5 Tips to Help International Students Get Set-up in NZ

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Here are a few tips for international students to follow and understand once you have got your tickets and have confirmed that you will be coming to NZ. Most of these things can be completed on arrival in New Zealand.

1. Getting an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Number

Everyone must pay taxes, so registering your tax number is an important step when you start earning money in NZ. You need an IRD number to earn income from any source, to join KiwiSaver, apply for a student loan and file tax returns. If you don’t have an IRD number, then your employer can deduct tax at the highest non-declaration rate of 45%. For international students on a work or student visa, you will need to fill-out a non-resident/ offshore form here.

2. Opening a bank account
New Zealand has several banks (ANZ, ASB, Westpac, BNZ, Kiwibank and more) to choose from when it comes to deciding on a place to hold your Kiwi money. Most banks will be able to take you through the set-up process online and you can verify your account at your local branch.

3. Finding a flat
Once you have finished your first half-year or year in student accommodation or with your homestay family, and if you plan to stay in NZ for a longer period, you will need to start ‘flat-hunting’. A ‘flat’ is a set of rooms for living in, usually shared with ‘flatmates’, which includes a bathroom and kitchen. The rent of a ‘flat’ is shared between all the occupants. The ‘flat’ could be a house, rooms in an apartment or a part of a block of ‘flats’. To find a place to stay, you can look up the ‘flatmates wanted’ section of TradeMe or on NZ Flatmates.

4. Transport
You will need to take public transport until you either befriend someone with a car or get yourself a car. Make sure that you have a full international drivers licence and/or driver’s permit before driving in New Zealand. Cycling, walking and running are also an option if you’d rather work on your fitness and are environmentally conscious. This is the cheapest and easiest option, especially in smaller, student-centred cities like Wellington and Dunedin.

5. Clubs/Societies/Associations to join
Most schools and universities will have clubs, societies, and all sorts of associations you can join. These range from the standard sports teams, arts/culture classes, political groups, social responsibility organisations, volunteer work and religious groups. Joining a team or fellow international students in a group of like-minded individuals that you can experience New Zealand with is a great way to get settled in and make friends quickly. Below are some links of each of the club categories/directories you can explore at some of New Zealand’s Universities and extra-curricular/after-school clubs to join while at school:

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand.
As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.

Why did we do this blog?
Even if we need to step in one day to help you resolve a dispute, we want you to enjoy studying and living in our amazing country as much as we do. To that end, we’ve created this content so that you may continue to explore and experience the best New Zealand can offer.