arriving in new
When you arrive
New Zealand has strict laws to protect its agricultural
industries from imported pests and diseases. If you bring in
items such as food and plants, these must be declared to Customs
officials. Fines for illegally importing plants, animal materials
and foodstuffs are up to $500,000 and/or 12 months in prison.
Items that need to be declared include:
- food, and the products and ingredients used for preparing
- plants and parts of plants (alive or dead), including cane,
straw and rattan
- animals (alive or dead), or products from animals
- equipment used with animals
- camping gear, golf clubs, hiking boots, shoes, equestrian
equipment and used bicycles
- biological specimens
If you are in doubt about any items, declare them! There is
no penalty for declaring items that cannot be brought into New
Like other countries, New Zealand has strict security
concerning drugs, firearms and other dangerous goods.
The Airport and the City
Most New Zealand banks have branches at international
airports with comprehensive foreign exchange facilities.
Free accommodation brochures, maps and city guides are
available from self-service information booths. Hotel and motel
bookings can also be made by freephone from the airport.
You can get from the airport to the central city by taxi,
airport bus or a fixed price shuttle van that will drop you off
at your destination. Taxis have reliable meters that calculate
the fares - bargaining and tipping are not practiced. The taxi
driver can estimate the likely cost for you but airport buses and
shuttle vans are significantly cheaper and just as reliable. All
cities have bus and taxi services plus Wellington has an
extensive commuter train system.
A good range of fresh food is available from local
supermarkets, and moderately priced cafes and restaurants are
plentiful. Motels also have cooking facilities where you can make
your own meals. All New Zealand tap water is safe to drink and
most is of very high quality.
Shops and supermarkets are similar to those in most Western
countries. New Zealanders use the word "dairy" to refer
to small local shops that sell ice creams, sweets, newspapers,
magazines and some basic grocery items. Late night shopping is
common on Thursday and Friday evenings while most shops are open
Saturday mornings and malls are open all weekend. Many
supermarkets are open until late in the evening and some stay
open 24 hours, 7 days a week! Shops such as takeaway food outlets
and petrol stations are also open extended hours.
Public telephone booths are usually located in town centres
and suburban shopping areas. Very few are coin-operated, some
accept credit cards but most require pre-purchased phone cards.
These are available in a range of values from $5 to $100 and can
be purchased from most supermarkets, newsagents, dairies and
other shops. If you cannot find a number, the Directory Service
(dial 018) can help.
All parts of New Zealand operate in the same time zone.
Opening a Bank Account
Opening a bank account is easy - you do not need to be a
resident of New Zealand, or provide references. Most banks will
have an account operating for you within 10 days or sooner. You
will need to give the bank a permanent address, either
residential or a post office box or private bag as a hotel or
motel address is not acceptable.
If you want to open a cheque account, the bank will need
identification, such as your passport or driver license, and a
deposit - usually about $200. When paying by cheque, it is
normal to show identification such as a driver licence, credit
card or passport.
NZ banks offer a range of services that include personal
loans, home loans, insurance, investment, credit cards, and
property and business finance. Foreign exchange services are
If you earn income, you will need to give the bank a tax number. To get a tax number, you will need to
contact the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).
Most banks charge a fee for every transaction made, including
ATM transactions, cheques and savings withdrawals.
Banks are normally open from 9.00am 4.30pm, Monday to
Friday. ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) operate 24 hours a
Some major banks offer special services for new migrants, and
have multilingual staff who can help with advice and information.
Deposit boxes for the secure storage of personal valuables,
such as jewelry, financial and legal papers are available at most
banks for a modest fee.