Moving to New Zealand from Overseas

The green oasis of New Zealand has caught the eye of many, with people from all around the world being drawn into the lush nature and clean environment. Has it captured you, too?

If you’re looking at moving to New Zealand there’s a lot you need to organise. From deciding what you want to take to understanding the customs and quarantine, there’s plenty of planning that needs to be done.

We know how difficult it can be to uplift your entire life and move to a different country – which is why we’re here to help and give our expert advice.

To make moving to New Zealand as simple as possible, we’ve put together tips and advice below.

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Shipping to NZ: Your Options

When transporting your belongings to New Zealand, there are a variety of options available to you. To choose the best option you’ll need to ask yourself:

How much do you want to ship?   /  What's your budget?   /  How fast do you want your goods to arrive?


Full Container Load: ship a full container load to New Zealand

An FCL shipping option gives you the freedom to take your full household (give or take any restricted item) with you to New Zealand. Being allocated an entire contained load means you’ll have ample space to pack your home into.

Key benefits:

  • Ample space: With a full contained load, you’ll have plenty of room for all your beloved items.
  • Speed: FCL shipping will be on it’s way to your new home as soon as you are.
  • Location options: Our FCL shipping at Transworld delivers to most major ports in New Zealand.
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Groupage: share the shipping

From some countries, our groupage shipping option is ideal for those with a smaller household to bring to New Zealand. Using our groupage options means you’ll share the container load with other people shipping to NZ – which does mean it takes a little longer for the container to arrive to you.

Key benefits:

  • Cheap cost: Since you’re not paying for the full container, groupage is a cheap, cost-efficient option.
  • Flexibility: Since you don’t have a set space, you can choose how much you want to fill with groupage shipping to NZ.
  • Location options: our groupage shipping delivers to most major ports in New Zealand.
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Air Freight: fly your belongings

Our Air freight option is by far the fastest way to ship your household items to New Zealand. However it’s only good for those essential items you need quickly. It can be more costly than traditional freight.

Key benefits:

  • Necessary items: air freight is the way to go when you need to ship your essentials, fast.
  • Speedy shipping: shipping items to NZ with air freight is the fastest way to go.
  • Location options: our air freight is delivered to most major New Zealand airports.
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Why You Should Choose Transworld

Transworld is an NZ owned & operated moving company, we’ve been in business for over 20 years and helped thousands of families move their personal and household effects overseas. We know that moving to a new country can be daunting and stressful, which is why our team works closely with you from start-to finish. We will help guide you every step of the way so there’s nothing left unattended as we help you make this big transition! Get a free moving quote online now and if you have questions or concerns along this process - you can get in touch with a member of our team.

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Shipping time to New Zealand depends on the option you chose:

FCL: if you’re opting to use a full container load to ship your belongings, your full household will be shipped immediately.

Groupage: since you’re sharing the load with other people, groupage takes between a bit longer than an FCL and gets shipped once it is a full load.

Air Freight: your fastest shipping option will arrive in 5 to 15 days.

At Transworld, we guide you through Customs and Quarantine formalities.

We’ll help make moving to New Zealand simple and stress free for you and your family.

We’ll take care of:

  • Quarantine inspection
  • Supply you the correct paperwork
  • Compile an inventory of your items

What we need from you:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Statement of your intended length of stay
  • Packing list
  • Copy of your Visa

Personal Effects

New Zealand relies heavily on the exportation of agricultural products around the world. For this reason it is important to ensure that the pests and diseases affecting other countries do not make it onto our shores. Quarantine charges, including examination and treatment fees are usually in addition to your original removal quotation. The charges are dependent on where the shipment originated from, what specific items quarantine need to inspect/treat and the total quantity of the shipment.

High risk items that are prohibited from entering New Zealand are fresh fruit and vegetables, egg cartons, all honey and bee products including propolis and bee medications, leis and lei materials, straw and biological cultures and organisms (unless with prior approval).

In addition to this list, unless you have a CITES certificate, you will not be allowed to bring into New Zealand coral, clam, turtle and tortoise shells or ivory (in any form) or a number of other endangered species.

Like New Zealand Customs, MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) require a declaration to be made. Transworld's import staff will supply and assist with the completion of these declarations.

Restricted items you need to declare include all foods, dried flowers, seeds, cane/bamboo/rattan items, pine cones and potpourri, wooden artifacts, items including feathers, bones, tusks, furs, skins, hunting trophies, stuffed animals and reptiles, unprocessed wool and animal hair, equipment used on animals including riding equipment, camping gear and any other items containing soil or water.

