Shipping Your Belongings to New Zealand | Transition Medical

Your Guide to Shipping Your Belongings to New Zealand

So, you’re thinking about moving to New Zealand? Perhaps, you’ve already secured a job offer from one of our lovely GP clinics. Or, maybe you’re still in the early days of researching and planning?

Whatever stage you’re at in your move down under, our guide offers impartial advice on to shipping your belongings to New Zealand and starting your new life as a local GP.

Shipping your belongings down under is certainly not an easy task. It’ll take some preparation and even professional help. But, let’s start at the very beginning — figuring out what you should bring with you.

How to Figure Out What to Bring When Moving to New Zealand

Getting your life into a shipping container is a tricky challenge, especially if you’ve lived somewhere for a long time. On the one hand, it can be sad to say goodbye to the old jumper you’ve had since college, but on the other hand, bringing everything with you can be extremely price.

Start by thinking about whether the cost of shipping the item outweighs the sentimental or actual value of your belongings. Some things can’t be replaced or would be pricey to do so. You may also want to have familiar items in your new home, especially if you’re moving to New Zealand with young children.

Next, think about your new life and house. What items will fit in your new home? Are you downsizing to a smaller place? If so, not all your furniture will fit. Also, remember that New Zealand houses are different from UK homes so they might have different space requirements. Your new home may also come with some items like large scale appliances or furniture.

When thinking about electrical items, it’s important to remember that New Zealand has a different electrical system. While appliances in New Zealand use the same electrical voltage as the UK, the maximum current is only 10 amps (rather than the 13 we use here). So, you’ll need to check that your appliances will work, before you ship them.

What You Can’t Ship to New Zealand

New Zealand has some strict requirements on what you can’t bring with you. These rules are in place to protect their unique and beautiful ecosystem and largely apply to items that might impact it.

Items that are strictly prohibited:

  • Weapons and firearms
  • Most food items
  • Items made from animal by-products including coral, snakeskin, whalebone, shells or fur
  • Medicines using musk, horn or bone

Items that require additional documents or quarantine:

  • Herbs & spices
  • Taxidermied animals
  • Bamboo, cane, rattan, basketry and mats
  • Unprocessed wool and animal hair
  • Dried flowers or bulbs
  • Saddles and riding equipment
  • Artefacts (wooden carvings, shields, masks, etc.)
  • Camping equipment
  • Vacuum cleaners

Check the status of any item on New Zealand’s customs service website.

What to Do If You Plan on Bringing Any of the Above

If you plan to bring these items, you’ll need to declare them on your itinerary before departing. While you probably won’t get stopped at Customs, the risk isn’t worth it as you’ll face a hefty fine if they discover any of these items, undeclared, in your suitcase.

You’ll get a bill for any inspections, treatments and disposal or exportation of any items customs refuses. And, the total cost can be mind-blowing.

How to Pack Your Belongings for Moving to New Zealand

Controlled Items

As part of the packing process, it’s important to clean anything that’s come in contact with freshwater or soil. For example, you’ll need to clean items like camping equipment, fishing supplies, hiking shoes, and watersport accessories like dive suits or life vests.

After you’ve cleaned these items, make sure to pack them in the same box and clearly label what’s in the box. Customs offers charge by the hour, so anything you can do to speed up their work will reduce the overall costs if your container is inspected.


You’ll obviously want to bring along your clothes. When packing your clothes, remember that New Zealand has different seasons than in the UK. So, when it’s winter here, it’ll be summer there and vice versa.

Make sure to pack warmer/summer clothes, depending on the season in New Zealand, last so it’ll be easy to access your clothes immediately. You may also want to pack one or two bags separately and check these bags under the plane, so you’ll have clothes while you wait for your container to clear customs.

Electrical Items

As we discussed earlier, New Zealand has a different electrical system than the UK and their electrical current tops out at 10 amps, three amps less than Britain. So, you’ll need to check your devices before you pay to ship them down under and discover that they won’t work there.

You can find this information on most electrical devices or by looking up the brand/model online. Anything that needs a stronger current, above 10 amps, should be left at home. Most appliances should be fine, but pay close attention to any heat generating items like kettles, toasters, hair dryers and lamps as these typically require more energy so might exceed 10 amps.

Shipping a Car to New Zealand from UK

Should you bring your car? It may seem tempting, but most professional moving companies suggest otherwise.

Importing a car to New Zealand can be extremely expensive and complicated, making it simply not worth it. New Zealand has some tough regulations on vehicles, so bringing your car down under is very time-consuming and will require far more paperwork and money than other items.

Some companies may help you with the cost as part of your relocation package. Before you take them up on the offer, you’ll need to consider whether your car will meet New Zealand’s regulations as they have strict standards on factors like emission rates so many UK cars won’t pass the test without serious work. So, you may find it easier to buy a new car rather than ship your old one.

If you’re still thinking about shipping your car, you can find more information on the process and requirements on NZ Transportation Agency’s website.

