With its dynamic and widely celebrated Maori culture and many enormous national parks, New Zealand is definitely an epic destination for anyone looking to make a move to another country. It is a sovereign island country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. As compared to Singapore’s tropical climate, New Zealand has a temperate climate where the people there get to enjoy all four seasons – Summer, Spring, Autumn, and Winter. If you wish to move to a land of rolling green hills and sheep, here are the pointers that you should take note of when you actually relocate and become a Kiwi.
Weather & Climate
Mean annual temperatures range from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. The coldest month is usually July and the warmest month is usually January or February.
Cost of living
NZ$2000-NZ$3000 per month
This average includes rent, utilities, food, mobile bills, transportation etc. They may vary with several factors like the number of members in a family, preferences and choices of accommodation. A three course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant would cost NZ$89 or a casual meal at McDonald’s would be equivalent of A$11.30.
Income Tax – 10.5%: $0 to $14,000, 17.5%: $14,001 to $48,000, 30%: $48,001 to $70,000, 33% from $70,000,
Goods and services tax (GST) – 15% on most things.
- The Kiwis
- Lord of the Rings (This trilogy is filmed all around New Zealand!)
- Manuka Honey, produced by the bees from the flowers of Manuka tree which only grow in New Zealand
We’re not a fan of
- its potential inability for electronic devices to enjoy some internet connection
September, October, November
Average Daytime Temperature: 16 to 19⁰C (61 to 66⁰F)
December, January, February
Average Daytime Temperature: 20 to 25⁰C (68 to 77⁰F)
March, April, May
Average Daytime Temperature: 17 to 21⁰C (62 to 70⁰F)
December, January, February
Average Daytime Temperature: 20 to 25⁰C (68 to 77⁰F)
Visa and Citizenship
The Immigration New Zealand website provides information on all the types of visa issued to people visiting New Zealand. The country has remarkably developed its immigration policies to support the country’s economic growth. Visa types include student visa, work visa and partner’s visa. The type of visa you get is dependent on your intent for visiting the country.
Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) grants citizenship via two routes – by grant and by descent. Citizenship by grant is the more popular option, especially for immigrants who have at least five years of residence status. You can read up on the requirements for citizenship and check your eligibility status on the New Zealand Government website.
All immigrants intending to work in New Zealand, are usually required to obtain a work visa/permit. It may differ, depending on the purpose and duration of stay in the country.
To qualify for a New Zealand Work Visa/Permit, you have to:
- Be in good health and of good character
- Have a valid passport
- Genuinely intend to work lawfully in New Zealand for a limited time
For a fixed time period, you will be allowed to stay and work in New Zealand with a temporary work visa/permit. If you are satisfied with your current situation and wish to stay in New Zealand permanently, your temporary work visa/permit can be used to obtain residence in the country.
To stand a better chance, do look out for networking opportunities with companies that you are interested in, check out some of the online job portals or professional and trade associations.
Work Visa/Permit Process for Foreigners
Every foreigner, except for those moving from New Zealand, will need a work permit. A work permit/visa will give you the freedom to work legally without hassle. The process involves the following:
- Finding an employer to nominate you:
To get a working visa, you will need an employer to submit a nomination form on your behalf.
- Visa application:
This process involves filling out a lot of forms correctly without error. Do take your time when filling up the paperwork.
- Visa appointment:
You will get called for an appointment, after which, you will be informed if it was accepted or not.
- You can then apply for a professional visa to live and work for up to four years.
For student visas, it often comes with the additional benefit of working for up to 20 hours per week during the academic term, and for as long as they want to during semester breaks. Regulations also allow family members of all visiting students who have joined them in the city, to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week.
