Discovering Aotearoa: Your Ultimate Guide to Moving to New Zealand

Moving to a new country can be an exciting yet daunting decision. With its stunning landscapes, high quality of life, and thriving economy, New Zealand has become a popular destination for expatriates seeking new opportunities and experiences. This comprehensive guide will provide you with key information about moving to New Zealand, helping you navigate the process from beginning to end.


Key Facts

Key FactDetails
Official NameNew Zealand
Largest CityAuckland
Area268,021 km² (103,483 sq mi)
Population (as of September 2021)Approximately 5 million
Official LanguagesEnglish, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language
CurrencyNew Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Time ZoneNew Zealand Standard Time (NZST)
International Dialing Code+64
Internet Top-Level Domain (TLD).nz
ClimateTemperate maritime, varies by region
Government TypeUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Head of StateMonarch (Queen Elizabeth II)
Head of GovernmentPrime Minister
Major IndustriesAgriculture, tourism, manufacturing, services
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)US$206.9 billion (2020 est.)
GDP Per CapitaUS$41,793 (2020 est.)
Drives on theLeft
Electrical Voltage and Frequency230 volts, 50 Hz
Plug TypeType I
National SymbolsKiwi (bird), Silver Fern, Koru
National Anthem“God Defend New Zealand”
National HolidaysWaitangi Day, ANZAC Day, Queen’s Birthday, etc.

Overview of Moving to New Zealand

Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is comprised of two main landmasses, the North Island and the South Island, as well as numerous smaller islands. With a population of just under 5 million people, it offers a unique combination of urban living, rural charm, and untouched wilderness. The country’s official languages are English and Māori, and its rich cultural heritage is a blend of indigenous Māori traditions and European influences.

Why Move to New Zealand?


New Zealand consistently ranks highly in global quality-of-life and well-being indexes, owing in part to its strong emphasis on work-life balance. The country’s labor laws provide a number of protections for workers, including a standard 40-hour work week, four weeks of paid annual leave, and generous parental leave provisions [source: Employment New Zealand]. These policies promote a healthy balance between work and personal life, allowing residents to enjoy their time outside of the office.

Outdoor Activities

With its diverse natural landscapes, New Zealand offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and water sports. The country’s extensive network of national parks, conservation areas, and marine reserves provide ample opportunities for exploration and recreation, ensuring you never run out of things to do in your free time. For more information on outdoor activities in New Zealand, visit the Department of Conservation’s website.

Safety and Security

New Zealand is known for its low crime rates and strong sense of community. In the 2021 Global Peace Index, it ranked as the second most peaceful country in the world [source: Global Peace Index]. The country’s effective governance, transparent institutions, and comprehensive social welfare system contribute to a stable and secure environment for residents.


Clean and Green

New Zealand is renowned for its commitment to environmental sustainability and clean energy. The country generates over 80% of its electricity from renewable sources, such as hydro, wind, and geothermal power [source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment]. This focus on green technology and practices helps to maintain New Zealand’s pristine natural landscapes, from its lush forests to its sparkling lakes and rivers.

Unique Flora and Fauna

New Zealand’s geographic isolation has resulted in a high degree of endemism among its flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. The country is home to numerous native species found nowhere else on earth, such as the iconic kiwi bird, the tuatara reptile, and the kauri tree. Conservation efforts are in place to protect these unique species and their habitats, ensuring that they can be enjoyed by future generations. To learn more about New Zealand’s native wildlife, visit the New Zealand Department of Conservation’s website.


New Zealand’s temperate maritime climate offers relatively mild temperatures throughout the year, with warm summers and cool winters. This climate allows for a range of outdoor activities to be enjoyed year-round, from beach outings and water sports in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The country’s diverse microclimates also support a variety of agricultural products, including world-class wines, fruits, and dairy products.

