Expats Guide to New Zealand

A country which consists of two main islands in the South-western Pacific Ocean with a number of smaller islands around the coastline and has a natural beauty is New Zealand. With many different cultures and nationalities the residents have a welcoming laidback approach to new expats and this is why many choose to relocate in this country even though it is a small country spread over islands.

The cultural diversity of New Zealand makes moving here effortless for expats to fit into the local community and majority of the expats are extremely happy with the good healthcare and education that is available in the country.

The population of New Zealand is currently at around 4.4 million formed of people from the European communities and South Asian countries. The country has been influenced by the British, Indian, Chinese and European cultures making it recognisable for expats moving from those particular areas and there is no doubt that you will meet people from similar backgrounds.

New Zealand residents are nicknamed Kiwis and the name is used internationally, it comes from the flightless bird ‘kiwi’ which is an inhabitant and the national symbol of the country. Many people come to the country in order to live and work due to the safe, friendliness, opportunities and laidback nature making the country a very popular destination

For those wanting to move with family, New Zealand is popular country which will give you a fresh new start along with a balance between work and personal life.

General Information for New Zealand

Population: There is a population of about 4.6 million
Capital of New Zealand: Wellington
Maori Name for New Zealand: Aotearoa
Official Language: The main official language spoken is English and Maori
Major Cities: Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch
Popular Expat cities: Auckland and Christchurch
Time Zone: GMT + 12 (GMT + 13 from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March)
Money: New Zealand Dollar (NZD) divided into 100 cents
Nearest Neighbours: New Zealand has two islands: North Island and South Island, Australia, Tonga and Fiji
Popular attractions: Milford Sound, Tongariro National Park, Bay of Islands, Lake Wanaka, Hobbiton Movie Set and Waiheke Island
Religions: The major religion in New Zealand is Christianity
Public Holidays: New Years Day, Day after New Year’s Day, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Queens birthday, Labour day , Christmas day and Boxing Day.
International Dialling code: +64, Auckland has an area code of (0)9 and Wellington (0)4
Emergency contact: 111 for the police, emergency services and fire services
Visa: There are different types of visa for the purposes you are coming to the country
New Zealand Travel Advice: Safe travel (New Zealand travel advice)

Popular Expat Locations in New Zealand

New Zealand has a wide multicultural society with many expats moving to the country from all over the world. In addition to this, the country lies around 1500 Km to the east of Australia and the culture has been influenced by the native Maoris who were the first people to reside in the country.

The Maori culture had a very different way of living, arts and tribes and some the traditional values and culture still exist within the residents of New Zealand.  The Maori religion is a pagan religion where the religious people worship different gods but with the other people coming from other countries there is now a wide range of communities and religions which are practised.

There are around 50% of Christians with different churches recognised from Anglican, Baptists and Roman Catholics. Other Non Christian religions include Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Paganism.

The welcoming approach from the country has encouraged expats to move here to create a new life with their family and majority of the expats are attracted by the opportunities there are in the cities. Auckland is a popular location where people move to, making it one of the highest ranking in the pacific area and other well-liked cities include Wellington and Christchurch.

On the northern and eastern parts of the North Island, expats will find sandy beaches with lots of swimmers and activities to take part in. It is quite similar on the South Island but the southern beaches are wild compared to the northern beaches. In addition to this there is a mountain range ‘Southern Alps’ which attracts many tourists.

With the stable property prices, education and tax systems expats won’t find it difficult residing in this country and the citizens are happy with their life and facilities that are provided by the local communities. New Zealand is a great place to move to for those individuals who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle with opportunities to take part in different activities, festivals and sports. This expats guide will assist you in making the big move abroad.

The climates on the islands of New Zealand are reasonable due to the seas around them as well as the mountains. Although, there is a lot of rainfall and sunshine

The seasons vary where spring is from September to October, summer is from December to February, autumn is from March to May and winter is June to August. Expats will find that the temperatures are lower the further south you go and the weather in the south is quite mild all year. There is also a high level of rainfall throughout the year with a dry period in the summer months and the average temperature ranges between 20 – 30ºC in summer and in winter between 10 – 15ºC.

The country has experienced recurrent earthquakes due to the country being located along the Pacific ring of fire and most of the earthquakes are weak so won’t be felt.

Some of the popular cities that expats move to are: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, below is some more information about these popular cities to give you an insight on the area.


Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city in New Zealand which is home to 1.4 million residents. Expats move to this city because of the professional opportunities that are available as well as the varied activities to take part in, many tourist sites/attractions and the beautiful scenery. The city has a diverse mix of modern lifestyle, economic vibrancy and multi cultural society for expats to enjoy.

The city is also known as ‘The city of Sails’ for the reason of the large number of yachts which sail between the harbours – Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean and Manukau Harbour on the Tasmanian Sea. In addition to this the city is made up of four areas: Auckland city which is in the centre and joins up to the north shore on the Northland Peninsula, Waitakere city is on the west and then the Manukau City makes up the southern part of the city.

Any expatriates who are moving to Auckland can enjoy the enriching activities all year round and festivals that are held. There are many attractions that you can visit including a range of museums, art galleries and Auckland Domain Park.

With around 1.5 million residents the city has a mix of ethnicities and cultures which include European, Maori and Asian cultures. Most of this population was born abroad and moved to the city for a better lifestyle.

Auckland is the most expensive city for properties and accommodation but there is a selection of living options. The properties near the beach fronts are more expensive to those which are further than the shores; regardless of this the salaries are generally higher than other cities in the country.

With the different types of public transport expats are able to get around the city without any difficulty, there are trains and city bus routes available for a cheaper option and for those who don’t want to get stuck in traffic.  Many expats however do prefer to have their own car and the road system is maintained.

Expats moving to the city with their families will be thinking of education and school options for their children and a benefit of moving to Auckland is that it is home to some of the largest schools and universities in the country and there is a mix of primary, secondary school available.

Employment opportunities in Auckland are accessible for expats within International and local companies, however it is generally recommended to search for employment before moving to the country, this will make it much easier for expats to get a visa to move to the country by having a sponsor from a company. The residents working here have a high level of income compared to other cities which makes it a top destination for work but you will still be paying higher rents and higher house prices. The government usually puts out jobs for skilled works in areas to fill job positions within companies if they are unable to find residents who have the job skills needed. The sectors that skilled workers are required are in tourism, insurance and finance systems.


Auckland has a subtropical climate so in the summer months expats will enjoy warm and humid weather and in the winter it will be mild. It is one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand and temperatures reach up to 20 centigrade. January is usually the hottest month with temperatures being around 20°C and the coldest is July with temperatures ranging from 11°C. July also is the wettest month due to the amount of rainfall in the month. In the summer month’s expats should be prepared for heat and humidity causing the days and nights to be sticky

Popular Tourist Attractions in Auckland

  1. Sky Tower
  2. Waiheke Island
  3. Rangitoto Island
  4. Waitemata Harbour
  5. Auckland War Memorial Museum
  6. Auckland Domain


Wellington – the capital of New Zealand and the second popular urban area which is on the southern of the North Island. The urban area of Wellington has four cities: Wellington City, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hut. Wellington city is between Wellington Harbour and about half of the population reside here due to the business district. Wellington is a great place to live with affordable housing and properties available for expats to invest in; there are also a great number of jobs with big companies and the government.