To qualify for a New Zealand Student Visa/Permit, you need to have:
- Acceptance Letter from an educational institution approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
- Referral Letter/Written guarantee from the institution/person-in-charge that suitable accommodation is available to you in New Zealand (If you are under 18 years old)
- Evidence of sufficient funds to live during the studying time span
- Return flight ticket to home country or evidence of sufficient funds to purchase one
Tenancy agreements in New Zealand are strictly enforced between the tenant and landlord. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides many useful services. You can access quality tenancy services and find out about all aspects of rental tenancy. On top of that, you can get support services, including mediation services for rental disputes too. You have to pay rent on a weekly basis in New Zealand. According to Trade Me Property, one of the top property search websites, the national average for weekly rent was estimated at:
- 1 room in a shared apartment – NZ$155
- 1 to 2 bedroom apartments – NZ$390
- 3 to 4 bedroom apartments – NZ$460 to NZ$525 / NZ$600 to NZ$850 for Auckland
The law also mandates that every tenant must pay at least two weeks worth of rent as bond. The landlord helps to pay this amount to the Ministry of Housing.
Median House Price (Dec 2018)
Recently, there were some rule changes regarding buying and owning property in New Zealand. Unfortunately, they are not in favour of foreigners. In August 2018, the country’s parliament passed an Overseas Investment Amendment Bill.
This bill prohibits foreign investors from buying into the housing market especially residential properties. You can still do limited investment in apartment complexes and hotels. This bill enables native New Zealanders to purchase homes without interference of wealthy overseas investors driving up prices. There are certain exceptions to foreigners who can buy property in the country according to the bill. This bill has exceptions for foreigners with the following:
- New Zealand residency status
- From Australia and Singapore (owing to the free trade agreements)
- Already own properties in the country may not buy more, but already existing properties remain unaffected
If you are eligible to buy property in the country, Trade Me, Real Estate and Open2view are some of the most popular property search websites to help you find a property in the market available for sale. You can also visit www.qz.co.nz to get the estimates of a property based on actual sales information.
Mobile Network Providers
Average Mobile Phone Bill per month
The 3 major phone companies in the country are Vodafone New Zealand, Spark New Zealand and 2Degrees and they all have their own network towers. There are less established mobile network providers like Skinny Mobile, Warehouse Mobile, Compass, Blue Sky and Slingshot. They rent towers from either of the top 3 operators and sell their plans at a discount to customers.
Internet Service Providers
Average Internet Bill per month
The mobile operators in the country offer GSM, UMTS, HSDPA and LTE networks.
- Vodafone offers all the network services
- Spark doesn’t offer GSM
- HSDPA isn’t available on 2degrees.
However, you must ensure that your phone supports the network you intend to use. If you purchased your cell phone via a mobile phone carrier in your origin country, it may be locked. This means you won’t be able to use it in New Zealand. You can either unlock it or buy another one when you get into the country.
Public Transport System
Public transport (Buses) will be available in all cities and most towns in New Zealand. Buses are the cheapest and most common transportation alternative made available for you to travel between towns and cities.
The main bus service provider is Intercity, which can drive you about anywhere on North and South Islands.
Even though trains are less common in New Zealand, there are three main train lines operated by KiwiRail
- Northern Explorer (Auckland to Wellington)
- Coastal Pacific (Picton to Christchurch)
- TranzAlpine (Christchurch to the West Coast)
Car sharing and Taxis
Most people in New Zealand have found that getting a car is more convenient to get around.
As alternatives to the public transport system in New Zealand, Yoogo, Yourdrive, Cityhop and Coseats allows you to pay a fee to use a shared car and then return it to a dedicated lot. Taxis and Uber are also available. However, bear in mind that these companies may not be active in smaller towns.
Intercity Transport System
While New Zealand does have rails connecting the different states, most people might find it faster and cheaper to fly. If you are not in a hurry, the interstate rails do offer scenic views of places that you would not see if you take the plane.
Overseas Driving License Laws in Each State
Driving in New Zealand
There are a number of ways to move around in New Zealand. They have an exceptional network of well maintained roads. If you prefer to drive yourself, it is best to have a personal or rental vehicle. There are vehicles to suit every budget as well as car rental companies to help you rent a vehicle. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road like in most western countries. It has an average speed limit of 50 km/h in metropolitan cities and 100 km/h outside the urban areas.
You need to be at least 21 years old to drive or rent a car in New Zealand. You can visit the New Zealand Transport Agency website to find out more about driver’s eligibility. If you would rather have someone else take the wheel, you can use the public transport system. You can take buses, ferries, water taxis and trains.
