9 Essential Tasks for Moving to New Zealand

Aeroplane Wing over New Zealand

Moving abroad and setting up a brand new life can seem like a somewhat gigantic task when it is looming ahead of you. This can be super daunting. However, rest assured, if you are planning on moving to New Zealand, in my experience, it is actually a lot easier than you think.

For my boyfriend and I, moving to Wellington, in the practical sense, went really smoothly and I would say that moving to NZ is pretty simple, particularly for Brits. Even so,  it always pays to be prepared and there are several mundane admin tasks that can be done before moving as well as when you arrive.

Are you moving to Wellington? You need to check out my post to help you decide where you might want to live:

Where to live in Wellington – Which area is for you?

This blog post lists those things for you. Here we go…

The 9 things you need to do to when you’re moving to New Zealand

1.Get a visa

The number 1 thing you really need to sort out when you are thinking of moving to New Zealand for the first time, is your visa. This might seem really obvious but if you don’t sort out your working visa before you arrive you will not be able to work and I am assuming most people will want to work if planning on moving to New Zealand. Information about all the visas can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website: New Zealand Immigration Make sure you are completely familiar with all the criteria for your visa before you arrive and if you are going down the Partnership visa route, i have created a post explaining my experience of applying for this visa: How I applied for the NZ Partnership Visa.

New Zealand Flight Aeroplane

2.Get a proof of address in New Zealand

For future steps 4 and 5; opening your bank account as well as getting your IRD Number  (your NZ tax number), you will need a proof of address in New Zealand.

You probably don’t have this yet, if you haven’t moved, but don’t fear. In the event you are staying in a hostel or hotel when you arrive, you will likely be able to get a letter from them to say that you are ‘living’ there. If you are staying with someone through Air BnB, like we did, you can also get them to write a letter confirming you are ‘living’ there. Just be prepared for this and try to arrange for this before you arrive while you are preparing to move to New Zealand.

I would highly recommend Air BnB as your first port of call for accomodation when you move to NZ and if you want a discount of $50 on your first booking with AirBNB Follow this linkwww.airbnb.co.nz/c/jmccrickard

3. Get a New Zealand Phone / Sim Card

I am pretty basic when it comes to what I want from my phone so this wasn’t too complicated. If you are a big phone person you can find out more detailed advice about phones in NZ on this super helpful blog: Best Phone Providers in New Zealand In my experience, there are just three main phone providers in NZ:


2 Degrees

Spark Mobile

I went with 2 Degrees, because they set everything up on the spot in store and were super nice and cheap. It seemed a lot more complicated at Vodafone. I’m sure there are even better deals, but if you want it sorted quickly, 2 Degrees are great. You can start off with a sim only pay as you go system and then easily move to an account if you wish. Bare in mind that New Zealand is a little behind the times with Internet, and you wont get loads of data unless you pay a little more.

New info! Since writing this post I have found out about Skinny Direct mobile. Its so much cheaper than the others as it is all done online. Check it out, I am moving over to them, great deals and easily done online: Skinny Direct

New Zealand Bank Account

4.Get a FULLY FUNCTIONAL New Zealand Bank Account

This is very important, in order to do next steps you will need to open a bank account. My boyfriend and I opened ours with ANZ as after a little research it was the easiest one with no costs involved. Initially it worried me that I would need a proof of address in order to open a bank account. However, as per step 2, after a little correspondence with ANZ, they confirmed the lady we were staying with through Air BnB could write a signed letter confirming that we were staying with her.

Before we even got to NZ she had kindly written the letter for us to take to the bank. We just took this letter, along with our passports to an ANZ branch and opened our accounts on the spot. Simple!

IMPORTANT…Proving your bank account is ‘fully functional’

Another thing to be super prepared for, is that for the step 5, obtaining your IRD number, you are going to need to show that you have a bank account that is fully functional. Fully functional means that your account has the ability to deposit and withdraw from. If you are trying to get things rolling quickly, its a really good idea that when you are in the bank, opening your account, you deposit $20 into it and take $10 out. This will allow you to then get a statement which shows your name, bank account number and the deposit and withdrawal to send to IRD with your application.