What Documents You’ll Need Before Moving to New Zealand 

Once you’ve figured out what items you’ll take and started packing, you’ll need to contact a shipping company. Most shipping companies will help you sort custom documents and streamline the process.

But, it’s important to know the documents you’ll need to ship your household goods. Most people will need:

  • A copy of their passport & visa (so you’ll need to secure a new job before you start the shipping process)
  • 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.

Your moving company can advise on any additional forms you may need.

How to Ship Your Belongings to New Zealand

When it comes to shipping your items, you have a few options depending on how much stuff you plan on bringing with you.

Sole use containers. Best for people looking to ship most of their belongings, sole use containers are one of the cheapest and quickest methods. You can use either a 20ft container, which is generally large enough to fit a 2- 3 bedroom house. Or, a 40ft container, which can hold a 3- 4 bedroom house. From door-to-door, sole use containers take eight to ten weeks to arrive in New Zealand.

Groupage. If you only plan on bringing a small amount of items (i.e. less than a 2-3 bedroom house), groupage consignment might be a good option as your stuff is grouped with other items which will reduce the overall cost. However, this method normally takes a bit longer at about 10-14 weeks.

Cost of Moving Belongings to New Zealand

The expected cost varies widely based on how much stuff you’re shipping and the type of items. You’ll have to take clearance and customs duties, insurance, storage costs as well as international shipping costs into account.

Generally, most families pay between £2000 to £5000 depending on container sizes and final destination. But, we recommend shopping around to make sure you find the best deal and a company that can meet your needs.

Transition Medical — Helping GPs Make the Move Down Under

Here at Transition Medical, we specialise in helping UK GPs make the move to New Zealand. We’ll support you throughout the entire process, from connecting you with attractive GP New Zealand vacancies to providing advice on moving your family pet and finding a new school for your children.

Check out our other related blogs for more information on making the move.

Other Related Blogs 

What is life like for a GP in New Zealand. We speak to one of our UK GPs working in Auckland

We have recently had the pleasure of assisting a UK trained GP relocate to New Zealand. We talk to Dr Kate Gittins who has moved with her family to Auckland.

What made you decide to move to New Zealand?

We worked in New Zealand more than 20 years ago and had always wanted to return to work here. The opportunity arose for us to move when my husband was offered a job in Auckland. Our sons were in University and my daughter thought that it would be a great experience for her to study in another country so after a lot of family discussion we decided to move.

Tell us about a typical day in your GP role?

I now work in a large GP practice on the coast in South Eastern Auckland, my day starts at 08:30 and ends at 17:30, I see patients every 15 mins with regular breaks for tea and lunch, on average I see between 24-30 patients a day. There is no on call or visits and there is a large practice team of nurses, receptionists and administrators all available to help.

Best bit about your day?

The best bit of my day is getting home in the early evening less stressed with plenty of time for my family.

Most challenging part of your day?

I am still settling into life as a GP in New Zealand so the most challenging part of my day is learning the New Zealand way of managing patients, new pathways, which medications that are available here and ways of referring patients.

How have you and your family settled in and would you have any tips for other GPs relocating?

We have settled into life here very easily, the people are very friendly, easy going and helpful. My daughter’s school has been great and she made lots of good friends. I haven’t really got any tips about relocating, it is stressful but well worth it.

How have you found the transition from general practice in the UK to New Zealand?

General practice in New Zealand is very similar to general practice in the UK, the main difference is that here general practice is private so the patients pay to see their GP which can occasionally change the dynamic of the consultation but most of the time I just need to remember to give them the invoice! The other difference is that here the consultations are a minimum of 15 minutes which makes a big difference in terms of patient care and I feel less stressed.

Finally, how have you found Transition Medical in helping you make the move to NZ?

I found Transition Medical very helpful and made my move to New Zealand very easy and less stressful.


Further Reading

Your NZ Visa questions answered

NZ Schooling System

How are you supported into practice

What next?

If you are interested in relocating to New Zealand and would like to find out more please get in touch with one of our specialist GP recruitment team.

GP Recruitment New Zealand – How are you supported into practice?

GP Recruitment New Zealand – How are you supported into practice?

Working as a GP in New Zealand is something you’ve probably been thinking about for some time and wondering when is the right time to make the move.

Living and working down under has many benefits – a wonderful work / life balance, amazing scenery and outdoor activities and of course much more time with the family.

UK trained GPs are still very much in demand in New Zealand, and we have lots of fabulous GP jobs to choose from across both the north and south island.

Relocating to New Zealand as a GP can be a daunting process so you want to make sure you have the right team behind you to support you all the way.

Why Choose Transition Medical

Our team will support you through the entire process from initial arranging of interviews and advice on contracts through to managing your medical registration and visa application.