Currently, you can consider up to 26 banks registered with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Some of the major banking institutions include ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank and Westpac. For foreigners, you can open and set up a New Zealand bank account before you move into the country. Do open one before you arrive if possible. It will be easier for you to transfer your assets to your new account. Your salary can easily be paid into your bank account after you find a job. Nevertheless, you can always open a bank account upon your arrival in the country.
There is no limit to the amount of cash you can bring in. For amounts exceeding NZ$10,000 however, you will need to fill out a Border Cash Report before you enter the country. Although there are banks in all cities across the country, not every bank operates nationally. Find out if your New Zealand bank of choice is available in the area you plan to live in. Ask about any documentation and certifications you may need to bring along to activate your account. You can visit the New Zealand Now website for more information on their banking and financial services.
The healthcare system in New Zealand is efficiently managed and has high quality service. According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, there are about 40 well-equipped public hospitals and several other private hospitals spread out across several cities in the country. Residents of New Zealand is entitled to free medical services, with only a few exceptions. Immigrants however, often depending on their visa type, may not enjoy the heavily subsidised and free medical service. Hence, do take out a medical insurance policy, at least until you achieve residency status. Dental services are not included in the free public health system but New Zealand does have a Talk Teeth programme. It grants every child under the age of 18 access to free dental services. In case of medical emergency situations, 111 is the number to call.
A good number of indices rate New Zealand as one of the best countries in the world for education. New Zealand is known for its varied and diverse system of education. It also happens to be one of the best funded public education system worldwide. New Zealand’s system of education is divided into 3 levels: early childhood education, primary and secondary education, and higher education.
Early childhood education
Early childhood education begins from age zero until the child is old enough to start standard formal education. That happens often at around the age of 5. Although it is not compulsory, almost 97% of school children in New Zealand have an Early Childhood Education (ECE). There are different forms of ECE all designed to help children build valuable skills they will need later in life. Like other levels of education, the government subsidised ECE. You can visit the parents’ website to learn more about ECE.
Primary and secondary education
These 2 levels of education are for children between the ages of 5 and 17. Primary level runs from Year 1 to Year 8, aged 5 to 12. Secondary school goes on from Year 9 to Year 13, aged 13 to 17. Education in government funded or owned schools are free and compulsory. These are for all children who are permanent residents or citizens of New Zealand. There are 3 types of schools in New Zealand. Firstly, state run (owned and funded by the state). Secondly, state integrated (state schools with a special character funded by the federal government). Finally, privately owned schools. The schools are typically secular and follow the national curriculum. Private schools are at liberty to deviate from the national curriculum and develop a unique learning curriculum.
Although private schools may receive financial support from the government, parents often have to pay the school fees in full. Education in private schools is not subsidised. The fees range from NZ$800 to NZ$4000 depending on the school’s socioeconomic ranking. The public schools only require a mandatory payment of the attendance dues. After you complete secondary school level, graduates are awarded the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). You will be given levels 1 to 3 based on their performance in the last three years of their secondary school education. That would be between years 11 to 13 in a range of subjects.
Students can enrol in various institutions of higher learning. Some of them include:
- Trades academies
- Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics
- Private training establishments for vocational
- Technical education at diploma and certificate levels
There are 8 government funded universities in New Zealand for you to choose from. They all happen to be ranked in the top 3% of universities in the world, a testament to the country’s academic excellence. Fees for international students in this level range from NZ$20,000 to NZ$75,000 per school session. However, individuals whose parents are in the country on work visas may qualify as local students to pay fees at a reduced rate starting at NZ$5,000.You can read up more information on the New Zealand educational system from the Ministry of Education website.
National Public Holidays include:
- New Year’s Day
- Waitangi Day (National Day)
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Anzac Day
- Queen’s Birthday
- Father’s Day
- Labour Day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
All other public holidays such as Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day are individually declared by the state and territory governments. For more information, please visit the Australian Government website.
- Manuka Honey
- Lord of the Rings
- Only 5% of New Zealand’s population is human – The rest are animals.
- The first man to climb Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, was a Kiwi
- Auckland is one of the most affordable cities in the world to live in