In order to work in New Zealand you need to have either a Work Permit, Visa or be part of a Working Holiday Scheme. For more information on Working Visas and the most current information please visit the official government website at or contact

A Work Visa is: An endorsement in your passport to allow you to enter or re-enter New Zealand. It shows you have permission to travel to New Zealand and may be granted a Work Permit when you arrive. The visa may be single, for one journey, or multiple, for more than one journey.

A Work Permit is: An endorsement in your passport, which allows you to work in New Zealand. It will state the expiry date of your permit and the conditions of your permit. The conditions may include the type of employment, the employer’s name and the location in New Zealand you are permitted to work in.

Base Auckland Job Search

Welcome to New Zealand and to NZ Job Search

We will be acting as your host organisation throughout your stay in New Zealand.
It is our job to assist you in finding employment and offer any advice, information
and assistance you require during your visit.

The following information is to give you an overview of living in New Zealand. We
have provided lots of helpful information to make your holiday in Aotearoa, the
land of the long white cloud, as memorable as possible.

While all reasonable care has been taken to provide you with the most accurate
information possible, NZ Job Search cannot accept responsibility for inaccurate
content apart from the information we provide about our own services. We advise
you to check any information about any business or enterprise before committing
to them, their services or products. Again we advise that any prices, times, dates
and contact information are provided by NZ Job Search with all reasonable care,
yet this information may change without the knowledge of NZ Job Search and
therefore we advise you check any information you choose to follow before
making a commitment to it.

NZ Job Search Services

As well as the job seeking, NZ Job Search offers a range of other services and
facilities to our starter pack members:
· As NZ Job Search members you will receive exclusive updates on job
availability, be first in the queue for vacant positions and be the first
person to be offered the position before all other candidates.
· Advice and assistance on how to produce the ideal CV for your intended
· Faxing, printing and photocopying services.
· Mail redirecting service to anywhere in New Zealand.
· Free drinks and bar tabs.


To work legally in New Zealand you need to obtain an IRD (Inland Revenue
Department) number. You can apply for the IRD number at the Post Office, A.A,
Pick NZ office or at the IRD office directly. Where you apply depends on what
type of identification you have and what your plans are. If you want to leave
Auckland soon and go fruit picking then it would be best to apply for your IRD
number in the seasonal work areas at the Pick NZ offices, the addresses of
which can be found at As well as your passport, if you have an
international drivers license, a drivers license from an English speaking country
or a English translation of your drivers license then you can go to selected Post
Offices or the A.A (Automobile Association). If you have a letter of employment,
NZ student I.D or NZ 18+ card you can also go to the Post Office or A.A.
Otherwise you can go to the IRD office with your passport and another form of
I.D and apply for your IRD number there. The information on how to get to the
IRD office is situated on the document 'How to get your IRD'.
If you have questions concerning tax in NZ you can contact IRD on 0800 227 774

Bank Accounts

There are 6 main banks in New Zealand. ASB, ANZ, Westpac, National Bank,
BNZ and Kiwibank which are all nationwide and have ATM's in most towns. Each
bank has a variety of accounts on offer so shop around for the one that best suits
your needs.
Things to remember....
· Banks are generally open from 9am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday
· Most banks offer online banking
· At the end of your stay remember to close your accounts.


This is the postal address to give to your family and friends:
(Your name)
PO Box 5188
Wellesley Street

Mail will be forwarded each week to the address that we have for you. If we do
not have an address recorded we will hold your mail until you provide one.
Alternatively you can pick up your mail from the NZJS office. When you are
unsure of where you will be living, do take advantage of New Zealand Post's
Poste Restante facility. Using this facility we can send your post to any post
office for you to pick up. For further information about sending letters and
packages within New Zealand or internationally, visit your local Post Office or go
online at



The three major cities of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington are where you
will find most jobs in hospitality, office, admin and sales. Auckland is the business
centre and has a large amount of cafes, restaurants and bars in the city centre
and surrounding suburbs. Wellington is the capital and therefore contains many
jobs in the public sector, it also has many cafes, restaurants and bars within
close proximity to one another in the city centre. Christchurch is the main city in
the south island and recieves many tourists passing through all year and
therefore there are jobs available in the hospitality and tourist sectors.
Seasonal work has 5 major areas throughout New Zealand which are Northland,
The Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago, the details of
which can be found at If you are in Northland then you should
contact Aranga Backpackers in Kerikeri – 09 407 9326 . They can provide you with accommodation, help find
you work and give you transport to and from the job.


New Zealand covers 278,000 square kilometers – roughly the same size as
Great Britain, but with a population of just over 4 million, of which over 1 million
live in Auckland. Christchurch and Wellington are other big regional centres with
about 340,000 and 430,000 respectively. Auckland is the 'big city' of the South
Pacific and is the largest Polynesian City in the world.
The North Island landscape has rolling hills of lush green pastures, forests and
exciting volcanic and thermal activity. The South Island, by contrast, is dominated
by the long range of mountain peaks called the Southern Alps. The highest peak
in this range is Aoraki or Mt Cook which rises to 3764 metres above the sea
level. The indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand are the Maori who arrived in New
Zealand about 1000 years ago.