It’s a reasonably complex and time consuming process where the advice and support of our team is invaluable. Once we have secured you your dream job, the next step is to apply to the Medical Council of New Zealand. The MCNZ have strict English language requirements, comparability and referencing requirements. We will advise on the Registration pathway which is most appropriate for your experience, qualifications and long-term (or short term) goals for working in New Zealand.

In general, the MCNZ recognise GP training from the UK and Ireland. Unlike Australia, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the MRCGP qualification making it easier to find a post if you don’t have it. If you haven’t completed your GP training in the UK or Ireland then you are eligible if you have a minimum of 33 months recent GP experience from one of the following countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK and USA.

As part of our expert GP Recruitment team, we have a Licenced Immigration Advisor who will advise on the most appropriate visa for you and your family and ensure this application is processed seamlessly.

Once your visa has been approved, we will support you in arranging Professional Indemnity Insurance, setting up new bank accounts, arranging your final Medical Council interview and much more.

Once in New Zealand, you will be allocated a Supervisor within the practice who will be on hand to ensure your smooth transition into practice. All new doctors entering New Zealand have this requirement and find it extremely useful whilst getting to grips with the new Healthcare system.

We have many years experience finding GPs jobs in New Zealand and managing all the paperwork associated. If you have any questions or wish to discuss your next steps don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Further Reading:

What is life like for GPs in New Zealand

8 Reasons to GPs to move to New Zealand

How does the Cost of Living compare in New Zealand to the UK

Your New Zealand GP Visa questions answered

GP Visa Options for New Zealand

As a GP relocating to New Zealand, there are both temporary and permanent visa options open to you, so long as you meet the criteria. The occupation ‘General Practitioner’ is on New Zealand’s Long-Term Skill Shortage List which gives you allows you eligibility to apply for a visa.

To meet the required standard, you need to hold NZ registration within a relevant provisional general, general, provisional vocational or vocational scope of practice with the Medical Council of New Zealand. This is something we will advise on once we have helped you secure a GP job in New Zealand.

NZ Temporary Visa Applications

The Essential Skills Work Visa is the most commonly used visa type if you have been offered a job and you are planning on a temporary stay. You must have the necessary skills and experience and be registered accordingly. This visa will be granted for the length of your contract up to a maximum of 5 years. You will also be required to meet general requirements such as character and health criteria.

You will be able to support visa applications for your Partner and any dependent children. With this visa you can work for an employer who has offered you a full-time position deemed as 30 hours per week or more.

Will I need a Medical?

If you are planning on staying in New Zealand for longer than 12 months then you will be required to have a medical examination and chest x-ray. Children younger than 11 and pregnant women do not need a chest x-ray unless a special report is needed. All medicals and chest X-rays are required to be completed by a Panel Doctor. We will advise you further of this and recommend where to have your medical done if required.

Bringing Partners and Children to New Zealand

If you are applying for a New Zealand visa based on your relationship, you and your partner will need to meet certain criteria.

  • Your partnership needs to be genuine and stable.
  • You must be living with your partner.
  • You must meet health and character requirements.
  • You must have the support of your partner.

A marriage certificate is suitable as evidence of being in a committed relationship. If you do not have this then you will need to provide evidence of living together. We will advise directly on your current circumstances.

Your dependent children can apply to join you in New Zealand. Generally, dependency is shown to be up to the age of 19 and fully dependant on you financially.

NZ Permanent Resident Visa Applications

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa allows you to live, work and study indefinitely in New Zealand providing you are 55 years of age or under. Your partner and dependent children aged 24 years and under can be included in your residence application. This is a points-based application currently requiring 160 points or above.

Work to Residence Visa is a temporary visa for up to 30 months but will allow you to apply for residence status after 24 months if you have a permanent or long-term job offer and you meet the work, qualification, age, health and character requirements.

Essential Skills Work Visa would be an option if you have been offered a job and you are planning on a temporary stay only. You must have the necessary skills and experience and be registered accordingly. This visa can be approved for up to five years duration.

How we Help

Here at Transition Medical, we don’t just find you the GP job of your dreams, we also manage your paperwork from start to finish. We have a specialist team on hand to guide you through the registration paperwork and once complete our Immigration Advisor at the Emigration Group will advise on the most suitable visa for you and your family. And this is all free of charge!

For further information or to discuss your circumstances directly please get in touch with one of the team here at Transition Medical.

Further Reading

Read our Other Blog Posts

Find out what life is like for GPs in New Zealand

8 Reasons to move to New Zealand

Is there an age Limit for GPs in New Zealand



Moving Your Family Pet to Australia or New Zealand from UK

As anyone with a family pet knows, leaving them behind simply isn’t an option. Yet the process of moving your pet to Australia or New Zealand can be complicated. You’ll need to find a pet transportation company, ensure your pet meets the essential criteria and has the right vaccinations, apply for an import permit, and send your pet through quarantine. With so much to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at first.

Our guide will explain the basics, connect you with the right resources and help you get started on the process of moving your pet to New Zealand or Australia.

