Moving to New Zealand

Relocating overseas?

With a diverse landscapes and an abundance of natural beauty, New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Life in New Zealand is seen by many as greener and more relaxed than life in the UK, with many opportunities to explore the great outdoors and enjoy the slower pace of life.

Moving to the other side of the world might seem a logistical nightmare, but you needn’t worry. As a specialist removals company, Hackworthy & Sons take all the complexities away, allowing you to spend more time concentrating on other aspects of your emigration.

During their visit, our Surveyor will sit down with you, discuss the options for your move, and provide you with a no-obligation removal quotation.

If you choose to accept our quotation, we will be there to guide you through the moving process; from packing and providing assistance with completing your documentation to customs clearance and unpacking at your destination.

If you are in the early stages of planning your move to New Zealand and would like to talk through the moving process, please feel free to give us a call.

We have also put together a handy Guide to Planning your Removal Overseas, which you can download here


To ship your household goods into New Zealand you will require:

  • A copy of your passports and visa.
  • A combined Customs and Quarantine Declaration Form.
  • A numbered Inventory/Packing List.
  • A Personal Effects Supplementary Declarations for consignments containing items which are a biosecurity risk.
  • Valid treatment certificates for goods that have been fumigated, heat treated or cleaned.

You may also need to complete additional forms depending on the items in your consignment.

Timeframes & Schedule

Sole Use Containers

If you are planning on shipping the majority of your household effects to New Zealand the cheapest and quickest way is by a sole use container. Your belongings are normal packing and wrapped at your home and loaded into a container onsite. The container is then driven directly to the port where it is loaded on the next outbound ship.

Shipping containers generally come in two sizes;

  • 20ft. This container holds 1050 cu ft.; large enough to hold a 2- 3 bedroom house.
  • 40ft. This container holds 2100 cu ft.; large enough to hold a 3- 4 bedroom house.

Shipment to New Zealand using a sole use container take approximately 7-8 weeks port to port, although you should make some allowance for some seasonal fluctuations. You should then allow 2 weeks at destination for customs clearance and delivery. The overall transit time is therefore approximately between 8-10 weeks door to door.


If you only have a small amount of goods to export your effects would usually be shipped as part of a groupage consignment. Your consignment will be export packed at your home and taken to our warehouse where it is consolidated with other client’s consignments bound for the same destination. Once the load has been shipped you will be provided with the shipment details along with an estimated date of arrival in port.

Shipment to New Zealand by groupage takes approximately 10-14 weeks depending on your destination.

Shipping Cars*

If you plan to ship your car to New Zealand you will be required to provide evidence that you have owned the car for at least 12 months prior to shipping to ensure you are not liable for duty charges however you will be required to pay a goods and services tax. To be exempt from duty the car must only be for your personal use.

The process of importing your car to New Zealand can be lengthy and you will be required to collect the correct supporting information for you application as well as ensuring your vehicle will meet the standards set to meet New Zealand import standards. This information can be found on the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

You will also be required to prepare your car for shipment. This includes ensuring it is cleaned and free from soil and debris inside and out. We recommend that the underside of your vehicle is steamed cleaned just before shipment to avoid additional charges during inspection by Quarantine.

What can't I take?*

Certain items cannot be accepted under general conditions of carriage and storage e.g. explosives, flammable gasses, lithium batteries, poisons & toxins, scuba tanks, gas cylinders.
New Zealand has its own strict guidelines to protect their natural resources and indigenous species.

MPI have produced their own guide about what you need to know when moving household goods to New Zealand.

Restricted and Prohibited items

The following items must be declared or you will be subject to fine and the items may be seized.

  • All food stuff including dried and preserved as well as seeds and spices.
  • All plant materials including dried flower, cane and bamboo
  • All animal materials including skins and items that contain hair and fur.
  • All wooden items, drums, carvings, spears and masks.
  • All outdoor, camping, sports equipment, hiking boots and other sporting footwear that could be contaminated with soil, seeds or water.
  • Gardening equipment and outdoor furniture.

The above list are by no means exhaustive. Full details can be found on the New Zealand Customs Services Website and on the MPI Website

What isn't covered in the removal cost?*

It is important that all details about your properties and access to them both in the UK and New Zealand are passed on to us. Unless specifically requested, charges for storage, special lifting equipment and tranship due to limited access for a large vehicle are excluded from the quotation. You are also responsible for parking permits and charges.

Any duties or customs charges that become payable on inspection of your goods upon arrival in New Zealand will also be your responsibility.

Inspection and Clearance of Goods

All effects being shipped into New Zealand are screened and most require some kind of inspection. If the shipment is a full sea container load an inspection of the sea container is mandatory. Details of inspection costs can be found on the MPI website.

Duty and Tax

If you are a 1st time migrant with permanent residency, a work to residency permit or a work permit for longer than 12 months you will generally be able import your household effects into the country without incurring duty or tax. New items or items which you have owned for less than 12 months will be liable for duty and GST along with any commercial items which form part of your shipment.
Full details of concessions and duties can be found here.