The city is recognized as being energetic and creative with the outdoor lifestyle, native beauty and harbour side setting in the midst of many bars, cafes and restaurants to visit. It is home to 400,000 residents and many attraction sites, museums and galleries are here for people to visit. As well as this the film productions and technology sectors have built a good status in this part of New Zealand.

Expats moving here will discover that there are a variety of things to do, from mountain biking, relaxing at the beach, kayaking and walking around the harbour. In addition to this the nightlife in Wellington is well known for its trendy cocktail bars and an entertainment district providing live music, Irish pubs and dance clubs. It is said that Wellington has more dining areas than New York.

The work life in Wellington may be different from your home country as it is quite relaxed but professional and has an equal treatment for all. Whether you are transferring from another country or have found work to move here, you will easily be able to adjust to the Wellington life. For those expats who have not found work there are different recruitment agencies which can assist you in finding employment in IT, financial and other high professional career services.

Many individuals prefer to have their own private transport because of the well maintained roads and parking options that are available. However if you don’t drive there are other ways using public transport to get around which run regularly, but most people choose to travel by cycling or even by walking.

Whether you are moving with your children or coming to study in the country, it is important to consider the education for children. Wellington has many of the best schools, private training institutions and two of the main universities in this city are ranked in the QS world rankings of being in the top 500.


The weather in Wellington is quite mild and humid with a pleasant marine climate and a lot of wind. From the months of October to April the temperature ranges from 17°C and 21°C with February being the hottest month. Winter is quite short and the coldest month is in July with temperatures being around 10°C with occasional frosts. Wellington is identified as being quite windy in the winter so it does make it feel much colder than it is.

Popular tourist attractions in Wellington

  1. Wellington Cable Car and Kelbrun lookout
  2. Museum of New Zealand
  3. Museum of Wellington City & Sea
  4. The Beehive
  5. Wellington Botanic Gardens
  6. Zealandia


Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand which offers a unique vibe with many outdoor activities and natural scenery as well as an English heritage. This city is located on the south east coast of the island and in 2011 there was a devastating earthquake which killed over 100 people and destroyed the city. Many of the residents here are mainly European New Zealanders but it is also home to Maori, Asian and Pacific Islander communities.  As well as this the city has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the estuaries of two rivers: Avon and Heath cote.

‘Garden City’ is the nickname of Christchurch due to its botanic gardens and central park, in addition to this many services are subsidised by the government including the healthcare services and most tourism industries are well developed with a many popular attractions.

The economy in Christchurch is based on agriculture and Industry amongst a country side with some of the biggest farms. As well as this there are software businesses, national and international companies, local businesses and smaller corporations. Majority of the expats moving here work in senior, technical and practical positions in industrial or agriculture sectors. There are also a variety of ski resorts and national parks in the Southern Alps. Other tourist attractions include wildlife parks, art galleries and museums.

The healthcare system is funded through taxation and you should be living in Christchurch on a work permit for two years before you are permitted access to this. However, expats can sign up to public health organisation or can take out private medical care.

Christchurch has a great education system for families moving to the city and you may be required to pay some school fees to admit your child into a public school. For expat students moving here there are three main universities in the city which they can attend.


The climate in Christchurch varies from the other cities in New Zealand and expats will need to adjust to the temperatures. There is a mild temperature all the way through the year and you will find moderate rainfall. January is the warmest month with temperatures around 17.5°C – 22.5°C. Those who are living near the city centre will discover that it is warmer than those who are on the coast. July is the coldest month of the year with temperatures ranging from 6.6 C – 1.9°C. Rainfall is expected throughout the year but you July will have the most rain.

Popular Tourist Attractions in Christchurch

  1. International Antarctic Centre
  2. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
  3. Orana Wildlife Park
  4. Tranz alpine
  5. Canterbury Museum
  6. Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Utilities: Electricity, Gas, Water & Waste Disposal

When renting or purchasing a home in New Zealand, expats are responsible in getting connected to the Electricity, Water and Gas services themselves. There are many services which are available but it is important to find out the best rates.


Electricity in New Zealand works on a 240 Volt system and the supply is usually of good quality with hardly any power cuts. Although in rural areas home owners may need to have a generator.

There is a different choice of electricity companies in each region and prices will vary on who you choose. Majority of the home owners do have more than one contract with the first being with a retail company who sells the electricity and the second being with the company that provides the lines for electricity to be delivered in the home both providing good services. Some of the companies deal with the line provider and will only send one bill with others sending two.

To get connected to electricity, you will be required to contact the electricity supplier for it to be switched on in your home where you also may be required to provide proof of ID and proof of being the owner/tenant of the property. Once electricity has been connected, meters will be read every two months and most customers will send an electronic bill, paying this online, direct debit, over the counter or by sending a cheque.

Some expats choose the power shop option where they are able to pay as you go for electricity and other electrical suppliers offer an advanced meter which is read remotely without having someone to visit the home.


Gas is mainly used for central heating and cooking in the country and most electricity companies will supply gas. However, in rural areas home owners will need to purchase gas bottles. It is highly recommended to speak to a gas supply company to see what options are available i.e. piped gases or bottled gas.

For those who have piped gas in their home will be required to pay a line charge before paying the cost of the gas, but with bottled gas a rental charge will need to be paid as well as the cost of refilling the bottle which must be done by a qualified fitter.

To get gas supply in your home it is quite straight forward and you must call the company to get it connected. Proof of ID and address will need to be shown along with the tenancy agreement.  Meters will be read regularly and bills will be sent either monthly or every two months which can be paid for via direct debit, In banks or online.


The water supply in the country is usually provided by the local council but some residents living in rural areas will also have tanks on their property

Majority of the homes have water meters and it is recommended that residents only pay for the water that they use rather than the set charge due to this being expensive. To get a meter installed in your home, there will be an extra charge for this depending on the location.

The cost of water depends on the region you live in and bills are sent monthly giving the option to customers to pay via direct debit, cheque and online. Expats may need to show proof of ID to the local authorities with a tenancy agreement.

Waste Disposal

Expats in New Zealand will find that in certain areas there are a range of services for waste disposal and recycling.  The council will provide bins for rubbish for some houses which are collected on a regular basis, but for those houses that are not provided bins will need to purchase rubbish bags from the council or supermarkets. Residents are told before hand when their rubbish will be collected.

In some regions there may a limited number of waste bags that can be collected so what is not collected will need to be taken to recycling bins.  In rural areas there may not be a waste collection but there are collection points located around the area for residents to take throw their waste.

