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Moving to Wellington

Moving to a new city or country can be a little scary, so we've pulled together a few things to know before you make your move to the world's coolest little capital.

Before you leave

Check you have everything required by the New Zealand government with the New Zealand Ready planning tool.

Insurance

Wellington waterfront 500x500

All international students should have medical and travel insurance. If you are a primary or secondary school student, your school may offer to help organise this.

Bank account

banking

Many of the banks in New Zealand will help you open an account before you even get here. The main banks are ANZ, BNZ, ASB, Westpac and Kiwibank. They all have several branches and ATMs located in Wellington.

Regular electronic banking (EFTPOS) cards are available for students from the age of 13 years. Visa debit and credit cards are only available to students over 18 years.

Climate and clothing

Winter study

Wellington has a mild, sea climate with plenty of wind. Winters are short and never extreme – it has only snowed twice in the last 30 years! In summer the temperature averages around 19°C to 24°C (66 - 75°F). In winter temperatures get down to 6°C to 9°C (43 - 48°F).

You will need:

  • a jacket that is rain and windproof
  • warm sweatshirts/hoodies
  • a warm hat and a sunhat
  • a swimming costume, which New Zealanders refer to as 'togs'

If you want to study outdoor education or try adventure sports, you should bring or purchase once here, hiking boots, a sleeping bag and thermal clothing. Read more about Wellington weather.

What not to pack

Study not to bring

New Zealand has strict biosecurity laws to protect our natural resources and primary industries. There are certain things you must not bring into the country, including food and animal products. Find out what you can bring.

Wellington has many specialised supermarkets and restaurants where you will be able to find food and ingredients from home.

Getting to Wellington

Many international flights to New Zealand arrive at Auckland or Christchurch airports. Wellington is only a one hour flight away. You will need to collect your bags, pass through customs and go to the domestic terminal to catch your flight to Wellington.

Student support

Study student support

You will be well-supported by your school or educational institution. All New Zealand education providers are required by the government to sign a code of pastoral care to ensure international students have the care and support they need. Most will have orientation and welcome programmes to help you adjust to study and life in New Zealand.

Here are some other organisations you can call on in Wellington.

New Zealanders are known for their friendliness. If you are unsure, just ask for help.

Meet people

Study Meet people

Joining interest groups, sports teams and clubs at your school or education institution is a great way to meet people and practise speaking English.

You can also meet people in Wellington through cultural groups, meetups or volunteer work.

The Wellington Newcomers Network is a great place to find information and meet others who are new to the area.

Health services

Doctors

It is best to register with a doctor (also known as GP or General Practitioner) soon after you arrive. International staff at your school or institution will be able to help you find a doctor who speaks your own language.

In New Zealand, you should not go to the hospital unless you have had a bad accident or you have a medical emergency. If you are sick, you need to see the doctor or go to an after-hours clinic.

It is normal to experience some problems when you are settling into your new study and home environment. Talk to your school or institution's international staff if you need help or advice, or the counsellor if there is one available. Your doctor will be able to refer you to mental health services if you need them.

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