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Education in New Zealand

Education is one of the most important consideration for parents. Every parent wants to give their children the best opportunities they can and New Zealand offers a world class education system. Excellent public government funded schools, usually co-ed, private schools both co-ed and single sex, and home schooling are all available in New Zealand.

Education is compulsory for every child between the ages of six and sixteen, however, most children start school as a new entrant on their fifth birthday and don’t leave until they have completed their high school learning at age 17 or 18. It is generally run as; Primary School (Year One to Year Six) for children five to 11 years old, Intermediate School (Year Seven and Eight) for children 11 to 13 years old and Secondary School (Year Nine to Year 13) for children 13 to 17 years old. Most intermediate schools are now consolidated with either a primary school or secondary school. Secondary schools are also known as High School or College in New Zealand. The school year is divided into four terms starting in late January through to early to mid December with two week breaks between each term (January – April, April – July, July – September, October – December).

English, mathematics, science, the arts, social sciences, health and physical education is top on the national curriculum. Schooling in New Zealand was traditionally based on the UK model, however, has changed in recent years towards a more learning outcome focus.

All schools have a decile rating between one and ten. Decile ratings are determined by factoring household income, parent’s occupations, household crowding, parent’s qualifications and parents on income support. Decile One 1 schools generally are in the most socio-economic disadvantaged areas with Decile 10 schools usually in the most socio-economic advantaged areas. For more information about schooling in New Zealand see the Ministry of Education website and for specific information on decile ratings see which provides a downloadable excel spreadsheet with every schools contact details and decile rating.

Higher decile schools and private schools usually boast a greater parent and teacher involvement which encourages higher expectations and results, particularly academically. The arts, sports and extra-curricular activities are highly encouraged by all schools.

Public schools, while government funded, do ask parents for a donation to boost their budget enabling them to provide their students with better resources. The amounts vary from school to school dramatically but are generally around $100 to $200 per year at primary school level and $150 to $500 at secondary level. Private schools cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 per term. School uniforms, stationary and school trips are paid for separately by parents.

There are various options of preschool care available, both private and government subsidised. Private preschool care can be very expensive so it pays to look at all options. There are a number of play centres which provide a location and play equipment. These are run simply by the parents working together and are more common in small towns and rural areas. Government subsidized kindergartens are run daily and offer both morning sessions for the older children and afternoon sessions for the younger ones. Private preschool and day care centres are open between the hours of 7am and 6pm and set their own fees which vary depending upon the age of the child being cared for. Home based carers, caring for a small number of children in the carer’s own home, are also popular, times and fees are usually hourly based.

There are eight main universities in New Zealand offering graduate degrees and undergraduate diplomas in the arts, sciences and commerce amongst other specialized subjects. There are 25 polytechnic institutes offering vocational training such as trades, fashion, journalism and tourism and six Colleges of Education which offer teacher training. There are numerous private tertiary educational facilities offering everything from learning English as a Foreign Language to Bachelor of International Business and MBA’s. A downloadable directory of all tertiary facilities can be found at The university websites are;;;;;; and

A bachelors degree can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $3,500 per year with the average being $3,500. New Zealand citizens and residents are entitled to student loans with nominal interest rates.

Students travel from all over the world to study in New Zealand with many of the universities and tertiary educational facilities saving numerous places especially for international students. They benefit from the studying, the experience and the lifestyle they can enjoy in New Zealand. So if you’re thinking of coming to New Zealand to study, be sure to contact an immigration consultant to assist you with your move.

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The New Zealand Healthcare System

New Zealand is lucky enough to have always had a government who have publicly funded the healthcare system and who realise the importance of quality healthcare for its people. Excellent comprehensive lifelong medical care is almost free of charge and available to all New Zealand citizens and residents through more than 3,000 General Practitioners, medical centres, specialist services and hospitals.

Australian and British citizens benefit from a reciprocal health agreement between the governments which ensures that citizens and permanent residents from both countries can access public healthcare services.

Citizens from other countries working in New Zealand with a work permit of over two years are also eligible for public healthcare as are their children under the age of 18. Those with work permits of less than two years, students and visitors to New Zealand should arrange travel insurance for peace of mind as, although not denied access to the public health service, charges will be made.