Most rural areas are unlikely to have a regular refuse collection, but there are normally collection points for residents to take their waste to. The availability and frequency of collections will depend upon the council in the area.

What are Entry Requirements for New Zealand

For foreigners who are going to New Zealand for a holiday or even to stay permanently, it is important to understand the entry requirements and be aware of what different types of visas are available or required.

Expats who are looking to move to New Zealand, Work in the country or even go for a holiday can get more information from the Official Immigration New Zealand website. Visa’s can also be applied for via a professional visa processing agency.

Depending on what type of Visa is being applied for some of the requirements include:

  • A valid passport for 3 – 6 months after the date of their departure from New Zealand
  • Application fee
  • Passport sized photograph
  • Other documentation may be required

It is recommended that application forms are completed thoroughly and that all documentation is attached for it to be processed on time

Type of Visas are Available for New Zealand

There are different types of Visa for New Zealand and expats must ensure that they have the correct one.

Expats who are from certain countries may be able to travel to the country without a visa for up to three months. Once you have arrived in New Zealand, you will be given a visitor permit. For more information about if you need a visa check on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Tourist Visa

Expats wanting to visit New Zealand will be required to apply for a tourist visa. Those on this visa can stay in the country for 9 months and will not be allowed to work or study for longer than three months.

Travellers who are from countries such as USA, Ireland and Canada will not need a tourist visa to enter the country. (This includes many other countries)

It is compulsory that foreign nationals from countries who are on the visa waiver programme show evidence of funds and proof of travel

Expats must be able to show:

  • They are in good health
  • Proof of plans of leaving the country
  • Enough funds to be able to support themselves whilst visiting
  • They have an appropriate reason of visiting New Zealand

For applicants whose visitor visa has expired, they will be able to apply for another Visitor visa or a Student/Work Visa.

Skilled Migrant Category (Highly skilled workers)

Expatriates who have qualifications and experience that New Zealand needs will be able to apply for a permanent resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category. You will be required to have been to university or have had professional education for three years as well as experience.

This is generally based on a points system which considers your age, qualifications, skills and work experience. Those who are applying under this category will need to be under the age of 55 years old and must have a good knowledge of the English language and have a good health. This will then determine what applicants are allowed to apply for this type of visa.

What is needed to apply for this visa?

  • A good character reference (Generally proved by a police clearance certificate)
  • Good English language
  • Good health

How it works?

  1. You will be required to do a Self Assessment to see if you meet the requirements and points
  2. Submit an expression of interest (This describes family, skills and experience)
  3. An invitation to apply will be received (If expression of interest is accepted)
  4. Submit a resident application
  5. Receive the Visa

Most people who are investing in a business will prefer to apply for this Visa and this is one of the popular routes that most immigrants take to find work in the country.

Work Visa’s

Expats wanting to work in the country should ensure that they choose the correct visa for their work situation. For those who want to work permanently a different visa will be required from a temporary work visa.

Work to Residence

For those who are wanting to stay in the country for longer than 9 months will be able to do so by applying for the Work to residence visa. Individuals who have this visa can stay in New Zealand for 2 and half years and then they will be eligible to apply for a resident visa.

In order to apply for this visa, the skills in certain fields and experience must be required by an employer in the country.

There are several categories for applications to apply for this visa. These include:

  • Skilled works with a job offer from an endorsed employer
  • Expats whose occupation is on the skills shortage list
  • Outstanding talents in art or sport
  • Expats wanting to open a business in New Zealand

Working Holiday Scheme

UK, USA and Canadian nationals (and other countries) are eligible to apply for a Working holiday Visa. This will allow them to stay and work in New Zealand for only one year and is a popular way for young people from the age between 18- 30 to work and travel.

Depending on your nationality the requirements may vary, but a permit will be given with 12 months to arrive in New Zealand and, after arriving to work for 12 months.

Some of the requirements include:

  • Expats must be able to prove they have enough funds to support themselves
  • Proof of leaving the country
  • Medical insurance cover
  • Evidence that their visit to the country is a holiday and to work

To apply for a working holiday scheme visa this can be done online. Individuals will then be notified if their application has been accepted within one week.

Work Permits

A work permit will be given to those who are taking up employment in the country and a job offer has been confirmed with a work contract signed by the employer.

Expats must show evidence of their qualifications when they are applying for a work permit. The employer must also show that they were unable to find a resident in New Zealand to do the job.

During the process, a Labour market test will be done by authorities to examine the availability of workers who are qualified in the local labour market.

Study Permit

Students who want to study in New Zealand must acquire a study permit as well as a place at a higher education institute. When applying for this, students will need to show proof of the fees being paid and this will give students a permit for the length of time of the course or how much fees have been paid in advance.

Majority of the students can work part-time in the country and those who already have a New Zealand degree will find that they can apply for a work permit easily.

Permanent Resident Visa

If you are working on a temporary basis in the country and decide that you want to live there, you may be able to apply for permanent residency.

Permanent residents are allowed to stay in the country for an indefinite period and will have the same rights and privileges as New Zealand citizens. This includes: Healthcare, Voting and Education.

Expats who have residency can leave and re-enter the country, but those who live elsewhere for a long period of time may lose their residency status.

You may also apply for a residency permit if you have a family member who is a resident or citizen of the country. The visa must be sponsored by them or you may apply yourself.

To apply for permanent residency, individuals will need to have a resident visa for 2 years or more and must meet at least one or more of the following requirements:

  • Prove they have tax residence status with documentation
  • No less than 184 days have been spent by the applicant in the country
  • They own 24% or more shares in a business that benefits the country
  • An investment has been made for two years
  • A family home is owned and they have maintained employment for 9 months within the 2 year period

Employment in New Zealand

There are different types of employment opportunities that are available for expats in New Zealand. Some people however do secure jobs before arriving into the country, but for those who don’t will have other routes to find work.

Majority of the expats moving to New Zealand find work in the larger industries in IT, finance, insurance, construction and business services.

When there is a shortage of qualified workers in specific job fields the government prefers to recruit expats in that field and this can be found in the Essential skills in demand list published by the immigration New Zealand which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This will show skills and job fields that the government needs to fill up and it is recommended that expats look for work on this.

Expats must be registered with the tax offices and the employer is responsible to ensure that they have correct documentation from the employee so they are working legally in the country.

Finding a Job

There are different ways of finding a job in New Zealand including websites, recruitment agencies and newspaper advertisements.

Some websites are useful for individuals who are looking for work before arriving into the country and can provide guidance on the type of jobs that are available.

As well as this the government provides a free jobs website for those who want to find work in the public sector and if looking for temporary work. They will also provide assistant in finding a job and filling in application forms. Website: CareersNZ

Other websites for specific types of careers in IT, Accountancy and the medical sector are available where professionals may look for vacancies.

Expats who are looking for jobs via recruitment agencies and require more assistance can go to the employment offices of the department of work and income which will give advice on jobs and advertise a mix of unskilled and skilled work. The employment offices website can also be used to hunt for work, as well as registering a CV to match vacancies.