Aside from the strong and beautiful Maori culture, New Zealand culture is largely
lacking the nationalistic symbols of other countries, New Zealanders are
extremely patriotic. New Zealanders draw pride in their nation from things such
as the physical beauty of the country, the national character of its people and of
course New Zealand's sporting prowess.
New Zealand people pride themselves on their quiet individualism, which is
tempered by a strong egalitarian trait, a quirky sense of humour, as well
resourcefulness and ingenuity. Because of the strong egalitarian views held by
the population, a notion of loyalty to friends – or mateship – is considered an
important social value. Central to New Zealand law and culture is the Treaty of
Waitangi, the founding document of New Zealand signed between the British
Crown and the Maori Chiefs in 1840. By this Treaty, Maori ceded sovereignty to
Queen Victoria in exchange for granting to the Maori people the same citizenship
rights as those enjoyed by citizens of England. The grounds and the house
where the Treaty was signed are open to the Public at Waitangi in the Bay of
Islands, which is well worth a visit.
Even though it is unable to compete with the big budgets of overseas production,
New Zealand has a vibrant film industry. Some of its most famous productions in
recent years are: The Piano(the beach scenes were shot on Auckland's West
Coast Beaches), Heavenly Creatures (Kate Winslet's first starring role), Once
Were Warriors (a harsh story of modern Maori life) and the internationally
acclaimed Whale Rider (a story of a young girl who fights to fulfil her destiny, set
in a small coastal village). Also filmed in New Zealand are J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of
the Rings Trilogy, The Last Samurai and Narnia.


· The longest place name in the world still in use is a hill in Central Hawkes
Bay called:
Taumata whaka-tangihanga-koauau-o Tamatea-turi pukaka-pikimaunga-pokai
· New Zealand is the first country in the world to see the sun dawn each
· A New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, was the first person to climb Mount
Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
· It was a New Zealander, Lord Earnest Rutherford, who was the first
scientist to split the atom. Ironically NZ is now 100% nuclear free.
· New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote (1893)
· Curio Bay in Southland is one of the worlds's most extensive and least
distributed examples of Petrified Forest. The forest is approximately 180
million years old.
· Nelson was the first city in the world to formalise the 8hr working day.
· New Zealand's total sheep population is 47,390,000. This is 12.6 sheep
per person!
· New Zealand is home to the world's only flightless parrot, the Kakapo, as
well as the only alpine parrot, the Lea.
· Frying Pan Lake near Rotorua is the world's largest hot water spring,
reaching a temperature of 200C (400F)
· New Zealand is the birthplace of the meringue dessert known as the
“Pavlova” named after a Russian ballerina.
Common Maori Phrases
English Maori
Hello/Thank You Kia Ora
How are you? Kei te pehea koe?
See you again/See ya! Ka kite ano
Goodbye, to someone leaving Haera ra
Goodbye, to someone staying E noho ra
Sit down E noho
Stand up E tu
Great Ka pai
Very Good Tino pai
Be strong/Give it heaps Kia kaha
I'm sorry/Excuse me Aroha mai
That's OK/OK Kei te pai
Ka mate, Ka mate! - It is death, it is death
Ka Ora, Ka Ora! - It is life, It is life
Ka mate, Ka mate! - It is death, it is death
Ka Ora, Ka Ora! - It is life, It is life
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru Nana I tiki mai whakawhiti te ral – This is the
man above me who enabled me to live
A hupane, kaupane, A hupane, kaupane whiti te ra! - As I climb up step by
step towards sunlight.


DRINKING – The legal drinking age is 18, and if not from New Zealand only
Passports are accepted as form of ID. Many Bars and Clubs will refuse entry if
you do not have your ID on you regardless of age.

TIPPING – This is not customary in New Zealand, but if service is good feel free
to tip.

TELEPHONES – If you are going to be travelling around a lot we recommend
that you buy a mobile phones. Sim Cards are available to purchase in our job
search office for a cost of $35.
Country and Area Codes
New Zealand 0064
Northland/Auckland 09
Rotorua/Taupo 07
Hawkes Bay/Taranaki/Wanganui/Manawatu 06
Wellington 04
Anywhere in the South Island 03

USEFUL WEBSITES (to buy secondhand everything and job hunting) (for nationwide surf reports) (weekly gig guides) (has local police contact details) (Tourist information about New Zealand) (job hunting) (job hunting and seasonal work) (job hunting and news)


The North Island
The North Island is an exciting mix of busy cities and peaceful countryside. Maori
culture is strong in feature in the North Isand and the opportunity to experience
Maoritanga (Maori Art and Culture) is one of the highlights of any journey through
New Zealand). The North Island is known for its unspolit beaches, immense
Kauri trees and volcantic thermal activity.

With over 1 million people, Auckland is New Zealand's largest city. The fast
paced lifestyle of Auckland is far from representative from the rest of the country.
Enjoy an expresso in one of the many cafes in the city or suburbs, climb one of
the 50 volcanoes in Auckland, visit one of the lovely vineyards, take a gulf or
harbour cruise or simply relax on the beach with some sushi or fish and chips.
Auckland is the easiest place in New Zealand to get work but also the most
expensive place to live. Although this is offset by higher rates of pay you will find
that once you leave the city areas, your wages will be lower as will your cost of

North of Auckland, a popular first destination for travellers. Known as the
'Winterless North' as the climate is relatively warm all year round. It boasts some
of the best beaches in NZ. Highlights include KeriKeri, Ninety mile beach,
Waitangi and The Bay of Islands. The work here tends to be seasonal, however,
travellers can find work in many different jobs all year round.