Mt Taranaki

Economic Opportunities

Job Market

New Zealand boasts a strong economy, with low unemployment rates and a high demand for skilled workers in various industries. Key sectors with growth and job opportunities include healthcare, IT, engineering, construction, and agriculture [source: New Zealand Now]. The country’s robust economy and focus on innovation make it an attractive destination for professionals seeking new career opportunities.

Business and Investment Opportunities

New Zealand is an appealing location for entrepreneurs and investors, thanks to its business-friendly environment, stable economy, and well-educated workforce. The country consistently ranks highly in global ease-of-doing-business surveys, with a straightforward process for starting a business and a transparent regulatory system [source: World Bank Doing Business Report]. For more information on business and investment opportunities in New Zealand, visit New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

Quality Education and Healthcare

New Zealand is known for its high-quality education and healthcare systems. The country’s public schools consistently perform well in international assessments, and its universities offer a range of world-class programs for both domestic and international students [source: Ministry of Education]. Additionally, New Zealand’s public healthcare system provides free or subsidized care to residents, ensuring access to essential medical services for all.

For more information read our guide on the best places to live in New Zealand.

Visa and Immigration Requirements

Types of Visas

Work Visas

To work in New Zealand, you will generally need to obtain a work visa. There are several types of work visas available, depending on your skills, qualifications, and job offer. These include Essential Skills visas, Long Term Skill Shortage visas, and Talent (Accredited Employer) visas [source: Immigration New Zealand].

Business Visas

If you plan to start a business or invest in New Zealand, you may be eligible for a business visa. There are several types of business visas, such as the Entrepreneur Work Visa, Investor Visa, and the Global Impact Visa. Each visa category has specific requirements and criteria that must be met, such as minimum investment amounts and business experience [source: Immigration New Zealand].

Student Visas

International students wishing to study in New Zealand must obtain a student visa. This type of visa allows you to study full-time at an approved education provider for the duration of your course. You may also be eligible to work part-time while studying [source: Immigration New Zealand].

Family Visas

If you have a family member who is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for a family visa. This category includes partnership visas, dependent child visas, and parent visas, among others [source: Immigration New Zealand].

Application Process

Required Documents

When applying for a New Zealand visa, you will need to submit various documents, such as a completed application form, a valid passport, proof of your ability to support yourself financially, and any additional documents specific to your visa type (e.g., job offer, business plan, or proof of enrollment in a course of study). It is crucial to provide accurate and complete information to ensure a smooth application process [source: Immigration New Zealand].

Processing Times

Visa processing times can vary depending on the type of visa and the complexity of your application. It is crucial to apply well in advance of your intended travel date to allow sufficient time for processing. You can check the current processing times for different visa types on the Immigration New Zealand website.


Visa application fees vary depending on the type of visa and your nationality. You can find a list of fees and charges for different visa types on the Immigration New Zealand website. It is important to pay the correct fee for your application to be processed.

Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Eligibility Criteria

If you have lived in New Zealand on a qualifying visa for a certain period, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship. Criteria for permanent residency and citizenship can include language proficiency, good character, and a demonstrated commitment to New Zealand [source: Immigration New Zealand].

Application Process

The application process for permanent residency or citizenship typically involves submitting an application form, providing supporting documents, and potentially attending an interview. In some cases, you may also need to sit a citizenship test or attend a citizenship ceremony. For more information on permanent residency and citizenship, visit the Immigration New Zealand website.

Finding Employment

Job Search Resources

There are various resources available to help you find employment in New Zealand. Online job portals, such as Seek, TradeMe Jobs, and Workhere, are popular among job seekers. Additionally, industry-specific job boards and recruitment agencies can be valuable resources when looking for positions in your field. Networking events and job fairs can also provide opportunities to connect with potential employers and learn about job openings.

Networking and Job Fairs

Building a strong professional network can be essential to finding employment in New Zealand. Networking events, industry conferences, and professional associations can help you make valuable connections and stay informed about job opportunities in your field. Job fairs, often organized by universities, industry associations, or local government agencies, provide a chance to meet with potential employers and learn about job vacancies.