Anybody who is hurt in an accident, even those who are not eligible for public healthcare, will have the majority of their treatment subsidized by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) a government funded body. If you are a New Zealand citizen, resident or two year plus work permit holder ACC will also pay 80% of your salary while you recover before returning to work.

Children under the age of 16, regardless of their immigration status, are eligible for free immunisations (polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, etc). Children under the age of 18 who are eligible for public healthcare are also entitled to free dentist visits.

Your local doctor (General Practitioner, G.P) is your first point of call if you are ill or need medical advice. Most people have a family doctor who looks after every member of the family. You can choose which doctor or medical centre you would like to visit and register to qualify for subsidised rates. If you are not a registered patient of the doctor or medical centre you won’t be turned away for treatment, however, you will have to pay full cost, generally around NZ$60. Fees are generally payable immediately.

The following is covered by the public healthcare system:-

  • Free public hospital treatment (inpatient and outpatient)
  • Free accident and emergency treatment
  • Subsidies on prescription costs (approx cost of prescription $3 – $15)
  • Subsidised fees for visits to G.Ps (approx cost to visit G.P $25 – $35)
  • Subsidised fees for visits to referred visits to physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and other specialists
  • Free or subsidised healthcare for chronic or acute conditions
  • No charge for most laboratory tests and xrays
  • No charge for G.P hospital referrals

For specific information please refer to the Ministry of Health website

Importation of medication to New Zealand is strictly controlled by Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). No prescription medicine may be posted to New Zealand from overseas and travellers to New Zealand may enter with a maximum of one month’s supply of a controlled drug and three month’s supply of a prescribed medicine. To avoid delay at customs keep medicine in the original packaging and carry a note from your doctor which outlines what the medication is, the medical condition it is for and the quantity required for the duration of your stay. Asking immigration consultants beforehand can also ease this process.

All in all, the New Zealand public healthcare system works extremely well; waiting lists generally aren’t too long and most illnesses can be treated in New Zealand. Private healthcare is also widely available and for those who feel better knowing they have access to both systems a wide variety of insurance providers would be more than happy to provide a health insurance policy.

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Bringing Your Pets to New Zealand

New Zealand is geographically lucky in that its distance from the rest of world and ocean borders make it easier to prevent new diseases and pests from entering the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is responsible for protecting the welfare of New Zealand’s environment; flora, fauna and marine life. The regulations surrounding bringing any animals, including your much loved pets, are very strict to protect that which we already have here.

There are a wide variety of regulations about bringing your pets to New Zealand depending on what type of animal it is and where you are bringing it from. Specific information can be found at

In general it is possible to bring your cat, dog even horse to New Zealand, however, it is not possible to bring pet birds, reptiles or rodents. Pet rabbits may only be brought over if they are from Australia, from all other countries they are banned. New Zealand is trying to stop known dangerous breeds of dogs from entering the country and (controversially) from being bred. American Pit Bulls, Dogo Agrentino, Japanese Tosa and Brazilian Fila’s are illegal to import.

If you are bringing your pet cat or dog from a rabie free country – Australia, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Hawaii and Singapore – they will not be required to undergo a quarantine period, however, they will be inspected for ticks on arrival and to have certification. Cats and dogs from other countries where rabies is absent or well maintained will require certification and some sort of quarantine period, usually 30 days. Cats and dogs from South Africa require 120 days of quarantine, a long period for both pet and owner! Specific information on Import Health Standards for your pet can be found at

There are only five MAF registered quarantine facilities in New Zealand for cats and dogs, three in the Auckland area, one in Levin, near the bottom of the North Island and one in Christchurch. If your pet requires a quarantine period you must have a letter from the facility to say they will accept your pet for its quarantine period before leaving your home country. Whilst in quarantine you may visit as often as you like, you can arrange this with the owner of the facility direct. For full contact details of these facilities go to

All dogs and cats (with the exception of those from Australia) are required to have a microchip inserted before starting the vaccination and/or testing requirements for importation. Two rabies tests are required, one no less than 6 months and no more than 12 months before departure, the second being within 30 days of the scheduled travel date.

A Zoosanitary certificate must be issued by a government registered veterinarian for a pet who travels from a country which requires a quarantine period on arrival in New Zealand.