What happens when my goods arrive at their destination?

Once your effects leave port in the UK we will be able to provide you with an estimated date for arrival at the destination port. Once your shipment arrives our destination partner will contact you to arrange customs and quarantine formalities and arrange a suitable date for delivery to your residence.

Our door to door service mean that your goods will be delivered to your new home, placed in the room/location of your choice. Our destination partner will also complete the unpacking of all boxes and remove all packing materials from your property.


We take the utmost care with every shipment and use specialist boxes and protective wrap to ensure your effects arrive safety in whichever corner of the globe you are moving. We do however recommend that you take out Marine Insurance as accidents can happen.

Cover is available on professionally packed goods for all risks of loss and/or damage in transit. Cover on owner packed boxes is limited to total loss only.

Please ensure your insure your items for full replacement value at destination, it is not advisable to under-insure your items.

We will provide you with an Insurance Proposal Form, which must be completed prior to the packing and collection date.

Insurance premiums are subject to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), at the current rate. Please note that if you decline cover, we will rely upon our BAR Terms & Conditions (clause 8) in the unforeseen event of loss or damage, however caused.

*Please note rules, regulations and charges are subject to change and we advise all customers to obtain direct rulings from their destination customs authority.

Emigrating To New Zealand : What Else You Need To Know

Applying For A New Zealand Visa

If you are planning on moving to New Zealand for less than 6 months, a visa is not required, however you will need to get a NZeTA before you leave.

However, if you are emigrating to New Zealand for longer than 6 months, you will need to gain a residency visa, such as the Skilled Migrant Category which allows you to stay in the country endlessly and access the state funded public services. 

There are many other visa options available to those looking at moving to New Zealand, which can be found on the New Zealand Immigration website, where you will be able to find the visa that suits you best. 

When applying for a Skilled Migrant Visa to emigrate to New Zealand you must meet the following requirements: 

  • You’ll need to have enough skills, experience and qualifications to accept your expression of interest and invite you to apply for residence 
  • Be 55 or under when you apply 
  • Speak English reasonably well 

After this visa has expired, if you meet the conditions, you can then apply for permanent residence, with this allowing you to go to and from New Zealand in the future without travel conditions. 

For your permanent residence visa, additionally to completing the relevant documentation, you must be able to fit within the following criteria to make moving to New Zealand a permanent fixture: 

  • Provide proof of identity (2 acceptable headshots / your passport or another certificate of identity) 
  • Be of good character 
  • Hold a valid resident visa or have held one in the last 3 months (provide a resident visa or residence permit & have held continuously for 24 months) 
  • Met conditions of your current visa 
  • Be committed to living in New Zealand permanently (provide evidence of your commitment to New Zealand) 
  • Non principal applicants should apply at the same time or after the principal applicant, unless a non principal exception applies

For more information on Visas and Citizenship when moving to New Zealand, please visit the New Zealand Immigration website.

Healthcare in New Zealand

For those who have permanent residency, following relocating to New Zealand,  you will have access to free or heavily-subsidised hospital care including emergency treatment. As well as this, standard medical tests, children's immunisations and prescription medicines for children under 6 are other free medical services available to New Zealand residents. 

Therefore it’s important to consider that for expats moving to New Zealand, you will need to have permanent residence status to access the public healthcare and register with a GP. 

It is recommended that expats join a Primary Health Organisations (PHO) when moving to New Zealand, due to the application process often taking up to 3 months to process. PHO’s can provide further subsidies to the government on medical costs that you may incur. 

Before taking up any form of medical cover upon moving to New Zealand, it is recommended that expats check with their company to see if this is included as part of their employment contract.

On your relocation to New Zealand, if you need any emergency medical assistance, you will need to dial 111 and ask for an ambulance. Following this, if you are referred for treatment it is important to get in contact with your medical cover / insurance company swiftly. 

For further information on Healthcare in New Zealand, Expat Arrivals provides some useful information on pharmacies, health hazards and more. 

Pet Relocation to New Zealand 

If you own a pet and are looking at relocating to New Zealand, then seemingly there is no doubt that you wouldn't want to take your four legged friend with you.

Relocating to New Zealand with your pets can often take longer than you think so it’s important to prepare your pet for the move, both in terms of getting the relevant vaccinations done as well as reducing the stress of your pet. 

It is recommended to start planning your pets moving to New Zealand around 6 months before departure, firstly with carrying out the vaccinations that are required and obtaining a microchip if your pet doesn't have one already.

Cats and dogs are currently the only pets able to be imported into New Zealand, with all required to complete 10 days quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand. 

In order to import your cat or dog into New Zealand the following documentation is required: 

  • A permit to import issued by MPI for a single consignment
  • Veterinary certificate 
  •  Original laboratory reports 
  • Importer dog breed declaration 

For more information on the details of these requirements, check out the Import Health Standard from the New Zealand government.