CV and Cover Letter Best Practices

When applying for jobs in New Zealand, it is crucial to tailor your CV and cover letter to the local job market. Your CV should be concise, well-organized, and no longer than two pages. Be sure to highlight your relevant skills, qualifications, and work experience. Your cover letter should be tailored to each specific job application, demonstrating your understanding of the role and the company and explaining why you are a suitable candidate. For guidance on writing CVs and cover letters in New Zealand, visit the website.

Navigating the New Zealand Job Market

Understanding the nuances of the New Zealand job market can improve your chances of securing employment. Keep in mind that some industries may have seasonal peaks in demand for workers, such as agriculture, tourism, and construction. Additionally, be prepared for potential regional differences in job opportunities, as certain industries may be more prominent in specific areas of the country. For more information on regional job markets and in-demand occupations, visit the New Zealand Now website.

Housing and Accommodation

Types of Housing

New Zealand offers a variety of housing options to suit different needs and budgets. These include detached houses, townhouses, apartments, and flats. When searching for housing, consider factors such as proximity to work, schools, public transportation, and amenities.

Real Estate Resources

Several online resources can assist you in finding housing in New Zealand. Popular real estate websites include Trade Me Property,, and OneRoof. Additionally, local newspapers and real estate agencies can provide listings of available properties.

Relocation Services

If you require assistance with your move to New Zealand, consider engaging a relocation service. These companies can help you with various aspects of your relocation, such as finding housing, arranging transportation of your belongings, and providing advice on settling into your new community. To find a reputable relocation service, consult online reviews and seek recommendations from others who have made a similar move.

Cost of Living in New Zealand

Understanding the cost of living in New Zealand is essential when planning your move. The cost of living can vary depending on factors such as your location, housing type, and lifestyle choices. Major cities, such as Auckland and Wellington, tend to have higher living costs compared to smaller towns and rural areas.

Housing Costs

Housing is often the most significant expense for individuals and families in New Zealand. Rental prices and property values can differ significantly between regions and property types. In general, rental prices and property values are higher in major cities and desirable locations, such as coastal areas and those with good access to amenities.

Food and Groceries

The cost of food and groceries in New Zealand is generally comparable to that of other developed countries. Locally-produced food items, such as dairy products, meat, and seasonal fruits and vegetables, are typically more affordable than imported goods. Shopping at farmers’ markets and discount grocery stores can help reduce your food expenses.

Transportation Costs

Public transportation in New Zealand is reasonably priced and widely available in larger cities. Bus, train, and ferry services are the most common forms of public transport. Owning a car can be more convenient, particularly in rural areas where public transportation options are limited. However, it is essential to consider expenses such as fuel, insurance, maintenance, and parking when determining the overall cost of owning a vehicle.

Healthcare and Insurance

New Zealand’s public healthcare system provides free or subsidized care for residents, but it is recommended to have private health insurance for additional coverage and faster access to certain medical services. The cost of private health insurance depends on the level of coverage, your age, and any pre-existing conditions.

Education Costs

Public education in New Zealand is free for residents from primary school through high school. However, some schools may charge fees for extra-curricular activities or materials. International students and those attending private schools can expect to pay tuition fees. Tertiary education, such as university or vocational courses, typically involves tuition fees, even for residents. Financial assistance, such as scholarships and government loans, may be available to help cover these costs.

Leisure and Entertainment

The cost of leisure and entertainment activities in New Zealand can vary depending on your interests and location. Many outdoor activities, such as hiking and beach visits, are free or low-cost. Cultural events, sports matches, and dining out can range in price, with more significant expenses generally associated with larger cities and popular tourist destinations.