Facts about working in New Zealand

  • Business hours: Working hours in New Zealand is between 8-9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Some employees work Saturdays from 9am-12.30pm.
  • Business language: The main language spoken is English
  • Dress Code: The dress code for where you work can depend on the job location. You will be required to dress smartly and in some work places have a relaxed dress code
  • Greeting: A handshake is the usual greeting in business with a smile and direct eye contact.
  • Meetings:

The country has many agencies which can provide help and guide individuals find jobs in the country once they have a visa and have moved into the country.

To apply for a job in New Zealand, you will simply need to fill out an application form detailing your work history and maybe attaching a CV and cover letter.  Job hunters should have a good level of English as this is the language spoken in the country and for those whose English level is not fluent may find it hard to find a job.

Popular websites used to look for jobs

Opening your own business

There is a big amount of entrepreneurs in New Zealand with many small companies being opened around the country. Expats find that there is a friendly and professional nature with great assistance being provided with encouragement from the government.

Usually business owners only employ five people and there is a chamber of commerce which offers advice to members by attending network meetings allowing them to develop their own business.

Expats can set up a business as a sole trader, partnership or a company. Majority of the people who open up their own business do start as a sole trader before moving into a partnership or a company.

It is important to inform the Inland Revenue offices if you are self employed as this will ensure that the correct taxation forms are sent and business expenses can be claimed.

When opening up your own business it is recommended that you open up another bank account and to do this you will be required to have a business number obtained from Inland Revenue.

To register your business as a company, an accountant and a lawyer will need to be consulted who will also provide assistance.

Housing & Accomodation

Expats moving to New Zealand will find that there are many different options available in regards to accommodation. Most do choose to rent out a place although those who are staying long term will buy property. There is accommodation available for a short term which will give time to expats to look for a home.

There are different housing options available and prices do vary depending on the location:

  • Free-Standing and Duplex Houses
  • Apartments – These vary in size and can be found in the city centres. Majority of students and young professionals who work in the city choose to rent apartments.
  • Home Units – These range from 2-3 bedroom houses around a driveway. You can purchased attached, detached and semi-detached.
  • Town Houses – These are mainly found in larger cities
  • City Centre Town Houses – Located on the outskirts of the city centre and are either cottage style homes or single storey houses. These are generally quite expensive.
  • Blue Ribbon Sea View Home – This is the most expensive housing option which is located near the city centre with a waterfront which has a minimum of two bedrooms.
  • Small Holdings – These are found away from the city and have land attached to them with a big amount of outdoor space, swimming pools and a large garden area.
  • Larger Family Homes – These are located outside the city centre and have three-five bedrooms. These are suitable for families who have children.

How to find property

Many expats do find property before moving to the country, however for those wanting to rent a house or an apartment will be able find them online or in local newspapers. By looking before relocating it gives the chance to expats to see what type of properties are available in different areas and in their budget.

Estate agents and Rental agencies have offices located in the country which can help look for property and give you more information and choices on the properties available or for what you are looking for.

Rents for properties are usually advertised showing a weekly price and usually depends on the location and size of the property.

Expats who are renting or purchasing property in the bigger cities will find that it is more expensive and some properties are unfurnished with only basic equipment such as lights, carpets and a stove.


Renting property is a straight forward process; however expats must be aware that when renting, properties may be unfurnished with some just providing a fridge, freezer and washing machine. The housing legislation and processes are administered by the government agency which will provide a contract detailing the responsibilities for tenants and landlords.

Expats who are renting out property will need to pay for rental charges in addition to utility bills. It is your responsibility to connect with the electricity, water and gas company. If you require internet and a telephone line this will also be your responsibility.

Estate agents provide help in finding property, but they do charge a fee for this which is usually one week’s rent.  The rent is paid twice a month in advance and expats will need to pay a deposit ‘bond’ which is equal to four weeks. This will be taken to the Bond centre by the landlord who will then be given a receipt which must be kept safely to claim the deposit back for when leaving the property.

A residential tenancy agreement will then be signed by both the landlord and tenant for a fixed term or until the landlord or tenant gives notice. A fixed term agreement cannot be ended before the time.

The agreement details the responsibilities of the landlord for maintenance, rental fees, property being kept to a good standard and notice periods. This is the same for the tenant who will get a list of responsibilities agreeing to pay rent on time, keeping the property tidy and ensuring no damage is done to the property.

The costs of renting property do vary and depends on the size and location, you must be aware that in the city centre, properties will be expensive.

The standard tenancy agreement is for 12 months however expats who require the property for a longer period can negotiate this with the landlord.

Buying property

Majority of the foreign nationals moving to the country for a long period of time do prefer to buy a family home after renting and exploring the choices. The process of buying property does usually take a few weeks to complete.

A list of properties can be found on the Ministry of Business website, estate agents and also in the newspaper. You may also drive around to look for property. It is important that you complete a viewing before purchasing the property. Expats wanting more information regarding this can look on the Real Estate Agents authority website which is run by the government.

Property owners are charged rates by the local council and can be quite expensive depending on the area.

Many properties can be bought via an auction and if you place a winning bid on the home, they you are obliged to go through with the purchase. It is expected that when attending and winning the auction a 10% deposit will need to be paid on the day.

Property Buying Process

Most expats do use an estate agent who will be able to provide assistant in the buying process and this is usually straight forward.

  1. Once you have found a house that you like and agreed the details with the seller such as price, this will be put into the contract
  2. Expats must meet some conditions and may need to provide proof of finance
  3. The contract will become unconditional once conditions have been met and the purchaser can pay a deposit of 10% to the purchase price
  4. Property is confirmed by the lawyer who will look at the transaction
  5. Before the initial offer is made, the buyer should have a building inspection and valuation carried out
  6. Sale of property can be completed within 4-6 weeks, but if more conditions need to be met this can take longer
  7. Buyer will pay fees to the solicitor and the solicitor will handle the purchase of a property
  8. The documentation for the property will be given

Mortgages in New Zealand

Expats wanting a mortgage will have no issues doing this through a New Zealand bank. You will be able to apply for a mortgage if you have the right to live and work in the country and have all the documents to prove this. There may also be financial criteria that you will need to meet.

The amount you can borrow can vary and the most they will lend will be around 4.5 times the amount of the gross household income, but this can be less.

The three categories when applying for a mortgage

  1. Category 1: This is for individuals who are permanent residents and will give the same rights as New Zealand citizens.  A loan can be up to 95% of the value of the property
  2. Category 2: This is for expats who have a work permit although you may be able to give a larger deposit, a minimum of 20% of the purchase price.
  3. Category 3: This is for individuals who want to purchase a holiday home and don’t have a residency right. This category has the same rules as number 2

When making your mortgage application, you will be required to show:

  • Proof of ID (Passport or Drivers License)
  • Proof of residency status
  • Proof of income (Payslips, Statements)

The process can usually be done within 2-6 weeks.


