What to take with you when you emigrate to NZ

Moving house is always stressful, but moving to an entirely new country is especially testing. Many immigrants agonise over what to bring out with them; whether to bring everything, nothing, or to take some middle path. We hope the following information will smooth the way for you when you emigrate to New Zealand.

Plan well in advance.  There is a lot involved with shipping your belongings overseas including:

  • Deciding what to take and what not to take. You will pay for the volume of goods you ship not the weight.
  • Obtaining quotes from reputable companies. Make sure you research thoroughly and select wisely.
  • Check to see if there are import restrictions on any items you intend shipping. You can do this by asking your shipper for this information.
  • Look at getting quotations two to three months prior to your departure.
  • Get two or three quotes and remember that the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best. Do a bit of research. Referrals are an excellent way to find a mover that has given good service. 
  • Make sure you choose a specialist international mover who will be experienced in export packing and shipping and can demonstrate that they ship to your country of destination on a regular basis.
  • Check that they are members of the British Association of Removers Overseas Group. Such companies are bonded and you will find they give a financial protection similar to the ABTA scheme.
  • FAIM accredited movers belong to the global international moving association –  F.I.D.I.
  • Some moving companies have an online service where you can track the shipment of your goods. You may find this very useful when you are mobile and on the move.

Shipping Costs

My family chose to use an entire 20-foot “reefer” container, which comfortably accommodated their worldly goods. This was slightly more expensive than a shared container would have been, but we felt that it was more secure (it was sealed in front of us with a dye-filled lock). It also meant that we did not have to agonise over what we were going to bring too much, which was much less stressful. Just to give you an idea, the current cost for this starts around £4,500 door-to-door – no VAT is applied but you will need to add insurance, any MAF inspection costs, storage once in New Zealand if you are not quite ready for your goods, and extra delivery costs if your destination is far away from a port.

It will generally take around 6-8 weeks for your container to arrive – slightly longer if you choose a shared container, as the shippers will wait for it to be filled up.

New Zealand Customs Charges

You may be liable for some customs charges (duty and GST) on your household goods if you are on a work visa that is valid for less than a year, but not if you are on a permanent residence, work to residence or long term business visa – see the New Zealand Customs website for more details.

Ship or Buy everything in New Zealand?

The cost to move the contents of an average 3 bedroom property from the U.K. to New Zealand compared to replacing everything, suggests that there is only one obvious choice. Moving costs have varied a lot over the last few years but the option of shipping your household effects still remains a cheaper solution than replacing everything.

The U.K. market is likely to offer better alternatives for those wishing to replace furniture or white goods before departure. Quality furniture is likely to be far more expensive in New Zealand as supply and demand is on a significantly smaller scale.

Whilst it might take several weeks to get there, for anyone with children it will undoubtedly help the settling in process in a foreign country. Added to that do I really want the stresses, strains and budget of finding, ordering and taking delivery of an entire new household?

As an alternative, part container services mean that you can happily be selective about what you take. Charges are based on the amount of space utilised with the only downside being a slightly longer transit than a full container.

To find out more, request a free copy of our Financial and Pension guides for New Zealand.