Zealand

      There are a number of options when it comes to using the internet in New Zealand. These include having an ADSL or fibre line installed, or using prepaid 4G or 5G broadband.

      Phone and fibre in New Zealand are mostly owned by Chorus Limited, which provides wholesale services to ISPs. There are over 80 ISPs, but the two biggest players are Spark and Vodafone. With the completion of the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme in December 2022, internet in New Zealand is now available at globally competitive speeds.

      Some areas of the larger cities in New Zealand, such as the city centre in Wellington, offer free WiFi for those with laptops and handheld devices. There is also free WiFi in most airports, and many cafés and restaurants.

      Mobile phones in New Zealand

      Mobile phone contracts and services in New Zealand are provided by the likes of Spark New Zealand, as well as Vodafone, Skinny and 2degrees, among others.

      SIM cards are widely available in airports and large supermarkets. Expats can apply for phone contracts as long as they legally reside in the country. Applicants need to provide two forms of identification (such as a passport and driving licence) as well as proof of address to sign up for a mobile phone contract in New Zealand. There are also a number of affordable prepaid options.

      Postal services in New Zealand

      The New Zealand postal service is known for being reliable and user-friendly. Overseas post is charged by weight. As New Zealand is quite far from the US and Europe, expats should be aware that shipping heavy items can be expensive.

      Moving to New Zealand

      New Zealand is a stunning country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, consisting of the North and South Islands and several smaller islands. It boasts breathtaking landscapes that vary from snow-capped mountains and rugged coastlines to pristine lakes and lush forests, along with unique flora and fauna such as the Kiwi bird.

      Despite its somewhat remote location, New Zealand offers a high quality of life, with well-developed healthcare and education systems, low crime rates and a friendly culture. The country also provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities, making it an attractive destination for tourists and expats alike.

      While expats in New Zealand may earn lower income levels compared to the US or the UK, the comparatively lower cost of living offsets this difference – though it's worth noting that it's far from cheap to live here. That said, the country's social services and safety nets ensure that all residents can afford to access essential services such as healthcare, education and housing. The country's progressive tax system places the burden on higher earners, contributing to reducing income inequality.

      Living in New Zealand as an expat

      While New Zealand lacks the economic might of larger countries, it has a growing economy and a positive outlook. As a result, there are plenty of job opportunities for expats with initiative, energy and optimism. The New Zealand government welcomes prospective expats in a range of industries, provided that they have the skills and experience to benefit the local economy.

      New Zealand’s transport infrastructure is well-developed and easy to use. Most cities have a public bus network, all major cities are linked by rail, and a regular ferry service connects the North and South Islands.

      One downside to life in New Zealand is that seismic activity is a reality, and residents experience around 200 felt earthquakes a year. Thankfully, only two earthquakes in the last century have caused significant losses, and houses in New Zealand are built to handle earthquakes. Local accommodation does, however, have a reputation for poor insulation and residents tend to dress warmly rather than warm their homes, which can take some adjusting to.

      Cost of living in New Zealand

      The cost of living in New Zealand is high, especially in cities such as Auckland, which is the commercial centre of the country and where the majority of the population lives. Accommodation is expensive and, due to high import costs, so are groceries and general goods that are not locally produced. The good news is that, though it's a bit pricey to live there, people in New Zealand enjoy high living standards that most consider to be well worth the cost.

      Families and children in New Zealand

      Moving to New Zealand with family is especially popular with expats who want a fresh start and a better work-life balance. New arrivals are especially attracted by the good state-sponsored healthcare, low crime rates, a society that values children and the environment, and high-quality public education.

      Climate in New Zealand

      Known to its Maori inhabitants as Aotearoa, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud”, the country gets its share of cold and rainy weather. That said, expats will be relieved to know that the country usually does get more sunshine than most European countries.

      Expats who commit to their new home and take advantage of the laid-back, outdoorsy lifestyle it offers are sure to find that New Zealand has the potential to be their ideal expat destination.

