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The FAQ (part 4 of 6)
Section - B4.4 Moving to New Zealand

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Top Document: The FAQ (part 4 of 6)
Previous Document: B4.3 Customs
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

Hints on how to move your household good to New Zealand.  Hopefully this 
will be useful to Expat NZers moving back, and anyone else relocating
to NZ.


B4.4.1  Shipping stuff to NZ

Richard Turner offers:
"Well, I've just had the experience of moving back to New Zealand after
spending ten years in the USA.  Since there are oftentimes a number of
enquiries about moving companies on this newsgroup, I thought I'd pass on
my experience - in hopes that it may help someone else.

"The cost of getting a moving company:

"Quoted Rates from Iowa (Midwest USA) to Wellington, New Zealand ranged
from US $160 to $225 per 100 pounds of goods.  depending on the company.
Also, an insurance cost of $25 per $1000 of goods values was also added.
(This was door to door - other rates are cheaper if you go door to port or
port to port)

"In my experience, I got a number of quotes, I decided to go with a company
(I won't name them - but think of Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock and the ship
they came on) - Anyway, we were all set for them to come and get the stuff
2 weeks before we were due to fly out - a couple of days before the movers
were to arrive, they called up and said that they could come and pick the
goods up, but that they would have to sit in the Des Moines Warehouse for 3
months.  I then requested that they not even bother to show up the next

"The next company I went with was Allied Van Lines - the agent I dealt
with, and the company were quite good to deal with.  Between the time they
picked the stuff up till the time I will get my stuff will be less than 6

"Also, the NZ agents for Allied, seem to be quite competent, but you should
be aware that when your goods arrive certain forms have to be delivered to
the company.  These are quarantine forms and customs declarations, along
with these you need to send your passport, and if you have been away more
than 21 months - some proof of your extended absence from NZ - such as Tax
forms and financial records (all of mine - were packed aboard the boat) -
or a letter from your foreign employer.

"As for moving a car - it would cost about $4000 US to ship a mid size car
such as a Camry (weighs about 3000 pounds)

"Also, if, at some point, you wanted to sell it in NZ, you would then have
to convert it to right hand drive - this can get VERY expensive."


Frits Schouten adds:

"It's not really a followup on Richard Turners experience, but it's
certainly related.  Five years ago or so, I had to move my household from
The Netherlands to New Zealand and using movers is not the cheapest way to

"Here is my experience.  Note: all prices are in US dollars unless
otherwise stated!

"Various big international movers quoted me between $7000 and $9000 for
door to door moving.  Basically what they do is, pack your goods in a
container (20ft for a normal household) and ship it for you.  This is an
easy way of doing it but not cheap.  Also, if anything is broken on arrival
the insurance will pay for replacement.  The insurance is in most cases
based on an itemised list of the contents of the container and is not
cheap.  Normally 6% of the contents value.

"If you like a bit of challence in life you could do it my way.

"I went to a shipping company (NEDLLOYD) and asked them what it would cost
me to hire a 20ft container (you know the same one the movers were using)
to ship my household to New Zealand.  Answer: $2500 from Rotterdam to
Auckland.  I had to pay an aditional $150 for the truck to bring the
container to Rotterdam and agreed to have the transport in New Zealand
organised by their agent in Auckland.  Here was a cost risk I was prepared
to take.

"The insurance is quite different.  You can only insure the container for
total loss.  You agree on a contents value and the premium is normally 1.3%
to 1.6% of that value.  If the container goes overboard or is dropped from
a crane etc.  the insurance pays out the value you have agreed.  This means
that if, on arrival, you find lets say your beautiful mirror broken that is
then to bad.  But that is not a problem because this will not happen you
know.  You've packed it yourself :-)

"The people from NEDLLOYD gave me heaps of help and excellent information
on how to go about packing a container to get it flawless through customs
and MAF inspections.

"Bottom line is:
- Have a very detailed list of the contents of the container, like box
 numbers and content lists per box.
- Very inportant is to state how everything is cleaned!!!

"The container arrived at the worst possible time of the year.  The week
before Christmas.  Anyway the local agent for NEDLLOYD worked out to be of
great value too (for the really keen ones, check out
That was btw International Forwarding Co Ltd.

"We got a phone call from them telling me that the container had arrived
and if I could come to Auckland to organise the paperwork.  I dropped in
just before lunch and the guy said: give me your passport and consignment
papers and I'll take care of the rest.  Bit scary but.  Come back after
lunch, please.  So I did and guess what, everything was organised after
lunch.  The only thing left was to pay an additional few hundred NZ dollars
to get the container to Papakura.  The cost risk wasn't really there.

"Two day later the container arrived and within a few hours I had several
people asking if I had a garage sale.  My whole household was on the front
lawn :-)

"Moral of the story is: take that challenge, it's exciting and it might
save you a lot money."


John Mee wrote:
"The hot deal for shipping goods [from the US?] is via Australia-New
Zealand Direct Line, or any Conference member and ask them about using a
'Non-Operating Refigerated Container' (NOR).  Because these are used to
ship meat OUT of Australia and New Zealand, they have to get them back
there, so the savings can be substantial.

"I was quoted a price of $1525 for a NOR container, as opposed to about
$3,500 for a regular container.  I am not sure about the regular container,
but the NOR container, I just looked up in my notes.

ANZDL's home page is at:

"I would also look at the Port of Oakland's (California) home page which
has a lot of pointers to other shipping companies.  It is at:

"At the rates for an NOR container, I seem to recall that the breakeven
pont for Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) was about three or four cubic
metres.  On top of that, you can buy all kinds of stuff to fill your
container and then sell it when you arrive in NZ."


B4.4.2  Importing a Car

Martin Lange wrote:

"I imported my left-hand drive Fiat Uno from Germany after I was granted
residency.  That was three years ago.

The rules in 1993 where:
a) You can get a "Left-Hand Drive Exception Permit" if
- You are a Permanent Resident, Holding a Work Permit or have a long-term
  Visitors Permit
- Owned the car for at least two years overseas.
b) You are not allow to sell the car unless it is older than 20 years
  OR converted to a right-hand drive.
c) Your car must pass a technical check through the Land Transport

For up-to-date information, contact the
Land Transport Safety Authority,
Head Office,
7-27 Waterloo Quay,
P.O. Box 27-459

Ph: +64-4-494-8600
Fax: +64-4-494-8601

Anyhow, unless your car is something VERY special, it is not worth the

Especially Japanese assembled car are not expensive.  If you arrive in
Auckland, rent a car for a few days and shop around at the "Japanese
Assembled Car Dealers".

Be aware of the fact that most "Japanese Assembled Cars" have tinkered
clocks.  Do not believe the mileage the dealer tells you - it has been
manipulated in every second import.

The dealers have huge ranges for negotiations.  A friend of mine in
Auckland negotiated the price down by 45% THREE times.  After purchasing
such a car he brings it to a PIT Stop, gets the brakes fixed and drives

Another hint: The New Zealand Automobile Associations runs at least one
independent workshop in Auckland.  You can bring your potential "next car"
there and get an non-partisan assessment."

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM