Moving to New Zealand

Moving to New Zealand

Making the move to New Zealand can be a happy decision with a successful outcome. Planning for the difficult moments will help the transition become a safe and easier one for everyone involved. Like thousands of migrants before you, you will come to see that the challenges you face are almost always outweighed by the benefits.

It’s a big step moving to another country, and for many people New Zealand is a long way away. You may want to learn more about other people’s experiences. Migrating is much more common now than 20 or 30 years ago, and there are lots of resources you can check out.

Read our common F.A.Q

Be prepared

However you have come to the decision to move to New Zealand, be prepared for the period of adjustment that is bound to take place.

It isn't just your job you have to consider once you have arrived in New Zealand – keeping your spouse and children happy and settled is of vital importance. Focus on your reasons for moving and do as much research as possible before you arrive. Be realistic and patient, and don’t lose the excitement that got you here!

Settling into life in New Zealand

Before you even arrive, plan to start life in New Zealand as settled as possible. Using the services of a relocation company can help with furnished accommodation on arrival, school enrolments and establishing finance accounts.

Finding a home is one of the most important steps to feeling settled. Try to make your new home feel like your own, and keep important reminders of the home you left in plain sight.

Building a community

There are different approaches to establishing a community in a new country and you will have to take the one that feels most comfortable to you. Ask neighbours, co-workers, friends, bartenders, wait staff, teachers and the like to recommend things like their favourite fish and chip shop, local bars, sports clubs, children’s activities, stores and more. Find places you, your spouse and your children can interact with others.

Immigration New Zealand offers links to community directories that may help you to find likeminded people soon after arrival.

Homesickness happens to everyone

Staying connected with family and friends from your home country has never been easier or more cost effective. Free online programs that includes video calling allowing you to not just hear, but see, your far away relatives and friends. Often the most important link between distant grandparents and your newly relocated children, programs like Skype can alleviate many feelings of loneliness.

Be patient; it make take some time to fully adjust, but if you want to do so, you will.

Things you need to pack

Moving to another country is complex. There is so much to think about because you are literally bringing everything with you.

It is very important that when you move to New Zealand you bring the following documents. All of your documents should be originals, not copies. If they are not in English, bring a certified translation with you.

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate
  • Your academic qualifications
  • References from previous employers
  • Your CV (Curriculum Vitae/ Resume) Credit references
  • An international driver’s licence or permit

The weather here changes a lot, so you need to pack a range of clothes including raincoats and warm clothing. Remember too that the seasons are the opposite of what they are in the northern hemisphere.

Check with New Zealand Customs Service about what you can and cannot bring in your bags. New Zealand has very strict rules around things like food. Find out more at the Biosecurity website.

Taking the children

It can be one thing to decide to emigrate as a single or couple, and quite another to take a family of dependants with you to a new country. The last thing you want is a child who is desperately unhappy and makes your time in a new country difficult and strained. Involving children with the whole process can help them to feel as excited as you. Involve them right from the beginning. Allowing them some control in minor decisions about the move can actively enable them to feel a part of the bigger decision. The grief and stress they feel when faced with major change is just as strong as an adult’s and it is important they know they can be involved in the process.

Explore your new home together

Research information about New Zealand together, look at real estate websites with them to show them what houses look like in New Zealand, or give them small jobs, such as to find out where to find their favourite foods in New Zealand. Most schools have websites so show them how their future school looks. Try not to hard sell the move but allow their natural curiosity grow into excitement.

Make it a fun adventure & don’t forget to talk


Christchurch enjoys a temperate, relatively dry climate with rain falling on fewer days than New Zealand's other major cities. The climate is comfortable all year round, although winter nights can be chilly and frosts are much more common in Christchurch than in Wellington or Auckland.

When it's frosty in Christchurch wind conditions tend to be calm, so frosty mornings in Christchurch are often followed by glorious, sunny winter days. Nor'wester winds are possible at any time of year. The nor'wester is a type of wind - hot and dry - from the Southern Alps that can raise the temperature by 10 or 15 degrees centigrade within an hour or so.

Christchurch sits on a latitude of 43.3 degrees South. Cities on similar latitudes in the Northern hemisphere include Monte Carlo, Monaco and Boston, Massachusetts. Christchurch is cooler in summer than these Northern Hemisphere cities because of the moderating effects of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.

Month Av. Daily Maximum Temp (°C) Av. Daily Minimum Temp (°C) Av. hours sunshine (per day) Av. No. Days with atleast 0.25mm Rainfall Average Afternoon Humidity
Jan 23 12 7.4 10 60
Feb 22 12 6.9 8 60
Mar 20 11 5.9 9 70
Apr 18 8 5.4 10 70
May 14 5 4.6 12 70
Jun 12 2 4.0 13 72
Jul 11 2 4.0 13 75
Aug 13 3 4.8 11 65
Sep 15 5 5.5 10 70
Oct 17 7 6.4 10 60
Nov 19 9 7.2 10 65
Dec 21 11 7.1 10 60


The main weather hazard faced by Christchurch's residents is the strength of the sun - particularly in summer.