      Fast facts

      Population: About 5.1 million

      Capital city: Wellington

      Other major cities: Auckland (largest city), Christchurch and Hamilton

      Neighbouring countries: Although New Zealand has no direct neighbours, Australia is situated to the northwest, while Tonga and Fiji are two of the most prominent island countries to the north of New Zealand.

      Geography: New Zealand is made up of two main islands (the North and South Islands) and several smaller islands. Much of the country's terrain is mountainous. The landscape is very dramatic, and volcanoes can be found on the South Island.

      Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

      Major religions: Christianity

      Official languages: English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language

      Money: The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), which is divided into 100 cents. It is relatively easy for expats to open a bank account provided they have proof of address and identification. ATMs and internet banking are widely available.

      Tipping: New Zealand's tipping culture is based on merit, and tipping is not expected. A 10 percent tip can be added in appreciation of excellent service.

      Time: GMT+12 (GMT+13 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April)

      Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. 'Type I' three-pin flat-blade plugs are used.

      Internet domain: .nz

      International dialling code: +64

      Emergency contacts: 111

      Transport and driving: Cars in New Zealand drive on the left-hand side. Travel between the North and South Islands is usually by ferry. Bus services are the main mode of transport in most cities, while local rail services operate in Auckland and Wellington. Long-distance travel is done by trains, buses and domestic air flights.

      Banking, Money and Taxes in New Zealand

      New Zealand's banking system offers expats a sophisticated and comprehensive range of services, as well as high-quality customer service. Opening a bank account in New Zealand is generally straightforward for expats, who typically need only a bank reference from their home country.

      Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere. There are many ATMs that can be used to draw both local and foreign funds with a debit or credit card.

      Money in New Zealand

      The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), which is divided into 100 cents. In New Zealand, it is normally written with a dollar sign, or as NZ$ to distinguish it from other dollar currencies. A dollar in New Zealand is sometimes informally referred to by residents as a Kiwi.

      • Notes: 5 NZD, 10 NZD, 20 NZD, 50 NZD and 100 NZD

      • Coins: 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 NZD and 2 NZD

      Banking in New Zealand

      Banking in New Zealand is relatively uncomplicated. The largest banks in New Zealand are ANZ, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), ASB and Westpac.

      All banks have online banking services that allow account holders to transfer funds or pay certain municipal bills and other services online. Banks usually issue holders with a card that can be used to pay bills at electronic points of sale at shops and restaurants, such as a Visa debit card. Cashless and contactless services are highly popular throughout New Zealand.

      Opening a bank account

      It is advisable for expats to investigate their banking options before they commit to a certain account type or bank. Some banks or bank accounts charge fees for certain services – such as for transactions or monthly statements – while others don’t. Generally, expats will be offered a choice between a current and a savings account or a package that includes both.

      The requirements for opening a bank account in New Zealand vary depending on the bank. In general, foreign applicants will need identification (often in the form of a passport and a driving licence), proof of residence and their visa. Conveniently, the account can be set up and a new bank card will be issued on the same day. 

      Some banks, such as the Bank of New Zealand, allow customers to apply online before they have even arrived in New Zealand. Therefore, expats who meet certain criteria can deposit money into their account before moving to New Zealand. However, they would need to go into a branch when they arrive to get a bank card that allows them to access their funds.

      Credit cards and ATMs

      ATMs are widely available in New Zealand and Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere. When expats open a bank account, they are typically given an EFTPOS card that functions like a debit card and can be used to make purchases by swiping and entering a PIN. While EFTPOS cards are free of charge for the user, they are only usable in New Zealand or Australia and can't be used for online payments. Expats should be aware of this when choosing to open an account with an EFTPOS card.

      Taxes in New Zealand

      New Zealand has simple tax laws with minimal loopholes. It is one of the most favourable tax environments for investors of all OECD countries.

      Local income tax is calculated on a progressive scale depending on how much one earns and is capped at 39 percent. Expats who are in New Zealand for less than 183 days of any 12-month period are only liable for tax on their locally earned income. On the other hand, expats who live in New Zealand for 183 days or more in any 12-month period are considered tax residents. This means that they will be liable to pay tax on their worldwide income.

