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Guide to the Way of Life in New Zealand.

How to set up a new life in New Zealand.

By Anshul Singh TomarPublished 4 years ago Updated 2 years ago 16 min read

Living in New Zealand means immersing yourself in the pleasant ways of Kiwi and Māori, the effective and diverse working culture and the love of nature in the region. To understand New Zealand's way of life, this section will provide you with everything you need to know. Are you curious what living in New Zealand is like? You can see companies office of Newzealand here.

There are many pros and cons. All of the positive factors are the nature, weather, incredibly low crime rate, and the friendliness of the Kiwis. Nevertheless, expats must be careful that relocating too far south can have its disadvantages. The distinct time zone (GMT+12) will make it difficult to stay in contact with loved ones, and it would be even more difficult to visit expensive long-distance flights also you can use this tool to verify any australian company by doing abn lookup.

You may also learn that driving is different from what you are used to. Tackling the narrow and twisting roads in New Zealand, in addition to driving on the left side, adds an additional layer of challenge to your journeys. If you need to trade your current driver's licence for a New Zealand licence, or if you need to take a theoretical and realistic driving test, this guide will help you decide.

We also cover the country's most popular public transport choices and their expenses, so you can find the right choice for you. Beware, the nation-wide transportation system of New Zealand can be sluggish and costly. This guide also addresses practicalities that can be missed on a regular basis, such as the key holidays, where to locate embassies or airports, or the best way to create contact. In our guide, we discuss what you need to know about these practicalities.

Fresh Zealand's Pros and Cons of Living

While moving to the centre of nature resonates with many expats, before relocating, it is still important to weigh the pros and cons of living in New Zealand. Living in a different time zone to your loved ones might make it more difficult to stay in touch, but New Zealand's natural beauty and the friendly locals will help you feel at home. The sunny weather, the rich natural environment, and the stress-free lifestyle are the main benefits of living in New Zealand. The majority of the pros and cons of living in the land of the Kiwis will be broken down by the following list.

The advantages of living in New Zealand

Amazing All Year's Conditions

All year round, New Zealand benefits from a temperate and mild climate, which ensures there are more days of sunshine than rain. The North Island remains warm and sunny throughout the winter months, while the South Island may be covered with snow. The countless outdoor activities the country has to offer, regardless of the season, will be enjoyed by nature lovers. In New Zealand, skiing down a mountain in the morning and surfing in the afternoon is certainly feasible.

Nature Unchanged

Did you ever look at "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" and love the natural landscape? Did you know that the films in New Zealand were shot? Too many untouched and rough areas are still to be explored, even a few kilometres outside the major cities. For the very first time, you can feel like an explorer setting foot there. New Zealand boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world for a small country. Untouched beaches, rainforests, deserts, fjords, glaciers, and mountains can all be found.

A relaxed life with excellent work-Balance of Life

Life is peaceful and relaxed in New Zealand. Big cities are not overcrowded and your neighbour's home could be miles away from you if you live in the countryside. In New Zealand, the population density is 18 people per square kilometre (47 individuals per square mile). In contrast, the UK has a population density of 727 per square mile (281 people per square kilometre).

The fact that on your everyday walk there are not many people you could cross paths with is not the main reason why life is peaceful and laidback. A balanced work-to-play balance is promoted and overtime work is a rarity in New Zealand. That does not mean that there are lazy or unsuccessful New Zealanders. As a less achievement-oriented community , regardless of their form of occupation or income, they see everyone as equal.

Pleasant and accommodating individuals

Kiwis, with a laidback and optimistic attitude towards life, are usually friendly individuals. New Zealand is also a young country as compared to European countries. Even the Māori, the native inhabitants of the region, have been living on the island for only about 800 years. New Zealand bears the marks of colonialism, like many other nations, with a population almost entirely comprised of immigrants. Kiwis, however, do not dig into the past. Other nationalities and cultures are open-minded, cooperative and welcoming to them.

Permanent and Citizenship Residency

There is very little distinction between being a permanent resident and getting citizenship, according to the laws of New Zealand. At any time, permanent residents can vote, leave and re-enter the country, and have access to healthcare and education subsidised by the state.

Chances of Work

In several sectors, such as IT, banking, healthcare, and tourism, the economic sector is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers due to the fast-growing economy and low population density. New Zealand has relaxed its immigration laws to fill these vacancies and welcomes staff, entrepreneurs, and creative companies. Refer to our Working in New Zealand guide if you need more detail on how to find a job or set up a company in New Zealand.

Healthcare Open

In New Zealand, irrespective of their citizenship status, everybody is entitled to government-subsidized healthcare. Also non-residents with a temporary visa have access to excellent medical care in the country, although they have to pay extra fees occasionally. Please notice that the cost of dental care for adults is not included in the programme for public health care. Read our complete Healthcare in New Zealand guide if you want to know more about the healthcare system.