Pet Import Requirements: Moving to New Zealand or Australia with a Dog or Cat

New Zealand and Australia are considered rabies-free countries, which means that there are strict requirements in place to ensure they stay that way. Thankfully, the United Kingdom qualifies as a category 3 country (an approved country where rabies is absent or well-controlled), which means that it’s relatively easier to relocate a pet from the UK.

In addition to being vaccinated against rabies, dogs must also:

  • Be over 9 months old (New Zealand only)
  • Not a hybrid
  • Not predominantly or wholly belonged to a banned breed (Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, perro de presa Canario, or American pit bull terrier)
  • Not pregnant or less than 42 days pregnant (New Zealand) or less than 30 days pregnant (Australia)

You can find out more about pet import requirements for New Zealand here or pet import requirements for Australia here.

Finding a Pet Exporter for Pet Relocation to Australia or New Zealand

While it’s possible to move your pet to Australia or New Zealand without the assistance of a pet exporter, hiring a company to tackle all the logistics certainly makes the process easier. We recommend shopping around to find one that suits your needs but here’s a list of some of our favourite pet exporter companies.

  • PetAir UK. Run by professional veterinarians, PetAir UK are experts at comfortably and safely transporting your pet anywhere in the world. They’ll help you handle all of the logistics and even create custom creates tailored specifically to your pet’s needs.
  • AirPets. Based in the UK’s largest airport, AirPets offer convenient and luxurious pet transport. Their door-to-door service and dedicated personal pet travel consult will take all of the hassle out of moving your pet to Australia or New Zealand.
  • Animal Airlines. Operating from nearly every major airport in the UK, Animal Airlines have been transporting pets internationally since the 1960s. They’ll handle everything from airline reservations to documentation and arranging quarantine.

Step One of Moving to Australia and New Zealand with Pets: Book Quarantine

Every animal arriving from outside New Zealand and Australia will need to spend ten days in a government approved quarantine facility. You’ll need to reserve their space and receive a confirmation letter before you can apply for an import permit. If you’re using a pet exporter company, they’ll handle this part of the process.

In New Zealand, pet quarantine facilities are privately owned which means you’ll have a range of options to choose from. An MPI approved list is available here and you can often make a booking online or via email.  We recommend reading the online reviews to make sure you select one that can meet your and your pet’s needs.

Australia only has one government approved quarantine facility, located in the Melbourne suburb of Mickleham. You’ll need to obtain an import permit and your pet will need their rabies vaccinations and RNATT certification before you can book quarantine. The facility fills up quick quickly so it’s important to make a reservation before planning your move to Australia. We recommend booking as soon as possible, but at least two months before your arrival.

Step Two of Pet Relocation to New Zealand and Australia: Book Your Flight

Both Australia and New Zealand have strict regulations about the airlines that can import animals and the airports animals can arrive at.

For New Zealand, it’s likely that your pet will have to enter New Zealand via Auckland as only certain airlines, like Air New Zealand, are allowed to import animals into the country. As the only quarantine facility in Australia is located in Melbourne, your pet will need to arrive at Melbourne International Airport, undergo the mandated quarantine period and THEN travel to its final destination.

A pet exporter can help you find the best flight and plan the safest route for your animal to travel.

Step Three of Moving Pets to Australia and New Zealand: Vaccinations

About 18 to six months before you relocate, you’ll need to start the rabies work. As New Zealand and Australia are rabies-free countries, all animals must receive a rabies vaccination before arrival.

Dogs and cats arriving from the United Kingdom are required to have their primary rabies vaccination at least six months (seven months for Australia) and a rabies blood sample at least three months (one month for Australia) before flying.  Even if you’ve had your animal previously vaccinated, it’s likely you’ll need to do it again as vaccinations must be given within the 12 months before travel.

Step Four of Moving to Australia or New Zealand with Pets: Veterinary Checks

Before travelling, you’ll need to have a veterinary check completed. The veterinary checks for Australia and New Zealand vary slightly.

For New Zealand, Dogs will need to be tested for Leptospira and heartworm and receive treatment against ticks and internal parasites while cats will need to be treated for ticks and worms (about three weeks before flying). Both dogs and cats will also need to be microchipped.

Dogs will also need to attend the vet about two weeks before flying to be tested for Babesia and Brucella. Both dogs and cats will need to see the vet two days before flying for a final check and treatment for ticks. This final check-up is required for the UK DEFRA export paperwork.

For Australia, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet about 52-43 days before travelling so that the vet can examine your dog for ticks and apply an anti-tick treatment. Make sure that your vet issues the right treatment as the Australian government has regulations about the treatments they can accept. As an entry requirement to Australia, your dog will also need to be vaccinated against Leptospira. During this initial vet appointment, you’ll also need to get the DEFRA export paperwork.

About a month before flying, you’ll need to return to your vet to have blood samples completed to confirm that your pet does not have any diseases like Ehrlichia, Leishmania or Brucella. Dogs and cats will also need to receive another tick and internal worm treatment.