      New Zealand's tax system is favourable for investors, with no capital gains, inheritance, estate or healthcare taxes aside from property rates. That said, it's also important to note that New Zealand has an expanded concept of income compared to many other countries, and these other taxes are generally wrapped into income tax. There is also a blanket Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15 percent factored into most things that expats buy in New Zealand. Additional taxes are also paid on alcohol, tobacco and petrol.

      Working in New Zealand

      For those considering working in New Zealand, the experience can be a thrilling and fulfilling one. With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage and robust economy, New Zealand provides a plethora of opportunities across various industries. It's an excellent destination for both skilled professionals seeking new challenges and recent graduates eager to start their careers.

      The country's thriving job market and welcoming business environment make it an ideal place to live and work. With more sheep than people and more pine trees than sheep in the country, expats looking for work in New Zealand can certainly count on employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.

      Most businesses in New Zealand have a standard five-day, 40-hour work week and are generally open from 8am to 5pm, with a lunch break of between 30 minutes and an hour. That said, businesses often determine their hours according to the needs of their industry, employees and customers. For instance, it is common for employees at hospitals and factories to work outside regular work hours.

      Job market in New Zealand

      New Zealand has become a popular country for expats to immigrate to, which means there is stiff competition for the limited jobs available. The biggest issue foreigners may face will be meeting the stringent immigration requirements. Those with specialised qualifications and are proficient in English will be most successful.

      While the country is known for its agricultural output, other large industries in New Zealand include tourism, manufacturing and finance.

      Occasionally, the government announces qualified personnel deficiencies in a specific job field and expats in that field will then be actively recruited. This is especially true for towns other than Auckland.

      Skills deficiency announcements can be found on Immigration New Zealand's Green List. The list outlines the job fields and skill sets that are needed in the country and is a good guide for expats looking for work in New Zealand.

      Obtaining or qualifying for a job on this list allows expats to streamline the visa application process, as employers will not have to prove that there are no New Zealanders able to take the position that is applied for. The Green List is reviewed and updated regularly.

      Other industries in New Zealand that continuously provide employment to expat workers include IT, new media, medicine, construction and engineering.

      New Zealanders are also known for being great entrepreneurs, and there are many small businesses in the country. This bodes well for expats wanting to move to New Zealand to start up a business, as the government is open to entrepreneurs with a focus on job creation.

      Useful links:

      Finding a job in New Zealand

      The official Immigration New Zealand website is a valuable resource for the most up-to-date information on industries that have a short- or long-term shortage of skilled workers.

      Expats can also try searching for jobs through recruitment agencies, in the classifieds section of major newspapers or on online job boards. One example is CareersNZ, which is a government supported website. It provides helpful advice on finding a job in New Zealand, and lists job postings for both locals and foreigners. SEEK, Indeed and Glassdoor are also excellent resources for finding jobs in New Zealand.

      Expats wishing to take up employment in New Zealand must also ensure that they have a valid visa.

      Useful links:

      Work culture in New Zealand

      New Zealand's work culture is deeply influenced by Maori values, highlighting the importance of family and relationships. Expats will find that Kiwi workplaces foster community and camaraderie through collaboration and open communication.

      Building professional relationships in New Zealand is essential, but the process for doing so is often more relaxed and informal compared to other countries. Networking typically takes place at barbecues or sports events. New Zealanders also value their work-life balance, prioritising family, friends and outdoor activities.

      Hierarchy in New Zealand is typically egalitarian, with flatter management structures. Managers are approachable and often engage in team tasks. Employees usually address each other by their first names, regardless of rank. Most managers encourage proactivity and will require workers to share their opinions any chance they get. 

      Formality levels vary across industries, with an overall informal and approachable atmosphere. Finance, law and engineering have more conservative dress codes, while tourism, hospitality and technology industries are more laid back and flexible.

      Frequently Asked Questions about New Zealand

      Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, and expats relocating to New Zealand are often curious about what their new life will be like. To help ease their concerns, we've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about living in New Zealand.

      Is it expensive to live in New Zealand?