In high summer, the sunshine in New Zealand is really strong. You'll burn more easily in New Zealand than anywhere in the Mediterranean. There are three reasons why the sun in the Southern Hemisphere is so strong:

  • There is less ozone to block the UV rays that cause sunburn.
  • Earth's orbit takes it closer to the sun during the southern summer than during the northern summer.
  • There is less pollution in the Southern Hemisphere to block the UV rays.

The sun's burning strength is measured by the UV index. The highest possible UV index at sea-level is about 20. This can occur at midday in equatorial regions. Any reading higher than 10 is extreme in terms of skin damage. The UV Index in the Mediterranean in high-summer reaches 9 or 10. The people in Florida are fried on a just a few days each summer when the index reaches 12. In New Zealand the summer index often exceeds 12.

UK Weather
Most of the eastern half of the country has between 750 and 1000 millimetres (mm) of rainfall in the year. Rainfall in the west generally averages between 1000 and 1250 mm.
Ireland normally gets between 1400 and 1700 hours of sunshine each year.
The UK normally gets between 1100 and 1500 hours of sunshine each year.

Christchurch Weather
Christchurch averages 650 mm of rain per year.
Christchurch averages 2050 hours of sunshine per year

Cost of Living

The approximate cost of a basic weekly shopping trip for a household of a man, woman and two teenagers will total an average of $251 per week, an annual food costs survey has found. The Estimated Family Food Costs Survey has been prepared every year since 1972 by student dietitians at Otago University.
Surveys were carried out at four supermarkets each in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The cost of food for a man was on average about $55 per week, while women ate an average of $53 worth. Adolescent boys were the most expensive to feed, costing $69 per week, while girls cost $58.
A 10-year-old child ate $48 worth of food per week, a five-year-old cost $29 to feed and children aged between one and four cost between $29 and $32 each week for food. However, non-food items could expect to add about $21 each week on a basic budget, $35 per week on a moderate budget, and $53 on a high-end budget, for a family of four.

The average cost of a basic weekly shopping expedition could therefore be expected to set a family, of a man and woman with a girl and a boy aged in their teens, back $251. The food costs were based on a basic shopping list that assumed food would be eaten at home using few pre-prepared items, and certain items would be chosen only when in season.

Households that upgraded their shopping list to include more expensive cuts of meat and a greater variety of fruits and vegetables could expect to pay a further $20 per person -- raising the average cost of food to the family with two teenagers, to $295 per week, and $296 if basic non-food items are included.
A further $15 per person per week could be added if a greater range of pre-prepared items were included in the food shopping -- costing the family with teenagers $320 each week in food, or $351 with basic non-food items.

Those shopping on a generous budget could pay up to $363 per week for a family with teenagers. The survey found the price did not vary significantly between regions, as supermarket chains kept prices similar in each centre. "Consumers can shop more economically at supermarkets, but the extra costs - ranging from $1 to $6 per person, depending on region, of shopping at local specialty shops may be worthwhile if the cost of travel to a supermarket is weighed against walking to a smaller local outlet," the surveyers said.

The surveyers also noted that many families and individuals spent less weekly than the estimated costs in the survey, but that was not including some of the basic items which could restrict a balanced diet.
"The risk of consuming a diet which does not meet New Zealand recommendations for good health, increases as expenditure falls below this."

What is the price of Petrol/Gasoline?

Most cars in New Zealand run on standard unleaded petrol. This has been priced at about $2.20 per litre during the last year. Premium unleaded fuel, for high-performance cars, costs about 8c per litre more than standard.