Expense CategoryLow Range (NZD)Average Range (NZD)High Range (NZD)
Housing (monthly)
– 1-bedroom apartment9001,4002,000
– 3-bedroom apartment1,5002,4003,500
Utilities (monthly)150200250
Internet (monthly)6085100
– Public transport pass (monthly)100150200
– Gasoline (1 liter)1.802.202.60
Dining Out
– Inexpensive restaurant meal122030
– Mid-range restaurant meal for two6090120
– Jeans (mid-range)60100150
Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and can vary depending on the city and your lifestyle preferences.

Healthcare and Insurance

Public Healthcare System

New Zealand’s public healthcare system provides a range of medical services to residents, including hospital care, maternity services, mental health services, and prescription medications. Most public healthcare services are free or subsidized, ensuring access to essential care for all residents. To learn more about the public healthcare system in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Health website.

Private Healthcare and Insurance

While the public healthcare system in New Zealand provides comprehensive care, many residents choose to supplement their coverage with private health insurance. Private insurance can provide faster access to certain medical services, such as elective surgeries, and may cover additional services not provided by the public system, such as dental care and physiotherapy. The cost of private health insurance varies depending on your chosen plan and individual circumstances.

Registering with a General Practitioner (GP)

Upon arrival in New Zealand, it is recommended that you register with a local General Practitioner (GP) or family doctor. GPs are your first point of contact for most healthcare needs, and they can refer you to specialists or other healthcare providers when necessary. To find a GP near you, use the Healthpoint website.

Dental Care

Dental care in New Zealand is not generally covered by the public healthcare system for adults, so most residents must pay for dental services out-of-pocket or through private insurance. Children and adolescents under the age of 18 receive free basic dental care through the public system. For more information on dental care in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Health website.

Mental Health Services

New Zealand’s public healthcare system provides mental health services, including counseling, therapy, and support for those experiencing mental health issues. Access to these services may require a referral from a GP. Some private health insurance plans also cover mental health services. For more information on mental health services in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Health website.

Education System in New Zealand

New Zealand’s education system is known for its high-quality teaching and focus on individual student development. The system comprises three levels: early childhood education, primary and secondary education, and tertiary education.

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education (ECE) in New Zealand includes childcare centers, kindergartens, and home-based care services. ECE is optional, but the government provides funding for children aged 3-5 years to attend up to 20 hours of ECE per week. To learn more about early childhood education in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Education website.

Primary and Secondary Education

Primary and secondary education in New Zealand is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, although many children begin school at age 5. The education system is divided into primary, intermediate, and secondary levels. The curriculum focuses on key learning areas, such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts. For more information on primary and secondary education in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Education website.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education in New Zealand includes universities, polytechnics, private training establishments, and wānanga (Māori-focused institutions). There are eight universities in New Zealand, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs in various fields of study. In addition to universities, there are a range of vocational and technical education providers offering courses in areas such as trades, business, and health. For more information on tertiary education in New Zealand, visit the Ministry of Education website.

Financial Assistance for Education

Financial assistance for education is available to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, including student loans and allowances to help cover tuition fees, living expenses, and course-related costs. Scholarships are also available from various organizations, such as universities, government agencies, and private foundations. To learn more about financial assistance for education in New Zealand, visit the StudyLink website.

Cultural Adaptation

Learning about New Zealand Culture

Adapting to a new culture can be challenging, but familiarizing yourself with New Zealand’s customs, values, and traditions can make the transition smoother. New Zealand is known for its friendly and welcoming people, strong sense of community, and emphasis on work-life balance. The Māori culture plays a significant role in the country’s identity, and understanding Māori customs and history can enrich your experience of living in New Zealand.


English is the primary language spoken in New Zealand, and understanding spoken and written English is essential for daily life. New Zealanders often use colloquial expressions and slang, which can take time to learn. Māori is also an official language of New Zealand, and learning basic Māori phrases can be beneficial for building relationships and showing respect for the local culture.

