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Moving to New Zealand from UK – 2022 Ultimate Guide

Moving to New Zealand from UK – 2022 Ultimate Guide

Last Updated: 6th June 2022

New Zealand and its citizens, “Kiwis”, live lives of relaxation, surrounded by clean air and dramatic mountains.

It’s no wonder so many Brits decide to relocate here every year.

While still being part of the Commonwealth, New Zealand offers a refreshing lifestyle with far less clouds and far more mountains.

The phrase ‘A breath of fresh air’ has never been truer than when you move to New Zealand. If you’re after space, then this is where you can find it.

If you’re looking for a country more in touch with nature, and with fantastic adventures around every corner without millions of people crammed into small areas, then New Zealand is for you.

Before you go, you must know as much as possible about the country.

This is why White & Company have created the ultimate guide on moving to New Zealand from UK.

Moving internationally has also been made increasingly difficult during the last year thanks mostly to the impact of the global pandemic!

The impact that COVID has had across the globe will certainly have huge implications on any upcoming international moves you may have.

It is therefore essential that you are 100% certain that moving to New Zealand from UK is right for you:

businessman in airport and airplane in sky

1. Before Setting Off

The one major rule before moving anywhere?

Check the current travel advice from the government.

This has become an increasingly important step in the moving processes during the pandemic.

Whether you’re looking to retire, move with your family, or you’re looking for a job as a young professional, it’s imperative to be up-to-date on travel advice.

You’ll be informed about natural disasters, outbreaks of any diseases and any new rules or laws on what you can and can’t bring into the country.

Staying as up to date as possible on travel guidelines will ensure you avoid any horrible surprises on moving day.

We have certainly all become a lot more vigilant and prepared for lockdowns and closures during the pandemic.

Be sure to stay up to date with New Zealand’s guidelines if you are likely to move there soon.

2. Quality of Life

The Mercer ‘Quality of Living’ Survey 2019 ranked Auckland as the 3rd most liveable city in the world for eight years running.

Mercer includes variables such as housing, economy, public transport, education, medical considerations and more.

The sub-tropical climate and political stability are added benefits to the quality of life here in New Zealand, and the opportunity for outdoor adventure is far greater than many over countries in the world.

Combine the lack of pollution with all of the above, and you’ll realise what an excellent quality of life you’ll have after moving to New Zealand from UK.

3. Work/Life Balance

Working hard and getting ahead in life is important to Kiwis. All sorts of opportunities are on offer here and the government in New Zealand is even actively trying to attract those from abroad to work here.

However, the phrase ‘work to live; not live to work’ is readily enforced. New Zealanders believe life is for living, meeting friends, travelling and just recreation time in general.

New Zealand was rated 2nd in the world for work/life balance by the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey. If you integrate from day one and commit your all to be a kiwi, you’ll be happier than ever.

4. Environment

Moving to New Zealand from UK means you will be living in one of the cleanest environments in the world, pollution wise.

Wellington has the third cleanest air in the entire world, and New Zealand ranks as the third least polluted country in the world.

Strong winds from the sea, a lack of heavy industry and low urban populations have resulted in a high air quality here in New Zealand. With stricter regulations coming in future years, New Zealand’s air is likely to get better and better.

5. Population

Moving to New Zealand from UK, you may notice a significant drop in the number of people. New Zealand may be 40,000 square kilometres bigger than the UK, but it has roughly… 59.9 million fewer people living there!

At the same time, the cities in New Zealand, such as Auckland, have a population way in excess of the norm. Auckland is the most populous city here, home to 1.5 million people.

The choice is yours.

Kiwi and mount Ruapehu

6. Natural Habitat

This point could take all day.

The looming mountains found mainly in the southern islands; the unique flora and fauna that evolved in isolation to the rest of the world; native, centuries-old forest; extensive natural grasslands; beautiful pristine beaches and much more.

New Zealand has it all. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you may even notice that a lot of the backdrops in the films can be found in New Zealand.

7. Animals & Nature

Due to the isolation of New Zealand throughout the millennia, the evolution of flora and fauna alike has created many unique species only found in New Zealand.

New Zealand has been dubbed the ‘seabird capital of the world’, home to an array of birds including the renowned Kiwi bird.

Native fish, birds, lizards, frogs, two types of mammal (bats and marine mammals) and more; you’ll see plenty of new creatures here on the other side of the world, many of which will be sure to amaze.