Education and Study

When it comes to education, everyone wants the best for their children and in New Zealand you will not only be getting the best, but you will be getting a high quality education with it being ranked the best in the world.

What’s convenient is that there are many schools available in the country, including public, private and international, although some expats do prefer to home school their child.

There are three common divisions of education: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Students usually complete eight years of primary school before starting secondary for three years, which they will then be awarded with a (NCEA) National Certificate of Educational Achievement (Level 1-3).

The academic school year in New Zealand generally runs from January- December and it is compulsory for children to attend school from the age of 5-16/18.

The structured system is as follows:

  • Kindergarten: Ages 3-5 years old
  • Primary School: Ages 5-12 years old
  • Secondary Education: Ages 12-17 years old

Children who are living in particular areas will have priority in attending schools around there; however for students who live outside the area will only be admitted if there is a place available or if their siblings are in the same school.

The classes are taught in the English language but some may be taught in Maori where only this language is used. One of the requirements for enrolling into schools will be having a good understanding of the English language.  Once children have been admitted, they will be assessed in the subjects so that they are positioned in the right class. Some of the integrated schools may have some religious requirements.

The curriculum for each school does vary but at majority of the secondary schools, students are taught general subjects such as – Maths, English, Art, PE, Science, Technology, Geography and History as well as a new language.


Expats who are moving to the country with children under five years of age can send their child to a play centre (Ages 1-3) or kindergarten if aged between aged 3-6. These can be found in most areas and the first 20 hours per week of early childhood education is funded by the government but expats may be required to pay some charges.

Private funded kindergarten and play centres are also available.

Public Schools

Majority of the parents in New Zealand send their child to a public school due to the high standard of education that is available.

For those students who are citizens and permanent residents of the country will be able to attend school for free. Expats, who are on a temporary visa, will be required to apply for a student visa for their child and will be accountable for paying further student fees. Some schools may ask parents for a voluntary donation and other fees will include uniforms, field trips and stationary.

Children are able to enrol into school at the age of five and must attend until they are 16 years old. Majority of the students who complete secondary education do choose to continue in school to obtain the NCEA which is accepted by universities abroad. There are three levels of the NCEA that are awarded if years 11, 12 and 13 are completed. In addition some children choose to leave school at 16 and start up a job.

Private Schools

There are many private schools available in New Zealand with some getting funding from the government. Parents are required to pay a certain amount of fees for private schools and can be expensive if children attend a boarding school.

Private school teaches a government approved curriculum which educates and prepares children to get admission into university

Each school does have its own registration requirements and will charge additional fees as well as enrolment fees.

International Schools

Expats who don’t have permanent residency in the country will be required to pay international schools fees. Sending your child to an international school is a good option especially if you will be moving back into your own country as they may teach the same curriculum which makes it easier for a child to get back into. Majority of the schools offer International Baccalaureate, GCSE and A-Levels which are qualifications recognised internationally.

For admissions into an international school, children may be required to take a test in English and Maths and then do an interview with the school before a place is confirmed. There may be enrolment fees, school fees and other additional costs that parents will need to pay for.

Both International and Private schools will have their own term dates and usually have longer school holidays. Parents can get this information from the schools website or by asking in the school office.

Tertiary Education/Universities

There are many tertiary institutions available which include universities, Maori Institutions, Industry Training Organisations, Colleges and Private Training Establishments which all have their own approach and provide higher education.

Permanent residents will need to contribute towards tuition costs as it is only partly state funded. Students who are coming to the country will be required to have a New Zealand study visa if their course is more than 3 months.

International students will be paying higher university tuition fees but can attain an honours degree in 3 years – 4 years. Students must meet a certain level of their final exams to be able to enrol.

For those who have completed the NCEA level 3 qualification will have the opportunity to attend one of the 8 universities, although to be accepted students will be required to meet a level of English to be accepted.


Some expats may prefer to home school their child, if this is the case parents will have to apply for permission from the Ministry of Education and will need to prove that their child will be taught at the same level of a regular school.

Once this has been approved, parents will be permitted to claim a state sponsored payment to help with the home schooling costs.

Many parents do not choose to home school their child but for those who do there are different resources available to help them.

Health and Medical Care

The healthcare in New Zealand is of high quality and is funded via taxation. Residents receive free or subsidised care or may choose to get private healthcare.  There is a good standard of healthcare with professionals and good hospitals in all areas.

New Zealand also offers savings on health care facilities with a Community Services Card which can be applied for by people on a low income and with a big family. This can reduce costs of prescription fees and after hours doctors fees.

The emergency medical care is offered by three organisations in the country and is run by permanent staff as well as volunteers.  The three key sectors the government funded public system offers are:

  • Primary Health Care – This covers out of hospital services with some not being funded by the government. Primary health care offers first level services i.e. Mobile nursing, community health services and general practise.
  • District Health Boards – Funded by the government and is responsible for health and disability services
  • Primary Health Organisations – This brings together nurses, doctors and other health professional to assist and help patients.

Public Healthcare

Expats who have a work permit or are a permanent resident of New Zealand will be entitled for free public health care.  Individuals who have a work permit should have it for at least 24 months before qualifying for subsidised health care along with the family receiving government health benefits.

Public health care gives access to the following to the follow free or subsidised health care:

  • Hospital Care (Free)
  • Emergency Treatment (Free)
  • Some medical tests (Free)
  • Prescribed medicine for children under the age of six (Free)
  • Immunisations for children (Free)
  • Medical Check Ups and Dental Treatment for children (Free)
  • Visit to the Doctor (Subsidised)
  • Ambulance Services (Subsidised)
  • Prescribed Medicine (Subsidised)
  • Healthcare during pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Post Natal Care
  • Lab tests
  • X-Rays
  • Free breast screening for all women from ages 50-64

Any medical conditions that are serious are usually paid for by the state, but in some cases they may only be subsidised and if special treatment is required a letter of referral will be needed. A small charge will need to be given when having an appointment with chiropractors and physiotherapists.

Majority of the hospitals in New Zealand provide all levels of care and is free of charge unless you have private health care.

Private Health Care

Some people may choose to have private health care services due to the long waiting periods with public health care. Residents who have private health care can still access free public health services and will need to take out medical insurance.

In New Zealand there are many private hospitals which provide all the services and special procedures such as radiotherapy and general surgery. Individuals who have private health care will have access to private hospitals which give treatment to non-urgent and urgent conditions.

Health Insurance

It is recommended that private health insurance is taken out especially for those who don’t have permanent residency and expats are able to choose international health cover or local providers in New Zealand

Expats must be entitled to the public health care system to be able to apply for private health insurance. This will enable you to decide what doctors or specialists you want and will give you control on where you are treated.

When applying for private health insurance you will be required to provide medical history, lifestyle and family history.

The two types of health insurance policies:

  1. Comprehensive Cover: All medical costs and bills are covered but may cover just a certain amount in each year.
  2. Specialist Care and Elective (Non-urgent): A policy providing cover for specific treatments when in hospital.

