Living & Studying in New Zealand


Before you arrive you'll want to learn as much as you can about New Zealand. For information about New Zealand, visit the official Tourism New Zealand website.

View information about studying in New Zealand from the New Zealand Government.

View the International Student page from Auckland City Council.

Use this helpful tool to plan your study in New Zealand


Make sure to bring with you your:

  • Passport
  • Insurance certificates
  • Offer of Place
  • Visa
  • Driver's license - an international or own-country driving license is valid for one year in New Zealand. After that you will need to obtain a New Zealand drivers license.
  • Birth certificate (copy only)
  • Any other documents you may need
  • NZ$300 cash until you have your bank account set up


It is a good idea to open a New Zealand bank account. Nearly all the major banks have international student packages. Most banks will want to know that you or your family has a "banking history" in your own country. You should take a letter from your bank, some proof of your account - such as a copy of a statement, your passport and proof of your enrolment in a New Zealand education provider.

ATMs - Automatic Teller Machines are widely used in New Zealand and readily accessible.


Auckland is warm in the summer, but in the winter it can get cold and it often rains. Therefore, make sure you pack warm clothing along with summer clothes. When not wearing your uniforms required for study and practical classes you can dress casually so bring your favourite jeans, t-shirts, jerseys (sweaters), sweatshirts, shoes and sports shoes. Bring formal clothing for special occasions. You'll also need a warm waterproof jacket.


  • Summer: December - February; Average Auckland 20 degrees C, 75 degrees F
  • Autumn (fall): March - May
  • Winter: June - August; Average Auckland 14 degrees C, 57 degrees F
  • Spring: September - November


You should fly into Auckland International Airport.  To get into the city you can go by:

  • Taxi: costs about NZ$70-$90 and takes 30 or 40 minutes.
  • Public transport (Skybus) to the central city costs about NZ$20 and takes about 60 minutes.

You can ask for help from the friendly people at the I-SITE Visitors Centre at the airport.


On arrival in New Zealand you will have to go through New Zealand Customs. You will have been given a form to complete on the plane which outlines prohibited goods. Read the form carefully. Be especially aware that you must declare food of any kind.  - A forgotten apple in the bottom of your bag will earn you an instant fine of NZ$200 - not a good way to start your Kiwi experience.

Most medication is available in New Zealand, but check with your doctor first. If you are carrying prescription medicines or controlled drugs you should:

  • Have a prescription from your physician advising that the medicine is being used under a doctor's direction and is necessary for your physical well-being.
  • Carry the drugs in their original containers.
  • Have sufficient quantity not exceeding three months supply for prescription medicines or one month supply for controlled drugs.


If you are bringing in electrical goods, such as computers, hairdryers etc., be aware that electricity throughout New Zealand is supplied at 230 volts, 50 hertz. Most power sockets accept three-pin plugs or similar adaptors. You can buy adaptors readily in New Zealand. Most student rooms will be wired for internet use, but check with your specific accommodation.


Depending on where you come from you may find Auckland very small and quiet or a huge bustling city! Make sure you discover the variety of attractions Auckland has to offer. Auckland is a vibrant multicultural city beside the sea, sprawled between two harbours and two oceans - the Tasman and the Pacific. It offers the best of both worlds - all the buzz, entertainment, nightlife and cultural activities of a big city, as well as an outdoor lifestyle with numerous sporting and leisure activities.

Our city has an excellent reputation around the world as a study destination. Not only is the quality of education very high, there is a wide range of activities on offer, the city is considered very safe, and the locals friendly and welcoming. Find out more from Study Auckland.

Explore the beautiful beaches, take a ferry to one of the offshore sub-tropical islands, and visit the Auckland Museum. Make sure you attend one of the many local and international festivals, exhibitions and performances held frequently in Auckland. Check out the official Auckland website.

Get regular updates for what's on in Auckland.


If you are living in or close to the central city, you are able to explore the city on foot.

Alternatively, there are a range of public transport options. Students completing full-time study with NZSFW will be able to purchase subsidised public transport with their Student ID. For Auckland Transport information and journey planner visit here.


There is a definite Kiwi culture and if you're not expecting any cultural differences you may be in for a shock! Kiwis are generally considered to be relaxed, friendly and outgoing. Although this is a huge generalisation, we like to think there is some truth to it. Informality is the norm in most social settings. Kiwis have a distinctive sense of humour which may come across as sarcastic, but don't take offence, they expect the same back.

Sport plays a large part in the Kiwi lifestyle so if you want to meet Kiwis, a sports team is a great place to start. While the legal drinking age is 18, emphasis is placed on responsible drinking. Drink driving laws are strictly enforced.


Money is always one of the first things you need. Bring enough cash with you to get you through the first few days. NZ$500 should be enough. It's easy to change your money (traveller's cheques or cash) at a bank, or Bureau de Change kiosk at the airport, in the city or in your suburb.

The New Zealand dollar is the currency used in New Zealand. 100 cents = one dollar ($1).To check current conversion rates with your home currency check out


Living costs vary from student to student. Here are expected minimum annual (1 year) living costs you should budget for. You should also complete research into your own expected costs.

This table shows the NZ$ cost of some commonly purchased items. This information is a guide only.

For more information look at Study Auckland.



Large Pizza

$12.00 - $18.00

Asian Meal

$10.00 - $18.00



Can of Coke


Beer (pint)

$8 - 10 (bar)

Wine (750ml)

$8.00 - $15.00

Movie Ticket


Cellphone Contract (300 free off-peak minutes)


Updated November 2016


Shop opening hours vary. Standard hours are from 9am to 5.30 on weekdays. Many shops, especially those in shopping malls, also open at the weekends, though hours may be different. Supermarkets have extended hours seven days a week. If you want cheap but reasonable quality goods such as linen and small household appliances, The Warehouse chain of stores is a good place to shop. They're easy to find as they are RED


If you need urgent medical attention in the first few days, ask the staff at your accommodation to tell you where the nearest accident and medical centre is located.

These centres are located around the city and are usually open 7 days a week for extended hours. Follow this link information about Accident and Emergency clinics in Auckland.

In serious emergencies requiring an ambulance or Police, call 111.


NZSFW’s goal is to ensure international students are as well supported in order to have a safe, happy, healthy and successful time living and studying in New Zealand.

Other helpful links

Personal Crisis Help Line

Citizens Advice Bureau: offer useful services and advice

Legal Advice

Victim support : If something bad has happened