Shopping list example as at July 2013
Arnotts Chocolate Biscuits - Caramel Crowns (200g) $2.99
Arnotts Crackers Cheds Box (250g) $2.99
Crackers Water (125g) $1.29
Oat Bran (500g) $2.69
Strawberry Jam (680g) $2.99
Sanitarium Marmite Yeast Spread jar (250g) $3.99
Sanitarium Skippy Cornflakes bag (300g) $1.99
Sanitarium Weetbix Wheat Biscuits Regular (750g) $4.25
Continental Cup A Soup Instant Soup Hearty Beef (55g per serve) $1.79
Pears Halves in Syrup (415g) $1.15
Pineapple Slices Natural Juice can (825g) $2.55
Tomatoes Whole Peeled Italian Roma (400g) $0.79
John West Salmon Pink Smokes (210g) $2.69
Oak Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (420g) $0.79
Oak Beetroot Sliced can (450g) $0.79
Watties Fruit Salad Tropical in Fruit Juice (425g) $2.75
Sunlight Dishwash Liquid Lemon (500ml) $2.79
Surf Front Loader Laundry Powder Tropical box $3.99
San Remo Pasta Penne #18 packet (500g) $1.89
Aim Toothpast Freshmint Tube (90g) $1.29
Lux Soap White Supreme Cream (93g) bars 6pk $3.89
Lynx Male Bodyspray 'Africa' (30g) $3.98
Macleans Flex Direct Toothbrush Adult Medium 1pk $1.99
Milk (2 ltr) $3.35
Brussell Sprouts (1kg) $4.00
Brocolli (per head) $1.95
Cereal Bars (240g) $3.00
Bread $2.20
Peas (1kg) $1.99
Sandwich Ham (200g) $4.35
Blueberry Muffins (6 pack) $3.75
Apples (1kg) $2.85
Bananas (1kg) $2.50
Toilet Rolls (12 pack) $4.85
Orange Juice (1 ltr) $2.40
Frozen Chips (1kg) $4.90
Cheese (1kg) $9.95
Butter (550g) $2.60
Sausages (6 pack) $4.85
Premimum Mince (1kg) $12.00
Rump Steak (1kg) $14.95
Fish and Chips (2 fish and chips) $6.00
KFC Burger $4.95
McDonalds Big Mac $4.45
Subway Sandwich $6.00
Drinks - Hot and Cold
Nescafe Instant Coffee Classic Refill $3.99
Espresso $3.50 - $4.00
Fruit and Vegetables
Countdown Potatoes White Washed bag (4kg) $7.99
Fresh Produce Onions Brown loose (1kg) $1.99
Fresh Product Parsnip NZ loose (1kg) $5.99
Liquor - Beer and Cider
Stella Artois Lager 330ml Bottles 12pk  
Warrant of Fitness (WOF) for your vehicle: Six monthly - average $30.00
Vehicle registration $200.00 pa
Bus Fare - Metro Christchurch return $3.00
Movies $8.00 - $22.00
DVD/Video Hire $6.00 - $9.00


Check out the following links also.

New arrivals who haven't done their homework have sometimes expressed surprise at the prices they’ve seen in New Zealand’s stores and supermarkets. In saying that, keep in mind that some chains compete heavily on prices, which may differ wildly from the more expensive stores. On a positive note you may find some items are actually cheaper here. Please do your due diligence on all incurred costs in New Zealand before you arrive.

People who have lived here longer look at the prices they see quoted online – and smile knowingly, because they’ve become street-smart and have found many ways to slash their expenses.

Here's a handy list of money-saving ideas to help speed you on your way:
Wait for the sales, don't make major purchases unless they’re on sale ie. buy goods from major stores such as Briscoes, The Warehouse etc. Anything you want to buy there will most definitely go on sale in the imminent future, often on long weekends and holidays. If items here seem expensive to you, just remember that it’s likely they will be discounted by at least 50% off in the near future. This includes everything from linen and toys, to furniture and coffee machines.

It’s OK to haggle on bigger ticket items (say, $100 or more), you don’t always need to pay full sticker price for things like furniture, appliances, etc. Even mortgage and term deposit rates can be negotiable.

Buy all produce from a specialised fruit and veg shop, they are usually much cheaper than supermarkets. Stock up when things are reduced in the supermarket, you can often save quite a lot. Start a veggie patch, the climate is on your side. Also frequent the myriad of Farmer's markets every weekend in Christchurch for great deals on fresh food.
Compare Power, Broadband and Credit Cards in NZ for free with Glimp: or alternatively for further power comparisons.

Search sites such as before buying any electronics items for the best deals. Buying goods online can save you thousands each year.
Seek out the community newsletters in your suburbs because they will list all the various activities in the area which include family events like fun fairs, kids theme events etc. They are free, great fun and can include story-telling sessions, performances, kids costume activities, face painting and more.


The average cost of renting as at July 2013 is as follows:

Two bedroom flat: $325-$345 per week
Three bedroom house: $388-$485 per week
Four bedroom house: $483-$577 per week
Five+ bedroom house: $595-$740 per week
(Information sourced from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.)

The majority of landlords of properties expect tenants to sign a 12-month fixed-term tenancy agreement. If you sign into this type of lease, it means you are liable for rental payments for the entire 12 months, whether you are living in the property or not.

Set-up costs
Expect expenses up front when you first move into your property, including:

Furniture: Many flats are unfurnished so be prepared to buy items such as a bed, desk, couch, whiteware, cutlery and appliances.

Bond: Up to a maximum of four weeks' rent can be payable immediately. Your landlord is legally required to lodge your bond with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) When you leave your flat, provided that you have not caused any damage, your bond will be refunded to you. If there is damage to the property the landlord can request that some or all of the bond is used to cover the repairs.

Rent in advance: Up to a maximum of two weeks' rent, payable immediately.

Connection fees: You may need to pay a bond and/or a connection fee to connect your power, phone and internet.