      When considering the cost of living in New Zealand, it is important to take into account individual factors such as salary, lifestyle, and dependants. Generally, the cost of living in New Zealand is found to be quite high for expats, although this perception may be relative to their original country of residence. Factors such as housing, transport, food and entertainment can vary significantly depending on location, and expats may need to adjust their expectations or lifestyle accordingly. However, it is also critical to note that New Zealand offers many benefits, such as a high quality of life, excellent healthcare and a relatively low crime rate.

      Is it difficult to acquire permanent residency in New Zealand?

      There are many ways to acquire permanent residency in New Zealand, but expats will have to live and work in the country for a number of years before they are eligible to apply. New Zealand has many types of visas and work permits available for initial entrance into the country. Certain requirements will then need to be fulfilled before one is able to become a permanent resident.

      Is it difficult to get a job in New Zealand? 

      Expats moving here may struggle to find work in New Zealand as available jobs need to be offered to New Zealand citizens first. That said, as the population of the country is so small, there are often skill shortages in particular industries, where the government will specifically outsource foreigners to fill the role.

      How far away is Australia?

      ‘Not far enough!’ goes the Kiwi joke. In reality, Australia is a little over 745 miles (1,200 km) to the west. Flight time from Auckland to Sydney is two and a half hours, with frequent departures throughout the day.

      How safe is New Zealand?

      New Zealand is a very safe place, with the Institute for Economics and Peace ranking it second on its Global Peace Index in 2022. Although it has among the lowest rates of robbery and violent crime in the developed world, there are still incidents of crime, so expats should take the usual precautions.

      What percentage of the population is Maori?

      Around 15 percent of people in New Zealand are Maori, 75 percent are of European descent and the remainder is made up of Pacific Islanders and Asians, among other ethnicities.

      Healthcare in New Zealand

      Healthcare in New Zealand is a crucial aspect of the country's infrastructure, and fortunately, the nation boasts a robust healthcare system that offers both public and private care options to its residents. The country's public healthcare system is funded through general taxation, making it widely accessible and affordable for all permanent residents. The government's commitment to universal healthcare has resulted in free or heavily subsidised medical care for New Zealand residents, which has contributed to the nation's reputation for quality healthcare.

      In addition to public healthcare, New Zealand's private healthcare sector is thriving, offering expedited treatment options for those who can afford it. While private healthcare in New Zealand is more expensive than public care, it provides several benefits, such as shorter wait times, access to specialist doctors and more personalised care.

      Emergency medical care in New Zealand is offered by three organisations, each run by both volunteers and permanent staff.

      Public healthcare in New Zealand

      The public healthcare system in New Zealand gives permanent residents access to free or heavily subsidised hospital care and emergency treatment. To access free public healthcare, expats need to have permanent residency status in New Zealand or hold a work visa that is valid for two or more years. Other free medical services include standard medical tests, children’s immunisations, and prescription medication for children under six years old. Visits to a general practitioner (GP), the purchase of prescription drugs, and ambulance services are all subsidised.

      Expats will need to register with a GP to access healthcare in New Zealand and get a National Health Index (NHI) number. There is no restriction on which doctor an expat has to register with, but some doctors may specialise in certain areas of medicine. It might therefore be best for new arrivals to research the practices in their area to find the doctor who best suits their individual needs.

      Although state healthcare in New Zealand is of a high standard, the biggest downside is the long waiting periods for non-emergency procedures. Waiting times vary between hospitals, so it helps to find the most time-efficient option.

      In addition to the national healthcare scheme, there are district-funded healthcare initiatives known as Primary Health Organisations (PHO) which provide further subsidies to medical costs. That said, there are some non-subsidised items that expats and residents have to pay for in full. Most New Zealanders and expats are members of a PHO in their residential district and expats are advised to join a PHO as soon as they arrive in New Zealand, as applications generally take up to three months to be processed.

      Private healthcare in New Zealand

      Many New Zealanders who choose to use private healthcare do so to jump the queues for non-emergency procedures. Private healthcare users are, however, still able to use free public health services.

      There is a wide range of clinics and private hospitals that provide healthcare services such as general surgery, recuperative care and specialist procedures. Private testing laboratories and radiology clinics are also available.