The final veterinary check happens five days before your flight. At this appointment, your animal will receive a general check-up to ensure they’re healthy to fly and do not have any infectious or contagious diseases. Your vet will also need to complete the UK export paperwork.

Step Five of Moving a Dog or Cat to Australia or New Zealand: Import Permits

Pets travelling from the UK to Australia New Zealand will also need an import permit to fly. To apply for the permit, you’ll need to provide the quarantine confirmation letter and initial vet documents.

The vet documents need to confirm that your pet has been microchipped, has been vaccinated against rabies and has passed the Rabies Titer test. The documents also need to include an Official Veterinary Declaration (OVD).

For New Zealand, it can take up to a month to process the import permit and we recommend applying at least 20 days before arrival. The import permit is only valid for ten days from your intended arrival date so if you have a change in plans you’ll need to apply for another permit. Import permits for New Zealand are about half the price of Australian import permits and typically cost around NZ$220.74.

For Australia, the process typically takes about 42 days so we recommend applying two months before arrival. It’s also a relatively expensive application with Australian import permits costing around $480 AUD.

More information about the import permit and other steps you need to take to move your pet to New Zealand can be found in MPI’s handy guide and information about Australian import permits can be found here.

Have Questions About Moving to New Zealand or Australia as a Doctor?

At Transition Medical we help GPs, and their pets, make the move down under. Over the years, we’ve assisted many GPs move to New Zealand and Australia and have experience dealing with complicated issues like visas and pet relocation. Speak to one of our specialist recruitment professionals today to find out more or browse our current job openings.

Other Relevant Blogs

Moving to New Zealand from the UK: How Does New Zealand’s Education System Compare?

A crucial part of preparing to move to New Zealand with children is considering how they might adjust to the change. Naturally, you’ll have questions about New Zealand’s education system? Will your children be able to start school immediately? How does New Zealand’s education system differ to the UK’s?

Our blog article takes an in-depth look at the New Zealand education system for international students with a particular focus on how it differs from the UK. We hope it eases any concerns about emigrating to New Zealand and are happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

New Zealand’s Education System at a Glance 

Each year the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) assesses and compares educational systems across the world. Here’s how New Zealand’s education system measured up for early childhood education and schooling:

  • New Zealand ranked in the top third of OECD countries for early childhood indicators like participation and expenditure
  • New Zealand’s education system has some of the lowest teacher-child ratios
  • Youth employment, when compared to other OECD countries, remains high and New Zealanders are more likely to leave school sooner to pursue employment or further education opportunities
  • New Zealanders, between the ages of 15 to 29, not in employment, education or training (NEET) is lower than the OECD average

Overall, these results are quite positive. Students studying in New Zealand can expect to receive more individual attention from teachers due to the low teacher-child ratios and continue on to promising employment and education opportunities post-graduation.

Moving to New Zealand with Children: How Does New Zealand’s School System Work?

New Zealand provides free access to education for students between the ages of six to 16. Unlike British students, who typically start school between the ages of 4 to 5, New Zealand students don’t start school till after their 5th birthday and parents can choose to delay their education till the age of six.

Similar to the UK, the New Zealand education system also includes 13 years. Students typically attend primary schools from year 1 to 8 if it’s a ‘full’ primary school or year 1 to 6 if it’s a ‘contributing’ primary school. Pupils at ‘contributing’ primary schools then attend an intermediate school for years 7 and 8 before moving onto secondary school.

Secondary school, also sometimes referred to as ‘college’ or ‘high school’, covers years 9 to 13. New Zealand has a great teacher-student ratio for years 7 to 10 with most classes only having 16 students per teacher — well below the teacher-student ratios in the UK. Legally, students in New Zealand are allowed to leave secondary school before finishing year 13 but are not allowed to leave school till after their 16th birthday.

Types of Schools

The New Zealand education system has three types of schools:

  • State schools. State schools, also known as public schools, are owned and funded by the government. 75% of New Zealand students attend state schools. Education is free, but parents may need to pay for supplies or uniforms.
  • State integrated schools. Integrated schools are schools that follow a certain religious belief, teaching style, etc. These schools are funded by the government but may charge a compulsory fee of NZ $1,500/year for upkeep.
  • Private schools. Only 5% of New Zealand students attend private schools. Some schools have boarding facilities while others are only for day students. As private schools are not government funded, parents need to pay tuition which typically costs NZ$20,000 per year.

Key Takeaway: In general, New Zealand’s school system is very similar to the UK so students, as well as teachers, can seamlessly transition between the two.

New Zealand Education System: Smaller Class Sizes, More Individual Attention

New Zealand has a fantastic student-teacher ratio. In fact, one of the most notable differences between UK and New Zealand school systems is class sizes. Most New Zealand classes only have between 17 to 30 pupils and the official OECD ratio is 1:14 for secondary schools. On the other hand, the UK is known for large class sizes and OECD reports reveal that British schools have some of the largest class sizes in the developed world.

