Moving to New Zealand

Relocating to New Zealand
Updated 2023-02-12 10:39

Different people relocate in different ways. Some sell up everything at home and move with only a suitcase or two in tow, some will hire a moving company to take care of everything, and others will pack up only their most necessary items and ship them in a container.  

To relocate to New Zealand, there are certain regulations you need to follow, and freighting possessions across the world can be a costly and stressful endeavor. If you are in a position to ship your belongings, you can make life much easier for yourself by hiring an international moving company. If you're trying to cut down costs or are a more footloose and fancy-free type, then adding some extra baggage to your plane ticket might be the way to go.

Choosing a moving company

When choosing a moving company to help with your relocation to New Zealand, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Reputation: It is important to choose a reputable moving company that has a good track record of successfully transporting goods to New Zealand. You can research companies online, read customer reviews, and ask for references or recommendations from friends or colleagues – or from those who have made the move beforehand.
  • Services: Consider what services the moving company offers, such as packing, storage, and transportation of vehicles. Choose a company that can provide the services you need. Some companies will manage the process from start to finish, whereas others require more involvement from the customer.
  • Cost: Compare quotes from different moving companies to get an idea of the cost of different services. Be sure to consider any additional fees or charges that may apply.
  • Insurance: Make sure the moving company you choose has appropriate insurance coverage to protect your goods during the moving process. Ask about their policies and procedures in the event that something goes wrong.
  • Communication: Choose a moving company that is responsive and easy to communicate with. This will make it easier to coordinate your move and resolve any issues that may arise.

Make sure you book in with as much notice as possible and be prepared for the time it takes to ship your items - usually six to eight weeks. This might seem like a long time, but given the global shipping and supply chain disruptions that have been occurring since 2020, it's wise to be prepared for delays. One thing to consider is renting some furnished accommodation when you first arrive as there may be a period when you are without your belongings.

There are a number of reputable international moving companies that ship to New Zealand, including:

  • Allied Pickfords
  • Crown Relocations
  • Santa Fe Relocation
  • Allied International
  • Pacific Movers

Getting a quote for moving your belongings to New Zealand

Once you have picked a company, organize for them to give you a quote. Have a look at a few different companies, and compare the quotes. Factored into the quote will be:

  • Your origin address
  • The destination address in New Zealand
  • The volume and weight of your items
  • How quickly you want your items to arrive
  • Whether they are packing up for you or if you need to do it

Good to know:

Insurance isn't usually included in the quote, but the company will give you information on insurers that they would recommend. Some shipping companies require insurance while some don't, but ultimately it is recommended. It's also worth making a list of everything that is packed up and shipped so you can make a ‘declaration of value'.

Paperwork for relocating to New Zealand

All the customs paperwork will be filled out for you by your shipping company, which is why it is an easy option if you can afford it. Because the companies take care of these forms, it means most will come in and pack everything up for you as they need to be aware of what is in your luggage.

The shipping company will be up to date with all the customs regulations of what can and can't be imported and will be able to advise you on this if they encounter anything that looks dubious. You may incur additional import and duty taxes, depending on what you bring into New Zealand.

Arrival in New Zealand

Your belongings will usually arrive directly at your destination address, but in some cases, they will go into a warehouse for you to collect once you have a place to live. Check this information with the company beforehand.

Customs and regulations in New Zealand

Some items that seem normal may cause problems at customs on the New Zealand side, as New Zealand has notoriously strict biosecurity rules. Camping equipment and sports equipment must be new or thoroughly cleaned, as biological material from other countries is cause for quarantine. Fridges and freezers might need special approval as they contain CFCs. Some craft supplies like crayons and paints contain an ingredient called polychlorinated biphenyl, which requires a permit in New Zealand.

Also, be sure to check whether your electrical appliances will be compatible and worth shipping before using up precious cargo space.

Alternatives to moving companies

Shipping containers

Renting space in a shipping container to ship your belongings to New Zealand can be a cost-effective way to move your goods, particularly if you have a small amount of items or are on a tight budget. To rent space in a shipping container to New Zealand, you will need to find a company that offers this service. There are a number of companies that specialize in container shipping and can provide you with a container to fill with your belongings.

When renting space in a shipping container, you will typically be responsible for packing and loading your own goods into the container. It is important to pack your belongings carefully and to make sure the container is properly sealed and secured for transport. You will also need to coordinate with customs and follow all the necessary procedures for importing your goods into New Zealand. Often, your shipping company will assist you with this process and provide you with any necessary documents and information.

Airline baggage

If the quotes from moving companies seem outrageous, it may work out cheaper to simply sell your belongings and repurchase furniture and appliances once in New Zealand. Moving on a budget can be achieved if you are content with arriving with minimal possessions and acquiring what you need for your new home gradually. In New Zealand, there are plenty of secondhand shops available as well as online shopping options like TradeMe and Facebook marketplace, which allow you to find affordable furnishings and homeware in your area.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.