Driving in New Zealand

Driving – Key Points for Overseas Drivers and New Residents

  • You are allowed to drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months using either an International Driving Permit or your current overseas driving licence. After that you will need to get a New Zealand driving licence.
  • If your licence is not in English, you should get an International Driving Permit or bring an official, English translation of your licence with you. Further licensing details are available from the Land Transport Safety Authority.
  • Vehicles drive on the left side of the road.
  • The urban speed limit is usually 50 kph (31 mph). Elsewhere it’s usually 100 kph (62 mph).
  • Driving Times between the Main Cities

    From Christchurch to:

    Auckland: 14hrs 20mins plus ferry crossing* from Picton to Wellington

    Blenheim: 4hrs 35mins

    Dunedin: 5hrs

    Nelson: 6hrs 20mins

    Picton: 5hrs

    Queenstown: 7hrs 15mins

    Wellington: 5hrs plus ferry crossing* from Picton to Wellington

    * Ferry crossing time is normally 3hrs

    You can also get more information at


Childcare and Education

We are often asked for information on childcare facilities and recommended schools.

We have compiled some points we think you should take into account when considering where to to accommodate your preferences:

NZ Childcare

If you have children who need looking after while you are at work, New Zealand has many childcare options, such as childcare centres, crèches, home-based care and family day care or nannies. Childcare centres for young children offer session care (i.e. up to four hours a day) and are open for up to eight or nine hours (between 7.30am and 6pm) or full day options. Some centres may offer casual care in morning or afternoon sessions. Childcare centres will charge a sessional, weekly or daily fee, and an hourly fee for casual care.

Childcare centres are either licensed to take either under two-year-olds or over two-year-olds. Other options such as Montessori or Rudolph Steiner centres, have their own aims and philosophy.

Home-based care services provide a caregiver for very small groups of children in supervised homes in the community where the family needing the care lives. The main organisations that provide family daycare are Barnardo’s, Porse, Home Grown and Selwyn Toddlers. Their fees are charged on an hourly rate and the times are flexible - they can include evenings and weekends to help parents who do shift work (irregular hours).

Most of these services can offer the 20 Hours ECE (early childhood education) subsidy funded by the Ministry of Education. Any three, four or five year old child in New Zealand can be enrolled in ECE and receive 20 Hours ECE even if they are not a New Zealand resident or citizen. For more info visit the Ministry of Education website.

Education and Schools in New Zealand

In most circumstances, your children will attend the local school they are zoned for. If you choose to live outside the zone of your preferred school, your children may not get places - particularly if the school is a popular one with a reputation for high standards. Spare places at popular schools are allocated by ballot. Exceptions to zoning may include attendance at a school with a special character - such as a religious school.

School rules are set by the Board of Governors. The Board is elected by parents. School rules usually mean that school-uniform is compulsory at secondary school. In addition to wearing the uniform, pupils / students usually must not wear make-up, jewellery, unusual hair colourings, nose-piercings, etc, etc.

In addition to the state sector, there is also a flourishing private education sector.

Children who attend any of the better state schools in New Zealand receive a very good education.
Most children start Year 1 on their fifth birthday.
Primary schools teach Year 1 to Year 6 children.
Intermediate schools teach Years 7 and 8.
"Full Primaries" teach Year 1 to Year 8 children.
Secondary schools teach Year 9 to Year 13.

Education/School Costs in New Zealand

State education in New Zealand is meant to be free of charge. In reality, however, there are costs. You need to pay for your childrens' school uniforms, pencils, pens, glue-sticks, stationery etc. Textbooks can be provided free of charge, unless their use involves writing on them and they cannot be returned to the school. Some schools charge for textbooks.

Most state schools charge a fee of somewhere around $100 – $300 per year per child, although some charge considerably more than this. Some state high schools charge an annual fee of between $400 and $900. If more than one child attends the same school then it is usual to get a reduction in fees. Although payment of the fee is voluntary, called a donation, most parents pay. The donation pays for extra resources for your children’s school, photocopying, etc. and it is tax-deductible.

The New Zealand government provides more money to schools in socially deprived areas than it does to schools in better-off areas. The result of this is that, in order to make ends meet, schools in better-off areas tend to charge higher "voluntary" fees than schools in poorer areas.

Education, Schools Days and Holidays

School days are Monday to Friday. Primary schools usually start at 9 am, or a little earlier, and finish at 3pm. Secondary schools usually start at 8.30am and finish at 3pm or 3.15pm.

The school year runs from February to December and has four terms. Each term is roughly ten weeks long. Summer holidays last about five and a half weeks at primary schools and about a week longer at secondary schools. The Autumn, Winter and Spring holidays each last two weeks. For more information on New Zealand Education please visit the Ministry of Education website.

Family Assistance

Family Assistance is paid by the New Zealand government to families with children under 18.

It is available to families on surprisingly high incomes and, for most families, is worth several thousand dollars per year.

Family Assistance is available immediately to migrants, provided your children have been granted permanent residence in New Zealand.

You do not have to live in New Zealand for any specific length of time before you make a claim.