As such, students studying in New Zealand can expect to get plenty of focused, personal attention. Smaller class sizes can allow students to achieve better academic results, feel more supported and develop a closer relationship with their teachers.

New Zealand National Curriculum 

State and integrated schools throughout New Zealand use a national curriculum focusing on values, key competencies and subject areas. Students are encouraged to think creatively and analytically while building skills in core subjects like maths, English and science.

New Zealand also emphasises ecological sustainability, community and local cultures. As such, students are often taken on educational trips to explore New Zealand’s unique natural beauty and learn about local plants and animals. Studying in New Zealand will allow your child to learn about the nation’s Maori culture, history and experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Key Takeaway: Attending a state or integrated school allows your child to learn about your new home’s incredible natural beauty and local culture.

Moving to New Zealand from the UK: Different School Days and Holidays

As a country in the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s seasons are almost the exact opposite of UK seasons. Summer in New Zealand runs from December to February while winter is from June to August. This also impacts school schedules:

  • Term 1: Late January to early April (two-week break)
  • Term 2: May to early July (two-week break)
  • Term 3: Late July to late September (two-week break)
  • Term 4: Mid-October to mid-December (six-weeks summer holiday)

Similar to the UK, Students still get a six week summer holiday. However, unlike the UK, the summer holiday happens between mid-December and late January!

For exact school holiday dates, check the Ministry of Education’s website.

How to Enrol Your Child in School

Once you’ve secured a job and know which town you’ll be living in, you need to start the enrolment process. Each school follows slightly different procedures so you’ll need to contact them directly and get their enrolment forms. When your child can start school will depend on whether they’ve had previous schooling.

Children Starting School Without Previous Schooling

Children in New Zealand typically start school on their fifth birthday, but parents can choose to delay their child starting school till their sixth birthday when they’re legally required to be enrolled in school.

Some schools allow students to start at any time of the year after their fifth birthday, while others have ‘cohort’ entries which means that all students start at the school at the beginning of the year. If your child is attending a school using the ‘cohort’ system, you can still choose to delay their entrance till their sixth birthday.

Children Starting School With Previous Schooling

If you have an older child that’s already received some previous schooling, you can enrol them in New Zealand schools at any time of year. They’ll be placed in the same year as other similarly aged students; for example, ten-year-olds will be placed in year 5 or 6.

Does Your Child Need a Visa to Study in New Zealand?

Whether your child can attend a state or state integrated school for free will depend on if they qualify as a domestic student. To be a domestic student, your child must be a New Zealand resident, permanent resident, citizen or obtain a student visa based on your temporary work visa.

As the child of a GP on a work visa, your child will qualify for a dependent child student visa and will be able to enrol in school as a domestic student.

Emigrate to New Zealand as a GP

Ready to start the process of emigrating to New Zealand from the UK? View some of our latest job vacancies or speak to one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have or help you get started on the move down under!

Relevant New Zealand Blog Articles

What is life like for GPs in New Zealand?

What is it like to work as a Doctor in New Zealand

Before you start your GP job search in New Zealand, you may want to find out more about day to day life in New Zealand.

There are just 4.5 million New Zealanders, scattered across 270,534 sq km: bigger than the UK with one-fourteenth the population. New Zealand is the land of extremes with sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and glaziers. It is relatively easy to travel around with distances between different towns and cities not being too great. Transport networks are well developed with airports throughout the country and well maintained highways.

It is made up of two main islands and numerous smaller ones: the North Island (known as Te Ika-a-Maui in Maori) is the more populous of the two, and is separated by the Cook Strait from the somewhat larger but much less populated South Island (or Te Waipounamu).

New Zealand is consistently rated as a country with one of the highest qualities of life in the world. It offers a safe environment for the whole family offering a great outdoor lifestyle.  New Zealand is an increasing multicultural society that appeals due to its diversity, laid back way of life and temperate climate.

New Zealand People

This former British colony has a population mainly of European descent but with an important indigenous Māori minority of mixed blood, a rapidly growing Asian minority, and smaller minorities of Polynesians, people from the Americas, South Africans and African.

The people of New Zealand are famed for their relaxed and friendly approach. More than one million New Zealanders were born overseas.

New Zealand Climate

New Zealand has mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and many hours of sunshine.
While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can get as cold as -10°C in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast with milder temperatures.

The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south.  With their summer over January and February, these are the warmest months, and July is the coldest month of the year. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC (70-90°F) and in winter between 10-15ºC (50-60°F).
Most places in New Zealand receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, with the sunniest areas – Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Nelson/Marlborough – receiving over 2,350 hours. As New Zealand observes daylight saving, during summer months daylight can last up until 9.30pm.