This probably seems so confusing, but its good to be aware of this so you can be prepared. There is more info about this, that you can also print and take with you upon opening your bank account from IRD here: Documents to confirm your New Zealand Bank Account is fully functional

5.  Get an IRD Number for New Zealand

In order to be paid by your employer, you will need an IRD number (like a UK National Insurance number).

This is used for all your tax, entitlement and personal details that Inland Revenue holds. This is a really important thing to sort out before you get paid for the first time because if you don’t you will be taxed at the highest rate of 45% which is waaaaay to much and you don’t want to be waiting around to claim it back. You will need to tell them your National Insurance Number from back home, wherever that is, so make sure you have a record of this somewhere. If you are an expat, like me, you will be classed as an Offshore person for IRD purposes (unless you are an Aussie, then you are a resident).

To apply for the IRD number you will need to do the following:

1.Download the IRD 742 application form, from the IRD website fill it out, print and sign it.

Here’s the form: IRD 742 Form

2.Make colour copies of the following:

  • Your passport
  • Your current New Zealand Address (This could be the same as your bank account statement)
  • Proof of your intended activity in New Zealand (A print out of your work visa)
  • Your fully functional bank account (See Bank Accounts above)

3. Take these original documents along with their copies and your application form to an Inland Revenue Agent (AA or Post Shops) for an in person verification.

The number will then take about 2 weeks to arrive to you in the post.

A Tip! I did this late and I had already started working but I needed to get paid, I called IRD before this time and they gave me the number over the phone. This was great and I was able to give it to my employer before my first pay check.

Job Hunting Wellington

6. Get a job!

Finding the right job is totally relative to who you are, what you do, the visa you are on and what you want. Some people sort out jobs before coming to New Zealand or are looking for employment in a specific field which means you will have specific places you need to look for your industry. How to get a job in New Zealand is different for everyone, but here is some general advice:

If you are like I was, and you are on a working holiday visa, there are certain restrictions that limit your job options. You can’t apply for a permanent role, because your visa is only for a year. The good thing is, unlike the Aussie working holiday, you are allowed to work in the same place for the whole 12 months. Despite any restrictions, I had a job within in my first few weeks here and am optimistic that there is lots of work in New Zealand for Foreigners. Wellington in particular is rapidly expanding and the government is here, so there is plenty of work in all sorts of roles.

General advice about where to look to find jobs in New Zealand:

1. Job Agencies

Here in Wellington GBL and Forte are some examples of good job agencies. There are others, so give it a Google for your area.

It is a good idea to contact a few of these before you arrive as that way you can set up a meeting, ready to get things underway.

GBL Personal Recruitment

Forte Recruitment 

2.Trade Me

Trade me is something you HAVE TO know about if you live in New Zealand. Its basically the Gumtree and Ebay of NZ. Trade me has lots of jobs posted, whatever your industry. Definitely worth a look.

Trade Me Jobs

3. Seek

Seek is Same deal as Trade Me. This site is where my boyfriend found his construction job in Wellington. Worth noting here, if you have a trade, there are so many jobs in New Zealand at the moment. My boyfriend had pretty much locked his job down before he even met them.

Flat Hunting Wellington

7. Find a home

SO… now you have a working visa, a phone, a bank account and a job, this is where the fun begins. You need somewhere to live!

The housing and renting market in New Zealand, especially in Wellington is pretty crammed. If you’re looking for a room or house in February, you will be competing with haudes of students, so if you can, avoid this time. Expect to be paying on average $200 per week including bills for a room in a house, or more if you want your own apartment. You will need two references from your job and former landlord so have these prepared.

Where to look for somewhere to live in New Zealand:

Trade Me is a good place to start for finding a flat in New Zealand, but we actually found our place on Facebook. I would highly recommend joining property rental groups for your chosen location. These are great, easy to use and there always seems to be things going up. Just type in rent and the place where you are moving to. For example in Wellington, a few are:

  • Vic Deals (mainly for students, but busy and great)
  • Buy, Sell and Swap Wellington
  • Flats and Rooms for Rent Wellington

There are also many rental agents in Wellington that you could contact Quinovic is probably the most memorable of these, but they advertise on Trade Me too.

Furniture Shop Wellington

8. Buy Furniture and ‘stuff’ for your house

Unlike in London and the UK, rental rooms and flats are almost always unfurnished here in New Zealand. This can seem like a lot of work when moving to New Zealand from the UK especially if you are only going to be in NZ for a short time, but there are ways of doing it cheaply and easily and its fun!

