Moving to New Zealand

Prepare for your new life in New Zealand

If you’re moving to New Zealand, there is a lot to think about. Any long-haul move comes with a lot to consider and prepare for.

There is enough to think about with finding schools, securing property, preparing for a new job role and tying up life in the UK. Thinking about the practicalities of physically moving your household belongings thousands of miles is just one more thing on the to-do list.

So why not let us help? We can take control of the removals side of your relocation, including planning, packing, paperwork and logistics.

We’ve already helped hundreds of families make the move to New Zealand. Give us a call today to find out how we can support you through your big move today.


Cadogan Tate prides itself on its knowledge and experience when it comes to moving to New Zealand. We make regular crossing by sea to New Zealand and are familiar with the journey, timescales and customs clearance procedures. It’s a long-haul move, so there is a lot of planning and paperwork involved, so why not leave it to the experts?

We have been in the moving business for decades and in that time, we have built up industry-leading methods to ensure that your household goods and valuable possessions arrive safely at your new home. We can also advise you on storage options, should you need them, on a short- or long-term basis.

The first step when moving to New Zealand is to get in touch with us today, via the contact form or give us a call. We will dispatch one of our friendly surveyors to your home to assess the nature of your belongings and discuss your requirements and budget. From here, we can give you a no-obligation quote for your removals.

If you choose to invest in our superior services, we will allocate a Move Coordinator, who will work with you to put together a comprehensive Move Plan and ensure it’s carried out. They will deal with any issues that crop up along the way and can answer any questions you may have.

Enquire now or call us on +44 (0) 20 8963 4000

General advice

New Zealand is one of the most popular countries for British expatriates to relocate to. It offers a similar culture, familiar language and Western business practices, which aids with settling in and feeling at home. However, the lifestyle is vastly different. There is a better work/life balance, beautiful landscapes to explore, a favourable climate and a strong focus on healthy living. In the well-regarded HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2018, New Zealand ranks the second best country in the world for its expat experience. There are also plenty of job opportunities for the right candidates, and it’s a wonderful place to raise a family.


We have put together a collection of articles on all aspects of life in New Zealand for British expats, including a guide to living like a local. We will continue to add to this hub and update our articles, to provide you with a useful resource to help inform your international move.


Regional Information

The island country of New Zealand in the southwestern Pacific Ocean comprises two main islands: the North Island and the South Island. There are also about 600 other smaller islands. The country is located over 900 miles off the coast of Australia, so it’s quite remote, which can make it feel especially far away for expatriates.

Its popularity with British expats in particular is due to its cultural similarities. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, and it is governed by a stable political system and strong foreign relations. The economy is also favourable; it’s considered a high-income economy with low unemployment.

The climate varies considerably down the length of the islands, but it is generally temperate. The warmest months are usually January and February, with winter occurring in July. This can take a little getting used to for British expatriates, especially as the festive season falls mid-summer and the schools run to a different schedule.

New Zealand has a fairly diverse population. In the 2013 census, 74% of the population were European and 14.9% Māori, with Asian and Pacific minorities making up the rest. While Wellington is the capital city, the most populous is Auckland, which is a good choice for expatriates.


New Zealand Lifestyle

One of the biggest differences between living in the UK and living in New Zealand is that the latter is a lot less crowded. It’s easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and take time out to enjoy the great outdoors, alone or with family and friends. The more relaxed pace of daily life helps to create a far more attractive work/life balance. There is a strong work ethic, but there is also a clear focus on getting away from the office and indulging in recreational activities too.

No matter where you end up living, you’re always within easy reach of a national park, hiking trail, bike route or beach. The stunning scenery makes it much easier to get outdoors at the weekends. There is so much to explore, from gushing rivers and fjords, to towering mountains and stunning forests.

It also helps that the native New Zealanders are known for being welcoming of outsiders. Expatriates are made to feel right at home and it’s easy to integrate into your new local community. Check out the blog How To Move To New Zealand by expats Sam and Jenny, who have emigrated from the UK to New Zealand, they share free tips, advice and their experience.

If you’re moving to New Zealand with children, it’s reassuring to know that they will receive a world-class education, often scoring ahead of the UK in global school rankings. While there are international schools, many expatriates choose to use the public school system, such is its high reputation and quality of education.


Real Estate

Many expatriates will opt to rent at first, but as they settle in, they often go on to buy a property. This is because it’s fairly straightforward to purchase a property in New Zealand as an expatriate. There are few restrictions on foreign buyers and the process is familiar to UK homeowners.

