BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Bank accounts and credit cards
Your present bank should be able to help you set up a bank account in New Zealand before you leave, so that you can make credit card and other withdrawals when you arrive.
Documents, credit references and driver licences
Your first few days in New Zealand are more likely to be easy and problem-free if you arrive with the following documents:
unabridged birth certificates (must mention parents’ names)
academic qualifications and academic course transcripts
references from previous employers (on company letterhead, dated and signed; must mention the position and the period of time you were employed for)
an international driver licence or permit
All documents should be originals (not copies). If documents are not in English they should be accompanied by a certified translation.
Plan what to wear
The weather is changeable, so bring a range of clothes and do not forget to include a raincoat. Remember, seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere.
Money requirements when you first arrive
If possible, arrive with some New Zealand money in mixed denominations ($5, $10 and $20 notes; $50 and $100 notes are unusual), as traveller's cheques may not be accepted for small purchases.
If you are expecting mail to arrive for you in New Zealand, but you do not have a permanent address, then New Zealand Post can set up a 'private box' or 'private bag' at a post office in the city or town in which you plan to stay. Many organisations, such as banks, will accept a post office box or private bag as your official address.
New Zealand has a high rate of Internet use, with nearly 60% of households having access to the Internet. Internet cafes and other Internet services are also common.
Bringing your belongings
The New Zealand Customs Service pamphlet, Advice on Importing Goods into New Zealand, provides full information about importing goods into New Zealand. The pamphlet is available from New Zealand immigration, diplomatic and trade offices or you can email.
Televisions, computers and other electrical goods
Most people do not bring items such as televisions, telephones, computers and other electrical goods, since most foreign electrical appliances do not work here. New Zealand's power system is 240 volts and 50 cycles per second, and plugs have two or three narrow pins.
Hewlett-Packard Pavilion Computer Package Deal
(includes 17" monitor, a good level of software,
80GB hard drive and 256MB RAM + printer)
Fisher & Paykel
5.5kg Top Load Washing Machine
Samsung Vacuum Cleaner
Fisher & Paykel
Fisher & Paykel
3.5kg Manual Dryer
Doro Basic Corded Phone
Panasonic Mini Stereo System
AWA 29'' CTV Television
Panasonic DVD Player
Source: Noel Leeming, July 2011
You may need to plan six months ahead if you wish to bring your domestic pets into the country. For full information, contact the Import Management Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).
Telephone: +64 4 498 9264, Fax: +64 4 474 4132.
The Automobile Association
The New Zealand Automobile Association has reciprocal benefits, but you will need to produce your membership card. Membership can also be transferred before you leave for New Zealand or after you arrive. For New Zealand membership, freephone: 0800 500 444.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Customs declarations: Plant and animal materials
New Zealand has strict laws to protect its agricultural industries from imported pests and diseases. If you bring in items such as food and plants, these must be declared to MAF officials. Making an incorrect declaration may result in an instant fine of $200. For more serious breaches, such as illegally importing plants, animal materials and foodstuffs, you can be fined up to $100,000 and/or 5 years in prison. Items that need to be declared include:
food, and the products and ingredients used for preparing food
plants and parts of plants (alive or dead), including cane, straw and rattan
animals (alive or dead), or products from animals
equipment used with animals
camping gear, golf clubs, hiking boots, shoes, equestrian equipment and used bicycles
If you are in doubt about any items, declare them. There is no penalty for declaring items that cannot be brought into New Zealand.
Like other countries, New Zealand has strict security concerning drugs, firearms and other dangerous goods. For more information visit: Protect New Zealand.
Most New Zealand banks have branches at international airports with comprehensive foreign exchange facilities.
Maps, city guides, accommodation:
Free accommodation brochures, maps and city guides are available from self-service information booths. Hotel and motel bookings can also be made by freephone from the airport.
You can get to the central city by taxi, airport bus or a fixed-price 'shuttle' van that will drop you off at your destination. Taxis have reliable meters that calculate the fares – bargaining and tipping are not practiced. The taxi driver can estimate the likely cost for you. Airport buses and shuttle vans are significantly cheaper and just as reliable.
All cities have bus and taxi services. Only Wellington has an extensive commuter train system; there are no underground rail networks.
Free information on accommodation, transport, food, tourist attractions and entertainment is available from Information Centres. These are identified by a prominent 'i' logo.
A good range of fresh food is available from local supermarkets, and moderately priced cafes and restaurants are plentiful. Motels also have cooking facilities where you can make your own meals.