Family assistance in New Zealand has four parts, and you may be entitled to one or more of these. We’ll outline each below, starting with the In-Work Payment.

1. The In-Work Tax Credit

You can qualify for the in-work tax credit if you’re employed or self-employed.
Your payment depends on your income, and how many hours you work a week.
If you’re a couple, you must work 30 hours or more weekly between you.
If you’re a sole parent, you’ll normally need to work at least 20 hours a week.

The maximum income thresholds, below which you’ll qualify for an in-work tax credit payment of some sort are:

  • One child $72,500
  • Two children $89,000
  • Three children $104,000
  • Four children $125,000

If you have three children or fewer, the 2013/14 in-work payment is worth a maximum of $60 a week. If you have more children that this, you get $60 a week maximum for the first three, PLUS an extra $15 a week for each extra child.

The payments are made on a sliding scale, falling as your income from other sources, such as employment, rise.

2. Family Tax Credit

You don’t need to be in work to claim family tax credit payments.
Each dependent child aged 18 or under qualifies for payments. What you get paid in total depends on your income, how many children you have, and their ages.
Anyone earning less than $36,350 a year receives the maximum payment. Payments fall on a sliding scale depending on your income.

The maximum fortnightly payments available in 2013/4 for people earning less than $36,350 a year are:

  • One child $184
  • Two children $314
  • Three children $442
  • Four children $572
  • Five children $700
  • Six children $828

For a family earning $50,000 a year, fortnightly payments would be:

  • One child $72
  • Two children $202
  • Three children $330
  • Four children $460
  • Five children $588
  • Six children $718

These fortnightly payments are further increased if any of your children are over 13 years of age:

  • Add $20 for each child (other than the eldest) aged 13, 14 or 15
  • Add $18 if your eldest child is 16, 17 or 18
  • Add $54 for any other child aged 16, 17 or 18

3. Parental Tax Credit

This is paid for the first eight weeks after the birth of your baby. Parental Tax Credit is income tested and the maximum amount you can receive in 2013/4 is a lump sum of $1,200. If the mother has been working, it is often more beneficial to apply for Paid Parental Leave.

4. Paid Parental Leave

Paid Parental leave is available when working mothers take parental leave from their job(s) to care for their newborn. For most people, paid parental leave is worth more than parental tax credit. You cannot receive paid parental leave payments and parental tax credit for the same child. If you meet the criteria for both payments you’ll need to decide which payment you’d like to receive. The maximum Parental Leave payment is $475 per week for up to 14 weeks in 2013/14.

For more specific advice on these matters please contact Work and Income with any queries.

Health Care

Hospital Treatment

Hospital treatment is free of charge for New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and holders of certain work visas. As a result of this, there can be long waiting-lists for “non-emergency” cases. No-one can be refused emergency care in New Zealand because they can’t pay. However if you are not entitled to public funded care you may be sent a bill for some services. Many employed people pay for private medical insurance to avoid waiting for “non-emergency” treatment.

If you are a UK Citizen: NZ Health System - UK

For citizens from other countries: NZ Health System - Other Countries

If you are arriving on a work visa which is less than 2 years, in most cases you will not be eligible to take out private health care and we do suggest obtaining travel insurance before you arrive.

Accident Compensation (ACC) – No Lawsuits Allowed

If you’re injured in New Zealand, regardless of cause or blame, the ACC scheme entitles you to:

  • Free medical care.
  • Payment of a proportion of your salary, while you recover (normally 80% of your gross wages).
  • Payment of compensation, if appropriate.

The ACC scheme replaces the right to sue for damages. In New Zealand you cannot sue someone for causing you injury.

Cervical Screening Programme

Cervical screening is provided free of charge to all women aged 20-69 years. The usual screening interval is every three years. The Ministry of Health estimates that, in women who are not screened, one in ninety will develop cervical cancer and around half of these women will die of the disease. In women who are screened, the death rate is much lower, at around one woman in 1,280 dying of cervical cancer. Overall, women who have regular smear tests reduce their likelihood of developing cervical cancer by about 90 percent. About 200 New Zealand women develop cervical cancer every year and about 60 – 70 women die from it.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

All maternity services from pregnancy through to childbirth in New Zealand are free of charge for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents or their spouses or partners. Fees are payable for care at private hospitals and treatment by private obstetricians. It is your choice where you have your baby and who cares for you during pregnancy and birth. Most women choose to have a midwife as their Lead Maternity carer. Typically a midwife can offer or arrange pregnancy testing, care and assessments throughout pregnancy, blood tests or investigative procedures, consultation with an obstetrician or other specialist, support and care during labour and birth in the place of your choice – whether it be in a hospital or at home or a location such as a birth pool – and support and care after your baby is born.