Training Top-Notch

New Zealand's public education system is famous for being one of the best in the world. Except for uniforms , books and meals, it is all free-of - charge. Person annual donation fees are also required by some schools.

Crime Rate Low

New Zealand is ranked 14 among the best countries for expats, according to the InterNations 2019 Expat Insider Ranking. Compared with elsewhere in the country, the crime rate in New Zealand is exceptionally poor. In both the 2019 Global Peace Index and in the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, New Zealand also placed second. Compared to other nations, political scandals are mild.

Fresh Zealand's Downsides of Living

Isolated and Far Away

New Zealand is an island which is very remote. For example, Auckland is nearly 1,400 miles from Sydney and about 5,700 miles from Hong Kong. The large time gap (GMT+12) can also make it very difficult to keep in touch with loved ones, and fly and visit them on expensive long-distance flights.

Expensive Costs

New Zealand is a small island nation, which means that many items have to be imported, ranging from food to electronics and furniture. For goods, it is not always possible to shop locally. It's possible they won't be available in New Zealand if you are searching for unique brands from your home country. You will have to ship them from somewhere else and risk paying a great deal in custom fees.

Living costs in the cities are very high, apart from commodities. With the number of individuals flocking to the cities looking for jobs, rents are rising.

The Poor Infrastructure

There is no existing countrywide rail system in New Zealand. It is nearly impossible to explore the country via bus or train. Slow, infrequent, and costly are the trains that exist. The train from Auckland to Wellington, for example, leaves once a day, very early, and it takes about 11 hours to ride. A car ride from Auckland to Wellington takes about eight hours, in contrast. Not only is it very long, but it is incredibly costly. 160 NZD (95 USD) is the cost of a train ticket from Auckland to Wellington.

At a high price , low-quality housing

Housing standards have been poor in New Zealand until recently. Many older homes have poor insulation or no insulation, and some have no ventilation at all. Moreover, rental prices are extremely high , especially in Auckland , Wellington, and Christchurch, the biggest cities. More information on the housing market in New Zealand can be found in our housing guide.

UV Rays and Ozone Layer

There are several sunny days a year in New Zealand, which can be risky. The nation is located directly under a hole in the ozone layer, which makes the chance of UV rays higher than in other nations. Even on cloudy days, you can't fail to use sunscreen due to the increased risk for sunburn and skin cancer.

Practical information

Mountains, rainforests, fjords, and sandy beaches surround New Zealand, making it a popular destination for expats. The population is also diverse, with most of them themselves being expats. English is the primary language spoken in New Zealand. The country does, however, have Māori as its second official language.

  • Country Name: New Zealand, Aotearoa (Māori)
  • Government Type: unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Climate: temperate maritime
  • Capital: Wellington
  • Official Languages: English, Māori, New Zealand sign language
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD, $)
  • Time Zones: UTC+12, Summer UTC+13
  • Country Calling Code: +64
  • Driving: left side
  • Voltage: 240 V / 50 Hz
  • Recommended Vaccinations: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (or chickenpox), polio, flu shot
  • Emergency Number: 111

What are the Main Public Holidays in New Zealand?

  • New Year’s Day: 1st January
  • The day after New Year’s Day: 2nd January
  • Waitangi Day: 6th February
  • Good Friday: the Friday before Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday: the day after Easter Sunday
  • ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) Day: 25th April
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday: 3rd June
  • Labor Day: 28th October
  • Christmas Day: 25th December
  • Boxing Day: 26th December

Main Embassies

If you need to visit your embassy or consulate, this link has a complete list of embassies and consulates in New Zealand.


  • Embassy of the United States of America, 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon 6011, Wellington
  • Consulate-General of the United States of America, Level 3, Citibank Centre, 23 Customs Street East, cnr Commerce Street, Auckland 1010


  • High Commission of Canada, Level 11, 125 The Terrace, Wellington 6011
  • Consulate and Trade Office of Canada, 9th Floor, 48 Emily Place, Auckland 1010


  • Australian High Commission, 72-76 Hobson Street, Thorndon 6011, Wellington
  • Australian Consulate-General, Level 7, PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower, 188 Quay Street, Auckland 1010


  • Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, 90-92 Hobson St, Wellington 6011
  • Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany, Level 13, PWC Tower, 188 Quay Street, Auckland 1010

Main Airports

There are six international airports in New Zealand:

  • Auckland Airport
  • Christchurch Airport
  • Dunedin Airport
  • Queenstown Airport
  • Rotorua Airport
  • Wellington Airport
  • A number of airports also connect the country through domestic flights.