Expats moving here with a secure job offer can ask employers if private health insurance is included in their employment contract. It is recommended to negotiate medical insurance with the company

Community Services Card (CSC)

A community Services Card is used by individuals with a low income to help them with the costs of health care and prescriptions. This card can be used for yourself and dependent children in your family

To apply for a community services card you will need to pick up an application from your GP or pharmacy and you will be required to provide proof of ID and well as proof of Income. This will then be given by Work and Income on behalf of the Ministry of Health within three weeks of sending the application.

You will be entitled if:

  • You are on a low income
  • You are over the age of 16
  • You are a citizen or permanent resident of the country

A CSC card will help you reduce the costs of:

  • Full priced prescriptions
  • After hours doctors visits
  • Emergency dental treatment provided by hospitals and approved dental contractors
  • Glasses for children under the age of 16
  • Visit to a doctor who isn’t your usual doctor
  • Accommodation and travel for treatment in a public hospital where patient has been referred

High Use Health Card

A high use health card is similar to a CSC card and gives regular patients reduced costs to doctor visits and prescriptions. To qualify for this card, the patient must have visited a GP more than 12 times in one year for ongoing treatments and conditions.  The doctor usually makes the application on the patient’s behalf and is valid for one year only.

Expats who have a CSC card will not need to apply for the HUHC Card as they will get the same benefits. But if you already have a HUHC Card you can apply for a CSC card as it will provide reduced costs for the family.

A HUHC Card reduces the costs of:

  • Full priced prescriptions
  • After hours GP
  • A doctor who isn’t your own

Your doctor will need to apply for this card and it can take up to five days for the application to be approved. The card will then be sent by the Ministry of Health


There are many pharmacies in New Zealand in urban areas and in the city centres. Expats will be able to purchase over the counter medications through private pharmacies including painkillers, sunscreen and skincare products.

Emergency Services

The emergency services in New Zealand are offered by St John’s Ambulance and Wellington Free Ambulance and the medical care is given by skilled paramedics.

  • The emergency number for the ambulance, police and fire services are 911
  • Patients who want free advice from trained nurses can call health line on 0800 611 116

If you require emergency treatment after an accident it will be funded by ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) but can only be administered by a registered health professional. You may be required to pay feeds when visiting a GP or health professional after an accident.

Opening a Bank Account

The Banking services in New Zealand offers a good high standard of customer service with a range of different banks and services to choose from. The largest banks in New Zealand are Bank of New Zealand, ANZ, West Pac and ANZ which have smaller branches around the country. There are also international banks such as HSBC and Citibank.

It is possible to open an account before moving to the country with international branches that have a designated service for expats. Most expats may only be able to open account if they will be in the country for over 6 months.

There are different types of accounts that are available and account holders may be able to transfer funds, pay bills and use other services.

Residents in New Zealand opt to use online banking and telephone banking services because it is quite secure. Banks are usually open Mon-Friday between 9am-4.30pm

Opening an account

To open a bank account in New Zealand expats are required to take the required documentation, statements from previous banks, proof of residency status as well as an IRD (tax number). The account can then be set up and a bank card will be issued.

Expats who open their account before arriving usually do this online and they must put in a deposit into their account when doing this. Once they have arrived in the country, they will need to take certain documents so that a bank card is given to them.

You should note that some banks may charge fees for handling cheques, electronic transactions and using ATM’s

Visa and MasterCard is accepted everywhere with hundreds of ATM’s located in the country. If you have opened an account in New Zealand, you will be given an EFTPOS card which is similar to a debit card.

Currency & Denominations

The official currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) divided into 100 cents. It is usually written with $ or NZ$

  • Coins:
    • 10 cents
    • 20 cents
    • 50 cents,
    • 1 and 2 NZD
  • Notes
    • : 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 NZD

Tax System in New Zealand

As with other countries, residents of New Zealand are required to pay tax, tax rates have been decreased which has attracted people in doing many investments due to the global downturn.

Expat’s who have been in the country for 183 days in one year, will be required to pay for tax on their income that was earned in New Zealand only. You will become a New Zealand tax resident from the date you arrive into the country if here for more than 183 days. Non-residents are legally responsible for tax on their worldwide income only after the first four years of living in the country.

Usually income tax is paid on the PAYE system where money will be taken directly from the account monthly or yearly. Expats who are working will be required to give their employer an IRD number so that the incorrect amount is not taken. The income tax taken is different for individual workers who earn a certain amount each year. The more you earn the more tax you will be paying.

The tax year runs from the 1st of April to the 31st of March and self employed residents must complete a tax return annually which must be returned by the 7th of July.

There is a Double Taxation avoidance agreement with certain countries which prevents citizens from paying tax twice in two countries.

It is advisable to speak to a tax expert regarding how much tax you should be paying depending on certain factors.

IRD number

Expats who will be working in the country or are self employed will need to apply for an IRD number. This number is used to calculate tax and entitlements when in New Zealand.

Once you have received your IRD number, it should be given to your employer and bank so that they don’t deduct income tax at a higher rate.

It will also be compulsory for students who are applying for a student loan to have this unique number.

To apply for an IRD number, this can be done online or via the post office which will be sent to the Inland Revenue.  Individuals will need to show forms of identifications and the process can take up to 10 working days to receive the number.

Travel and Transport in New Zealand

Getting around in New Zealand is quite easy and efficient but residents may come across a few transport problems in the urban areas. Expats who want to explore the country should familiarise themselves with the transport that is available.

The two islands North and South are both connected by ferries which transport people between both islands, but in general it is simple to get around the country with the narrow roads.

Majority of the residents use public transport due to the reliability and convenience of the good options available and most people take advantage of the maps and timetables provided.

Bus and Coach Travel

There are quite a few bus operators in the country which manage both trips for tour sightseers and also providing a daily bus service in towns and cities. Many people in Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton use the bus as it is the only mode of transport that is available.

Travelling on the bus or coach can be less expensive than other transport methods but the only drawback and inconvenience of using the coach is that depending on your destination the ride can take a few days.

They both have modern facilities with air conditioning and recliner seats as well as toilet facilities for long distance travel.

One of the popular and largest bus companies is NZ bus, which also have services in cities such as Auckland and Wellington but with a different name.

Other private bus companies which have intercity travel include: Intercity coach lines, Newman’s coach lines and Kiwi experience.  Some of these companies are mainly used by tourists but it is still possible to get a deal on tickets.

There are other passes you can buy for coach journeys which include a hop on/off option and a flexipass allowing passengers to travel on different coach networks.

Train Travel

Expats who prefer travelling on the train will be happy to find out that it is possible to travel almost the whole country using just the rail services, with local journeys and long distance journeys to the major cities being accessible. However if travelling in the South region of the South of Island, another method of transport will need to be taken to complete your journey

Kiwi Rail is state owned and operates passenger trains plus freight trains. It provides long distance services across the North Island and the upper part of South Island.