Social Customs and Etiquette

New Zealanders, or Kiwis, are known for their relaxed and informal approach to social interactions. However, understanding local customs and etiquette can help you feel more comfortable in social situations. For example, punctuality is valued, and it is considered polite to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home. When meeting someone for the first time, a handshake and a smile are typical.

Work Culture

The work culture in New Zealand is generally informal and collaborative, with an emphasis on teamwork and open communication. Flexibility and a good work-life balance are also highly valued. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific work culture of your industry and workplace, as this can vary between organizations.

Building a Social Network

Making friends and building a social network can be vital for a successful transition to life in New Zealand. Joining clubs, attending social events, and participating in community activities can provide opportunities to meet new people and develop friendships. Connecting with other expats through online forums, social media groups, or local expat organizations can also offer support and advice during your move.

Practical Matters of Relocating to New Zealand

Opening a Bank Account

Opening a bank account in New Zealand is a straightforward process. To open an account, you will typically need to provide proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s license, and proof of your New Zealand address. Many banks offer accounts specifically designed for newcomers, which may include additional services and support. For more information on opening a bank account in New Zealand, visit the New Zealand Now website.

Obtaining a Driver’s License

If you hold a valid driver’s license from your home country, you may be able to drive in New Zealand for up to one year. After this time, you will need to obtain a New Zealand driver’s license by converting your overseas license or passing a theory and practical driving test. For more information on obtaining a New Zealand driver’s license, visit the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

Registering for Utilities

Upon moving into a new home in New Zealand, you will need to set up utilities such as electricity, gas, and water. You can choose from a range of utility providers, depending on your location and preferences. For more information on setting up utilities in New Zealand, visit the New Zealand Now website.

Internet and Mobile Phone Services

New Zealand has a range of internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile phone carriers to choose from. When selecting a provider, consider factors such as coverage, speed, and cost. You may also want to explore bundle deals that include internet, mobile phone, and other services such as television. For more information on internet and mobile phone services in New Zealand, visit the New Zealand Now website.


As a resident of New Zealand, you will be subject to the country’s tax system. This includes paying income tax on your worldwide income, as well as other taxes such as goods and services tax (GST). New Zealand has a progressive income tax system, with rates varying depending on your income level. For more information on taxes in New Zealand, visit the Inland Revenue Department website.

Emergency Services

In case of emergency, dial 111 to reach police, fire, or ambulance services. This number is toll-free and can be dialed from any phone in New Zealand, including mobile phones. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest hospital, police station, and other emergency facilities in your area.


New Zealand citizens and permanent residents aged 18 and over are eligible to vote in national and local elections. To vote, you must be enrolled on the electoral roll. Elections in New Zealand are held using a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system, which combines elements of proportional representation and first-past-the-post voting. For more information on voting in New Zealand, visit the Electoral Commission website.

Roy's Peak

Moving and Shipping Your Personal Effects to New Zealand

When moving to New Zealand, you may want to ship your personal effects, such as furniture, household items, and vehicles. Proper planning and organization are essential for a smooth and hassle-free shipping process. This section will guide you through the key aspects of moving and shipping your belongings to New Zealand, from choosing a reputable shipping company to understanding customs regulations and insurance.

Choosing a Moving Company

Selecting a reliable and experienced international removal company is crucial for ensuring the safe and timely transportation of your belongings. Consider the following factors when choosing a shipping company:

  1. Reputation: Research customer reviews and testimonials to gauge the quality of the company’s services.
  2. Experience: Look for companies with experience in shipping personal effects to New Zealand and familiarity with the country’s customs regulations.
  3. Services: Ensure the company provides the specific services you require, such as door-to-door shipping, export packing and unpacking, and vehicle transportation.
  4. Quotes: Obtain quotes from multiple companies and compare the costs and services provided.

Packing Your Belongings

Proper packing is essential to protect your belongings during transit. You can either pack your items yourself or hire a professional packing service through your chosen shipping company. When packing, consider the following tips:

  1. Use high-quality packing materials, such as sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape.
  2. Label boxes clearly, indicating their contents and the room they belong to.
  3. Create an inventory list of all items being shipped for insurance purposes and to facilitate the customs process.