There is NO IKEA in New Zealand, Shock Horror! This means if you are on a budget you will need to get most things second hand. Personally, I loved this because I am all about the reusing. You will likely need a large car and trailer or removal van and someone to help you with moving stuff around, so be prepared for this. My boyfriend and I did it all in his Subaru estate Car, which was just about fine (the sofa was a bit of a squeeze!)

Where to buy furniture for your house in New Zealand…

Trade Me – The old favourite, is New Zealand’s number one second hand trading site (rather than eBay) and you will find tonnes of furniture on it for pretty cheap.

Facebook sites – These are super useful, as with finding flats. Check out Vic Deals, in Wellington. This site has so much being sold and even given away all the time. If you are not based in Wellington, just search in Facebook, for where you are living and type in ‘buy sell’ and some groups should come up. This was a great way to find lots of useful things and meant we hardly spent any money on setting up. Cabinets for $10 and $20, table and chairs $60, sofa $40, the list goes on…..

Op Shops – These are also a great place to pick up cool cheap bargains: Salvation Army Family Store, Vinnies etc and they often do delivery of big items. Check Op Shops a little out of town for more selection and better bargains.

Check out this Op shop guide to find them near you: Op Shop Directory NZ

Online Furniture Stores – We got a really good bed for pretty cheap and a great spring open mattress from online stores. They were more expensive than second hand of course, but we wanted to spend a bit more on these things.

Check out I Furniture NZ , the site is a bit dodgy but its worth shopping around.

The Warehouse -This is a huge ‘made in china’ cheap goods chain business. But it is a New Zealand business that opened in 1982 and most New Zealanders swear by it. I have to admit, it is useful when setting up, you can get tonnes of home stuff reasonably priced so I cant really miss it off here. Its a bit of a K-Mart but definitely useful, probably more for home utensils and decor than actual furniture.

Camper Van Wellington

9. Buy a car

If you are like us and want to get out into nature on the regular, you will more than likely want and need a car. Buying a car in New Zealand is pretty easy. Trade me is your first port of call for second hand cars as well as Facebook groups again. New Zealand has tonnes of second hand cars for reasonable prices.

We bought a Subaru for $1500 after bartering the guy down from $2500. Remember to negotiate and check up on the end date of the registration and the Warrant of Fitness (WOF, see below) as these are things you will have to replace and they cost money.

Something you need to know about, while owning a car in New Zealand, is The WOF. This is the mechanics review that is issued every 6 months for pre-2000 cars and longer amounts there after, find out more about this here: Warrant of Fitness 

Remember, you can drive on your overseas license for one year (this is true for the UK, check up if this is the same for your home country) after this you will need to apply for a NZ licenseNOTE: The year of driving, starts from every time you re-enter the country, so if you nip over to Aus and then come back, there starts another year.

Shipping your car? Have a car that your wanting to ship? This is something I don’t have experience with, however I have come into contact with people who think it is a better way of getting a car in New Zealand, especially if you already own a car you treasure. If this is the case for you, grab some more information from Willship International who are very knowledgeable on this process and ship all sorts of vehicles all over the world: HERE

Wellington Library


Join the Library! It is FREE.

And even if you’re not wanting to take out the books, Libraries  have copiers, printers and WiFi.

If you need to get certified copies, New Zealand have a free Justice of the Peace service who will sign copies for you. Check the website for your location. In Wellington its at the library.

New Zealand Justice of the Peace


Are you looking for some help with your move to NZ, beyond the personal tips I can offer? There are professionals who help with the admin required. Although I did not use them personally, I have had recommendations for NEW ZEALAND IMMIGRATION CONCEPTS.

With over 22 years of experience working closely with migrants who wish to move to New Zealand. They offer a wide variety of services related to migration to New Zealand. They are 100% New Zealand owned and operated and to me this seems like a good thing!

Check them out here and see if this seems like something you would find useful: www.new-zealand-immigration.com

So, there you go… your moving to New Zealand checklist. It is general but meant to give you an idea of the kings of  things you will need to be organizing.

Any questions just send me a message, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading and Good Luck with moving to New Zealand!


Josie x

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