The Ultimate Guide to Relocating to New Zealand: Everything You Need to Know


If you’re considering relocating to New Zealand, you’re in for a treat. From the stunning natural landscapes to the friendly locals, there’s a lot to love about living in this beautiful country. However, moving to a new place can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local customs and regulations. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to relocating to New Zealand, to help make your transition as smooth as possible.

One of the first things you’ll need to consider when relocating to New Zealand is your visa status. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for a work visa, student visa, or permanent residency. Our guide will walk you through the different types of visas available, as well as the requirements and application process for each.

Another important consideration is finding a place to live. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, there are a variety of housing options available in New Zealand. Our guide will provide an overview of the different regions and cities, as well as tips for finding the right neighbourhood and navigating the rental or buying process.

Understanding New Zealand

New Zealand is a country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as several smaller islands. New Zealand’s population is around 5 million people, with the majority living in urban areas such as Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.


New Zealand has a temperate climate, with mild temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year. The North Island is generally warmer than the South Island, with temperatures ranging from 10-25°C in summer and 5-15°C in winter. The South Island is cooler, with temperatures ranging from 5-20°C in summer and -5-10°C in winter.


New Zealand has a rich and diverse culture, with influences from Maori, European, and Pacific Islander traditions. The Maori people are the indigenous people of New Zealand and make up around 15% of the population. The Maori culture is deeply ingrained in New Zealand society, with many Maori words and phrases used in everyday conversation.


The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). One NZD is equivalent to around 0.52 GBP or 0.69 USD. You can exchange your currency at banks, currency exchange offices, or at the airport upon arrival.


English is the official language of New Zealand, with Maori also recognized as an official language. However, you may hear a variety of different languages spoken in New Zealand, particularly in urban areas with high immigrant populations.

Time Zone

New Zealand is located in the GMT+12 time zone, which is 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+12). During daylight saving time, New Zealand is in the GMT+13 time zone.


New Zealand has a well-developed transportation system, with buses, trains, and domestic flights connecting major cities and towns. Driving is also a popular way to get around, with car rental services available at airports and in major cities. Remember to drive on the left-hand side of the road in New Zealand!

Preparation Before Relocating

Moving to New Zealand can be a daunting task, but with proper preparation, you can make the process smoother. Here are some essential things to consider before relocating:

Visa Requirements

The first step towards relocating to New Zealand is to determine your visa requirements. Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter New Zealand. It is advisable to check the New Zealand Immigration website to determine if you need a visa and what type of visa you need. The website has all the information you need to apply for a visa.


Relocating to New Zealand can be expensive, so it’s essential to have a budget in place. You need to consider the cost of shipping your belongings, flights, accommodation, and other expenses. It’s also advisable to have some money saved up to cover any unforeseen expenses.


Before relocating, you need to have a plan in place for your accommodation. It’s advisable to research the different types of accommodation available in New Zealand and to find one that suits your needs and budget. You can rent a house or an apartment, or you can stay in a hotel or a hostel.


New Zealand has a public healthcare system that provides free or subsidized healthcare to its residents. However, you need to be eligible for this service, which means you need to have a work visa or be a permanent resident. It’s advisable to have health insurance in place before relocating to New Zealand to cover any medical expenses.

Driving in New Zealand

If you plan to drive in New Zealand, you need to have a valid driver’s license. If your license is not in English, you need to have an international driving permit or a certified translation of your license. It’s also essential to familiarize yourself with New Zealand’s road rules and driving conditions.

Before relocating to New Zealand, it’s essential to have a plan in place. Consider your visa requirements, budget, accommodation, healthcare, and driving in New Zealand. By doing so, you can ensure a smooth transition to your new home. For more information and gift ideas for someone moving to New Zealand, visit Make It Special Gift.

Visa and Immigration Process

Types of Visas

When relocating to New Zealand, it’s important to obtain the appropriate visa. There are several types of visas available, depending on your circumstances and the length of your stay. Here are some of the most common types of visas:

  • Visitor Visa: This visa is for people who want to come to New Zealand for a holiday, to visit family and friends, or for business purposes. It is usually valid for up to 9 months.
  • Work Visa: This visa is for people who have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. There are several types of work visas, including Essential Skills Work Visa, Partnership Work Visa, and Post-Study Work Visa.
  • Student Visa: This visa is for people who want to study in New Zealand. It is usually valid for the duration of the course.
  • Resident Visa: This visa is for people who want to live in New Zealand permanently. There are several ways to obtain a resident visa, including Skilled Migrant Category, Family Category, and Business Category.