The Over lander train operates between Auckland and Wellington which is one of the picturesque journeys in the country. Passengers get to see volcanoes, river gorges and farmlands.

Other train operators include: Tranz Coastal train, Tranz Alpine and the Tranz Scenie rail network along with local train services.

To get a ticket to travel on the train, passengers are able to book online, over the phone and even get buy it from the ticket office. It is recommended that reservations are made for long distance travel trains. Single tickets can be bought when boarding the train, but in some area it will need to be purchased in advance.

Residents in Auckland will have the opportunity to get a prepaid smart card (at hop card) where they are able travel using different transport methods.


Another convenient transport method is by using a taxi, there are many services and operators available in the country which can be used for single travel and group travel.

It is recommended to book a taxi but expats will find that empty taxis can be hailed at or found at taxi ranks in the larger cities of New Zealand. In rural areas there is usually at least one taxi service available for passengers and it is best to book in advance.

Taxi companies set their own fares but it is standard around the country, majority of the taxis are fitted with meters.


New Zealand has a ferry service available ‘The Inter islander’ which is owned by Kiwi Rail and travels between Wellington (North Island) and Picton (South Island).

Another service provided is a privately owned company run by Strait shipping limited.

Journeys on a ferry can take around three hours and they offer on board services to make the journey comfortable.

Domestic Flights

Domestic flight travel is easy and cheap when travelling between the cities and islands. Regular flights are available between the larger airports in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland and Queenstown as well as smaller regional airports.

Expats using a domestic flight will it find it much cheaper and convenient for longer trips and with shuttle buses provided there will be no problem in getting to the destination.

Prices for flights do vary depending on the airline and there are three main airlines. There are Air New Zealand, Jet Star and Pacific Blue. You may find special deals and discounts when purchasing tickets online or via a travel agent.

Driving Rules and Regulations

Expats in New Zealand prefer to have cars as this generally gives them the freedom to explore the country. Getting around on both islands in a car is fairly easy and crossing between the ferries is not complicated when you have your own means of transport.

Most expats who are moving to the country are able to drive for one year with their driver’s license from their home country but this must be in English. If the license is not in English, it is essential that an official translation or an International drivers permit is obtained and must be carried at all times, this permit allows you to drive in the country and in some cases you will only be permitted to drive the same vehicle as your home country. After 12 months expats must apply for a new licence of New Zealand.

To change your license you must visit a driver licensing agent and obtain an application form which will allow you to convert your license. Forms can also be downloaded online on the New Zealand Transport Agency Website. With your application, you must provide: Overseas license or translation, proof of ID and address, photocopies of documentary evidence, fees and maybe a medical certificate.

Road rules are straightforward being similar to the UK and driving is on the left. Licenses expire every few years and the driver is responsible for making the renewal application. If this is not done within a few years of the expiry a practical test may need to be taken.

Foreign nationals from other countries may need to take a theory and practical test before a license is given. The list of countries can be found on the New Zealand Transport Agency Website.

Speed Limits

The speed limits vary in New Zealand depending on the roads, these are as follows:

  • Shared pedestrian Zone: 10kph
  • Urban and Residential Roads : 30-40kph
  • Roads with light urbanisation: 60-80Kph
  • Rural roads : 80-90Kph
  • Outside urban and built up areas/Motorways/Expressways: 100Km/h
  • City centres with high pedestrian traffic: 30Km/h

Any driver who goes above the speed limit by more than 40Kmh will have their license suspended for at least 28 days and will get a fine. In addition to this if caught by the police officer drivers will receive demerit points.


Removal and Shipping Services

Many companies in New Zealand offer shipping and removal services which will make the shift easier and more convenient. Before deciding on a company it is recommended to get different quotes from offices in the country, this may be cheaper.

Expats who are moving for a short period of time to the country may not decide to bring their household possessions with them and in fact leave them in storage.

Most company’s guide expats on how long it will take for the shipping to be done and this usually differs depending on what country you are from.

Many people choose to use air freight to ship their possessions due it to being faster than shipping by sea although air freight is expensive. A passport is required to be shown to customs and some items may need to be shown with a permit.

For those who have pets and want to bring them to New Zealand with them, they will need to be fitted with a micro chip as well as have a medical check up in the home country. Regardless of this pets will need to meet security regulations and may need to be positioned in quarantine for 10 days after they arrive into the country.

Some animals are not allowed in the country and the list of animals and items that are forbidden are shown on the New Zealand customs page.

Communications Technology

Expats moving to another country will want to keep in touch with their friends and family back home. With New Zealand being an English speaking country expats will find there is good international mobile phone providers and internet services that are available.


When choosing an Internet service provider, there are different options available from an ASDL line, high speed broadband or pre-paid 3G Broadband. Generally the internet connection in the country is quite slow and expensive but customers will be able to find information on packages online as well as by calling the company itself.

The main company in New Zealand used is Telecom which provides both internet and phone connections. Not only does this offer Internet services, it also offers telephone and television services. The internet speed does however usually depend on the type of connection and line quality there is. For those who are living in rural areas where only dial-up internet is available, internet speed will be slower and they will get the option to have Satellite or wireless internet services which will give them a faster internet connection.

There are ADSL and wireless broadband packages available from other provides such as Vodafone and Orion.

Expats, who don’t have internet connection at home, will have access to also free WIFI in many cafes’, restaurants and around the main city centres.

To arrange a connection expats must call the company to get it installed, and you may be asked to provide proof of address, residency status and an ID. Companies may also carry out a credit check.

Bills are usually issued monthly and paid via direct debit, over the phone or at a post office.

Mobile Telephones

Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees are some of the mobile phone providers in the country. A phone contract can only be bought if they are legally in the country and individuals must be able to show two forms of Identification and proof of address to sign up.

There are different options available for customers from Pay as you go and contracts.

Expats who are using their own phone from their own country and are in New Zealand for a short time will not have any problems using it if on a global roaming contract. Majority of newcomers prefer to buy a mobile phone and contract when in New Zealand.


Landline is still highly used around the country especially because when making a local landline call it is free of charge. Many phone providers offer a range of packages with good rates on both national and international calls. Those who sign up with an ADSL package may be also be offered free landline calls as it can quite expensive.

One of the largest service providers in New Zealand is Telecom, who provides a range of services. There are also many smaller companies available for the region that you are living in.

In order to be connected to a phone line, expats must contact the company and will need to provide proof of address and an ID. To get connected it can take a few days depending on the services you have chosen. Landline bills are issued on a monthly basis and customer can choose to pay through direct debit, sending a cheque, through the bank or even online.

Postal Services

New Zealand postal services have a good reputation and are reliable with a fast service. They offer a wide range of services including paying for bills, sending money to foreign countries and travel insurance.

Some areas may not have mail delivery services; therefore you will need to use a community mailbox which is organised through a post office. Customers will then be given a key to allow them to take their post.