New Zealand Customs Regulations

When shipping personal effects to New Zealand, you must comply with the country’s customs regulations. Key aspects of these regulations include:

  1. Documentation: You will need to provide a detailed inventory of your belongings, a completed New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS) Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration form, and proof of your right to reside in the country (e.g., a visa or residence permit).
  2. Restricted items: Certain items, such as firearms, are subject to strict controls and may require a permit to import. Other items, such as drugs and endangered species products, are prohibited.
  3. Quarantine regulations: New Zealand has strict biosecurity regulations to protect its unique flora and fauna. Ensure your belongings are free from soil, plant materials, and animal products that could pose a risk to the country’s environment.

Marine Transit Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase insurance for your personal effects during shipping. This can protect you from financial loss in case of damage or loss during transit. Many moving companies offer insurance options, or you can purchase insurance through a third-party provider.

Arrival and Delivery

Upon arrival in New Zealand, your belongings will undergo a customs inspection and, if necessary, a quarantine examination. Once your items are cleared, they will be delivered to your new home by a local moving company, depending on the services you have arranged.

New Zealand’s Most Popular Cities

New Zealand is home to a diverse range of cities, each offering its own unique charm and attractions. From bustling urban centers to picturesque coastal towns, there’s something for everyone. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular cities in New Zealand, highlighting their key features and attractions.


Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is situated on the North Island and boasts a population of over 1.6 million residents. Known as the “City of Sails” due to its beautiful harbors and thriving sailing culture, Auckland offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle combined with stunning natural beauty. Key attractions include the iconic Sky Tower, vibrant Viaduct Harbour, and the diverse shopping and dining options on offer.


Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is located at the southern tip of the North Island. Known for its creative and cultural scene, the city is home to numerous museums, galleries, and theaters, including the world-renowned Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Nestled between rolling hills and a picturesque harbor, Wellington offers a charming urban experience coupled with easy access to outdoor activities.


Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island, is often referred to as the “Garden City” due to its numerous parks and gardens. The city is currently undergoing a period of rebirth and transformation following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Christchurch offers a mix of heritage attractions, modern architecture, and a burgeoning arts and dining scene. Key attractions include the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, and the Cardboard Cathedral.


Located on the South Island, Queenstown is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and adventurous outdoor activities. Nestled along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps, Queenstown is a haven for adrenaline junkies and nature enthusiasts alike. Popular activities include bungee jumping, jet boating, skiing, and hiking, while the picturesque town center offers a vibrant dining and shopping scene.


Dunedin, situated on the southeastern coast of the South Island, is known for its Scottish heritage and unique blend of historic and modern architecture. Home to the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university, the city has a youthful and energetic atmosphere. Key attractions include the Royal Albatross Centre, Larnach Castle, and the stunning Otago Peninsula, which offers opportunities for wildlife encounters and scenic walks.


Located on the east coast of the North Island, Napier is famed for its beautifully preserved Art Deco architecture, a result of the city’s extensive rebuilding following a devastating earthquake in 1931. Visitors can take guided tours of the Art Deco landmarks or explore independently, wandering the charming streets and admiring the unique design elements. Additionally, Napier is situated in the Hawke’s Bay region, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding wine country and scenic coastline.


Moving to New Zealand can be a rewarding experience, offering a high quality of life, beautiful landscapes, and friendly, welcoming communities. To ensure a successful transition, it is essential to plan your move carefully, considering factors such as visa requirements, employment opportunities, housing, and the cost of living. By familiarizing yourself with New Zealand’s customs, culture, and practical matters, you can enjoy a smooth and enjoyable start to your new life in this beautiful country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s New Zealand’s Population? 

New Zealand’s population was approximately 5.2 million.

Is New Zealand Part of Australia?  