Cost of Living as a GP in New Zealand

Cost of living in New Zealand will very much depend on which part of the country you relocate.
One independent international survey ranked Auckland 58th in the world in terms of its cost of living, and Wellington 75th, far better than other major cities. Such cities included Hong Kong (3), Singapore (4), New York (16), London (25), Sydney (26), Melbourne (33) and Guangzhou (31) – showing that comparatively, New Zealand’s major metropolitan areas are more affordable. See our recent blog piece on cost of living for a GP in New Zealand

For an up to date costs of different items please see here 

New Zealand GP Registration Process

The registration process for New Zealand is relatively straightforward and usually takes a month to complete the application with the Medical Council of New Zealand.  To complete the full immigration and registration process you should allow 3 months after we have secured you a position. You will be eligible for registration if you hold a specialist GP certificate (i.e. MRCGP / MICGP / JCPTGP / PMETB).

If you hold your GP qualification from another country then you may be eligible for ‘comparable healthcare.’ registration.  You will be required to hold 3 years of comparable healthcare experience. Please see the MCNZ website for a full list of comparable countries.

All new registrants, regardless of seniority, must work under supervision for the first 6-12 months in New Zealand to become familiar with the culture.  During this time you will be registered within a provisional general scope of practice and performance will be assessed by senior colleagues.

They will be required to complete certain requirements to be registered within a general scope. This will cause minimal impact on your day to day job and you will still be able to see patients independently.

NZ Visa for GPs 

To assist you through the complex immigration process we work with a Licensed Immigration Advisor who is registered with the Immigration Advisers Authority New Zealand. We are in partnership with one of the largest Immigration Advisors in the UK, The Emigration Group where one their specialist advisors will be able to guide you smoothly through the process.

What does a GP earn in New Zealand?

The minimum hours you are required to work to comply with your visa are 30. Most GPs will work around 35 – 40 hours per week over 8 – 10 sessions.

Unlike Australia, there are no restrictions on where you can practice as a GP in New Zealand allowing you the option to choose where to live and work; be it in the city centre, by the beach or somewhere more rural.

As a GP moving to New Zealand you will be offered an employed, salary position ($150 – $200k NZD approx). You may perhaps have the option to buy into the practice or take over the practice at a later date.  Work / life balance is excellent in New Zealand, most GPs only see 4 patients per hour allowing more time with patients and less bureaucracy and paperwork.

NZ Tax Rate 

Income tax rates for tax year 2017 – 2018

Taxable income                    Tax Rate
up to $14,000                        10.5 %
from $14,001 to $48,000       17.5 %
from $48,001 to $70,000       30 %
$70,001 and over                 33 %

For more detailed up to date tax information please see the tax office website
Income tax calculator

New Zealand Schools and Education

There’s a choice of three types of school in New Zealand – state schools (funded by the government), ‘state integrated’ schools and private schools.

State schools are the choice for the vast majority of New Zealand children (85%). Schooling is free at these schools, although parents are asked for a contribution to help cover costs of activities that are outside of the core curriculum. Typically this will be around NZ$250- $500. There will also be other charges for sports, school trips, special tuition, exam fees, and other course related costs.

‘State integrated’ schools are schools with a special character – they may be run by a particular religious faith e.g. Catholic or use specialist education methods like Steiner or Montessori. Just over 10% of students are enrolled at these schools. Education in state integrated schools is also funded by the government but the schools may charge fees for various facilities which are usually around NZ$1,500 a year.

Just under 5% of children go to private schools which charge around NZ$20,000 in fees a year.
School usually starts at 9am and runs to 3pm or 3:30pm. There are four school terms running from late January to mid-December with two-week breaks between them and a six-week summer break at the end of the year.

New Zealand Accommodation

Most GPs choose to rent a property in New Zealand first and buy later when settled. Housing varies greatly across the country.  Prices tend to be higher in the cities with Auckland being the most expensive and slightly lower on the south island.  For more information on property please see and TradeMe

New Zealand Healthcare System

Primary healthcare, including general practice, out-patient services, and prescriptions, is funded by a combination of public subsidy and private contributions. General Practitioners provide primary, community based, comprehensive and continuing patient-centred care to individuals, families and the community. Many general practices run as private businesses and set their own fees which are paid by the patient.

The cost of a visit will be lower if you’re enrolled with the GP, because the government subsidises the fee. Some general practices join a ‘low cost access’ programme run by their primary health organisation (PHO) which is overseen by the local District Health Board. This means they get extra government funding to keep their fees at low levels.  GPs, Practice Nurses, Māori health providers and other primary healthcare providers work together to meet the health requirements of the local people, with PHOs funded according to the demographics and needs of their population.

Secondary healthcare services, including acute hospital treatment, are free to those who meet the eligibility criteria. New Zealand has a reciprocal agreement with the UK to provide free treatment. There is strong uptake of private health insurance (as in Australia), partially triggered by long waits for state hospital treatment.