Application Process

The application process for a New Zealand visa can be quite complex, so it’s important to plan ahead and ensure you have all the necessary documents and information. Here are the general steps for applying for a visa:

  1. Determine which type of visa you need and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. Gather all the required documents, such as passport, medical certificates, police certificates, and proof of funds.
  3. Complete the online application form and pay the application fee.
  4. Submit your application and wait for a response from Immigration New Zealand.
  5. If your application is approved, you will receive a visa label in your passport or an electronic visa.

It’s important to note that the processing time for visa applications can vary depending on the type of visa and your circumstances. It’s recommended to apply well in advance of your intended travel dates.

Overall, obtaining the appropriate visa is an essential step in relocating to New Zealand. By following the application process and ensuring you have all the necessary documents, you can increase your chances of a successful application.

Finding a Place to Live

Moving to a new country can be daunting, but finding a place to live is one of the first things you need to do to settle in. New Zealand has a variety of housing options available, and it’s important to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Renting Property

Renting a property in New Zealand is a popular option, especially for those who are unsure about their long-term plans. There are a few things to keep in mind when renting:

  • Most rental properties are unfurnished, so you’ll need to provide your own furniture and appliances.
  • Landlords usually require a bond, which is typically four weeks’ rent, and the first two weeks’ rent in advance.
  • You’ll need to sign a tenancy agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of your rental.

To find a rental property, you can browse online listings on websites such as TradeMe, or work with a real estate agent who can help you find properties that meet your criteria.

Buying Property

If you’re planning on staying in New Zealand long-term, buying a property may be a better option for you. Here are some things to consider:

  • The New Zealand property market can be competitive, so it’s important to have your finances in order before you start looking.
  • You’ll need to work with a lawyer to navigate the legal process of buying property in New Zealand.
  • It’s important to do your research and find a property that meets your needs and budget.

To find a property to buy, you can browse online listings on websites such as, or work with a real estate agent who can help you find properties that meet your criteria.

Overall, whether you choose to rent or buy, it’s important to take your time and find a place to live that suits your needs and budget.

Job Market in New Zealand

If you are planning to relocate to New Zealand, it’s important to consider the job market. The good news is that New Zealand has a relatively low unemployment rate compared to other countries. In fact, it’s currently at 4.7%, which is lower than the average unemployment rate for OECD countries.

New Zealand has a diverse job market with opportunities in various industries. Some of the top industries in New Zealand include:

  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Information Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Construction

It’s worth noting that New Zealand has a skills shortage in some areas, which means that there are certain professions that are in high demand. These professions include:

  • Healthcare professionals (such as doctors, nurses, and midwives)
  • IT professionals (such as software developers and network administrators)
  • Engineers (such as civil engineers and mechanical engineers)
  • Tradespeople (such as electricians and plumbers)

If you have skills and experience in any of these areas, you may find it easier to secure a job in New Zealand.

When it comes to finding a job in New Zealand, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to have a well-written CV that highlights your skills and experience. Secondly, networking can be important in New Zealand, so it’s worth attending industry events and joining professional organisations. Finally, it’s worth checking out online job boards such as Seek and Trade Me Jobs to see what opportunities are available.

Overall, New Zealand has a relatively strong job market with opportunities in a range of industries. If you have skills and experience in a high-demand profession, you may find it easier to secure a job in New Zealand.

Education System

Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to understanding the education system. Fortunately, New Zealand has a well-regarded education system that places a strong emphasis on practical learning and student-centred teaching.

Primary and Secondary Education

In New Zealand, children typically start primary school at the age of five and attend until they are around 12 years old. After this, they move on to secondary school, which lasts until they are 18 years old.

The New Zealand primary and secondary education system is divided into three levels:

  • Level 1: Years 1-6 (ages 5-10)
  • Level 2: Years 7-10 (ages 11-14)
  • Level 3: Years 11-13 (ages 15-18)

The curriculum covers a range of subjects, including English, maths, science, social studies, physical education, and the arts. Additionally, schools in New Zealand place a strong emphasis on outdoor education and environmental sustainability.

Higher Education

New Zealand has eight universities, all of which are public institutions. These universities offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across a variety of subjects, including arts, science, commerce, engineering, and medicine.