8. Abundance of Sheep

Living in the UK means we all know one thing. Sheep and Wales go hand in hand because there are just so many sheep over there.

Until you move to New Zealand, that is. There are ten million sheep in Wales, which has a population of 3.2 million, while the Kiwis have 39 million sheep for 4.78 million.

Dotted all over the countryside, these mobs of sheep account for a significant industry in New Zealand, with there being roughly ten sheep per person.

9. Weather & Climate

Unpredictable weather is not uncommon here in Kiwi land.

You can leave your home in the morning with Apollo’s rays dominating the skies. Then, by midday, Zeus decides that a storm is due.

Make sure you have a look at weather reports before you head out and ensure that you always have a brolly within an arm’s reach. Basically, Brits should be well and truly used to this kind of weather.

Aside from this, New Zealand is home to two separate climates. The north of the island experiences a sub-tropical climate; while the rest of New Zealand experiences a temperate climate with an abundance of sunshine year-round.

10. Outdoor Life

The climate is majoritively temperate, creating warm summers and mild winters.

Summer sees temperatures of between 20oC and 30oC, creating the perfect environment for any outdoor activities.

Whether that is walking through the numerous national parks, hiking over formidable mountains or merely having a chill day at the beach; you’ll find the outdoor life here to dominate plenty of recreational activities.

Tupou Bay, New Zealand

11. Beaches

Speaking of beaches, New Zealand has over 600 beaches and in excess of 1500km of coastline.

One beach, ‘the people’s beach’ located in Abel Tasman National Park, was a private stretch of land until 2016 when 39,000 Kiwis pooled together and donated a large enough sum of money to buy it and gift it to the country’s Department of Conservation.

This beach has no access by the road, meaning those who wish to visit here must make the trek by foot or by boat.  It’s this kind of community feel that Kiwis create, that makes this nation absolutely amazing.

Back to the beaches; there are plenty of stunning, beautiful and idyllic beaches throughout the country, including New Chums Beach, The Caitlins, Rarawa Beach and Wainui Beach, to name a few.

12. Stunning Landscape

The entire southern island of New Zealand is parted in two by the Southern Alps.

High in these mountains, giant glaciers can be found. The largest is the Tasman Glacier, which is 600m thick and 29km long!

Vast plains are home to an array of wildlife, and the coastline is home to the majority of cities here in New Zealand.

Only a few places on Earth have as much variation in their landscape in such a small space like New Zealand.

13. Healthcare System

Moving to New Zealand from the UK, you’ll be happy to know that the quality of healthcare in your new country is top-notch.

New Zealand residents and some work visa holders benefit from free or very low-cost public healthcare. You can also opt-in for private healthcare as you can everywhere, but many residents do not bother with this.

When you move here, if you don’t plan on becoming a resident, make sure to check the agreements within your work visa to see if you are eligible for public healthcare. For more general information on the Healthcare, system use Your Local Doctor.

14. Education System

New Zealand has been awarded 3rd place out of 50 countries in the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI) 2018 by The Economist. In 2017, New Zealand stole 1st place.

This index measures the extent to which education systems are adapting to meet the changing needs of our world. The UK ranked 10th in 2018.

With world-class education available to everyone in New Zealand, with the latest technology, computers and teaching methods employed around the country.

For more information on the educational system within New Zealand, visit NewZealandNow.

15. Working in New Zealand

Working in New Zealand is more than possible; the government are actively hiring those from abroad due to a shortage of workers because of the small population.

It’s essential to check if you need to register in your chosen occupation. Occupations, such as engineers, do not need to register, whereas veterinary surgeons will have to.

Once you’ve registered with the professional body in New Zealand, you will be allowed a work visa. Some jobs also require a DBS check and others may need your qualifications assessed against the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

calculator with taxes text and 1040 tax form lying on wooden de

16. Taxes

The tax rates in New Zealand are both better and worse than the UK.

The maximum personal tax rate is 33%, which comes in at NZ$70,000 (£35,000). This is quite a bit lower than the second British tax threshold (40% at £46,350); however this is the highest tax rate you will see, while British tax rates go up to 45%.

On top of this, New Zealand offers no inheritance tax, no capital gains tax, no social security tax, no healthcare tax and no local or council tax.

The lack of tax in this country means there is far more available at the end of the day for either savings or a holiday far away.