Sample food prices
|Apples|| 2kg|| $3.49|
|Bananas|| small prepack || $1.99|
|Carrots ||1kg|| $1.99|
|Lettuce|| 1 head ||$1.49|
|Cauliflower ||1 head|| $1.49|
|Flour|| 1.5kg ||$2.29|
|Sugar|| 1.5kg ||$2.45|
|Pasta (spaghetti)|| 500g ||$1.99|
|Rice ||1kg ||$2.25|
|Sliced brown bread ||1 pack|| $3.10|
|Butter ||500g ||$2.43|
|Margarine ||500g ||$2.62|
|Eggs|| 12 eggs ||$4.49|
|Honey|| 250g ||$3.49|
|Potatoes|| 10kg ||$8.99|
|Milk|| 2L|| $3.99|
|Cheese ||500g|| $8.68|
|Canned spaghetti ||300g|| $1.29|
|Coco Pops|| 450g ||$5.60|
|Potato chips (crisps)|| 190g|| $2.29|
|Biscuits ||200g ||$2.71|
|Water crackers || 125g ||$1.79|
|Nescafé coffee || 100g|| $9.86|
|Robert Harris ground coffee ||200g|| $8.98|
|Tea bags ||100 bags ||$4.20|
|Coca Cola ||2.25L|| $2.30|
|Orange juice || 2L|| $5.99|
|Beer ||6 pack|| $15.99|
|Wine ||750ml ||$9.99|
|Premium beef mince|| 1kg ||$14.99|
|Steak, scotch fillet ||1kg|| $26.99|
|Fresh fish fillets, hoki ||1kg|| $16.95|
|Frozen fish|| 360g|| $8.91|
|Lamb chops ||4 pack|| $13.90|
|Pork chops ||1kg ||$14.99|
|Sausages ||pack of 10 ||$6.99|
|Canola oil ||500ml|| $5.19|
|Toilet paper ||4 rolls|| $4.44|
|Bleach ||1.25L|| $2.80|
|Washing machine soap powder|| 1kg|| $6.97|
|Detergent ||750ml|| $3.01|
|Dishwashing liquid || 900ml|| $3.08|
|Paper towels ||2 pack|| $3.13|
|Hand soap (liquid) || 500ml|| $3.39|
|Cat litter ||3L|| $3.19|
|Cat biscuits || 1kg ||$3.99|
|Rubbish bags ||5 pack|| $5.99|
|Toothpaste ||120g|| $3.49|
Source: Pack’n’Save, June 2013.
New Zealanders do not generally follow the custom of giving a tip to waiters, porters and other service people. However, tipping is appropriate in the more expensive restaurants and hotels – particularly if you have received unusually good service. A tip of between five and ten percent of the total bill is appropriate.
All New Zealand tap water is safe to drink and most is of very high quality.
Shops and supermarkets are similar to those in most Western countries. New Zealanders use the word 'dairy' to refer to small local shops that sell ice creams, sweets, newspapers, magazines and some basic grocery items, and the word 'superette' to refer to small local supermarkets.
Most shops are open during working hours, usually 9:00am to 5:30pm from Monday to Saturday. Late Thursday and Friday night and Sunday shopping is also common. Many supermarkets are open until 9:00pm, and some stay open for 24 hours, seven days a week. Some shops, such as takeaway food outlets and those attached to petrol stations, are also open for extended hours.
Getting help with speaking English
If you need help in learning English, your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is a good place to start. CAB staff are trained in assisting new migrants and will be able to refer you to local ESOL training organisations, colleges and schools that can provide the type of tuition you require. Local CAB offices are listed under CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU (INC) in The White Pages.
The Tertiary Education Commission also produces an English for Migrants Course Information. You can obtain this by calling free on: 0800 832 463 (0800 TEC INFO) or download it from the website.
National Association of ESOL Home Tutor Schemes runs one-to-one ESOL teaching at home, social English groups, special focus groups for learning skills such as driver licence theory and social events.
New Zealand Correspondence School
Provides ESOL correspondence courses at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Public telephone booths are usually located in town centres and suburban shopping areas. Very few are coin-operated and most require pre-purchased phone cards. These are available in a range of values from $5 to $100 and can be purchased from most supermarkets, newsagents, dairies and other shops. If you cannot find a number, the Directory Service (dial 018) can help.
All parts of New Zealand operate in the same time zone.
Opening a bank account
Opening a bank account is easy – you do not need to be a resident of New Zealand, or to provide references. Most banks will have an account operating for you within ten days, and often much sooner. To find a bank, look under 'Banks' in the Yellow Pages. You will need to give the bank a permanent address, either residential or a post office box or private bag. A hotel or motel address is not acceptable.
If you want to open a cheque account, the bank will need identification, such as your passport or driver licence, and a deposit – usually about $200. When paying by cheque, it is normal to show identification such as a driver licence, credit card or passport.
If you earn income, you will need to give the bank an IRD number. To get an IRD number, contact Inland Revenue (IRD), freephone: 0800 227 774.
Banks are normally open from 9:00am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) operate 24 hours a day.
In addition to cheque and savings accounts and foreign exchange services, New Zealand banks offer a range of services that include personal loans, home loans, insurance, investment, credit cards, and property and business finance. Foreign exchange services are particularly efficient.
Most banks charge a fee for every transaction made, including ATM transactions, cheques and savings withdrawals. Fees for ATM and EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) transactions are normally 15 to 50 cents; 50 cents to $1.25 can be charged for cheque transactions or when dealing with a bank teller in person.
Some major banks offer special services for new migrants, and have multilingual staff who can help with advice and information.
Deposit boxes for the secure storage of personal valuables, such as jewellery and financial and legal papers, are available at most banks for a modest fee.