The mighty Waikato is the heart of the New Zealand dairy industry. A must see is
the glow worm caves at Waitomo near Otorohanga. The beach town of Raglan is
a surfer's Mecca and well worth visiting.
Other interesting features are the Waikato River, which is New Zealands longest
river with its source in Lake Taupo. Hamilton is the major city in the Waikato
region, with a population of 160,000. It boasts a unique and vibrant nightlife with
an abundance of cafes and bars all within a 3 block area.

Bay of Plenty
Captain Cook named the Bay of Plenty on his discovery of the area. The
Coromandel Penisula is a favourite holiday spot for Aucklanders during the
summer break due to its lush rainforests and secluded and beautiful beaches.
Tauranga is a vibrant city with a laid back beach and surfing lifestyle. In the
middle of the Bay of Plenty region is Rotorua with exciting Maori culture and
volcanic thermal activity.

East Coast and Hawkes Bay
The East Cape is the first place in the world to see the dawning of the sun.
Because of this there is always a big New Years eve party in Gisborne. Gisborne
is a laid back surfers town and a good place to go and relax. Hawkes Bay and
the cities of Napier and Hastings offer interesting activities for backpackers. The
Hawkes Bay is also famous for wine-producing with many excellent vineyards.

Taupo and Tongariro
Taupo is located on the north shore of Lake Taupo, which was formed by a
massive volcanic eruption. Taupo is a great place for backpackers with a wide
range of activities including bungy jumping, skydiving, hiking, kayaking, scenic
flights, fishing for trout and jet boating. Taupo also has a number of great pubs.
South of the lake is Tongariro National Park which is also a world heritage Park.
It has 3 volcanoes within its boundaries. Work opportunities exist for those who
love working in the tourism industry.

Windy Wellington is the Capital of New Zealand, and one of the most vibrant and
exciting cities with more cafes and restaurants per capita than Manhattan. The
compact city centre makes it easy to get around.

The South Island
The South Island is a showcase of everything New Zealand is famous for. The
landscape is diverse and beautiful, from farmland to mountains, deserted
beaches to rainforests, glaciers to vineyards. It provides the ideal environment for
outdoor activities.

Nelson and Marlbrough
Malbrough is the sunniest region in New Zealand and home of the Marlborough
Sounds. Nelson is a unique town with many outdoor pursuits on offer. The town
also offers superb seafood such as scallops, mussels, crabs, fish boutique
wineries, hop growing and small local breweries, hillsides covered in pip-fruit
orchards and berry fruit. There is plenty of employment in the fruit picking
industry. Further south is Kaikoura, famous for whale watching and crayfish
eating. A great place to swim with dolphins and fur seals.

West Coast
It is a rugged, primeval region of contrasting features, and remains untouched in
may areas. The natural wonders of the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers or the
Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki are not to be missed. Make sure you sample the
local brew 'Monteiths' in Greymouth.

Christchurch is the major city of the province and largest city in the South Island.
Its a beautiful city full of green parks, ponds and museums. It is also a great
place to watch rugby due to the passion of the local supporters.

The adventure capital of the world! This is the town that brought the world bungy
jumping and Jet boats. It is one of the best resort towns in the world with a huge
variety of activities to suit all types and personalities. Winter in Queenstown is
great with excellent skiing . There is also a hectic social life that runs all night.
Employment opportunities in Queenstown are largely associated with the tourism
industry or hospitality.

Otago and Southland
These are regions dominated by contrasts. Settled originally by Scottish
immigrants, Otago is steeped in history. Otago University is in Dunedin and the
town has been moulded to suit the need of the students.
Check out the nightlife in one of the many student pubs there, or take a tour of
the Speights Brewery. Dunedin is close to great ski fields in winter and beaches
for surfing in summer.
Southland boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in New Zealand in the
World Heritage Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

New Zealand has some of the best skiing and snowboarding locations in the
Southern Hemisphere. For the most comprehensive snow site in NZ check out:
Other useful Ski Websites worth a look at are:

Below are some suggestions on modes of transport, but remember to chat to the
staff at the Base Travel desk. They can provide information on transport, travel
bookings, discounts and activities.

There are 2 national bus companies in New Zealand InterCity and Naked Bus.
Both offer competitive rates, and remember to look out for their special deals that
often run.

Tranzrail operates New Zealand's railway system. Be sure to book in advance
with the Travel Team.

Cars are a good way to travel New Zealand. Rentals are ideal and can prove
economical. Buying a car or van is a popular way of seeing New Zealand.
Remember, some roads are more remote and may not be what you are used to
driving on back home. Remember New Zealanders drive on the left! Your valid
full drivers licence will allow you to drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months.
You must carry your licence with you. Speed limits are 100kph (62mph) on
highways, and 50kph (31mph) in urban areas.
The AA (New Zealand Automobile Association) has great benefits such as free
maps and breakdown roadside assistance. Their website is

New Zealand enjoys relatively low domestic fares and can be the cheapest mode
of transport. Check out Jetstar (launching domestic flights in NZ in June 2009),
Qantas and Air New Zealand for fares. Remember to speak to the travel desk for
the best deals available.

Your working holiday visa gives you the opportunity to work and live in a number
of different environments and industries in New Zealand. The most successful
job hunters are those who are willing to give anything a get stuck in.
Minimum wage in New Zealand is $12.50 per hour.
Holiday Pay - You are entitled to 8% of your gross(total pay before tax) as
holiday pay. This will be either included in your take home pay or to be paid as a
lump sum at the end of your employment.
If you have any questions or concerns you can contact the NZ Government
Department of Labour toll free on 0800 800 863.