It can be more expensive to have your pet travel to New Zealand than for you to come and you will need to budget for all costs: importation permit, clearance fees, quarantine stay, transportation, and immunisation and vet fees.

For a Fact Sheet full of frequently asked questions regarding the importation of pets to New Zealand please see or your local immigration consultants New Zealand for more information about pets.

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Shipping Your Goods to New Zealand

It’s often confusing deciding on what to pack up and take with you to New Zealand and what to leave behind. Most people decide to bring their sentimental and valuable goods and leave behind the items which are easily replaceable in New Zealand.

Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) work together very hard to protect New Zealand from overseas pests and contamination. New Zealand has only one indigenous poisonous spider, the Katipo which is rarely seen, no snakes, scorpions or other nasties and would like to keep it that way. As such MAF and Customs are very strict about inspecting overseas containers, fumigating when needed and ensuring there are no inadvertent stowaways hidden.

Your shipping agent will help with all the paperwork which includes amongst numerous other forms a detailed inventory of the goods shipped. To help you unpack at the other end it’s wise to number your boxes and make a list of the items inside.

MAF will closely inspect wooden items, gardening equipment, lawn mowers, medicines, pet and animal medicines, cane and bamboo furniture, vacuum cleaners, items containing skin, feathers or bone. All of these items are allowed into the country (unless they are from an endangered species) but must be properly treated or fumigated. Foodstuffs are generally prohibited.

All of your outdoor activity items require proper cleaning before packing. Bicycles, golf clubs, tents, camping equipment, sporting equipment including your fishing and diving gear, and especially shoes should all be free of soil and organic residue. If you have hunting guns and ammunition a police permit must be obtained before shipping.

For further guidelines about what you can and what you can’t bring to New Zealand look at or contact an immigration consultant and they can provide you with more specific advice.

Vehicles are very affordable in New Zealand and it often does not pay to import your own unless it is very valuable to you or a collector’s item. New Zealand road safety standards will have to be met and a certificate from the vehicle manufacturer proving compliance must be available. The New Zealand Transport Authority provides in depth information about importing vehicles on its website To check out current vehicle selling prices look up where most car sale dealerships and private sellers advertise.

Your container may only be shipped and cleared into New Zealand with proof of a visa allowing you to be in the country. Duties may be waived depending upon your immigration status at the time your container arrives in New Zealand. As these can be substantial it pays to check before you organize your container shipping date.

Most people like to bring something of their own, especially their furniture, with them to make them feel at home; even if the item is not financially valuable the memories it holds can be priceless. White ware (fridge, washing machine, dryer, etc) are relatively inexpensive to purchase in New Zealand especially in the major retailer sales which are held often and as not every countries power output is the same it may make sense to sell yours before leaving.

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Renting a Home in New Zealand

Most people arriving in New Zealand like to rent for a time until they are more familiar with different areas, the life style, travel times and are settled in work.

Like the housing market, the rental market has a large variety of home available varying from rural properties to town houses to central city apartments and everything in between. As New Zealand has a high level of home owner occupiers there is a shortage of quality rentals available. Rental properties are in high demand and the better houses rent very quickly.

Most real estate agencies have a dedicated rental department which look after rental properties on behalf of the owners. They will be able to show you properties they have available that suit your requirements. If you like one, they will process your application and liaise with you direct through your tenancy period. Rentals are also advertised in the classified section of local newspapers and via numerous websites, the most popular being

Most rental homes are available unfurnished, however, a few homes and some city apartments rent furnished for a higher rental rate. In the seasonal tourist towns holiday lets often become available, furnished, for longer rental periods during the slow season. To start out, before your container arrives or until you purchase your own, with you may consider hiring appliances and furniture. There are a number of dedicated rental businesses such as which hire almost anything, deliver and install, and are very easy to deal with.

You can expect to pay a wide variance in price depending on where you wish to rent. In the central suburbs of Auckland weekly rent for a nice three bedroom home is between $500 and $800 per week, the outer suburbs of Auckland see this drop by $200. Central Wellington, $450 to $650 per week, the outer suburbs dropping to between $250 and $450. Central Christchurch, $300 to $400 with most of the outer areas dropping to between $250 to $350. Most small towns and rural areas are slightly cheaper than the main centres. See for helpful information on rental prices for the Department of Building and Housing.