Social Etiquette and Community

In New Zealand, feeling at home is not difficult. You will find that New Zealanders are polite and sociable, so it should be easy to integrate into the culture. The nation has a remarkable appreciation of nature and particular meal times, where most social interactions occur.

Who are these Kiwis?

Fresh Zealanders are referred to as Kiwis, and they refer to themselves. The word is internationally recognised and has an endearing connotation. It is derived from the eponymous flightless national bird species, which is the national emblem.

Kiwis define themselves as friendly, but reserved, and open, but respectful. They are sincere, supportive, and may have a difficult time explicitly saying "no". Instead, in the form of a "not sure" or "not really" you can hear a "no".

On invites and schedules, they are often comfortable. While a New Zealander said yes to an invitation, it's not a guarantee they're going to be there. This shouldn't be taken personally by you.

Despite their outgoing nature, New Zealanders are very private. Generally speaking, they do not want to share details such as how much they receive, their marital status, or their weight. It seems that co-workers keep work and private life apart.

  • Kiwis want personal space for them. Standing too close will make them feel awkward.
  • Walking on the left side of the sidewalk is popular for people in New Zealand.
  • Etiquette and Traditions of the Kiwi
  • Through a handshake or smile, people usually greet each other.
  • Smiling is very significant and very characteristic of New Zealanders, who also smile at strangers.
  • When meeting a New Zealander, you will use titles and surnames, but expect to be called by your first name shortly after.

Social Food Experiences

In a comfortable environment, sharing food is a good way to socialise with Kiwis. This may be during picnics, barbecues, or hāngis, which are typical earth-fired Māori meals. Bring a bottle of wine or a small gift while invited to social events, even if the host finds it unnecessary.

Typically, dining situations are familiar and casual. These follow the continental course. On the left side, the fork is carried, the knife on the right. You position your fork and knife parallel to each other after you have completed your meal, with the handles to the right.

New Zealand has a tradition of drinking, and at the age of 18, you can legally drink in New Zealand. It is not a problem not to partake in drinking alcohol, and smoking is not very common. You are expected to smoke outside, and asking the people around you if they would mind you smoking around them is considered friendly.

Māori Culture and Etiquette

You will find many influences from Māori culture in New Zealand, which you should take into account.

  • It is common to say a prayer before eating, called the karakia.
  • You are often expected to take off your shoes when indoors.
  • You should refrain from sitting on tables or pillows.
  • You may also be greeted with the standard kiss on the cheek.
  • Māori may spontaneously sing traditional songs while speaking – these are often used as a way to close or enhance a speech.
  • Māori’s love of nature influenced the nation’s stand on environmentalism. There is an overall positive attitude towards the environment and its preservation.

Commercial Etiquette and Agreements

A big part of the office setting is food. Teas in the morning or afternoon are popular at work, and so are birthday celebrations or other team celebrations. Everyone is supposed to bring food to share, which is what is intended if you are asked to "bring a plate."

On Friday nights, you might even be invited out to socialise with colleagues. This is normally reserved for the business, and there are typically no family members, although this will depend on the workplace.

expect the method to take time while negotiating in New Zealand. Not well-received hard-sales techniques. Fresh Zealanders enjoy, and don't bargain much, concrete figures and costs. For their money, they expect value.

Driving in New Zealand

Driving can take some getting used to in New Zealand. You should expect the roads to be nice in general. However, with just two lanes, some of its long-distance roads (known as state highways) can be very narrow. In more remote locations, gravel roads are popular, so if you are travelling in less populated areas, don't always expect a smooth ride. As in any other location, rush hour affects the largest cities, but traffic in New Zealand is very light for international norms.

Here are some quick facts and rules about driving in New Zealand:

  • The minimum driving age in New Zealand is 16, which is when you are given a learner license.
  • The minimum age for obtaining a full license is 18.
  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • The speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph).
  • The legal drinking limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood.
  • Not all railway crossings have active warnings.
  • Seatbelts are compulsory in all seats, for every vehicle.
  • Using your phone while driving is prohibited.
  • Roads can be narrower than what you may be used to—some two-lane streets may not even accommodate two vehicles coming from opposite directions.

Foreign License Driving in New Zealand

Your international driver's licence is valid for one year when you arrive in New Zealand. You will need a New Zealand driver's licence after that. When you meet the requirements, you can easily trade your previous certificate. You would need to take the theory examination and the practical exam if you do not.

Can you exchange a New Zealand licence for your licence?

You can drive in New Zealand and quickly swap your licence whether you have a US or a European driver's licence. Similar to New Zealand, a number of countries have licencing systems. If you are from any of the following countries: Australia, Austria , Belgium, Canada, Denmark , Finland, France , Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy , Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands , Norway , Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden , Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, you can exchange your driver's licence.