Babies born in New Zealand will only be eligible for New Zealand citizenship if at least one of their parents is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

Dental Treatment – Typical Costs

Schoolchildren up to the age of 18 get free basic dental treatment. Not all treatments for children are free though; you have to pay for more specialised procedures and orthodontics (tooth straightening). Adults have to pay for the full cost of all treatment, typically:

  • Hygienist: $70 - $96
  • Check up with Scale/Polish: $75 - $110
  • Check up with x-ray: $95 - $150
  • Amalgam filling (molar):$100 - $145+
  • Composite filling (molar): $140 - $180

If your teeth are damaged in an accident, rather than through normal wear and tear, your treatment will be heavily subsidised by the government's accident compensation scheme.

Doctors/General Practitioners (GPs) – Typical Costs

All General Practitioners in New Zealand are private practitioners. In practice, because of government subsidy, children under 6 are treated free. Some GPs may charge you $5 or $10 if your child needs a home visit or out-of-hours treatment. Older children are subsidised less than under 6′s. This means you will pay about $20 for an older child’s visit to the Doctor. If you ask around, you may be able to find a GP who will treat all ages of children free of charge.

For adults, a visit to your GP costs $45 – $65 or so between around 8:00am – 6:00pm. Visits at weekends or nights cost more. If, however, you join a PHO (Primary Health Organisation – these are government funded and free to join) a visit to your GP will cost approximately $35 – $40. Nearly all New Zealanders have now joined PHOs. It can sometimes take about three months after submitting an application to a PHO to receive lower priced care. It’s advisable therefore to join a medical practice and enrol with a PHO sooner rather than later. You are able to change your GP at any time.

Prescription Drugs – Cost

When a GP prescribes medicine, children under 6 pay nothing. If your GP prescribes drugs for you, you will pay $3 per item provided you have joined a Primary Health Organisation. (Joining a PHO is free.) Otherwise, you will pay more. For some medicines you will also pay an extra part-charge. Some drugs are not subsidised at all, and must be fully paid for. People who need 20 or more prescriptions in a year are eligible for a further prescription subsidy.

Helpful Links


Government Sites

Drivers Licences Information you need to get a licence

Government/Importing and regulations New Zealand Border control, New Zealand High Commission in London, United Kingdom - New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4TQ.

Sporting Sites


Tourist Sites Auckland Wellington Christchurch Dunedin Nelson Sky Tower in Auckland South Island Ski Fields Queenstown

Utilities Electricity Company Electricity Company Electricity Company


Weather New Zealand weather


How do I get my qualifications assessed?
Qualifications, such as degrees and certifications, are ranked to help determine eligibility under Immigration New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category. If your qualification is not on the List of Recognised Qualifications, you will need to have it assessed by NZQA.

Getting your qualifications recognised is an important part of the moving process. Start the process as soon as possible to make it easier when you are offered a job.

Levels of qualification are ranked from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the highest level of qualification. Levels depend on the complexity of one’s education, rather than simply the time spent learning. Check your qualification ranking on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications to find out how many points your qualification is worth.

Occupational registration bodies
For many occupations, such as those in the medical, education and architectural fields, you will be required to register with a New Zealand occupational registration body in order to legally undertake employment. Immigration New Zealand has a complete list of New Zealand occupational registration bodies.

TeachNZ, for example, provides an online guide that details the specific procedure necessary to validate your teaching qualifications in New Zealand.

Some other occupation industries requiring registration:
Medicine: The Medical Council of New Zealand
Nursing: The Nursing Council of New Zealand
Dentistry: Dental Council of New Zealand
Pharmacists: Pharmacy Council of NZ
Midwifery: Midwifery Council of New Zealand

Further qualifications, such as those for accountants, can be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
Not all qualifications are required to be assessed. Immigration New Zealand keeps an up-to-date list of international qualifications exempt from assessment on its website.

If you inform NZQA that you are seeking professional registration, you will be given the contact details of the relevant New Zealand professional body when NZQA issues your assessment report.

What if my qualifications are not comparable?
You may still be able to apply for a job, but perhaps at a lower level of skill.
Alternatively, you could consider:
- Taking a less specialised position
- Taking a course to reach the standard requested
- A career change
- Starting your own business

Relocation Assistance Programme

Canstaff offers free relocation assistance to migrants that fit the criteria of the “Relocation Assistance Programme” (RAP)

Canstaff has gained the reputation for providing quality services, Canstaff is quick and proactive, tenacious and thorough, and is constantly seeking new approaches to ensure our services continue to meet the mark. We work as a team to meet our candidates' needs and are able to find hidden depths and latent talent through our expertise and processes.

Our service begins when our applicants make the first contact, we become a “friend” in New Zealand, to bounce ideas off, check on the legitimacy of things you are being told, and arrange things at this end to ensure a relaxed arrival.