17. Pensions

If you have a state pension in the UK that you’re hoping to use in New Zealand when you retire, then you must have paid enough national insurance contributions to qualify.

Reciprocal agreements between New Zealand and the UK allows expats to claim the pension in both countries with some deductions occurring between the two, making it more or less a regular pension.

The other route in Superannuation. To receive this, you must have been a resident in New Zealand for at least ten years as well as a few other points. Superannuation sees that you get 66% of your annual salary as your pension. Many people will save in a private pension pot as well, as the superannuation is only really enough for basic living costs.

18. Benefits

If you’re receiving benefits in the UK, many of these will not be provided after you have been out of the country for four weeks.

On top of this, if you’re looking to receive benefits in New Zealand, you can only do this if you are a permanent citizen. Some also have the requirement that you’ve lived in the country for at least two years before claiming benefits.

Agreements between New Zealand and the UK outline many social security benefits and provide more in-depth information.

19. Arriving in New Zealand, Visas and Residency

As you may expect, there are lots of new rules about who can or cannot gain entrance into New Zealand.

This is thanks in no small part to the global pandemic.

There are currently only two quarantine free locations, these are some parts of Australia and the Cook Islands.

Border rules including eligibility criteria can change quickly.

Travellers should be prepared for disruption to their plans.

Check the COVID-19 government website for the latest information.

If you are thinking of moving to New Zealand from UK, you will have to quarantine upon arrival.

Whilst the UK is not on the no travel list, there is still a mandatory isolation period.

This quarantine or managed isolation must take place in an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days.

Arrivals must then test negative for COVID-19 before entering the community.

If you’re looking to work in New Zealand before committing to becoming a full resident, the best route to take is the United Kingdom Working Holiday Visa.

To get this visa, you must be able to have at least NZ$350 a month to live on and be a UK citizen. This VISA will allow you to work and study abroad in New Zealand. This VISA is available for those aged between 18 and 30.

Moving to New Zealand from the UK, there are plenty of VISAs to choose when looking to become a permanent resident. A quick search on New Zealand’s Immigration has revealed eight different types of VISA to choose from. However, depending on your circumstances, different VISAs could be available to you.

20. GBP to NZD Exchange Rate

Currently, the conversion rate is very easy to get used to. NZ$1 is equal to 52 pence as of June 2022.

Therefore, however much something costs in New Zealand Dollars, halve it to get the British counterpart.

This makes life much more straightforward than moving to many other countries. Over the past five years, the New Zealand Dollar has varied between 45p and 55p, currently sitting steady at 50p.

Traditional maori carving and Taranaki Mount, New Zealand

21. Cultural Differences

New Zealand was once referred to as ‘Little Britain’ for a time. However, through the centuries of influence from the Polynesian people, New Zealand has developed a distinct, unique culture.

The Maori people developed from the Polynesian explorers who reached the island in 1250 and 1300 CE. The Maori culture has influenced the language, arts and even the accents of Kiwis.

Kiwis love the outdoors, love their sports, and they love their art. To become a Kiwi is to become a more outdoorsy person than you ever thought you’d be.

22. A New Start

There’s nothing quite like a fresh start in life. Many have their reasons for this. It might be that you’re bored with your current job, want a new adventure, want to experience another culture or all of these things together.

New Zealand is a great place to do this. On the other side of the world, with plenty of job opportunities available to you, plenty of open space, and an abundance of beaches, mountains and fresh air. Moving to New Zealand from UK is a no-brainer for many.

23. Realising a Dream

For some, it’s been a dream to move to New Zealand. You can pop over to Australia as quickly as you can Europe from the UK.

Take the leap which many fail to do, and begin a life you’ll never regret in an entirely new part of the world.

24. Familiarity

Moving to another country is scary. Mix this with the stress of moving all your belongings and planning your travel, and everything can become a bit overwhelming.

The good news is you’re moving to a country in the Commonwealth. British culture mixes with Maori culture here to create something unique, but that doesn’t mean British culture has disappeared.

Home comforts are around every corner, such as pubs with pies, and everyday items in the shopping markets. If you like vegemite, you’ll be fine in New Zealand.

25. Friendly Culture

The culture in New Zealand is amiable. Everyone is looking to make friends, and everyone is very welcoming to newcomers.