In NZ the emergency telephone number is 111 for ambulance, fire and police

The currency in NZ is the NZ Dollar (NZ$) - there are 100 cents to every dollar.
Notes $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5
Coins $2, $1, 50c, 20c, 10c
GST (Goods and Services Tax) adds 15% and unless stated is always included
in advertised price.

If you have lost your passport the first thing you should do is contact the local
police and ensure you obtain a police report or reference number. Contact your
local Embassy/Consulate. Please see some of the main Consulate Addresses

British High Commission
44 Hill Street
(PO Box 1812) Wellington
British Consulate General
151 Queen Street
(Private Bag 92 014) Auckland
British Consulate
22 Takahe Drive
(PO Box 12049) Christchurch

Embassy of the United States of America
29 Fitzherbert Terrace,
(PO Box 1190), Wellington
US Consulate General
Citibank Building
23 Customs Street East,
Level 3, Auckland
(Private bag 92022) Auckland

Canadian High Commission
61 Molesworth Street
(PO Box 12049), Wellington
Canadian Consulate
9th Floor, 48 Emily Place
(PO Box 6186) Auckland

Embassy of the Argentine Republic
14th Floor, Sovereign Assurance House
142 Lambton Quay, Wellington

Embassy of Belgium – Resident in Auckland
Level 5, Orica House
123 Carlton gore Road
(PO Box 9786)
New Market, Auckland

Consulate of the Republic of Chile
PO Box 612, Auckland 1

Royal Danish Consulate
237 Bleakhouse Road
(PO Box 619) Auckland

Embassy of France
34-42 Manners Street
Chancery, PO Box 11-343, Wellington
(04)384 2555/802 7792
Consular Agency of France
106 Carlton Gore Road, Newmarket, Auckland
PO Box 7450, Wellesley Street, Auckland
(09)379 5850

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
90-92 Hobson Street
(PO Box 1687) Wellington
(04)473 6063/4
Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany
52 Symonds Street
(CPO Box 3551) Auckland

Consulate General of Ireland
6th floor, 18 Shortland Street
(PO Box 279) Auckland

Consular Agency of Italy – Resident in Auckland
102 Kitchener Road, Milford, Auckland
PO Box 31-121, Milford, Auckland

Consulate of the Netherlands
1st floor, 57 Symonds Street
(PO Box 3816) Auckland

Australian High Commission
72-78 Hobson Street
(PO Box 4036) Wellington
Australian Consulate General
Level 7, 132-138 Quay Street, Auckland
(09)303 2429

Finally... – Please refer to this website for accident insurance
Read your travel insurance policy carefully. Never assume you are covered for
everything, especially important if you plan to do many extreme activities.


Passport and visa

New Zealand is planning a warm welcome for visitors from around the world during Rugby World Cup 2011. Many people will qualify for visa-free entry, but some will need to apply for a visa before they come to New Zealand. Younger visitors might want to consider applying for a working holiday visa. If you are travelling to New Zealand via an Australian airport, you may also need an Australian visa – consult your travel agent or airline if you are unsure. For everything you need to know about entering New Zealand, please click Immigration New Zealand.

When you arrive in New Zealand, you will need to be carrying a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date. A visa may also be required, depending on your country of origin.

Do you need a visa or permit?

You do not need a visa or permit to visit New Zealand if you are:

  • A New Zealand/Australia citizen or Resident Permit holder
  • An Australian citizen travelling on an Australian passport
  • British citizen and or British passport holder who can produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the UK (you can stay up to six months)
  • A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay up to three months)

If you come from Visa-waiver countries, you don't need a visa to enter New Zealand, but still required to provide:

  • Travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements
  • Evidence that you can support yourself in New Zealand (approximately NZ$1000 per month per person).

Passengers transitting in New Zealand

Transit visas will be needed for all people travelling via New Zealand, unless they are specifically exempted by immigration policy.

How do you apply for a New Zealand Visa?

If your country is not on the visa waiver list, or you wish to stay longer than three months (or six months if you’re British), you will need to apply for a Visitors Visa. You can download application forms from the Immigration New Zealand website, or contact your nearest New Zealand Embassy.

What if you're coming to study or work?

The New Zealand Immigration website also has information on work, business, and student visas. If you want to study in New Zealand, check out the websites of English New Zealand and Education New Zealand Trust.

If you are travelling with a group of visitors and acting as a tour guide or a tour leader in a co-ordination role, you require a work visa. All Tour Guides must obtain work visas, prior to their arrival in New Zealand.

On Arrival

You will need to complete a Passenger Arrival Card before passing through Customs Passport Control. A passenger arrival card will be usually be given to you during your flight; if not, cards are available in the arrival area.

After you've cleared passport control, you should collect your baggage and proceed through customs and biosecurity checks. Your baggage may be sniffed by a detector dog and/or X-rayed, and it may be searched to identify any risk goods you might be carrying.

Customs declarations/allowances

If you are 17 years or older, your duty free allowance is:

  • 4.5 litres of wine or beer (six 750ml bottles)
  • three bottles(or other containers) each containing no more than 1125ml bottle of spirits, liqueur or other spirituous beverages
  • 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or 50 cigars, or a mixture of all three weighing no more than 250 grams
  • Other goods to a combined value of NZ $700. Please have purchase receipts available.

