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Money and Living Expenses in New Zealand

Make the most of your money

You’ll need to know how much you’ll need for your day-to-day living expenses, but it is important to remember the cost of living will vary depending on which city in New Zealand you live in. New Zealand has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15 per cent which is added to the price of most things you purchase. New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand (NZ$) dollar.

There are a number of choices for you to manage your money. You can set up a bank account with any of the national banks or credit unions available. You can do this before or after you arrive in New Zealand. When setting up your account, you will need your Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE), your Letter of Offer as well as other forms of identification. You may also need a New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number. You can apply for this by visiting the Inland Revenue website. Many banks offer specialized ‘student accounts’ that provide benefits such as free banking, interest-free overdrafts and travel discounts.

Setting up your phone and Internet
You will probably want to have your phone and Internet sorted pretty quickly after you arrive in New Zealand. There are a number of different mobile phone network providers, but the three basic options that you will need to consider are :

  • Landline: usually only relevant if you live off campus in rented accommodation. You’ll probably be able to find a better deal by bundling your landline with Internet access

  • Mobile – prepaid: allows you to control how much you spend. These are widely available in local shops and supermarkets, as well as via mobile phone providers. You are able to cancel the service at any time with this option

  • Mobile – contract: this may be an option depending on how long you will stay in New Zealand and how often you use your phone. There are a variety of monthly plans to choose from


For your internet provider, similar to mobile providers, there are a number of providers to choose from and the plans they offer vary depending on download limits and where you live. You should shop around to find the right plan that meets your requirements.

Most educational institutions provide free Wi-Fi access on campus. You’ll just need your student login and password in order to connect to the Wi-Fi. If you can’t access the Internet through your own laptop or computer, you can usually find a computer to access the internet in the library, or at an off-campus public library or Internet café. Some public places provide free or cheap Wi-Fi, however, it is important that you check the security of the network you are connecting to. 

Making international calls International calls can be significantly more expensive than domestic calls. To make an international call, you can buy an international calling card from most convenience stores.  Cheaper options for calling overseas are online options such as Skype or FaceTime. To call a New Zealand number from overseas, you need to enter the country code (64) then the area code within New Zealand and then the telephone number you wish to speak to. To call another country from New Zealand, enter 00 followed by the relevant country code and the relevant area code (if required) and then finally the telephone number.

People and Culture

New Zealand is made up of two main islands – the North Island and South Island. The majority (more than 90 per cent) of New Zealand’s population lives on the North Island, which is also home to the nation’s capital city, Wellington.

Employment While You Study

Working part-time can be a great way to help cover some of your living expenses whilst studying in New Zealand, but it can also help you gain work experience in your field of study. 

New Zealand Universities

IDP Education partners with all New Zealand universities as well as a broad range of institutes of technology, schools and private providers.


As a pioneer in International education, we are truly global in scale and experience.

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