When renting you will sign a Tenancy Agreement; either fixed for a period of time or flexible with a notice period. Most landlords, even in the inner city apartment market, insist on a minimum four month tenancy period. It is very useful to have at least three references, either in letter form, or by New Zealand telephone numbers for the letting agent or landlord to check your credentials.

Along with at least one to two weeks rent in advance you will be required to pay a bond which is usually the equivalent of four weeks rent. The bond is held in your name with the Department of Building and Housing and is refundable at the end of your tenancy period. If you secure a property through a letting agent they will also charge a fee of usually the equivalent of one week’s rent plus GST.

If you are starting afresh and buying all new furniture and appliances it pays to wait until the sales at the major retailers. These happen often and you can save as much as 30 to 50% by buying then. Quality second hand goods can be purchased easily now that online buying is so common. Once again check out the most popular website

If you would love to get more information about renting in New Zealand, contact one of our immigration consultants and we can help point you in the right direction.

Posted on Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Buying Your Own Home in New Zealand

Most people dream of owning their own home and in New Zealand there is a wide variety of housing types available, from lifestyle blocks which are generally between two and five acres, large enough for the "good life", to compact inner city apartments and everything in between.  For those yearning for simpler times the traditional bungalow on a quarter acre section is still available in many areas of New Zealand.

The market grew considerably over the 2001 to 2006 period peaking between 2003 and 2005.  As one would expect, the world wide recession affected the housing market as much as any other sector of the economy with sale prices falling slightly but sales falling dramatically in most areas throughout New Zealand.  Average house prices throughout New Zealand vary dramatically by the region with Auckland (being the largest city) being the costliest – central Auckland $600,000+, South Auckland $330,000+, Hamilton $335,000+, Wellington $448,000+ and Christchurch $323,000+.

Unlike some countries it is not necessary to be a New Zealand resident to purchase property and depending upon your circumstances you may not even need to be a resident to obtain a mortgage.  Along with a number of other lenders all of New Zealand’s banks offer mortgages on either fixed or variable interest rate terms with repayment periods of up to 30 years.  A typical deposit amount is 20% of the registered valuation of the property with the mortgage making up the remaining 80%.  The major banks are currently offering interest rates around 6% floating and 8.5% fixed for a longer period.  Of course this changes often!

Nearly all houses in New Zealand are sold through a real estate agent.  Real estate agents are paid a commission by the vendor, usually around 4% or the sale price, upon the sale of the property.  It’s usually a quick process with the vendor and purchaser negotiating the sale price through the real estate agent.  It’s wise to appoint a lawyer through the selling process to ensure your purchase is indeed your ‘dream home’, to finalize the paperwork and exchange the property legally into your name. If you’d like more information about this, feel free to contact a Care Immigration Consultant and we can give you more information and advice.

There is a huge variety of housing in New Zealand, something for everyone!  Traditionally New Zealand homes were constructed of timber and on their own section, however, in recent years brick and plaster have become popular, a modern look with an easier upkeep, and many new houses are now being built using this medium.  Newer houses are all fully insulated but many of the older wooden houses have minimal insulation.  The government is encouraging home owners to invest in insulating their older homes by offering heavy subsidies to help with the cost.  Most houses are heated by open fires, wood burners, heat pumps or electric or gas heaters.  Central heating and double glazing is still not common in homes throughout New Zealand.

If you are looking to purchase a brand new property or build your own dream home there are a number of companies that specialize in providing standard designs which can be customized.  As they build considerable numbers of homes they can build, and therefore sell, at a better price than an individual can.  For an idea of what is available take a look at,,, and

The Saturday and Sunday editions of most major newspapers such as The New Zealand Herald have property supplements with realtors advertising their homes for sale.  You can also pick up a Property Press magazine free of charge from any realtors office.  Most realtors are advertising their properties for sale now on the popular New Zealand website  Viewing homes is easy, you can attend any Open Home, which are usually held during the weekend and open to anyone to view, or you may contact any real estate agent with your wish list and they will take you to view appropriate properties they have listed.

Posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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