The main method to buy a home is through ‘Sale by Private Treaty’, which is similar to the UK system. You find a home you want to buy, make an offer and conduct the appropriate searches. An agreement is drawn up, checked by your lawyer or conveyancer, a deposit is paid and the deal is completed. The main difference with the house-buying process in comparison to the UK is the speed. It’s not unusual to go from offer to completion in just 4-6 weeks, rather than the more expected 12 weeks back in the UK.

It’s also possible to buy a property via a tender. The seller puts a guide price on the property along with the relevant tender documents and a closing date. Interested parties can then read through the documentation, fill in an agreement with an offer and send a cheque for the deposit. There may be more than one bidder for the tender and it will be up to the seller to choose.


Expatriates can access the free public healthcare system in New Zealand, as well as being members of the government funded Primary Health Organisation (PHO), which subsides other medical costs. The standard of healthcare in the country is considered to be among the best in the world. Once you have been issued with your 24-month visa, you can access free services, which includes most standard tests, your children’s immunisations (where relevant), hospital care and emergency treatment.

Most expatriates and many nationals also have private healthcare for non-urgent treatments and consultations. These facilities are outstanding and there are no waiting times, so it is worth considering getting a comprehensive policy.

If you have an emergency, the number to call is 111. Much like our own NHS Direct, there is also a free national health line to call for advice. Be aware that if you take a particular medicine on a regular prescription, you may need to be prepared well in advance – imported mediations can take a while to reach the pharmacy. However, for normal everyday medicines, pharmacies are plentiful.

Money and Utilities

There are plenty of banks in New Zealand and it is easy for expatriates to open a new account. There are many international names, however the biggest banks are ANZ, Bank of New Zealand, ASB and Westpac. Some of these banks have the option to apply online before you leave the UK, which can be useful to start building up some accessible cash for arrival in the country.

The tax year runs from 1st April to 31st March, with a tax return due by 7th July. Most employees will have their tax deducted using PAYE with a progressive rate system. This starts from 10.5% and rises to 33% for earnings of more than $70,000 NZD. Any other income must be declared in your tax return form and is due by 7th February. There is a double tax relief deal in place for worldwide income.


Resident expatriates are liable for these taxes, whereas those with non-resident status pay a withholding tax rate of 15%, though there are exceptions and deductions. It’s worth investing in the services of an account to deal with your tax affairs and liabilities to ensure the correct taxes are paid.

How long should you allow for shipping to New Zealand?

Given the vast distances involved in an international relocation to New Zealand, there are inevitably long shipping times to get your household goods to your new home. We suggest allowing 8-10 weeks for door-to-door delivery in a dedicated container. If you prefer to use the more budget-friendly option of shared containers (groupage), you should allow 11-16 weeks for your items to arrive.

What can you take?

When planning any international relocation, you do need to be careful when deciding what to take with you and what to leave behind in storage.

Most household goods and personal effects can be imported to New Zealand free of duty and tax in many expatriate circumstances. For example, if you are a first-time migrant holding permanent residency status, you have a Work to Residency visa, you hold a work permit for longer than 12 months or you are a New Zealander returning from an overseas absence of more than 21 months.

However, ‘household items’ doesn’t apply to vehicles, commercial items or new and unused items. You will need to prove that you have a right to residence by submitting your visa documentation.

Taking a car or motor vehicle

You may get a concession on some private vehicles if you wish to bring them with you when you move. You will need to sign to say that you won’t sell or dispose of your vehicle within two years, and if you do, you will be liable to pay the appropriate taxes and duties. Vehicles must have been owned and used for at least a year. Cadogan Tate can advise you on the correct documentation you must provide when shipping a car to New Zealand.

Moving to New Zealand with pets

There are some restrictions to bringing pets into New Zealand. You cannot import live birds, ferrets, guinea pigs, rodents, snakes or other reptiles. There are also some restricted breeds of dog.

For household pets that are permitted, they will need biosecurity clearance, documentation to show their value, documentation to show ownership and evidence of vaccinations, a completed Imported Animal Clearance Form, personal ID and documentation to show how you are transporting your pet and the cost of travel. You shouldn’t need to pay duty on the importation of a family pet, but there is a transaction fee.


New Zealand Regional Information

The Cadogan Tate International Removals team are experts in moving to New Zealand and we can ensure that everything goes smoothly. It’s a big step, moving to the other side of the world, but we have done it hundreds of times and can support you through the whole process.

We know the country well after our years of dealing with international removals, which is why we have used our knowledge and experience to build this detailed hub of information to help you prepare for your move.

We regularly make shipments to New Zealand and can give you advice on the best transportation arrangements to ensure your new life gets off to the best start.


Enquire now or call us on +44 (0) 20 8963 4000

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