      Health insurance in New Zealand

      In comparison to other expat destinations, health insurance in New Zealand isn’t overly expensive. Some employers even offer medical cover, and expats should therefore check with their company or negotiate medical insurance as part of their employment contract.

      Both public and private hospitals in New Zealand accept health insurance. Expats will be able to choose between international health cover and local health insurance providers.

      Pharmacies in New Zealand

      The New Zealand government set up PHARMAC (Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand) in 1993. This agency aims to make subsidised medications available and negotiates low drug prices. Currently, about 2,000 drugs sold in the country are either partially or fully subsidised by PHARMAC. A lot of medication can be purchased over the counter, but a prescription from a GP may be necessary to obtain more expensive or specialised medications.

      Pharmacies in New Zealand are plentiful in urban areas, and expats will find large pharmacy franchises as well as independent, and online services. While most Western medicines are available in New Zealand, 24-hour pharmacies are rare.

      With specialist hospital procedures, expats should remember that New Zealand is a small island country and advanced or specialist care is better sourced abroad. It might be best for expats with chronic medical conditions to stock up on their medication before arriving in the country.

      Health hazards in New Zealand

      Unlike Australia, New Zealand has few deadly animals. It only has two rare species of poisonous spiders and there are no snakes. New Zealand does have sharks, but shark attacks are few and far between because of the cold water that keeps both tourists and sharks at bay.

      As New Zealand is situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is a seismically active area, natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity can happen.

      While not as bad as cities such as Mexico City, Los Angeles and Beijing, smog in Christchurch has been a problem for quite some time. Expats with chronic lung problems intending to live in the area should therefore consult their doctor about ways to possibly mitigate the impacts of this.

      Emergency services in New Zealand

      Pre-hospital emergency medical care is largely conducted by trained paramedics. Emergency medical services in New Zealand are operated mostly by St John's Ambulance and Wellington Free Ambulance. Both of these companies have air ambulance services that operate out of Auckland and Wellington.

      New Zealand has a programme called Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). The programme is funded from the public tax pool and levies obtained from all businesses, vehicle registration, petrol and employees. It offers no-fault injury cover to residents and visitors. So, when someone is involved in an accident, they will receive free medical care under this programme. Services provided include medical cost, prescription drugs and surgeries.

      • Emergency number (fire, ambulance, police): 111 

      Shipping and Removals in New Zealand

      Expats have a wide selection of shipping companies to choose from when shipping to New Zealand. We recommend obtaining quotes from multiple companies before making a final decision.

      Furnished accommodation rentals in New Zealand are rare, although if an expat plans to return home after a short stay, it may be worth keeping their belongings there instead of shipping them.

      Shipping personal belongings to New Zealand

      Shipping times vary depending on the origin location, but most companies can provide estimated arrival times. Expats can confirm this information on forums and online testimonials.

      Air freight is a popular and fast way to ship smaller cargo, but it costs more than shipping by sea (air freight is typically billed by weight, while sea freight is billed according to the size of container). That said, some expats still prefer to spend more on the cost of excess baggage to have their belongings arrive faster.

      It is also advisable for expats to insure any belongings before shipping them to New Zealand.

      Shipping pets to New Zealand

      Shipping pets to New Zealand is likely to be a large expense in terms of vet bills, permits, quarantine and air transport costs. Pets will need to be vaccinated for rabies at least six months before leaving for New Zealand, and proof of the vaccine duration will need to be acquired in the form of a certificate. All pets must also be fitted with a microchip.

      The pet will then need a medical check-up in their home country from an accredited vet, as they have to comply with New Zealand's biosecurity regulations, which are stricter than in many other countries. The exact regulations that apply to an expat’s pet depend on the type of animal and the country of origin.

      All cats and dogs, except those arriving from Australia, have to be placed in a quarantine facility for at least 10 days after they arrive in New Zealand. The facility has to be approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and supervised by official government veterinarians.

      Expats should also be aware that there are restrictions on different types of animals. Certain breeds of dogs, such as American Pit Bull Terriers, Dogo Argentinos and Brazilian Filas are not allowed to be brought into the country at all. Guinea pigs, snakes, birds and rats are also not allowed. The New Zealand Customs Service page has a full list of the animals and items that are prohibited from entering the country.