No, New Zealand is not part of Australia. They are two separate countries, each with its own government, laws, and regulations. Although they are located relatively close to each other in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and share some cultural similarities, they are distinct sovereign nations.

Is New Zealand Part of the UK?

No, New Zealand is not part of the United Kingdom. It is an independent sovereign nation located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. While New Zealand was once a British colony, it gained full independence from the UK in 1947 with the passage of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act. Although the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, serves as the ceremonial head of state for New Zealand, the country operates under its own parliamentary system and maintains separate political, legal, and economic systems from the UK.

Does New Zealand Have Snakes?

New Zealand does not have any native species of snakes. The country’s unique geographic isolation and strict biosecurity measures have prevented the introduction of snakes. It is illegal to import or keep snakes as pets in New Zealand. The absence of snakes is an important aspect of the country’s ecosystem and helps protect its native bird populations.

What’s New Zealand’s Currency?  

New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand Dollar, which is abbreviated as NZD or often represented with the “$” symbol. It is the official currency used throughout the country and is divided into 100 cents. The New Zealand Dollar is available in various denominations in both coins and banknotes.

Is New Zealand Expensive?

Determining whether New Zealand is expensive depends on your perspective and the cost of living in your home country. Compared to some countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, or Australia, the cost of living in New Zealand can be considered moderate to somewhat high. However, it might be less expensive than living in cities like London, New York, or Sydney.

In general, housing, utilities, and transportation costs in New Zealand can be higher than in some other countries, while healthcare and education costs are often more affordable. Additionally, some everyday items like groceries or dining out can be more expensive.

Ultimately, whether or not New Zealand is expensive for you depends on your financial situation, lifestyle preferences, and the area in which you choose to live. To get a better understanding of the cost of living in New Zealand, it’s a good idea to research and compare the prices of various goods and services in different cities and regions.

Is New Zealand Safe?

Yes, New Zealand is generally considered a safe country to live in and visit. It consistently ranks highly in global safety and peace indexes, such as the Global Peace Index. New Zealand has a low crime rate, and violent crime is relatively rare. The country is also politically stable and has a low risk of terrorism.

However, like anywhere else in the world, it’s essential to exercise common sense and take basic precautions to ensure personal safety. This includes being aware of your surroundings, securing your belongings, and avoiding potentially dangerous situations.

It’s also important to be aware of natural hazards, such as earthquakes and volcanic activity, which can occur in New Zealand. The country is well-prepared for such events, and visitors and residents should familiarize themselves with local safety guidelines and procedures in case of emergencies.

Does New Zealand Have Free Healthcare?

New Zealand has a public healthcare system that provides free or heavily subsidized healthcare services to its residents. The public healthcare system, funded through general taxation, covers a wide range of services, including hospital care, emergency care, maternity care, mental health services, and prescription medications. The system is designed to ensure that all New Zealand residents have access to essential healthcare services regardless of their ability to pay.

However, not all medical services are entirely free. Some services, such as visits to general practitioners (GPs), dental care for adults, and physiotherapy, may require co-payments or have fees associated with them. Additionally, there can be waiting times for non-urgent treatments in the public system.

New Zealand also has a private healthcare sector, where individuals can choose to pay for services or use private health insurance. This can offer faster access to specialists and elective procedures and a wider choice of healthcare providers.

Does New Zealand Get Snow?

Yes, New Zealand does get snow, primarily during the winter months, which run from June to August. Snowfall in New Zealand is more common in the South Island, where the Southern Alps create favorable conditions for snow accumulation. Ski resorts in the South Island, such as Queenstown, Wanaka, and Mount Hutt, are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts.

The North Island also experiences snowfall, primarily in its central plateau region, which is home to mountains like Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Tongariro. These mountains have ski fields and offer winter sports opportunities as well.

In addition to the mountainous regions, some low-lying areas and cities in the South Island, such as Christchurch and Dunedin, can occasionally experience snowfall during cold winter weather. However, snow in these areas is generally less common and doesn’t typically last long.

