Important aspects of living in New Zealand

Below are some areas you might cover in orientation for international students.

Living conditions and lifestyle

  • weather and the seasons
  • time zones
  • daylight saving
  • culture and lifestyle
  • New Zealand slang

Locating and getting goods and services

  • where to shop
  • business hours
  • how to shop and purchasing an item
  • using the Yellow Pages

Getting around

  • public transport (e.g. trains, buses, ferries)
  • taxis
  • bicycles
  • driving, including cars and motorcycles

Getting accommodation

  • choosing where to live
  • where to look for accommodation

Types of accommodation

  • homestay
  • on-campus
  • rentals
  • owning a home

Renting accommodation

  • the bond
  • signing a tenancy agreement
  • inspecting the property
  • dealing with property managers
  • setting up and paying utilities
  • rules and restrictions for the property
  • choosing a roommate
  • housekeeping (e.g. stoves/ovens, refrigerators, disposing of rubbish, cleaning, maintenance)
  • getting faults fixed
  • smoke alarms
  • pest control

New Zealand law and staying safe

  • the New Zealand justice system and laws
  • legal services and advice (e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau)
  • child protection laws
  • home security
  • contents insurance
  • internet and cyber safety
  • personal safety, including on public transport and while driving
  • road rules and owning a car, including registration, warrant of fitness, drinking while driving, random breath testing, demerit point scheme and license requirements
  • drug use, including alcohol limits, drink spiking, standard drink size
  • smoking, including where this is not allowed
  • hitchhiking
  • dangerous areas and activities
  • sexual assault
  • reporting a crime against you or someone else


  • Dial 111
  • emergency room at the hospital
  • Police services
  • fire and ambulance services
  • Lifeline
  • Poisons Information Line
  • emergency translations

Getting health care in New Zealand

  • types of health care in New Zealand (e.g. public, private, general practitioners, specialists, pharmacies, prescriptions, dental, optical, alternative or homeopathic)
  • going to hospital, including waiting times for treatment
  • going to a clinic or general practitioner
  • health services (e.g. x-ray, pathology, mental, physiotherapy, sexual)
  • over-the-counter medicine and prescriptions
  • getting an interpreter

Keeping connected

  • telephones, including mobiles and public telephones
  • computer and internet access, including wifi
  • making calls inside New Zealand
  • making overseas calls
  • using the New Zealand post system
  • support and community groups

Managing my finances

  • initial expenses
  • ongoing expenses
  • budgeting advice
  • setting up a bank account
  • accessing your money, including EFTPOS, telephone banking, internet banking and going to a branch
  • using an ATM, including ATM locations near your home and study
  • paying bills
  • account statements
  • banking hours, services and fees
  • safety when carrying money

Working in New Zealand

  • working while studying, including entitlements
  • finding work (e.g. newspapers, university job boards, online)
  • earning an income, including when to pay taxes
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