Customs prohibited and restricted goods

You should not bring the following items into New Zealand:

  • Firearms and weapons (including sporting firearms), unless a permit is obtained from New Zealand Police on arrival at the airport.
  • Prescription medicines, unless accompanied by a doctor's prescription
  • Pirated copyright goods
  • Objectionable (indecent) articles, such as DVDs and publications.

Biosecurity risk goods

New Zealand is free of many insect pests, plant diseases and animal infections that are common elsewhere in the world. We put a lot of effort into minimising the risk of these being introduced.

When you fly to New Zealand from overseas, it is important to follow New Zealand law. That means you must declare or dispose of risk goods at our international borders.

You might have goods with you that could be carrying pests and diseases. These pests and diseases could cause millions of dollars in damage to New Zealand's environment and economy. Substantial fines may be incurred if you do not declare correctly.

Biosecurity risk goods that must be declared include:

  • Any food including cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried goods
  • Plant or plant products including fruit, vegetables, leaves, nuts, parts of flowers, seeds, bulbs, fungi, cane, bamboo, wood or straw
  • Animals, animal medicines or animal products including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shells, raw wood, skins, bones or insects
  • Biological cultures, soil or water
  • Equipment used with animals, plants or water
  • Articles with soil attached, outdoor sport or hiking shoes, and tents

Learn more about New Zealand's biosecurity policies restricted goods on the Biosecurity website.


Live animals may not enter New Zealand without meeting specific conditions, which are designed to prevent the introdution of insect pests and diseases. See the Biosecurity website for more details.

Departure fee

A departure fee of NZ$25 is collected from all adult international passengers upon departure from Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports. This can be paid by cash or credit card. There is no longer a departure fee charge from Auckland as of 1 July 2008. Some regional airports also have a small fee payable on domestic flights.

Find out about the time zone in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day, 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

In Summer, New Zealand uses Daylight Saving, with clocks put forward one hour to GMT +13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.

Your Safety

New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, with a relatively low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a great healthcare and accident compensation system. However, we recommend you observe the same precautions with your personal safety and your possessions as you would in any other country or at home.

  • Keep copies of your important documents, eg passport and credit cards, and keep them separate from the originals
  • Keep a record of the description and serial number of valuable items, eg digital cameras
  • Dial 111 in emergencies.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Crime rates in New Zealand are lower than many other countries, but you can help keep yourself and others safe by following these simple tips:

  • If possible, go places with someone you know and trust
  • Be aware of your surroundings when walking and sightseeing
  • Late at night, stay in places that are well lit and with other people. Don’t take short cuts through parks or alleyways. Take a taxi or get a ride with someone you know
  • Drugs and more than moderate amounts of alcohol can lower your awareness and increase your vulnerability
  • In a bar, avoid accepting drinks from strangers and don’t leave your drink unattended
  • If using an ATM withdraw small amounts - preferably during the day - and shield your pin.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery
  • Keep valuable items close to your body
  • The police recommend you don’t accept rides from people you don’t know
  • While still relatively safe in New Zealand, we recommend you don’t hitchhike.
  • Lock your accommodation (including campervans) and secure windows at night
  • Carry a mobile phone and don’t hesitate to dial New Zealand’s emergency phone number if you feel unsafe or threatened - dial 111
  • Carry a basic first-aid kit for use in emergencies
  • The impact of freedom camping on the environment, as well as safety concerns, mean that Tourism New Zealand does not recommend freedom camping in New Zealand. We strongly recommend you to camp at Holiday Parks.

Getting Help

The emergency telephone number in New Zealand is 111. It is a free phone call. If you have an emergency and need a quick response from the Police, the Fire Service, Ambulance or Search and Rescue, dial 111.

There are Police Stations in all main towns and cities in New Zealand and in many rural locations. Contact details can be found in local telephone books.

Don’t hesitate to contact the police if you feel unsafe or threatened. And do report any theft and crime to the police immediately.

Keeping Safe via Text Messaging

Vodafone and Telecom offer a txt messaging service for visitors.

You can send updates about your location and travel movements via txt to number 7233 [SAFE]. These details are kept on a central database which can be accessed by police if necessary.

Each text message sent to 7233 will be acknowledged by an automated response, which advises you to call 111 and request police assistance if you are in danger.

Police and the New Zealand tourism industry encourage you to use this service as another way of letting people know where you are and what you are doing while in our country.

Keeping Your Possessions Safe

Follow these commonsense precautions to help keep your possessions safe:

  • Always lock your accommodation or vehicle and keep windows secure when unattended, and at night
  • Never leave valuables in parked vehicles
  • Don’t leave maps, luggage or visitor brochures visible in your vehicle
  • Store valuables securely, ideally in a safe at your accommodation
  • Try and park campervans in designated areas
  • Never leave bags, backpacks, wallets or cameras unattended in any public place, especially airports, ferry terminals or railway stations
  • If any of your possessions are stolen or valuable items misplaced, advise local police as soon as possible.

Accidents and Health Insurance

With a little care and common sense, your visit to New Zealand should be accident-free. If you are injured here, you may need the help of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) - New Zealand's accident compensation scheme.

In New Zealand, you cannot sue anyone for compensatory damages if you are injured. Instead ACC helps pay for your care - and that means paying towards the cost of your treatment and helping in your recovery while you remain in New Zealand.

