Living in New Zealand - Moving, costs and handling basic finances

New Zealand is undoubtedly a beautiful and attractive place to live in. What you need to know before moving there? What is the main currency and how to open a foreign bank account?

What do I need to move there?

There are certain categories under which you can apply for visa. If you have a family member already living in New Zealand you can get a family-based visa. If not, it will be best to use migrate to the country through their skill program. There are certain job positions in demand, therefore if you have an education or experience in the currently listed field it will be much easier for you to migrate. There are various agencies and government programs which will help you in the process.

A regular “working holiday visa” allows people aged 18-30 to work for a year in the country. Good option for students or young adults to get some job experience in this country.

You don’t need a visa to work in New Zealand if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

If you are looking for a permanent stay visa, first of all you need to be a temporary resident and contribute to the country one way or another. Therefore, it’s best first to get a stable job and work for at least 2 years in New Zealand before applying for permanent visa.

Depending on the visa type you apply for, the costs can vary from $200-$800.

New Zealand currency

The official currency of the country is The New Zealand Dollar (NZD or NZ$). It is commonly referred to as “Kiwi”, because of the strong association of this bird with the country, as well as the fact that it appears on one-dollar coins.

Interestingly, NZD is one of the top 10 most traded currencies on the forex market.

Costs of living


While a three-room fully-furnished spacious apartment in an expensive location can cost NZ$3,000 per month, you can find a regular studio for NZ$1,000 in a normal area, which is around 640USD. Obviously the capital Wellington is a rather pricey choice, but Auckland city has overall the highest rent and living costs.


You should close your monthly utility bills for electricity, heating, water etc. in $100. A decent-speed internet costs $50 per month.


Monthly ticket for public transport can reach $90. And an average taxi trip can cost $20.


The prices don’t vary significantly from any other developed countries. You can grab a huge meal at a fast food for 8USD or go to a restaurant for 15USD. 2-litres of Coca-Cola cost $2.

What are the best cities to live in?


It is built around two harbours and you will surely spend some time chilling by the water there. Often ranked as one of the top 10 cities to live in in the whole World. It is a multi-cultural, lively place with lots of things to do. It is also easy to find a job, as most of the big companies are located there, therefore finances and IT skills are highly in demand.


As it is the capital of the country, the region around it is very well developed. It is the wealthiest city with many tourist attractions. The government seems to be the biggest employer there. The climate may be quite harsh for some, as it is rather cold compared to other regions. It is especially windy there.


At the moment life concentrates in the suburbs of the city, as it is steadily recovering after a serious earthquake in 2011. However, because of the intensive rebuilding programs there may be numerous vacancies available in the city. The city focuses mostly on tourism and agriculture.

5 Reasons to move to New Zealand

  1. Beautiful views

First of all, it’s worth mentioning the beautiful scenery of New Zealand. Most of the breathtaking scenes from fantasy movies were filmed there for a reason. It really looks like a place from mystical other world. Imagine having all of these miracles of nature within a driving range from your city. Planning a weekend trip outside the city to see crazy mountains and lakes? Not a problem. Or maybe, you’d prefer to settle near them in a smaller town to wake up to these breathtaking sights in your cottage.

  1. Familiar language and culture

For some it may not be an advantage, however it undoubtedly helps when you are moving to a completely new place, while people around you still speak English and have similar holidays. If you are from the UK, you may actually feel like home in New Zealand.

Moreover, the society itself is quite progressive. After all, they were the world’s first country to give women power to vote. Now, they are aiming to be the first country to run solely on renewable energy.

  1. Job opportunities

As mentioned earlier, there are numerous job incentive programmes for skilled immigrants as there is a high demand in specialists in fields like engineering, finances, health or education.

  1. Great prospects

According to the economic growth forecasts, New Zealand has a very bright future in the new years, as the indexes seem to be very promising. Therefore, it can be a good move to plan your future in this country and enjoy the thriving economy.

  1. Clean Air

The whole world is slowly facing an inevitable struggle for the environment. The cities are often heavily polluted, which contributes to various health problems. Enjoy the fresh air and benefit from the renewable energy sources in one of the leading countries when it comes to environmentally-friendly solutions.

Apart from these top points, one can also enjoy a great healthcare system and a high-level education system. New Zealand is also home to many unique species of plants and animals, so there is a whole new world to discover.

Opening a bank account in New Zealand

Bank account is one of the essentials when moving to a new country. It may even be required for you to get a full-time job there. In order to open bank account as a non-resident you will need to provide the following:

  • ID (passport is eligible)
  • Proof of address (you need a permanent address in New Zealand)
  • An IRD number (if you don’t have one yet, you can use you tax information from your home country)
  • Proof of your visa

Popular NZ banks

These are banks, which are the most popular among foreigners who come to the country. They often have a good support and can help you handle the basic documentation as you arrive.

  • ANZ
  • Westpac
  • Kiwibank
  • ASB bank
  • BNZ

You can also find branches of popular international banks. Maybe if you already have an account with one of them, it will be easier for you to move your funds.

  • BNP Paribas
  • Barclays
  • Citibank
  • Deutsche Bank AG
  • Rabobank Nederland
  • Bank of India
  • Bank of China

What is the IRD Number?

When opening a bank account or applying for a job, you may be asked for your IRD Number. It is a special tax number for New Zealand citizens. You can apply for it via an online form, all you need to have is:

  • ID and Passport details
  • The Immigration Application Number (found on your visa)

What are the main taxes?

  • Personal income (from 10.5 to 33%)
  • Company income (28%)
  • Capital gains (only for foreign debt and equity investments)
  • Sales & Excise Tax (Goods and Services Tax (GST) 15% and excise tax on petrol, tobacco, alcohol)

Sending money to New Zealand

Sending a regular bank wire to your new account in New Zealand may be pricey, as overseas bank transfers are usually quite expensive. Therefore, it may be worth researching some online alternatives, as there are numerous cheap remittance services. You can use the tool available on our platform, where all you have to do is type in the transfer amount and the algorithm will show you the costs in different money transfer companies. Then you can choose the position at the top of the list or further read their reviews and sort them based on other features like speed or security.

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