Our network of service providers that Canstaff has put together to assist you when moving include:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Community Groups
  • Employment (In some cases Canstaff can offer a Permanent Employment Contract)
  • Education
  • Financial and Tax guides
  • Insurances
  • Property
  • Immigration
  • Healthcare
  • Law & Order
  • New Zealand History
  • New Zealand Politics & Government
  • Sports & Recreation

Any investment you make in utilising this service, will be returned to you by making your relocation easier, get you into a home quicker, settle the children and safeguard your belongings and family. The difficult issues that arise with relocation will be smoothed for you by professionals; this gets you active and productive in your new home city faster.

Canstaff has done the hard work for you by gathering the professionals that make relocating and settling-in easier. By using these services you have already started on track to building a strong network and new friends in your new home.

We will even organise your collection from the Airport in a chauffeur style limousine to ensure you get to your short term accommodation which has been organised for you and your family.

This is a FREE service and you may want utilise part, all or only the job search portion of the program. Read through the testimonials from people we have assisted to see for yourself that Canstaff can be a trusted partner with your move to New Zealand.

Salary Information

How much will I be paid?

Pay rates will be dependent on age, skills, experience and qualifications. There are initial starting rates which will range from the examples listed below. This will mean that once skills are proven on the job, employers will reassess wages from there if applicable. As the current situation is very fluid and pay rates can change week by week, we are unable to provide exact rates as each employer offers different packages.

Construction, Engineering & Architecture Salary Information  
Category Range
Architecture/Drafting $40k - $105k
Bricklayers $50k - $70k
Building services $45k - $115k
Carpenters $55k - $70k
Civil & Structural $45k - $130k
Concrete Workers $40k - $70k
Drainlayers $55k - $75k
Electricians $55k - $75k
Fitters Turners/Welders $50k - $65k
General Trades $45k - $65k
Labouring, Construction/Civil $25k - $55k
Machine Operators $32k - $65k
Painters $50k - $65k
Plasterers $50k - $65k
Project Management $47k - $135k
Quantity Surveyors $58k - $120k
Reinforced Steel Fixers/Tyers $50k - $70k
Service Technicians $45k - $65k
Site Management $40k - $95k
Supervisor/Foreperson $37k - $85k
Surveying $45k - $125k
General Salary Information
Accounting $37k - $120k
Agriculture, Fishing & Forestry $30k - $85k
Banking, Finance & Insurance $36k - $135k
Construction & Architecture $30k - $125k
Customer Service $30k - $65k
Education $30k - $75k
Engineering $40k - $125k
Govenment & Council $35k - $125k



How does the New Zealand Tax System work?

Income tax on earnings is required to be paid to the New Zealand government. There are no local or regional income or sales taxes. All taxes are collected by Inland Revenue.

Most people pay their income tax as they earn their income. Employers deduct tax based on salary and wages. This is known as PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax. Banks and other financial institutions deduct Resident Withholding tax on interest as it is earned. People who do not pay tax on all of their income as it is earned are required to settle their taxes with Inland Revenue at the end of the tax year (31 March). In most cases Inland Revenue will send you all the material you need to do this. If you are in this category you may be required to pay 'provisional tax' in which case you must pay your tax in three instalments through the year.

If you receive any income you need an IRD number - find out how to apply by contacting Inland Revenue. You will need your IRD number before you start a job, or if you want to open a bank account.

For more Information on tax for those moving to New Zealand permanently, visiting, or on a working holiday please visit the IRD website.

What types of income are taxed?

  • salary and wages
  • business and self-employed income
  • most social security benefits
  • income from investments
  • rental income
  • profit from selling capital assets - but this does not usually apply to personal assets
  • income you earn from overseas

All New Zealand tax residents are liable for income tax on their worldwide income. See the Business Regulations page for more information on individual taxation including the definition of a New Zealand tax resident and the current personal income tax rates.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST is charged at the rate of 15% for virtually all goods and services, excluding exports, financial services, and some other items. If you are self-employed (or a business) and your annual turnover is above a certain threshold you must 'register' for GST purposes and charge GST on all your services. You can then claim back the GST paid on any business-related purchases and expenses.

Taxation (Personal)

You pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15% on everything you buy in New Zealand except for financial services and the rent or purchase price of residential property. Price tags you see in shops always include GST, so you needn’t add anything to the display price.

If you are in New Zealand in 2013, you will pay tax on your personal income as follows:

$0 – $14,000: 10.5%
$14,001 – $48,000: 17.5%
$48,001 – $70,000: 30% (on earnings above the $48,001 threshold only)
$70,001 upwards: 33% (on earnings above the $70,001 threshold only)

Table Calculated on A Range of Different Hourly Rates

Dollar Hours Total Weeks Gross Tax Net Income Weekly Take Home Pay
$23.00* 45 $1,035 *52 $53,820 $9,165.52 $44,654.48 $858.74
$25.00* 45 $1,125 *52 $58,500 $10,569.00 $47,931.00 $921.75
$23.00* 50 $1,150 *52 $59,800 $10,959.52 $48,840.48 $939.24
$25.00* 50 $1,250 *52 $65,000 $12,519.52 $52,480.48 $1,009.24

For example a Person earning $75,000 would pay tax as follows:

Annual earnings Tax
10.5 % up to $14, 000 $1,470
17.5 % between $14,001 and $48, 000 $5,949.82
30.00 % between $48,001 and $70,000 $6,599.70
33.00% $70,001-75 000 $1,649.67
Gross Income $75,000
Total tax $15,669.19
Net Income $59,330.81

Capital Gains Tax

New Zealand has no tax on capital gains at this time. If however, you buy and sell shares or property, gains may be taxed as income.