      More information can be found on the Biosecurity New Zealand website. Expats should be aware that importing animals is a complicated process, and it is therefore recommended to use a reputable pet relocation agency.

      Useful links:

      Culture Shock in New Zealand

      Despite it being a fairly isolated island country in the southwestern Pacific, expats who have experience living in other Western countries are less likely to experience significant culture shock in New Zealand.

      Maori culture plays a vital role in public life and has heavily influenced the country's dominant culture; that said, New Zealand is generally regarded as a Western country. As a former British colony, it still retains the British monarch as its head of state – despite having an independent government.

      Open-minded expats who try to learn about the local culture and are realistic about the pros and cons of living in New Zealand are likely to enjoy life in their new host country.

      Socialising in New Zealand

      New Zealanders are known to be friendly, helpful and egalitarian. Locals also tend to be laid back, and all of this is reflected in the informal dress code adopted at social gatherings.

      Children in New Zealand are highly valued, and residents take the safety and upbringing of children very seriously. New Zealander societal attitudes focus strongly on the community, and expats are often pleasantly surprised by how helpful and generous strangers can be.

      Although locals are largely warm and courteous, they can also be reserved, which may feel isolating at times. While outright discrimination against foreigners is rare, expats may feel that the job market favours locals. Some expats may also struggle to cement lasting friendships with locals. 

      Apart from homesickness, expats usually adjust to the country's culture with ease. Some expats have trouble understanding local slang words, but this problem is quickly overcome once they start settling in and mingling with the locals.

      Expats may be surprised by New Zealand's drinking culture, as it plays a rather significant role in weekend (and weekday) activities. Newcomers to New Zealand may also be surprised by Kiwis' love for walking barefoot, even in public spaces such as supermarkets and restaurants. 

      Outdoor lifestyle and sports in New Zealand

      New Zealanders are outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. Most suburban neighbourhoods have parks where families often take their children in the evenings. There is typically also a national park or a range of outdoor activities within driving distance of any city.

      As can be seen from the multitude of amazing playing fields throughout New Zealand, sport is at the centre of local culture. While sports such as cricket, netball and soccer are popular, rugby is decidedly the favourite national pastime. The national team, the All Blacks, are one of the strongest sides in the world, having won the Rugby World Cup several times.

      Adjusting to life in New Zealand is further influenced by how sparsely populated the country is. This sense of space may take some getting used to, though many new arrivals end up finding it highly enjoyable to have a beach or golf course all to themselves.

      Climate in New Zealand

      The country's general climate can be a slight culture shock for expats choosing to settle in New Zealand. While rainy and cold weather may not be unfamiliar to many expats, the standard of insulation in many New Zealand houses can be a point of concern for those from countries better prepared for the cold.

      An accepted part of life for most New Zealanders, and a point of concern for some expats, is the constant threat of earthquakes. The country is situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which results in New Zealand experiencing thousands of earthquakes every year, although the vast majority of them aren’t even felt.

      Many residents have an emergency kit in their garage for use after a bad earthquake, which consists of water, food and medical supplies. Although this may make new arrivals feel uneasy, emergency kits are only a safety measure. Before the tragic earthquake in Christchurch in 2011, the last time that an earthquake caused substantial casualties was in 1931.

      Embassy contacts for New Zealand

      New Zealand embassies

      • New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 328 4800

      • New Zealand High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7930 8422

      • New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 5991

      • New Zealand High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 4211

      • New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 435 9000

      Foreign embassies in New Zealand

      • United States Embassy, Wellington: +64 4 462 6000

      • British High Commission, Wellington: +64 4 924 2888

      • Canadian High Commission, Wellington: +64 4 473 9577

      • Australian High Commission, Wellington: +64 4 473 6411

      • South African High Commission, Wellington: +64 4 815 8484

      • Irish Embassy, Wellington: +64 4 471 2252

      Cost of Living in New Zealand

      The cost of living in New Zealand is rather high and, like most countries, it tends to fluctuate depending on the area. The cost of living also varies between islands; the South Island is significantly cheaper than the North Island.