You still need to purchase your own travel and medical insurance because ACC does not cover everything. ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation in New Zealand, and usually you must pay part of the cost yourself. If you have a serious injury, with long-term effects, you may also be eligible to be assessed for lump-sum compensation once the injury is stable.

The ACC does not pay any additional costs resulting from an accident, for example delayed or curtailed travel costs, travel home, treatment at home and loss of income in your home country.

We strongly advise you to arrange your own health insurance. New Zealand's public and private medical/hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment and service but it is important to note these services are not free to visitors, except as a result of an accident.

Visitors bringing in a quantity of medication are advised to carry a doctor's certificate to avoid possible problems with New Zealand Customs. Doctor's prescriptions are needed to obtain certain drugs in New Zealand.

No vaccinations are required to enter New Zealand.

Safety in the water

Given New Zealand's subtropical climate, it is no surprise that New Zealanders like to spend so much of their leisure time in the water. However water can conceal hazards. We recommend that you visit Water Safety, for advice on how to stay safe on New Zealand's beaches and waterways.

Beaches with potential hazards are often patrolled by lifeguards, who put up yellow and red flags - Water Safety New Zealand recommend that between these flags is the safest place to swim on these beaches.

Other advice includes having an adult watching over children at all times, to listen to advice from life guards, never swim or surf alone, learning to recognise rip currents, always using safe equipment, never swimming or surfing when tired or cold, considering other surf users and staying out of the water if in doubt.

Safety in the outdoors

Seven safety tips to help you stay safe in New Zealand's great outdoors;

  1. Plan your trip - Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.
  2. Tell someone - Tell someone your plans and leave a date for when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Leave a detailed trip plan with DoC (Department of Conservation) or a friend including a "panic" date, the more details we have about your intentions, the quicker you’ll be rescued if something goes wrong. You can find an helpful intentions form here
  3. Be aware of the weather - New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes
  4. Know your limits -Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Going with others is better than going alone
  5. Take sufficient supplies - Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication
  6. Don’t rely on cell phone coverage and consider using a personal locator beacon, especially if you’re travelling alone
  7. If lost - seek shelter and stay where you are. Use a torch/camera flash to attract attention at night. Try and position something highly coloured and visible from the air to help a helicopter search during the day.

For more information visit the Outdoor Safety website.

Safety Precautions

Although there are no snakes or dangerous wild animals in New Zealand, you should be aware of the following:

  • Variable Weather - Weather conditions in New Zealand alpine areas can change rapidly. Be prepared for cold wet weather if you plan to walk in our National Parks, whatever the time of year
  • Sandflies - In wetter areas, particularly in Fiordland, sandflies can be pests, but are effectively controlled by use of an insect repellent
  • Giardia - Giardia is a water-borne parasite that causes diarrhoea. To avoid contracting it, it is best not to drink water from lakes, ponds or rivers without first boiling, chemically treating or filtering it
  • Sunburn - New Zealand's clear, unpolluted atmosphere and relatively low latitudes produce sunlight stronger than much of Europe or North America, so be prepared to wear hats and sun block if you plan to be out in the sun for more than 15-20 minutes.


To protect people from the health effects of second-hand smoke, smoking in all hospitality venues, including bars, restaurants, cafes, and casinos, is prohibited in New Zealand. If you smoke, please remember to smoke outside.

New Zealand's unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$). Coins have values of 10, 20 & 50 cents, $1 & $2; notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 & $100.

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report.

Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres.

All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Travellers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores.

Exchange Rates

You can calculate the value of your currency in NZ Dollars using the currency converter. The rate you are offered in your home country is likely to differ slightly.


New Zealand banks are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some are also during weekends.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are widely available at banks, along main shopping streets and in malls.

International credit cards and ATM cards will work as long as they have a four-digit PIN encoded. Check with your bank before leaving home.

Credit cards with "Smart Card" technology

Smart cards are payment cards that carry an embedded microchip allowing them to store encrypted, confidential information, and carry multiple applications from different industries alongside debit, credit, or prepaid payment applications. Please note these cards, which often have no magnetic strip, are generally accepted everywhere in New Zealand that have credit card facilities.

Goods and Services Tax

All goods and services are subject to a 15 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the displayed price. Visitors cannot claim this tax back, however when a supplier ships a major purchase to a visitor's home address the GST will not be charged.
Swedish Rounding

Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to "rounding" of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up.

For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20.

It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents. There has been concern that this will inflate prices, but the Reserve Bank believes competition will restrain price increases and the overall impact on inflation will be minor. Judging from a survey undertaken by The Consumers Institute, when 1 and 2 cent coins were removed, the bank is right, as the survey found prices actually fell slightly.

How Much Will it Cost?

Here is a general guide of what you can expect to pay in New Zealand for a few common items.

  • A hotel breakfast: NZ$15- $40
  • Dinner: NZ$35 - $70
  • Lunch snack/sandwich: NZ$5 - $10
  • Cafe lunch: NZ$10 - $20
  • A postcard stamp to anywhere abroad: NZ$1.80
  • Big Mac Hamburger: NZ$4.90
  • Cappuccino: NZ$3.50 - $4.50

Tipping and Service Charges

Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory - even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.

Travellers Cheques

NZ$ travellers cheques are not available for purchase.

International visitors who wish to travel to New Zealand with travellers cheques should bring a major currency type of travellers cheque with them in the future.

For travel to our region AUS$ travellers cheques can be purchased.