To convert your license, you will need to apply at a specialist overseas conversion site and provide the following documents:

  • proof of your identity.
  • your foreign driver’s license (and a translation if it is not in English).
  • the application form for the conversion of an overseas license.
  • proof that your eyesight meets the required standard.
  • a signature and a photograph taken at the time of the appointment.
  • pay the application fee of 10 NZD (6 USD).
  • a medical certificate in case you have a medical condition that needs to be declared.

How To Get A Driving License from New Zealand

If your driver's licence is not from any of the countries mentioned above, by taking the regular theory test and practical driving exam, you will need to apply for a new licence in New Zealand.

The application to acquire a driver's licence from New Zealand is also made at a specialist overseas conversion venue. Here, upon submitting, you will take the theory exam. Your application, along with your international driver's licence, is then submitted to the NZ Transport Agency to determine its validity.

Once this test is completed and your request is accepted, a New Zealand driver's licence with a supervisory condition is issued to you. This is someone who has kept a New Zealand driver's licence for at least two years. You would only be allowed to drive with a supervisor in the vehicle. Your international driver's licence will no longer be valid.

You have to return to a specialist overseas conversion site and book a realistic test once you obtain your temporary driver's licence. You will be issued a full New Zealand driver's licence without any supervisory requirements once you graduate.

In New Zealand, renting a car

Make sure you possess an acceptable driver's licence for the type of vehicle you want if you wish to drive a rental car in New Zealand. If they are classified as approved drivers, you should not allow someone else but you to drive the car.

You must bring the rental agreement with you and, when required, show it to the authorities. There are several famous car hire companies from which you to choose, such as:

  • New Zealand Rent a Car;
  • Avis;
  • Budget;
  • East Coast Car Rentals;
  • Europcar;
  • Hertz;
  • Thrifty.

Latest Zealand Public Transit

Public transportation is not very comprehensive in New Zealand, at least not nationally. To travel from one city to the other, many people still rely on their vehicles, as the national rail system is slow and expensive. If you wonder what public transportation in New Zealand is like, you should know that buses are largely protected nationwide. There are city-suburban rail services in some cities, including Auckland and Wellington, but these are less common.

Private businesses provide public transit in New Zealand. Instead of developing policies and investing in programmes that take care of the local population 's needs, the government does not provide transportation services directly. This suggests that, as well as the cost of public transport, the way these service providers operate differs greatly by city or area. In Auckland, for instance, at a cost of 215 NZD (130 USD), you can get a monthly pass that allows you to travel by both bus and train, called the AT HOP. Other cities, such as Wellington, have a number of monthly prepaid cards, depending on the organisation you use.

New Zealand's Buses

For both intercity travel and inside major cities, buses are the cheapest and most popular form of public transportation in New Zealand. In most cities in the country, bus fares will start between 1 and 3 NZD (0.70 and 2 USD). Each city has its own service provider, so fares can vary depending on where you travel to, for both single tickets and monthly cards.

You can find that the Intercity and Naked Bus companies have most intercity travel. Bus fares can cost NZD 10 (USD 6.50) and above, and both companies have available bus passes that are valid for 12 months.

In New Zealand, trains

There are three main train lines in New Zealand, run by KiwiRail. These lines link larger cities, meaning trains for New Zealanders are not standard day-to-day transportation. They are:

  • Auckland to Wellington (Northern Explorer)
  • Picton to Christchurch (Coastal Pacific)
  • Christchurch to the West Coast (TranzAlpine)

The cost of one train ticket starts at around 49 NZD (32 USD).

In New Zealand, taxis

Throughout the country, taxi companies are open. You can call one of the many businesses or go to a taxi stand directly. You can also use common apps such as Uber, Green Cabs, or ihail, for ride-hailing.

In New Zealand, flights

The country has two big domestic airlines, Air New Zealand and Jetstar. For longer intercity trips, flying is popular, as most domestic flight times are about one hour. Between the North and South Islands, it is a popular way of travelling.

Would you like to relocate? The process can be daunting if you have never travelled abroad, and if you have, you know the challenge that lies ahead. InterNations GO, whatever stage you are at! A full range of relocation resources, such as home searching, school quest, visa solutions, and even pet relocation, will assist you. Our specialist expat team is ready to get your relocation underway, so why not jump-start your move abroad today and contact us? Best to get started early!


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About the Creator

Anshul Singh Tomar

I can define myself as a Design Thinker with a diversified portfolio of portals which includes Ecommerce Reviews, Job/Career, Recruitment, Real Estate, Education, Matrimony, Shopping, Travel, Email, Telecom, Finance and lots more.

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