These items may require inspection and, if needed, be treated or destroyed. Generally all items that would normally be used outdoors will be examined to make sure they are free from soil and other contaminants, so make sure they are thoroughly cleaned. Also ensure your vacuum cleaner is cleaned, the bag emptied, and disposed of (if applicable).

While this list identifies most of the common threats to New Zealand, the list is not exhaustive. If you are unsure about a particular item please feel free to contact us.

Motor Vehicles

All vehicles imported into New Zealand are subject to inspection by a Quarantine Officer. This inspection must be undertaken at an approved transitional facility (it should be noted that all our depots have been approved). Quarantine charges including examination and treatment fees are usually additional to your original removal quotation.

It is advisable to clean the vehicle prior to shipping and it is important that the underside, wheel arches, bonnet, boot and interior are free from soil and other contaminants (leaves, grass, seeds etc). If contaminants are found, the vehicle will be cleaned at a quarantine-approved treatment facility.

Contact us today for any questions you might have regarding New Zealand Quarantine.

When moving to a new country there’s always prohibited and restricted items that you’ll need to be aware of. Here’s a quick overview of what you’re not allowed to bring into New Zealand

The following items are prohibited:

  • Flammable items such as petroleum, matches, etc.
  • Animal or plant-based products.
  • Drugs, unlicensed guns or indecent material.

Items that are restricted and require permits:

  • Ivory
  • Live species
  • Vehicles
  • Firearms

Firearms can be imported into New Zealand as part of a household shipment but a police permit and firearms licence will be required. All firearms will need to be inspected by New Zealand Customs prior to the whole shipment being released (make sure all guns are stowed together, easily accessible, identifiable, and stowed close to the container doors). Ornamental and decommissioned antique guns will be treated as though they are working firearms until they have been inspected by Customs.

Where a permit and licence have not been issued by the time your shipment arrives, your firearm(s) will be detained by New Zealand Customs until they are produced - contact us for more information. The importation of other types of weapons, including flick knives, daggers, swordsticks, knuckle dusters or replica weapons is prohibited.

Note: We are unable to assist with the importation of Firearms that are not part of a household relocation

You’re more than welcome to ship your vehicle to New Zealand, but it must first pass certain requirements and receive a permit. You’ll also need to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle.

Consider the following points:

  • Your vehicle needs to New Zealand standards and criteria to use it on the road.
  • You’ll need to provide documentation to prove you are the legal owner of the vehicle.
  • One your vehicle enters the country, it will need to pass a Vehicle Entry Certification.
  • If you ship the vehicle to New Zealand and it does not comply you will need to re-export it at your expense.
  • Compliance certificates will only be recognised when issued by the agent in New Zealand representing the make of your vehicle. Compliance certificates issued at country of origin will not be recognised.
  • Left hand drive vehicles have restricted entry, please contact us for more details on this.
  • Once the vehicle has passed its compliance test it can be registered with The Automobile Association (AA), Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) or Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ), the road tax must then be paid prior to the license plates being issued.

Tax-free concessionary entry for motor vehicles is available to immigrants taking up permanent residency for the first time and returning New Zealand residents who have been absent from New Zealand for more than 21 months. To qualify you need to have owned and used the vehicle for more than 1 year prior to export. With a concessionary entry, all importers will need to sign a deed of undertaking that they will not sell the vehicle within 2 years of its arrival in New Zealand. All other import situations will attract GST (Goods and Service Tax) at 15.0% on the depreciated value of the vehicle.

Motor cars  purchases after March 1 2020 can be depreciated if the importers owns and uses the vehicle overseas for more than three months. Depreciation is calculated at 21% per year (or part thereof) to a maximum of 75% depreciation.

If you’re moving to New Zealand and thinking of bringing your pet with you, you’ll need to attain a permit. Cats and dogs from Australia will be automatically cleared for quarantine, but other animals will need to go through a quarantine facility.

If you’re planning on taking a pet, we can help you. Your pet must be over three months old and vaccinated. You’ll need to gather the following for your pet:

  • Certificate of origin
  • Certificate of health
  • Import license

Bringing a pet into New Zealand is expensive and there are strict regulations which need to be met. Despite the cost, over 6000 cats and dogs are brought into New Zealand each year! You are advised to use a pet transport company to arrange the documentation and flight bookings (airlines don’t accept pet bookings from private individuals).