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Settling In


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)
  • marriage certificates
  • 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)
  • curriculum vitae
  • credit references
  • 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.

    Brand/Item Price
    Hewlett-Packard Pavilion Computer Package Deal (includes 17" monitor, a good level of software, 80GB hard drive and 256MB RAM + printer) $1,799.99
    Fisher & Paykel 5.5kg Top Load Washing Machine $799.99
    Samsung Vacuum Cleaner $139.99
    Vidal Sassoon Hair Dryer $39.99
    Fisher & Paykel Electronic Dishwasher $899.99
    Fisher & Paykel 3.5kg Manual Dryer $499.99
    Doro Basic Corded Phone $29.99
    Panasonic Mini Stereo System $299.99
    AWA 29'' CTV Television $599.99
    Panasonic DVD Player $179.99
    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.


    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
  • biological specimens.

    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.

    Money exchange

    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.

    Information Centres

    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

    Item Quantity Price
    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.

    Bank hours

    Banks are normally open from 9:00am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) operate 24 hours a day.

    Bank services

    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.

    Bank fees

    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.

    Migrant services

    Some major banks offer special services for new migrants, and have multilingual staff who can help with advice and information.

    Safe custody

    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.
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  • About

    Established 21 years ago on the North Shore of Auckland city, NSIS is one of the leaders in the immigration field in New Zealand They have a sound reputation as providers of highly personalised service and assistance in all aspects of immigrating and relocating to New Zealand, and especially in residence applications
    Our mission and values

    - Full commitment to prospective migrants
    - Honesty, reliability, security
    - Accurate assessment of our clients' chances of gaining Residence in New Zealand, and only accept clients we believe would be successful
    - Abide by the Code of Ethics of the NZ Association for Migration& Investment (NZAMI)
    - To be your Immigration consultancy of choice
    Contact us

    Phone: 00 64-9-415 3392
    Fax: 00 64-9-415 5934
    Mobile: 00 64 220347145

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