Get Behind the Wheel

New Zealand's tourist routes are of a generally high standard and the main roads are sealed. All roads, including those in rural locations, are signposted. Remember to drive on the left!

What's different about driving in New Zealand?

You can find out what's different about driving in New Zealand on the NZ Transport Agency website.

International Driving Licences and Permits

You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). After 12 months you are required to convert to a New Zealand licence. This applies to each visit to New Zealand.

In New Zealand all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.

Make sure your driver's licence is current. If your licence is not in English, you must bring an English translation with you or obtain an IDP. Contact your local automobile club for further details about obtaining a translation or an IDP.

A translation of your overseas licence or permit can be issued by:

  • The New Zealand Translation Service, or
  • A diplomatic representative at a high commission, embassy or consulate, or
  • The authority that issued your overseas licence (an international driving permit may be acceptable as a translation).

It is important to note that if you are caught driving without an acceptable English translation or an IDP, you may be prosecuted for driving unlicensed or for driving without an appropriate licence and will be liable for an infringement fee of NZ$400 or up to NZ$1,000 on conviction in court.

The Police also have the power to forbid an unlicensed driver to drive until they have an appropriate licence. If you continue to drive after being forbidden, the vehicle you are driving will be impounded for 28 days, at the vehicle owner's expense. You may also risk not being covered by your insurance in the event of a crash.

Safety Tips for Driving

Read our safety tips to help you get the most out of driving on New Zealand's roads.

Road Rules

New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road. Drivers give way (or yield) to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right.

The speed limit is 100km/h on the open road and 50km/h in urban areas. You will find multi-lane motorways and expressways on the approaches to the larger cities, with most roads being dual carriageways. Signposting follows standard international symbols and all distances are in kilometres (km).

Both drivers and passengers must wear a safety belt in both the front and back seats. All children under the age of five must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint when travelling in cars or vans.

Get plenty of sleep before a long drive. Take regular breaks - one every two hours and when you get sleepy.

Do not drink alcohol before driving in New Zealand, drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced.

Cycling and Motorbikes

  • Helmets for riders of cycles and motorbikes must be worn at all times.
  • Rear and front lights on cycles are required at night.
  • Motorbikes should drive with a headlight on at all times.
  • Cycling is not permitted on motorways.

For comprehensive information about driving in New Zealand, from road rules to vehicle safety, visit the NZ Transport Agency

Road Safety

Self-driving holidays are one if the most relaxing ways of enjoying New Zealand's landscape. Many of our roads are scenic and traffic is low when compared to international standards.

Although New Zealand is a relatively small country it can take many hours to drive between cities and other destinations of interest. Even when distances are short, hilly or winding terrain or narrow secondary roads can slow your journey.

If you're used to driving in the city, you should take care when driving on the open country roads. New Zealand has a good motorway system but weather extremes, the terrain and narrow secondary roads and bridges require drivers to be very vigilant.

Never drive if you are feeling tired, particularly after you have just completed a long-haul flight.

The following, general information is provided for your road safety:

  • Always drive on the left-hand-side of the road and give way to your right.
  • All road distances are measured in kilometres.
  • When turning left, give way (yield) to traffic crossing or approaching from your right.
  • When the traffic light is red, you must stop. There is no left turn rule as in North America.
  • The amber traffic light means stop unless you are so close to the intersection you can’t stop safely.
  • The speed limit on the open road is usually 100km/h (approx 60m/h). In urban areas the speed limit is 50km/h. Speed limits are strictly enforced by the police.
  • Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times, in both front and rear seats.
  • During long journeys take regular rest and refreshment breaks.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
  • Refer to the NZ Transport Agency website for country wide information on New Zealand roads.
  • For up to date information on South Island roads you can also call toll free 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).


New Zealand has a largely temperate climate. In the far north, the weather can be quite subtropical during summer while in the far south of the South Island it can get as cold as -10°C in winter. The rest of the country sits somewhere in between with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine.

If you’re out and about it pays to remember that the weather can change very quickly. New Zealand is surrounded by ocean and it’s not uncommon for cold fronts and tropical cyclones to blow in bringing sudden changes in temperature with wind and rain. New Zealand’s average rainfall is quite high – between 640mm and 1500mm. While it produces lush rainforest and is good for farming it also means that you can get wet.

The seasons are the reverse of the northern hemisphere. The summer months are December to February when we get high temperatures and lots of sunshine. Winter is June to August when most of the country gets colder and the mountain ranges in both islands will be snow covered producing, particularly in the South Island, the spectacular scenes for which the country has become known.


Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most hotels and motels provide 110 volt ac sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.

For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option. Please note that power outlets only accept angled two or three pin Type I plugs (as also used in Australia) depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.

Public Call-Phones

Most public call-phones take cards purchased from bookstalls and newsagents, with a minimum value of NZ$2. Some public call-phones also accept credit cards, but very few accept coins.

New Zealand phone numbers appear online in the White Pages (alphabetical listings) and Yellow Pages (business category listings).

Mobile Phones

Check with your phone company before leaving home about international mobile roam facilities available in New Zealand. Alternatively you can hire/buy mobile phones or SIM cards.


You will need a RJ45 type plug to be able to connect your laptop into a computer socket in New Zealand, and an adaptor with a flat two or three-point power plug to connect to the power supply. Phone Hire New Zealand also has USB modems available to rent for laptop users.