You find smiles down every street, and people offering help if you look lost. You won’t have to worry about hostility when moving to New Zealand.

Laughing friends looking at tablet computer at coffee shop

26. Making Friends

With large numbers of immigrants moving to New Zealand each year, you’ll likely meet as many foreigners as you will natives.

This is especially true if you move to Auckland, with 60% of immigrants relocating here. Kiwis’ are very welcoming, and with so many foreigners entering New Zealand each year, many will be in the same position as yourself.

So, be open-minded. Make friends with anyone you bump into, not just others from the UK, but other immigrants and Kiwis alike.

27. Family Friendly

New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to bring up children.

An internationally recognised education system, reliable healthcare and a healthy lifestyle raises the question of: why wouldn’t you move to New Zealand?

There are plenty of activities to get involved in within the local communities, as well as plenty of clubs and sports teams to join dependant on where you’re moving to.

28. Property Market

Under 5 million people, occupying an area larger than the United Kingdom means that no-one is crammed into rows upon rows of houses.

You’ll have plenty of options to choose from when looking for a house.

Whether that is a stand-alone house miles away from your closest neighbour; a rural area with plenty of countryside or, if you like having plenty of people close-by, then opt to live in the cities.

The property market is up 4.5% between October 2019 and October 2018, and up 8.2% in the same time period if you exclude Auckland.

However, it is important to note that house prices in New Zealand are some of the fastest-growing in the world!

At the start of 2021, house prices in the country boomed, with prices having increased by 22.1% in a 12 month period. 

The global impact of COVID is quite evident through the huge increases in property prices in the last year.

Don’t be put of by these changes in prices as this is an international trend and is rather unavoidable.

29. Renting Property

Rental property prices will vary dramatically depending on where you are looking to move to.

The cost of living in cities can range from 20% – 50% more expensive than living in the countryside.

The average rental property on the whole, for a larger property with 3 or 4 bedroom is NZ$530 (£276) a month. In comparison to the UK, this is a steal!

30. Voting

British Citizens living abroad have the right to vote in some elections in the UK.

Before voting, you’ll need to register as an overseas voter. You can register as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after leaving the UK.

Voting in elections in New Zealand requires you to be either a citizen or a permanent resident. You are required to enrol if you fulfil these criteria and are over 18 years of age. Voting is not compulsory, but the turnout is high.

Baby in Yellow Robe

31. Births

Registering a birth abroad requires that you register your child’s birth according to the regulations in the country where the child was born. You will receive a local birth certificate here in New Zealand.

If you were born in New Zealand, then you are a citizen by birth if your parents are citizens or permanent residents.

32. Deaths

Sadly, people pass away, and this can happen anywhere at any time. In the unfortunate event that someone dies while abroad, you must register the death with the local authorities in the country.

You will also be able to register the death with UK authorities. The best way to begin the process of dealing with a loved one is to use Tell Us Once; they will help and guide you through the process.

33. Getting Married

Marriage can be complicated in many countries, depending on who you’re marrying and where.

In New Zealand, however, you do not require any authorisation from the UK as it is a commonwealth country. There are also no residency requirements to get married in New Zealand, making this step very easy.

If your partner is not British, then they can also apply to become a British Citizen if they’ve lived in the UK for three years.

34. Taking Pets

As mentioned above, New Zealand has unique flora and fauna, which Kiwis are very keen to protect.

Cats and dogs will need a rabies vaccination six months before flying, a rabies blood test three months prior to flying, and to also be quarantined for ten days after landing.

Unlike belongings, international removals companies don’t often deal with moving animals abroad.

You have to book the quarantine space yourself as well as a lot of paperwork so make sure to do your research for this one and maybe hire a service. Visit the Government Website for more information.

35. Becoming a Citizen

Several criteria must be met before you can apply for citizenship. You must:

  • Plan on staying in New Zealand after being granted citizenship
  • Have to have lived here for five years (option to apply after three years is no longer possible)
  • Be able to use conversational English
  • Be of Good Character. Convictions may negatively affect your application
  • Understand the responsibilities and privileges of New Zealand citizenship

The Government website offers more information on citizenship within New Zealand.

Road turn ocean view Christchurch, New Zealand

36. Driving on the Left

A blessing to those moving to New Zealand from the UK; you can carry on driving on the left-hand side.

Another benefit of driving in New Zealand: the roads are much wider. No more will you have to worry about the tight streets in your local village.

