Moving to Christchurch, New Zealand? Relocation costs and tips…

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, named by the Canterbury Association in 1848 and officially established in 1856, making it the oldest city in the country.
Known as a place of opportunity, where change and innovation are embraced, the economy of Christchurch is thriving having benefited from large amounts of investment and urban regeneration in recent years. Unemployment levels are low, and a strong performance is visible in the city’s key sectors, which include construction, hi-tech manufacturing, technology, agribusiness and tourism.
Residents report enjoying a great work / life balance in a vibrant city with a friendly community made up of a diverse population (19% of the city’s residents were born outside of New Zealand).
Christchurch also boasts an abundance of recreational activities and green spaces, a great healthcare and education system, good retail and hospitality facilities and a café society where residents can sit and watch the world go by in the glorious sunshine.
Christchurch and the surrounding area of Canterbury both have a lot to offer, but there are several important areas to consider before you board a plane to take you to your new life in the sun.

Property in Christchurch

It’s difficult to find accommodation online and at a distance, so it’s worth booking into an short term apartment or hotel when you arrive in Christchurch and starting your property hunt in earnest once you can physically view properties and talk to landlords and estate agents in person.
The city of Christchurch and the Canterbury region offer a range of lifestyle options, from sleek inner-city apartments to spacious suburban family homes and rambling rural properties. Christchurch is also particularly famous for its generous green space – most homes have a garden, and these are largely kept well-tended by residents.
As a guide, average house prices in Christchurch, as of May 2019, were: Christchurch city 452,500 NZD / £363,538 Wider Canterbury region 445,000 NZD / £357,513.
If you’re thinking of renting in the city, you’ll be pleased to hear that Christchurch has strict laws that landlords must stick to, keeping their properties in a good standard of repair and responding to issues quickly.
After major earthquakes destroyed large amounts of housing in 2010 and 2011, a higher than usual proportion of Christchurch’s residents are in rental accommodation – so while demand is high and rents can be on the steep side, protection for tenants is excellent. To benefit from this, however, both you and your new landlord must sign a legally binding tenancy agreement.
As for rental costs, the average weekly price for a 3-bedroom unfurnished house in the Christchurch area (as of September 2019) is between 380 NZD (£305.25) and 415 NZD (£333.37).
The average weekly rental price for a 3-bedroom unfurnished flat in the Christchurch area is 340 NZD (£273.12) and 450 NZD (£361.48).

Cost of living

As a major city, it will come as no surprise to learn that it’s a little more expensive to live in Christchurch than in rural areas of New Zealand.
If you work in the business district of the city, lunch with a drink will set you back just under £10 while a meal with drink in a fast food restaurant costs around £6. A litre of milk costs around £1 in Christchurch while a dozen eggs cost £4.
A litre of beer in a supermarket costs around £2.60 while a bottle of good quality red wine is charged at around £9.
If you’re planning on driving in Christchurch, a litre of fuel will set you back £1.15 while a monthly public transport pass is priced at £60.
Christchurch has a weekly farmers market held every Saturday and Sunday, providing a great community vibe and options aplenty to buy quality local produce. You’ll find it running from 9am until 1pm at Riccarton House and from 9.30am until 1pm on Sunday at Kilmore Street.
There are also cheap deals to be had on eating out in the city if you’re prepared to shop around, particularly with street food vendors at lunch times.


The public healthcare system in New Zealand gives residents access to free or heavily subsidised hospital care and emergency treatment along with standard medical testing, children’s immunisations and prescriptions for children aged under six. GP visits, medications for those age 6 and over and the use of ambulance services are all subsidised. In order to access this, expats need to have New Zealand residency status and must be registered with a GP.
In addition to the national healthcare scheme, there are also district-funded healthcare initiatives, known as Primary Health Organizations (PHO’s) that provide further subsidies to medical costs. If you want to join one of these it’s advisable to do it as soon as you arrive as the process can take up to three months to complete. Both expats and residents must pay for some types of medical treatment in full, so it’s wise to take out health insurance to cover these. Costs will vary dependent on your age and a range of factors that include smoking, consumption of alcohol and previous medical history.

Shipping costs

When planning your relocation to Christchurch, you’ll need to factor in shipping costs for your belongings. Look for a moving company that has a long history of international experience and can take your property from door to door rather than port to port.
The Cadogan Tate International Removals team are experts in moving to New Zealand and we can ensure that everything goes smoothly. Give us a call today to find out how we can support you through your big move today.
We can arrange the shipping of large items of furniture, household goods and can handle any personal belongings you want to take, including pets, vehicles and valuable items.


All children aged 6 to 16 years in New Zealand must either attend school or be educated at home, with most kids starting school when they turn five years old.
The state funded education system in New Zealand is well-regarded with quality education available to all. Only citizens and permanent residents are entitled to attend public schools in New Zealand for free, however, so parents in the country on a temporary visa will need to apply for a student visa for their children which registers them as domestic students, enabling them to receive a free education within the public school system.
Just under 5% of children attend private schools in New Zealand. Private schools are either co-ed or single sex, there are both residential and day school options available. Private schools are not government funded and charge set fees, usually in the region of NZ$20,000 (just over £10,000) per year. With a little preparation and planning, your move to Christchurch can be a pleasant rather than stressful experience.
The following resources should be invaluable when preparing for your new life in this vibrant city.
Some helpful websites to get more information – and
If you’re moving to New Zealand, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.