PO boxes and a Private bag is also available to have which keeps mail secure , a fee is paid each year and an ID must be shown each time you pick up mail. This can also be arranged through the post office.

For those who want to send post overseas, the price will be determined by the weight and what country it is.

Leisure Activities for Expats

New Zealand has various things to do around the country so that you can enjoy your free time and get back into activities you took part in, in your home country.

The north island has activities from bungee jumping, climbing and sailing. Sailing is a popular leisure time for the kiwis in addition to whale watching for tourists.

Other popular attractions for tourists include the lord of the rings tour, city tours and visiting the glow worm caves.

If you are living close to the south island in New Zealand expats are spoilt for choice and do hot air ballooning, watch the Maori performances and go on the Christchurch Gondola ride.

Flight 1941 Vintage Tiger moth: An unforgettable experience where you can take a flight over the lake Wanaka enjoying air acrobatics.

Social activities: In the larger cities there are many social activities expats can take part in with evening entertainment, restaurants, bowling allies and night clubs. In the smaller towns there is nightlife but it is more relaxed than the larger cities.

Sports: When moving to New Zealand, expats are spoilt for choice with all the various types of sports available in the country.

New Zealanders enjoy their sports and the national sport is Rugby. Cricket is played by many and is one of the national sports mainly in the summer months. With men and women’s national teams in different sports, many people enjoy and join clubs to socialise and keep active. Females enjoy playing netball or tennis with it being the largest competitive sport in the country whereas men prefer sports such as golf and cricket.

There are also many children’s clubs for both girls and boys, with boys joining soccer and rugby clubs and girls enjoying swimming and horse riding.

Water Based Sports:  If you enjoy water sports there is so many activities you can take part in. Yachting and Surfing is popular and with the mountains, tourists come to the country for skiing holidays.

Snowboarding: Expats who bring their children will find snowboarding is a popular sport with the youngsters and it is encourages for children.

Fishing:  A good time pass for the elders but you will be required to have a license to do this on rivers and lakes. A day permit or a half year license will need to be purchased

Gyms: Those who don’t enjoy outdoor activities will have the opportunity to get gym membership but this is usually not popular as outdoor sports. The membership prices do vary depending on the type of gym and where it is located.

Sightseeing:  There is so much to see in the country with the amount of beaches, forests and mountains all around. With the scenic and beautiful views you will be in awe. The bay of islands is one of the most visited destinations in New Zealand, which has around 144 small islands and beaches where you can watch dolphins and enjoy fishing. A full guide of the attractions in the country can be seen on the NZ tourism guide.

Expats who are new to the country may want a guided tour and luckily enough these are available around the country.

Entertainment: The larger cities in New Zealand and incredible nightlife with many popular bars and nightclubs available to enjoy nights out, cocktails and fine dining. There are many restaurants with different cuisines so whatever you fancy you will find.

New Zealand’s Cuisine

Expats moving to New Zealand will find that the cuisine is seasonal and food is made with the local produce. With a variety of fresh food available and dishes from other countries there will be something new that you can try. Majority of the food is quite similar to those in Australia, and the influence of takeaways is becoming quite popular with the choices of other cuisines. For those who don’t want to cook, will find good quality restaurants around the country which allows them to take their own alcohol, there are many pizza outlets and Asian cuisine restaurants.

In the summer months, majority of the citizens enjoy getting together and doing barbecues and picnic areas are available on roadsides which have barbecue facilities. The main foods cooked in a barbecue ranges from different meats including lamb, venison, lobster and fish as well as vegetable dishes.

On certain occasions, residents will invite people to dinner parties and ask them to bring a choice of their own dish, this is a now a tradition called ‘Bring a plate’ gathering.  Individuals may also be asked to bring their own alcoholic drinks ‘Bring your own’ to dinner parties.

Another cuisine which is quite popular in New Zealand is ‘Maori’; this provides different options of foods for people in the country. Maoris grew plants such as sweet potatoes and other native plants which are prepared in an oven. A ‘Hangi’ is also prepared in the oven which is a meal that serves large dinner parties with dishes of traditional foods such as pork, potatoes and sweet potato as well as the ‘boil up’ which is a meal with pork, dumplings, sea food, vegetables, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

New Zealand has a tradition of adapting foods from other cuisines which include British, Indian, Chinese and Mediterranean dishes.

There is also a good reputation of quality wines being produced in the country with different regions producing different types of wines. Restaurants serve alcohol and the licensing hours are from 11am – 11pm.

Social Events in New Zealand

The events in New Zealand are a great way to socialise and get to know what and why these are celebrated in and around the city you are living in. Here is a list of cultural events and festivals that you should definitely attend when living or visiting the country.

Pasifika Cultural Festival: A festival which takes place annually in March to celebrate music, food and arts of the communities on the pacific islands. One of the most significant festivals in the south pacific consists of 11 villages.

Auckland Lantern Festival: One of the most popular events in the country where Albert park is lit up with lanterns, stage performances, dance and music. Expats will be able to enjoy the food stalls and a fireworks display

Parihaka Peace Festival:  Festival which includes Kiwi music, film festivals, arts and crafts. This is an enjoyable way new Zealanders start the summer

Balloons over Waikato: Held annually in March where expats will get to enjoy and see a sky full of hot air balloons.

Christchurch world buskers Festival:  This is an annual event held all over Christchurch; families can enjoy free and paid events with acts from music and comedy.

Wellington Meridian Gardens Magic: The meridian garden festival has been held annually for 38 years where visitors can enjoy gigs and great music

Queenstown Winter Festival: To celebrate the start of winter in June all over Queenstown. Visitors can enjoy music, food and fireworks providing entertainment before people hit the mountains for skiing. It is a 10 day celebration offering fun activities.

Cadbury Chocolate Carnival: A carnival enjoyed by chocolate lovers whatever their age. A carnival held down Balwin Street which is the world’s steepest street.

Wellington Sevens: This is the biggest sports party events where rugby teams come together. Visitors can watch live performances, dancing and take part in competitions.

The World Masters Games: A multi-sport event taking part all over Auckland where you can celebrate and enjoy entertainment at the Queens Wharf.

Auckland Sea Food Festival: Expats who enjoy sea food can enjoy a three day show of food and cooking demonstrations. It provides live music and different types of food with profits from the event going to charity.

Takapuna Beach Cup: A three day paddle festival which hosts seven events over three days. You will be able to take part in racing in the clear waters or even around the iconic volcano island.

Wine and food festivals: These are usually held in the summer from December – March where people come all over the world to attend different events.

Waitangi Day: A public holiday in New Zealand on the 6th February held every year to celebrate the New Zealand’s founding document ‘The Treaty of Waitangi’

Anzac Day:  One of Australia’s important national occasions which mark’s the anniversary of the major military action which was fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in the First World War. This happened on the 25th April

Taranaki Anniversary:  This celebrates the creation of the Taranaki province in March

Hawke’s Bay Anniversary:  A day which celebrates the separation of the Hawke’s bay province when it was split from Wellington and formed its own region