      Auckland and Wellington ranked 111th and 139th respectively in the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey. This makes them cheaper to live in than cities such as Brisbane and Edinburgh, but pricier than Calgary and Budapest.

      Cost of accommodation in New Zealand

      Accommodation is likely to be the highest expense for anyone moving to New Zealand. Rental prices for properties in the city centre also tend to be steeper than those in the suburbs.

      Properties in New Zealand are typically more spacious than expats might be used to, especially those from Europe. Properties, if furnished, are also generally furnished to an excellent standard.

      Utilities are usually not included in the rental price of a property, so expats should budget accordingly. It can get bitterly cold in New Zealand during the winter months, which results in higher heating bills.

      Cost of groceries in New Zealand

      Grocery prices in New Zealand tend to be expensive. Expats should keep in mind that New Zealand is remote and isolated, so specific groceries often have to be imported, increasing their cost. That said, expats can purchase local goods and take advantage of the special offers commonly run in supermarkets and convenience stores. Many locals also save money by buying in bulk.

      Cost of transport in New Zealand

      Many expats will find that car prices here are relatively inexpensive compared to those in their home countries. While people don't necessarily need a car, especially in urban areas, it can be useful for expats with families or those who like to travel.

      That said, public transport is reasonably priced in New Zealand and regular users can save money by purchasing monthly or annual transport passes.

      Cost of healthcare in New Zealand

      The cost of healthcare in New Zealand can vary depending on a few factors. Expats who hold a work visa and are employed in New Zealand for more than two years may be entitled to publicly funded healthcare services, which can significantly reduce the cost of medical treatment. Aside from government-funded healthcare, if anyone, resident or visitor, is injured while in New Zealand, they are usually covered by the country's Accident Compensation Scheme.

      In addition to publicly funded healthcare services, expats in New Zealand also have the option of private healthcare. Private healthcare can provide faster access to medical treatment and a wider range of services than the public healthcare system, but it can be costly. It is recommended that expats consider purchasing health insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses, as healthcare costs in New Zealand can be high for those without medical insurance.

      Cost of entertainment and eating out in New Zealand

      New Zealand offers a range of entertainment options for residents and tourists alike, such as visiting national parks, hiking trails and museums. Cinemas and concert venues are also available in most cities. These activities can be pricey, though, so it's essential to budget accordingly.

      Eating out in New Zealand can also be costly, especially in urban areas, with prices varying depending on the type of cuisine and restaurant. Many restaurants in New Zealand offer an early bird or lunchtime special that can help save money, and it's also common to find food trucks and markets that offer affordable and tasty options.

      Cost of education in New Zealand

      New Zealand has a well-regarded education system, with a range of options available from primary school to university. Public schools are generally free for residents, but there may be additional costs for uniforms, stationery and extracurricular activities. Private schools can be fairly steep, but they typically offer smaller class sizes, better amenities and a wider range of extracurriculars.

      Higher education in New Zealand is also available at universities and institutes of technology. Scholarships and financial aid may be available to help offset the cost of education.

      Cost of living in New Zealand chart

      Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Auckland in March 2023.

      Accommodation (monthly rent)

      Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

      NZD 3,900

      Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

      NZD 3,100

      One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

      NZD 2,100

      One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

      NZD 1,880

      Food and drink

      Dozen eggs

      NZD 9

      Milk (1 litre)

      NZD 2.61

      Rice (1kg)

      NZD 3.41

      Loaf of white bread

      NZD 3.30

      Chicken breasts (1kg)

      NZD 14

      Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

      NZD 36

      Eating out

      Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

      NZD 120

      Big Mac meal

      NZD 14

      Coca-Cola (330ml)

      NZD 3.83


      NZD 5.47

      Bottle of beer (local)

      NZD 4.13


      Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

      NZD 0.34

      Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

      NZD 73

      Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

      NZD 330


      Taxi rate/km

      NZD 3.30

      City-centre public transport fare

      NZD 4

      Gasoline (per litre)

      NZD 2.98