Here in New Zealand, wide roads and undulating hills go hand-in-hand.

37. Public Transport

In the major cities, public transportation is well developed and mainly comes in the form of buses, while Auckland and Wellington both have city-suburban rail services.

The north and south Islands both have extensive railway networks. Due to the mountainous terrain in the southern island, the rail lines do not go further than the mountains and are, therefore, less extensive than the north island rail network.

The two largest airports are the Auckland Airport the Christchurch International Airport, providing international transport for holiday goers and young professionals alike.

38. No Language Barrier

One of the benefits of moving to New Zealand from UK? You won’t have to learn a new language.

Well, you can if you like actually. While English is the primary language here, the other two official languages are Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.

If you don’t plan on learning a new language, then you’ll only have to get used to the accents and the lingo.

39. Slang & Expressions

The jargon in New Zealand is a mixture of absurdity and things you’ve heard before.

Phrases and words you’ve heard before might be:

  • ‘You right?’
  • ‘All Good’
  • ‘No Worries’
  • ‘Knackered’
  • ‘Mate’

After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the words mean. Brush up on your lingo before you go and know your ‘stubbie’ from your ‘stubbies’.

40. Cost of Living

On the whole, New Zealand is slightly more expensive to live in when compared to the United Kingdom. This is an average of all locations in both countries.

This being said, if you’re moving to New Zealand from London, for example, and you’re moving to Palmerston North, the cost of living goes down dramatically, on average by 45% less.

Overall, if you’re moving from London, you’ll notice a significant drop in the cost of living across the board.

Pura Ulun Danu temple on a lake Beratan. Bali

41. Nearby Destinations

The best part about being halfway across the world is the new holiday destinations. Places that once took you 18 hours to get to, now only take a few hours.

Australia, previously a 16-21hr journey, now only a 3.5hr trip. Bali is a favourite for both Kiwis and Aussies, as is Thailand and other areas in the vicinity.

Let’s not forget, however, that New Zealand has a lot to offer. Before exploring every other country, get to know your own country and visit the mountains, the beach, the rainforests and the other cities. There is much to be found and loved when moving to New Zealand from UK.

42. Watching Sports

Largely reflecting its colonial heritage, sports in New Zealand are huge. Some of the most popular sports here are rugby union, rugby league, cricket, football, basketball and netball.

Whatever your favourite sport, you’ll be able to watch it over here, alongside many of your co-supporters.

43. Playing Sports

Futsal, an indoor soccer game, is becoming rapidly popular in New Zealand. Less sports are taking place in the traditional club format; however NZ Football is looking to change that, and their growth of the Futsal sport has been significant.

A less well-known fact, New Zealand invented four sports that you’ve probably heard throughout your lifetime: Bungy jumping; Zorbing; Fly by wire and Jet Boating.

44. Safety

In the 2019 Global Peace Index, New Zealand is rated as the second most peaceful country in the world. It received the same rank in 2018.

SafeAround give New Zealand a safety index of 91%. This is reflective of the warnings and dangers in every category they rank for (natural disasters to terrorism risk) being considered low.

When moving to New Zealand from UK you’ll notice just how much safer this beautiful country is.

45. Closer Than You Think

Many people will worry about moving abroad. Any new adventure in life can be challenging and daunting; it’s only normal that your mind starts to throw ‘what if’s and ‘but’s around.

End of the day, New Zealand is only a flight away. It’s always recommended that you scout out the area you are looking to stay in first, visit a couple of times to make sure it’s for you.

If you don’t like it, then move back to the UK. An arduous process but made much easier by the fact you are moving within the Commonwealth.

The Sky tower in Auckland New Zealand cityscape.

46. Are you ready to get moving to New Zealand from the UK?

Are you thinking of moving to New Zealand from UK?

Moving abroad is stressful for all involved. That’s why White & Company are here to help your move to New Zealand be smooth and stress-free.

Over the years, White & Company has positioned itself as the international removals firm of choice for removals worldwide.

Our experience is second to none. As members of BAR, FIDI and OMNI, White & Company have been relocating people to destinations worldwide for 145 years.

Our experienced teams located across the UK will pack and prepare your valuable, fragile and bulky furniture ready for export

To find out more about how we could get your dream move underway, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. Alternatively, fill out a quick quote form or chat with our Bot and we’ll get in touch with you straight away.

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