Living in New Zealand

Posted by OrbitProtect Team on 16 June 2022

Living in New Zealand

Whether you have recently arrived as an international student, a nurse who is about to undertake a Competency Assessment Program or as an Essential Work visa holder, we understand the challenge you face. Adjusting to a new way of life in New Zealand can be demanding but rewarding.

To ease your nerves, here are some tips we hope will help:


Accommodation in New Zealand can be expensive. There are several cheaper options of accommodation to consider. You may find these sites helpful to begin your search for accommodations:,,


Once you have arranged your accommodation, start researching your means of transportation. If you are using public transport, secure a transport card as this proves cheaper than paying with cash. In New Zealand, the public transport system (bus or train system) is council-controlled. Therefore, if you travel from city to city, you must purchase a transport card for each city.

If you are in Auckland,  check out this site for public transport in Auckland

If you are looking at purchasing a second-hand car, make sure you allocate the parking fee into your budget. If you intend to drive, your overseas driver’s license can only be honoured up to 12 months from when you first arrive. Our transport agency, Waka Kotahi, is where you need to go to apply for a New Zealand license. ( )


If you intend to work part-time in New Zealand, you will need an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number and a New Zealand bank account.

More information about the IRD number can be found on the Inland Revenue Department site.

We have several banks in New Zealand. Besides Kiwibank, which is New Zealand owned,  banks such as Westpac, Bank of New Zealand, ASB and ANZ are owned by overseas companies. Each bank has its terms and conditions and fees that they charge. Look out for these.  

The likes of Trade Me Jobs ( ), Indeed ( ), and Seek ( ) are the popular job search sites.

Alternatively, you can also opt to sign up with an employment or recruitment agency based in New Zealand to help you look for a job.


When you get to NZ, try immersing yourself in activities or places where you will likely meet people with the same interests as you. New Zealand is renowned for its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. We like to go for a leisure walk to our beautiful gardens, hike, ski and, of course, watch the All Blacks play rugby.

You can do a day hike to multi-day tramps through our national parks. We are the home to the eight great walks. You can find out about our walks on the Department of Conservation website.

Fun fact: New Zealand does not have snakes, bears or any dangerous animal that kills. Hiking, camping and other outdoor activities are very safe.


If you have brought your children with you, enrol them at school if they are 6 to 16 years of age. For the little ones, you can opt to have them looked after at daycare or an ECE (Early Childhood Education) facility.

In New Zealand, it is illegal to leave a child under 14 by themselves at home or in another place without ensuring they are safely supervised and cared for. Therefore, you need to arrange care for your young ones. Our schools usually start at 9 am and end at 3 pm.

Check out our Ministry of Education site for more information about education in New Zealand


If you are here long term, it is best to register with a GP (General Practitioner), also known as a family doctor or general physician, at a medical centre near you in case of emergency. This can either be close to your residence or place of study, or work. Your choice of GP also depends on your budget, as consultation fee rates vary. You might also prefer one who speaks your dialect or language.

In New Zealand, you are advised to see your GP if you are unwell rather than going to the hospital. It is best not to go to the hospital unless you have an emergency, as our hospitals are not equipped for day-to-day minor illnesses. Your GP is better positioned to give you the treatment you need. More helpful information can be found in one of our earlier blogs:

If you are insured with OrbitProtect, you are also expected to see a GP first if you become unwell. You must not go to a specialist unless your GP refers you to a specialist. If you require an optometrist or dentist, you need not be referred by a GP. (Note: Please make sure you check your OrbitProtect policy’s cover limitations for dental and optical treatment).

If you hold an OrbitProtect Student plan, you can use our OrbitPay card when you visit our authorised GP and pharmacies. Do read this blog for more information about the card:

All non-Student policyholders will need to pay for the medical costs upfront and then make a claim on the OrbitProtect website with your receipt/s and medical notes. If your claim is approved, you will be reimbursed.

Settling in a new country can be confusing and daunting. When in doubt, remember that it is okay to ask if you are unsure of what to do, no matter how silly your question may sound. Take it easy, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Rest assured that support is available through your school, work and the relevant government agency. And if you have any issues or enquiry about your OrbitProtect insurance, please feel free to contact us on 0800 478 833 or email us at

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