Speak to Our Medical Recruitment Specialists 

Thinking about relocating to New Zealand? Our experienced medical recruitment specialists are here to help. We can advise on everything from visa queries to questions about the cost of living in New Zealand. Speak to us today to get started on your move down under or browse some of our excellent GP jobs New Zealand.

Further Reading
8 Benefits of Moving to New Zealand
Is there an age limit for GPs
The Cost of Living as a Doctor in New Zealand

Useful Links
Medical Council of New Zealand
Immigration New Zealand 
Emigration Group

Celebrating 3 years of Transition Medical

We celebrate 3 years in business, assisting doctors relocate to New Zealand and Australia

We have just proudly passed our three-year anniversary for Transition Medical. Our Managing Director, Emma Cook explains further about the background of the business.

‘When I launched the business, I had many years of experience helping GPs relocate to Australia and New Zealand and knowledge to be able to confidently find GPs amazing jobs and am so proud of  where we are three years down the line.

Having spent many months preparing the groundwork, with the support of my family (and young baby in tow) we launched in August 2014. I passionately believed in providing a professional and friendly service to help GPs move to Australia and New Zealand and wanted that dream to come to reality.

We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the doctors we’ve placed overseas and we continue to enjoy working with each and every GP who is making the leap into life down under. Thank to you all for giving us the opportunity to help you make your dream come true.

I want to say a huge thanks to our clients in Australia and New Zealand for their business and to our amazing, hard-working team, who navigate their way through the intricate workings of the medical registration and visa processes. Many of GPs say they would never manage themselves!

We believe in keeping things simple and friendly! Give us a call today to see how you will too find Transition Medical a great partner to help you move Down Under.

Look forward to working with you,


8 Benefits for GPs moving to New Zealand

We have highlighted 8 key benefits to working as a GP in New Zealand

GP Registration Eligibility 

The New Zealand Medical Council recognise GP training from the UK and Ireland. Unlike Australia, it doesn’t alter your registration pathway if you don’t have the MRCGP qualification making it easier to find a post if you don’t have it. If you haven’t completed your GP training in the UK or Ireland then you are eligible if you have a minimum of 33 months recent GP experience from one of the following countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK and USA.

The Medical Registration and NZ Visa process is relatively quick

It only takes approximately 2 – 3 months from start to finish. We’ll find you the job first and once the contract has been signed guide you through the registration and visa applications. We work with a Specialist Immigration Advisor regulated by the Immigration Advisers Authority New Zealand to manage the visa for you and your family.

Ideal opportunity to try it out

Due to the ease and time taken for the registration process, it’s much easier to secure a shorter GP locum contract of 6 months upwards. This allows you to have a working holiday or a taster before committing to a permanent position.

No restrictions on where you can work

Unlike Australia where you have to work in a District of Workforce shortage, New Zealand doesn’t have the same restrictions allowing us to find you a GP job in any practice and any location.

More time with patients

The majority of practices have standard 15 minute appointment times – this means less stress and a less intense working schedule. Better for patients and doctors!

Low Income tax rate and cost of living

The maximum tax rate in NZ is currently 33% and most areas of New Zealand have an overall lower cost of living than the UK.

Work / Life balance

General practice is taken seriously however time outside of work is high priority. Commuting isn’t the same headache as it is in the UK and you’re never far away from a beach or national park.

Finally – New Zealand has outstanding natural beauty and a fantastic outdoor lifestyle

There is a nationwide passion for sports and outdoor activities and the South Island is the birthplace of adventure sports like bungee jumping and skydiving. There is a great climate, offering more sunshine hours and alfresco living!

If you wish to discuss further, please do get in touch with our GP recruitment specialists or view our GP jobs page.

Further Reading

Find out what it’s like to work as a GP in New Zealand in our recent blog post and GP guide

Is there an age limit for GPs in New Zealand?

Cost of living as a doctor in New Zealand


Is there an age limit for GPs?

A question we’re asked so often is ‘am I too old to work in Australia or New Zealand or ‘what is the age limit for working as a GP in Australia or New Zealand?

The answer is, there is no age limit. We have placed GPs ranging from newly qualified doctors through to GPs who have reached retirement and fancy a spell working overseas.

Age is not a factor for the majority of our medical practices we work with. Most are looking for good all-round GPs with comparable qualifications.

Let’s address what practices are looking for:


If a practice in Australia is unable to find a suitable GP from within Australia they will first look overseas for a GP with substantially comparable experience such as the UK or Ireland.

The Australian registration process has changed on the 3rd September this year so for more information on this means for you please do get in touch.

New Zealand

New Zealand practices will look to comparable countries.  There is a list of 20 countries which are considered comparable. For a full list please the Medical Council website.

Age Limit for Visas

To apply for a temporary visa to work in either Australia or New Zealand, as long as you meet the other criteria, then age is no factor.

If you are planning a permanent move then the age limit when applying for a permanent visa in Australia is 45 and in New Zealand, you need to apply before you reach 56. Our specialist immigration advisor can advise on your individual circumstances. For more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.