In addition to universities, there are also a number of institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) that offer vocational training and education. These institutions are particularly well-regarded for their courses in areas such as hospitality, tourism, and trades.

When it comes to applying to universities and ITPs in New Zealand, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most institutions require applicants to have completed secondary school and achieved a certain level of academic performance. Additionally, international students may need to provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Overall, the education system in New Zealand is highly regarded for its practical focus and student-centred approach. Whether you are looking to enrol your child in primary school or pursue higher education yourself, there are plenty of options available to you.

Healthcare System

When relocating to New Zealand, it is important to understand the healthcare system in the country. The healthcare system in New Zealand is a mix of public and private healthcare services, with the public healthcare system being the primary provider of healthcare services.

In New Zealand, healthcare is funded by the government through taxes, and most healthcare services are provided free of charge or at a low cost to residents. The public healthcare system provides a range of services, including general practitioner (GP) visits, hospital care, and prescription medications.

To access public healthcare services in New Zealand, you need to be a resident or hold a work visa that is valid for two years or more. If you are not eligible for public healthcare, you will need to pay for private healthcare services.

Private healthcare services in New Zealand are provided by private hospitals and clinics. These services are generally more expensive than public healthcare services, but they offer shorter waiting times and a wider range of treatment options.

When choosing a healthcare provider in New Zealand, it is important to do your research and find a provider that meets your needs. You can use the Ministry of Health website to find a GP or specialist in your area, and you can also ask for recommendations from friends and family.

Overall, the healthcare system in New Zealand is of a high standard, and residents have access to a wide range of healthcare services. Whether you choose to use public or private healthcare services, it is important to make your health a priority and seek medical attention when needed.

Cost of Living

New Zealand is known for its high standard of living and quality of life, but this comes at a cost. The cost of living in New Zealand can vary depending on where you live, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences.


Housing is one of the biggest expenses in New Zealand. The cost of renting or buying a home can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and age of the property. In general, accommodation costs are higher in larger cities like Auckland and Wellington, while smaller towns and rural areas tend to be more affordable.

Here are some average monthly costs for accommodation in New Zealand:

  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre: £1,200 – £1,800
  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: £900 – £1,400
  • Rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre: £2,000 – £3,000
  • Rent for a three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: £1,500 – £2,500
  • Average monthly mortgage payment: £1,500 – £2,500

Food and Groceries

The cost of food and groceries in New Zealand can vary depending on where you shop and what you buy. Supermarkets like Countdown, New World, and Pak’nSave offer a wide range of products at competitive prices, while specialty stores and organic markets tend to be more expensive.

Here are some average costs for food and groceries in New Zealand:

  • Loaf of bread: £1.50 – £3.00
  • Litre of milk: £0.80 – £1.50
  • Dozen eggs: £2.50 – £5.00
  • Chicken breast (1kg): £8.00 – £15.00
  • Beef mince (1kg): £8.00 – £15.00
  • Apples (1kg): £2.00 – £5.00
  • Bananas (1kg): £1.50 – £3.00


Transportation costs in New Zealand can vary depending on how you choose to get around. Public transportation is available in most cities and towns, with buses, trains, and ferries operating on a regular schedule. Taxis and rideshare services like Uber are also available, but can be more expensive.

Here are some average costs for transportation in New Zealand:

  • Monthly public transportation pass: £80 – £150
  • Taxi ride (5km): £10 – £20
  • Uber ride (5km): £8 – £15
  • Petrol (1 litre): £1.50 – £2.00

Overall, the cost of living in New Zealand can be high, but it is possible to live within your means by budgeting and making smart choices. Keep in mind that salaries in New Zealand are generally lower than in other developed countries, so it’s important to factor in your income when considering the cost of living.

Culture and Lifestyle

New Zealand is known for its unique culture and laid-back lifestyle. The country has a diverse population with a mix of European, Maori, Pacific Islander, and Asian cultures. This creates a melting pot of traditions, customs, and beliefs that are reflected in the country’s art, music, food, and festivals.

One of the most significant aspects of New Zealand culture is the Maori culture. The Maori people are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their culture is deeply rooted in the country’s history. Visitors to New Zealand can experience Maori culture through cultural performances, traditional food, and visiting historical sites.

New Zealanders, also known as “Kiwis,” are known for their laid-back and friendly nature. The country’s relaxed lifestyle is reflected in the work culture, where work-life balance is highly valued. New Zealanders enjoy spending time outdoors, and the country’s stunning natural beauty provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, and skiing.