Taxation (Local)

Towns and regions raise money by levying property taxes. Each house or building has a “rateable value.” The rateable value determines the amount of local tax the owner of the building pays. These local taxes are called “rates.”

Owners of modest houses in rural areas will pay rates of a few hundred dollars each year. An average to above average suburban home will attract rates in the region of $1,500 – $3,000 each year. Houses with very high values will attract higher rates.


Will the immigration authorities or Embassy help me to prepare my application and make sure that everything is correct before applying?

No. This type of service is no longer provided by Government. The authorities exist to enforce the immigration law, make decisions on residence applications and to issue residence visas. Although basic information and application forms are available, the authorities are unable to provide independent advice and personalised guidance on your specific case. A New Zealand Licensed Immigration Adviser can provide this kind of service.

What is New Zealand Citizenship and when can I apply for that?

Citizenship and Residency are quite different. As a resident you retain your country’s citizenship, after you have resided in New Zealand for a minimum of 3 years you may apply for New Zealand citizenship.

Do I need to be rich to come to NZ?

No. There is a fee required for the assessment of the qualifications if required as well as for lodging the application and costs involved in moving to another country. You don’t have to be wealthy to come to NZ. You do need sufficient funds however, to support yourself and your family for at least 6 months. Should you wish to apply in one of the Business Categories, you do need capital.


As we are not certified immigration consultants, we are unable to give you specific immigration advice. We suggest you contact one of our Trusted Business Partners, Heartland Immigration who specialise in providing qualified advice on matters concerning visas and costs involved.

Age limits and residency/exceptions

There is no age limit in regard to ‘termed work visas’ ie. 1 year, 2 year; as long as you have a job offer to support that visa. The age limit for residency is 56 and we suggest you talk to an immigration consultant for more information.

Must partners be married to qualify for Family visas?

Immigration New Zealand doesn’t require couples be married for them to be eligible for a residency or work visa as the partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident. Eligible partners include husbands, wives, de factos and civil union partners of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

Partners of New Zealand citizens or residents may be issued with a work visa if they provide documentary evidence demonstrating to an immigration officer that:

  • They are living together with that partner in a genuine and stable partnership at the time of making their application; and
  • The New Zealand partner intends to be in New Zealand for the same period of time applied for by the applicant; and
  • The New Zealand partner supports the application.

In addition to the above requirements, residence applicants also need to demonstrate they have been living with their New Zealand citizen or resident partner for at least one year at the time the application is made.

How long will it take Immigration New Zealand to process my visa application?

The time it will take for Immigration New Zealand to process your application can vary depending on:

  • the requirements of the immigration instructions you are applying under
  • the completeness of your application
  • how easily we can check the information you provide
  • how well and how quickly you respond to any concerns we raise with you.
  • processing times can also vary between offices.

How do I apply for a visa to work in New Zealand?

Which type of visa you apply for depends on why you want to come here, the skills you have to offer, and how long you want to stay.

Work and Live Permanently in New Zealand

Skilled Migrant Category

The Skilled Migrant Category is for people who have the skills, qualifications, and experience we need, and who want to live and work permanently in New Zealand.

Work to Residence Category

The Work to Residence Category allows you to get a temporary work visa and is a step towards gaining permanent residence. Applicants may be qualified in occupations that are in demand in New Zealand, or may have exceptional talent in sports or the arts.

Residence from Work Category

The Residence from Work Category is for people who are already in New Zealand on a work to residence visa, and want to apply for residence.

Temporary work

We grant temporary work visas to people who have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, people skilled in occupations that are in demand here, people coming here for a particular purpose or event, and people who want to gain work experience or work after studying in New Zealand. Find out about the options for temporary work in New Zealand.

Working holiday

If you’re aged between 18 and 30 years you may be eligible to experience life in New Zealand on a working holiday.

How do I apply for a visa to study in New Zealand?

Everyone who comes to study in New Zealand from overseas must meet certain rules and requirements. If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa.

How do I apply to extend my temporary visa to remain in New Zealand longer?

As you must be on a valid visa at all times while in New Zealand, you must either obtain a further temporary entry visa to remain in New Zealand, or you may depart New Zealand and wait for your residence decision offshore (please advise your immigration officer of your contact details in this case).

Do I need to become a NZ citizen?

No. You can apply for NZ citizenship after 3 years. NZ allows dual citizenship, which means you can also keep your own nationality if your country's laws allow the same.

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