It’s important to note that while New Zealand does get snow during winter, the country has a relatively mild climate overall, with coastal areas experiencing moderate temperatures year-round.

How Much Does It Cost To Move To New Zealand? 

The cost of moving to New Zealand varies greatly depending on several factors, including the distance from your home country, the amount and size of your belongings, and the type of visa and immigration process you choose. Here are some approximate costs for different aspects of the moving process:

Visa and Immigration: Depending on the type of visa, fees can range from NZD 270 to over NZD 3,000. Professional immigration advice or legal assistance may add additional costs.

Shipping personal belongings: Shipping costs depend on the volume and weight of your items, the method of transportation (sea or air), and the distance from your home country. For a 20-foot shipping container, prices can range from NZD 10,000 to NZD 20,000 or more.

Flights: The cost of flights depends on the time of year, the airline, and the distance from your home country. Round-trip tickets can vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Accommodation: Upon arrival, you may need temporary accommodation while searching for a long-term rental or purchasing a property. Hotel or Airbnb costs vary depending on the city and the duration of your stay.

Initial living expenses: It’s important to have savings to cover immediate living expenses, including rental deposits, utility connections, groceries, and transportation.

Health checks and insurance: Some visa types require medical examinations, which may cost several hundred dollars. Additionally, you may need to purchase private health insurance if you’re not immediately eligible for public healthcare.

Pets: If you’re bringing pets, you’ll need to consider quarantine and transportation costs, which can range from NZD 1,000 to NZD 4,000 or more per pet, depending on the animal’s size and your home country.

Given these variables, it’s difficult to provide an exact cost for moving to New Zealand. The total cost can range from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. It’s important to research and plan for the various expenses associated with relocating to ensure a smooth transition.

How To Migrate To New Zealand?

Migrating to New Zealand typically involves a series of steps. Here is a general outline of the process:

Research: Start by researching life in New Zealand, including job opportunities, cost of living, lifestyle, and the education and healthcare systems. This will help you determine if New Zealand is the right destination for you and your family.

Determine eligibility: Visit the Immigration New Zealand website ( to learn about the various visa categories and requirements. Determine which visa type best suits your situation, such as a skilled migrant visa, work visa, family visa, or student visa.

Gather documentation: Begin collecting the necessary documents to support your visa application. This may include proof of identity, qualification certificates, work experience, job offer letters, medical certificates, and police clearances.

Submit your visa application: Complete the relevant visa application form online or on paper, depending on the visa type. Attach the required documentation and pay the application fee. Processing times for visa applications vary, so make sure to submit your application well in advance.

Prepare for the move: While waiting for your visa application to be processed, begin making arrangements for your move. This may include researching accommodation options, arranging for the shipment of your belongings, booking flights, and preparing for any necessary pet quarantine and transportation.

Obtain a visa: If your visa application is approved, you will receive a visa granting you permission to enter and reside in New Zealand for a specified duration or indefinitely, depending on the visa type.
Arrive in New Zealand: Upon arrival, ensure you have all necessary documents, including your visa, valid passport, and any other required documentation.

Settle in: Once you arrive in New Zealand, focus on settling into your new life. This may include finding long-term accommodation, opening a bank account, applying for an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number for tax purposes, enrolling your children in school, and familiarizing yourself with the local healthcare system.

Obtain permanent residency or citizenship (optional): Depending on your visa type and eligibility, you may eventually be able to apply for permanent residency or New Zealand citizenship.

Keep in mind that this is a general outline, and specific steps and requirements may vary depending on your personal circumstances and the type of visa you are applying for. It’s essential to consult the Immigration New Zealand website and seek professional advice if needed to ensure you follow the correct process for your situation.

by Maiane Cassanego
Maiane is the Founder of Expat Frontier. She is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Maiane has an extensive background in international moving, freight forwarding and logistics.