Moving to New Zealand

On this page you can find relevant information for a move to New Zealand including information about the prices of shipping your belongings, moving pets as well as a checklist of valuable information. Below you will find an overview of  the information we will discuss here:

Emigrating to New Zealand

Do you Enjoy great outdoor activities such as kayaking, skiing or mountaineering? Perhaps you should consider packing your bags right now. New Zealand is the place if you enjoy doing extreme sports. However, that is not all that this country has to offer. Do you want a good quality of life for you and your family? or perhaps you want to travel to New Zealand for a gap year? This country has plenty to offer.


As a UK national, you are not required to apply for a visa for visits to New Zealand. You can stay in New Zealand for up to six months without a visa. If you are planning on moving to New Zealand or staying in New Zealand for more than 6 months, then you must apply for a visa before you leave the UK. If you intent to stay in New Zealand for longer then there are several types of visa available depending on personal circumstances. You can read more about different types of visas on our visas for New Zealand page.

How much does a move to New Zealand cost?

As you’d expect, with a move to the other side of the planet, a move to New Zealand isn’t cheap. An average move to New Zealand costs around £9,000 – £11,000 but this does vary with the size of the move. Furthermore this doesn’t include insurance which will also vary depending on what you’re moving.

Other popular ways for moving belongings to New Zealand include renting or buying a 20 or 40 foot container and then shipping it. Although this process can work out more economical in the long run, often it doesn’t include the cost of taking your things to and from the port.

Moving to New Zealand

Tips for moving to New Zealand

When it comes to a move abroad there are always so many unknowns. Sirelo is here to help! Using knowledge gathered from experienced expats here are a few tips to bear in mind:

  • Try and find a job online first – there is a smaller job market in New Zealand which means that it is harder for migrants to find jobs. Additionally jobs over there are more likely to be given to friends or contacts. If you are not able to find a job online then spending a bit of time networking is crucial.
  • Try and work a car into the budget. Outside of city centres public transport isn’t as frequent or easy as in the UK and therefore a car is more important as a means of getting around. Furthermore New Zealand has some of the most expensive public transport in the world and relatively cheap petrol prices meaning a car can be a more economical option.
  • Make sure you remember that the following items are restricted:
    • Laser pointers
    • Children’s crayons
    • Camping equipment
    • Golf clubs (the last two are restricted as they need to be cleaned properly due to New Zealand’s strict laws when it comes to the natural environment).

Checklist – What to remember when moving to New Zealand

  • Bring your important documents with you. These include but or not limited to: birth certificate, marriage certificate, academic qualifications, references from employers, CV, credit references, driving licence. Colour photocopies and scans are usually accepted.
  • The government of New Zealand has an online planning tool which can be found here. It takes just two minutes to complete and can be integrated with your mobile phone and online calendar.
  • Sort out your finances. You can arrange a bank account before you arrive to make it easier and less stressful when you arrive in New Zealand.
  • Get an IRD number – this number ensures that you are taxed at the correct rate, if not you will be charged from the highest bracket. For more information about this look at our taxes in New Zealand page.
  • It is important to arrange healthcare when moving to a new country. New Zealand has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK meaning that you are entitled to emergency healthcare. This is intended to be used only for short term emergencies so take a look at our healthcare in New Zealand page for more information.
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Transporting Pets and Cars

Moving pets and cars often requires a specialist company as there are certain laws and tariffs to consider. Logically, as these are more specialised then it can be quite expensive therefore you may ask yourself if it is cost effective or practical to transport these items.

Driving and transporting a car

People emigrating to New Zealand with a UK driver’s license or an international driving permit can drive in New Zealand for up to a maximum of 12 months. For Expats moving to New Zealand for more than a year, you need to get a New Zealand driving licence. In New Zealand they also drive on the left hand side of the road meaning that it won’t be problematic to have a right hand drive car there. The biggest problem you are likely to have is that you will be transporting your car to New Zealand. 

Transporting a car costs between £1,500 – £2,000 with around a £400 cost to clear customs. There is a great second hand car market in New Zealand, especially when it comes to cars imported from Asia (which have a great reputation for reliability).

moving to New Zealand

Moving Pets

When it comes to transporting pets to New Zealand there are several things to bear in mind. Most importantly, with the exception of dogs and cats it is forbidden to transport domestic animals to New Zealand.

There are a few ways to move your pets to New Zealand. The most common way is with air transport. When it comes to air transport there are a two main choices. Have the pet on a mass market airline on the same journey as you or find an airline that specializes in moving pets. Moving a pet to New Zealand can get slightly complicated in addition to being expensive. A list of important things to remember can be found below:

  • Make sure that all of your pets vaccinations are up to date. This includes a rabies vaccination 6 – 12 months before moving. This is likely to cost around £400
  • An import permit costs NZ$220.74 (around £125). You only need one even if you are going to import more animals.
  • Transport. As discussed above air transport is the most efficient and most common way. We recommend a budget of around £2000 (however this depends on the size and weight of the animal).
  • All pets imported from the UK must be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days. This is likely to cost between NZ$1,400 and NZ$2,000 (£800 – £1,200) including transportation and government inspection fees.

Cost of Living in New Zealand

New Zealand is a slightly more expensive place to live than the UK. Overall you can compare the two but New Zealand is known for being an expensive place to live due to it’s distance from the rest of the world. If you’re set on moving to New Zealand then the logical next question is to ask which city. Something that may be a factor is price. Use the handy table below of important prices to know (shown in New Zealand dollars) including the cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant and the average rent of an apartment.

MealLitre of petrol3 bed apartment (city)3 bed apartment (suburbs)

Moving to New Zealand renting a house

Finding a place to live in New Zealand

If you are emigrating to New Zealand a good place is to start by renting a house or an apartment before diving in for a purchase. Renting a place for a few months will give you the opportunity to get used to the environment in New Zealand. It will also give you the time to check out the different residential areas and the different properties. Moreover, if you are moving to New Zealand with children you have to consider the area of residence because it influences the school they will be enrolled into. In New Zealand, most home purchases are done via a real estate agent and it is always good advice to seek the approval of an experienced lawyer before making an offer. Find out more on our living in New Zealand page.

When looking at prices (shown in the table above) you can see generally that the cost of renting a place is slightly more than many big UK cities such as Manchester or Birmingham however the price of living is significantly cheaper than London or other (more expensive) cities in the south.

Renting a home

For advice on renting from a reliable source make sure you head over to the Government of New Zealand website, where you can learn about the procedures to follow when renting property in New Zealand. It features everything from discussing the legal paperwork to the logistics of sharing a flat (or flatting as they call it in New Zealand).

Buying property in New Zealand

Buying a house is a complicated task even back home. Moving to a new country makes it that bit more complicated. If you’re looking for advice on legalities, mortgages, valuation and more check out New Zealand Now.

If you’re looking for sites to buy a property or just get an idea of the market then you should start your search at Open2View and Real Estate NZ, these sites prove very popular with locals and expats alike.

Get 5 free moving quotes

Now that you know a bit more about your move abroad why not see how much it costs? By using our free moving form you can receive up to 5 no obligation quotes to work out the cost of a move to New Zealand. It only takes 1-2 minutes and means that you can save up to 40% on your move!