International Removals Guide to New Zealand


Regularly ranked among the world’s best places to live, famed for its stunning landscapes and outdoor lifestyle, New Zealand is a popular expat destination. If you’ve decided to move there, one of the first jobs on your relocation checklist is to find a removals company.

A professional removals firm, with decades of international home removals experience, will give you added confidence as you prepare to up sticks. Whether you’re heading to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton – or somewhere off the beaten track – you want to ensure that your treasured possessions are in safe hands, so that you can transform your new house into a home with ease.

Your preferred firm should offer and recommend a free no obligation survey, which they follow up with a detailed quote.

Having a knowledgeable team on hand helps minimise stress and boost your positivity about your move. A specialist international removals company will do more than just help you with packing and shipping. They will make sure you receive quality advice on all aspects of your relocation, so that you feel guided and supported every step of the way.

What can your removals firm help with?

  • Coordinating your removal to New Zealand – advice on tasks to complete and timings
  • Documentation – details of tax, visas, import and insurance paperwork needed
  • Exports – advice on legal restrictions of what to take and what to leave behind
  • Costs – detailed outline of the costs involved in international removals
  • Local knowledge – account managers who know the unique cultural, economic and legal landscape of where you are headed
  • Specialist partners – recommendations for reliable consultancy on recruitment, visas, banking, education, pet shipping, finances, tax and pensions

Moving to New Zealand | A Brief Guide 

  1. If you’re travelling light (1-20 cartons), an excess baggage service will cover your needs; if you are shipping over 20 cartons, a part or full removals service will be needed.
  2. It’s advisable to book a removals service 4 weeks prior to your move. If the date of moving may be subject to change, ask your removals firm for a provisional booking.
  3. If you do not have an address at the time of booking your removal, a contact address and contact details should suffice. The delivery address can be advised later.
  4. When shipping your personal belongings to New Zealand, the transit time between removal in the UK and arrival at your new home will be approximately 6-8 weeks, for full container shipments, and 8-12 weeks for part load shipments.
  5. When your shipment arrives in New Zealand, your goods will be subject to a quarantine inspection by the Ministry for Primary industries (MPI). The inspection can sometimes be carried out at residence. If you are shipping a full household inside a sole, use sea freight container but this would depend on your final destination in New Zealand. If you are sending a part household, or smaller consignment, then your shipment would be unloaded and inspected at one of our bonded warehouses.
  6. As soon as your removal firm receives approval to release your goods, they are able to arrange a delivery date.
  7. Documents you will need to produce include: NZCS 218 unaccompanied personal effects customs form, supplementary declaration, removal inventory, valuation for Shipment Protection cover, copies of passport and visa, letter of authority (if you are not already in New Zealand when your goods arrive), purchase receipts (if you are importing any newly purchased goods), certificate of compliance (if you are importing a car).
  8. Beware that restricted exports to New Zealand, where approval maybe required, include: some medicines; some cosmetics; products made from endangered animal fur/skin/tusks (with CITES certificate); firearms and ammunition; knives and daggers, martial arts weapons; bamboo, wicker or cane items. Ensure you check with your removal specialist for the full up-to-date list.
  9. Prohibited exports to New Zealand include: seeds, plants and dried floral arrangements, pinecones or any plant matter, untreated wood or bark, food and meats, honey, eggs and egg products, popcorn, endangered animal fur/skin/tusks (without CITES certificate), flick knives, and swordsticks.
  10. Antiques and artwork purchased prior to shipment will be subject to duty and Goods & Services Tax (GST). Please ensure that you separate this receipt or invoice from your main shipment to ensure this can be submitted to customs in advance.
  11. Prices for international removals to Australia depend on destination and shipment size.
  12. All goods entering New Zealand are subject to Duty Tax & GST. However, a personal or household effects shipment will qualify for free entry if: your goods have been owned and used for 12 months or more by you; you are a first time migrant taking up permanent residency for the first time; or you are a returning New Zealand Citizen who has been living outside of New Zealand for 21 months or more.
  13. The cost of Shipment Protection Cover is based on the total insurable value of the shipment that you declare. As a guide, expect 2.8% for consignments packed by the removal firm; 3.5% for consignments packed by the customer; 2% for vehicle shipments; and 5% for owner-packed baggage/airfreight consignments.

So if you are thinking about moving your items to New Zealand and want to find out more about what you should expect, ask the experts

Download your free International Removals Guide