In terms of food, New Zealand has a range of unique dishes that reflect the country’s diverse cultural influences. Some must-try dishes include fish and chips, meat pies, and pavlova, a meringue-based dessert.

Overall, New Zealand’s culture and lifestyle offer a unique and welcoming experience for visitors. Whether you’re interested in exploring the country’s indigenous culture, enjoying the outdoors, or trying new foods, New Zealand has something to offer for everyone.

New Zealand Moving Gifts

If you have friends or family members who are moving to New Zealand, it’s always a good idea to give them a gift to help them settle in. Here are some gift ideas that will be useful for anyone who is relocating to New Zealand:

  • Travel Adaptor: New Zealand uses different electrical outlets than most countries, so a travel adaptor is a must-have for anyone who is moving there.
  • New Zealand Guidebook: A guidebook will help your loved ones get to know their new home and find their way around.
  • Local Currency: Giving your loved ones some New Zealand dollars will help them get started with their new life.
  • Reusable Shopping Bag: New Zealand is committed to reducing plastic waste, so giving a reusable shopping bag is a practical and thoughtful gift.
  • Kiwi-themed Gifts: Kiwis are the national symbol of New Zealand, so anything with a kiwi on it is a great gift idea. This could be a keychain, a mug, or even a stuffed animal.
  • Outdoor Gear: New Zealand is known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities, so giving your loved ones some outdoor gear such as hiking boots, a rain jacket, or a backpack would be a useful gift.

Remember, the most important thing is to give a gift that will make your loved ones feel welcome and supported during their transition to a new country.

Final Checklist Before Moving

Before you leave for New Zealand, there are a few things you need to take care of to ensure a smooth relocation process. Here is a final checklist to help you stay organised:

1. Accommodation

Make sure you have secured accommodation before you arrive in New Zealand. If you’re renting, ensure that you have signed the lease agreement and have a copy of it with you. If you’re buying a property, ensure that all the necessary paperwork is in order.

2. Visa and Passport

Ensure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your stay in New Zealand. If you require a visa, ensure that you have applied for it and have received approval before you leave.

3. Health Insurance

It’s essential to have health insurance before you arrive in New Zealand. This will cover any medical expenses you may incur while you’re there.

4. Transportation

If you plan to drive in New Zealand, ensure that you have a valid driver’s license. You may also want to consider purchasing a car or arranging for transportation before you arrive.

5. Utilities

Ensure that you have arranged for the connection of utilities such as electricity, gas, and water before you arrive. This will ensure that you have access to these essential services as soon as you move in.

6. Banking

Open a bank account in New Zealand before you arrive. This will make it easier for you to transfer funds and pay bills.

7. Packing

Ensure that you have packed all your belongings and have made arrangements for their transportation to New Zealand. Make a list of all the items you’re taking with you, and ensure that you have all the necessary documentation.

By following this final checklist, you can ensure that you’re well-prepared for your relocation to New Zealand.

Settling in New Zealand

Once you have arrived in New Zealand, settling in can take some time. However, the country is known for its friendly and welcoming culture, so you should find it relatively easy to adapt.


Finding a place to live is a top priority when settling in New Zealand. You can choose from a range of options, including renting, buying, or sharing a property. Renting is a popular choice, and you can find properties through real estate agents, online listings, or by attending open homes. It is important to note that rental properties are often unfurnished, so you will need to purchase furniture and appliances.


New Zealand has a public healthcare system that provides free or subsidized medical care to citizens and permanent residents. If you are on a work visa, you may be eligible for publicly funded healthcare for some services. Private healthcare is also available, and you can purchase health insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment.


New Zealand has a high-quality education system, and you can choose from a range of schools, universities, and vocational institutions. If you have children, they are entitled to free education in state schools up to the age of 19. You can also choose to send your children to private schools, which can be expensive.


New Zealand has a well-developed transport system, including buses, trains, and ferries. If you are living in a city, you may not need to own a car, as public transport is reliable and affordable. However, if you are living in a rural area, a car may be essential.


Opening a bank account is a straightforward process in New Zealand. You will need to provide identification and proof of address, such as a utility bill. There are several banks to choose from, and you can compare their services and fees to find the best option for you.

Overall, settling in New Zealand can be a smooth and enjoyable experience. By taking the time to research and plan ahead, you can make the transition as easy as possible.