In any holiday, a percentage of your time will be spent shopping. From browsing resort town boutiques to wandering around artsty-craftsy markets, it's a way to wind down after adventure activities or kill time before a restaurant booking. Maybe you'll have a list of people to buy gifts for, or maybe you just want to find something special for yourself. Either way, you'll discover that souvenir shopping here goes way beyond tea towels and tee shirts.

In the souvenir shops

Shops that are purpose-built for souvenir shopping often sell New Zealand-made products that you simply won't find in ordinary stores. Possum merino knitwear, for example. Created from the fur and wool of two introduced species that thrive in New Zealand (brushtail possums and merino sheep), possum-merino yarn is light, soft and very resilient. It looks beautiful, doesn't pill and holds its shape. Another souvenir shopping speciality is sheepskin footwear. You'll find slippers and boots for all ages in almost every colour of the rainbow.

Wood, glass and jade

Whether you love the shiny purity of art glass, the down-to-earth beauty of wood or the translucent gleam of jade, talented artists will tempt you with their creations.

Handmade wooden photo albums are hugely popular with travellers - the perfect way to display your holiday pictures. Bowls, puzzles and candleholders are some of the other things that look good in wood. Wood studios that use native timbers such as kauri, rimu and totara can be found throughout the country. In particular, try to visit the shop associated with the Matakohe Kauri Museum in Northland. On the west coast of the South Island, look for the House of Wood in Hokitika.

Hokitika is also the place to shop for New Zealand pounamu (jade), because it's sourced from the local rivers. Master carvers work the stone to craft jewellery and beautiful ornaments. Pounamu has special significance for New Zealand's Maori people; in times past they used it to make tools, weapons and adornments.

Glass art has forged a strong culture in Nelson, where the Höglund art glass studio is based. Ola Hoglund and Marie Simberg Hoglund have worked together as a team for more than three decades to create glass artwork that has earned them worldwide praise. You'll also find art glass studios in Rotorua, Hokitika, Taupo and Geraldine.

Edgy designers

While you can shop for New Zealand designer clothes in the UK, Europe, Japan and USA, the experience is more satisfying down here. Take Karen Walker, for example. Her clothes sell all over the world, but in Auckland and Wellington you can flick through the racks at a genuine Karen Walker store.

There are many other local designers to discover on your New Zealand holiday. Dunedin is home to Nom D - a label known for its dark, wittily sombre look. Laurie Foon, with her Starfish label, epitomises Wellingtons passion for fashion. In Auckland you're on the home turf of Trelise Cooper, Zambesi, World and Workshop - each one fabulous in its own way.

One accomplished New Zealand designer has not succumbed to the lure of the city - Annah Stretton's business in based in Morrinsville, a country town between Auckland and Hamilton. Here you can shop at her outlet store and enjoy the menu at her fashion-friendly eatery, Café Frock.


New Zealands very own premium skincare brand, Evolu, has a special focus on botanic therapies that are simple yet potent. You'll find the Evolu range of face and body products at airport duty free stores, department stores and Life pharmacies. When you get home, the Evolu online shop will come in handy.

Living Nature is another botanic-inspired New Zealand beauty brand. Made with no preservatives or parabens, Living Nature products feature ingredients that are unique to NZ, such as manuka honey, totara extract and harakeke (flax) gel.

New Zealand flavours

Although your own country's border controls could limit the food products you take home, some things are unlikely to cause problems. Wine, for example. New Zealands wine regions are spread from Otago in the south to Ahipara in the North and each has its specialties. Tuck a few bottles into your luggage or, even better, get the wineries to freight cases straight to your home address.

Extra virgin avocado oil, plain or infused, is another treat to take home. Look for it in specialty food stores and on supermarket shelves. Also, keep an eye out for New Zealand manuka honey - it has amazing medicinal properties, particularly the brands that have a UMF (unique manuka factor) rating.

Kiwiana oddities

If you're in New Zealand long enough to tune into the culture, you’ll find out about "kiwiana" - everyday icons that have become part of who we are. Some classic examples of kiwiana that will fit easily into your luggage include loudly-checked Swanndri clothing, paua shell knick-knacks, Redband gumboots (as worn by countless Kiwi farmers) and the infamous "Buzzy Bee" - a very noisy pull-along toy for toddlers. And if you're cruising around a book store, hunt down the Edmonds Cookbook - the ultimate reference source for kiwiana eating.

Arty weekend markets

Art and craft markets are an opportunity to find something that’s one-of-a-kind. Usually, you'll be dealing with the craftsperson who made the article, so you can ask questions about materials and techniques. Look for carving, fabric art, glass art, clothes, jewellery, pottery, photography, painting and wood art.

Markets to visit:

  • Queenstown - Saturdays on the lake front.
  • Nelson - 9am to 1pm in the Montgomery Square Carpark.
  • Christchurch, Arts Centre Weekend Market 10am - 4pm every Saturday and Sunday.
  • Wellington, cnr Cable & Taranaki Streets, Thursday to Sunday.
  • Hastings, Civic Square, Saturday 8am to 1pm.
  • Napier, Sound Shell on Marine Parade, Sunday 8.30am to 1.30pm.
  • Auckland, Aotea Square Markets, Friday and Saturday 10am to 6pm.
  • Auckland, Otara Market in Newbury Street, Saturday 6am to noon.
  • Kerikeri, Bay of Islands Farmers Market Books & More carpark off Hobson Ave, Sunday 8.30am to noon.