Arrival / Pre-Arrival Information
All cities and towns have banks and 24 hour Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Banks are usually open from 9am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. Banking facilities are available around ELA. It is very easy to open a bank account and ELA can help you with this. In New Zealand, ATM or bank cards are known as EFTPOS cards. People in New Zealand often pay by EFTPOS rather than cash. Please don’t carry a lot of cash on you.
Auckland does not have a metro or underground rail system. The most common forms of transport in Auckland are bus and private car.
To catch a bus in New Zealand you need to raise your arm to signal for the driver to stop. When you are on the bus you will need to push the red button or pull a chord to signal for the driver to stop. Buses do not stop unless you ask the driver.
ELA recommends that international students take buses to go to school. When you arrive we will help you during your arrival orientation to buy the correct type of ticket. For information about buses, please go to http://www.maxx.co.nz
Taxis in Auckland are expensive, but if you do need to catch a taxi, Auckland Co-Op Taxis +64 9 300 3000 is a reliable company.
It is easy to catch a ferry during free time to visit Devonport or Waiheke Island. See www.fullers.co.nz for fares and timetable information.
ELA provides all students free wireless internet in the student lounge.
International Postcard = $1.80NZD
International Letter = $2.30NZD up to $5.00NZD depending on the size of the envelope.
Prices for parcels depend on their weight and it is best to go in to an NZ Post Shop to ask how much your package costs.
In New Zealand people go to a private doctor or clinic if they have colds, flu, and most kinds of illnesses, NOT A HOSPITAL. A HOSPITAL VISIT IS ONLY NECCESSARY IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY OR YOU ARE AT EXTREME RISK, and usually you will need a referral from a doctor to go there.
Shopping and Restaurants
Malls in New Zealand are normally open from 9:00am to 5:30pm during the weekdays. Most shops are open weekends but may close earlier in the afternoon on Sundays. Supermarkets and service stations open seven days a week, some 24 hours per day and you can buy groceries and many other items. Most supermarkets also stock a range of international foods, especially noodles and sauces, and there are a lot of small ethic grocers selling foods from Asia, India, and (in some areas) also from the Middle East.
There are many types of restaurants and cafes and international food is popular in New Zealand, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, South East Asian and Mediterranean cuisines.
New Zealand Law
- Unless you are aged 18 and over, it is illegal to buy and drink any beer, wine or alcohol.
- Gambling is legal in New Zealand, but it is illegal for people aged under 20 to enter a casino.
- Unlike most other countries, driving in New Zealand is on the left hand side of the road
- It is COMPULSORY TO WEAR A SEATBELT. The use of mobile phone is strictly prohibited while driving.
- Drink-driving laws are very strictly enforced; people who drink and drive will be seriously punished
- Smoking is not as common in NZ as it is in other countries.
- Smoking is NOT permitted in public buildings, bars, restaurants, cafés, theatres, cinemas, public transport or internal workplaces.
- Many homes and vehicles are smoke-free as well. Always ask permission before you light a cigarette in anyone’s home or car.
- It is illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone under 18 years of age.
Pre Arrival Information
Things to know before you leave:
1. Important Documents to Bring:
You will need to apply for a valid visa from your nearest New Zealand Immigration unless you come from a country that is on the visa-waiver programme, such as Japan, South Korea, Germany, Chile and Brazil.
Medical & Travel Insurance
The New Zealand government requires that international students must have medical and travel insurance during their study in New Zealand. ELA can organise your insurance for you if you request this option or you can arrange it for yourself, but please bring a copy of your insurance policy with you.
2. Things NOT to Bring:
New Zealand has very strict laws on what you can bring into the country.]
- Do not bring any meat, plants or fruit into New Zealand. It is illegal. Honey and some packaged goods such as certain cheeses are also not allowed. Please make sure you place them in the rubbish bins at the terminal before you approach the Customs area if you do have some with you. NZ Customs will remove any food you hold at the border; they may even impose a large fine. Check online at if you have any questions: www.customs.govt.nz
- Do not bring in large amounts of pain killers or cold remedies.Immigration New Zealand and NZ Customs warn that these drugs are being imported for the manufacture of methamphetamines and students are being used unwittingly as couriers for this illegal activity.
- Do not bring any illegal drugs into New Zealand.
It could result in your prosecution and imprisonment. Never, ever carry packages or baggage for strangers.
3. International Flight:
On the day of departure, you should arrive at the airport and check in at least 2-3 hours before your flight. The weight limit for luggage is usually 20 kilos, plus 7 kilograms for any bags you carry on to the plane, but this depends on the airline and the route you take. Check with your airline for more information.
On the flight you will be handed a New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card. This must be completed in English. If you are not sure how to complete the form ask the airline staff on the flight for help. New Zealand Customs requires passengers to declare the amount of cash they are carrying. Normally you are allowed to carry foreign currency equal to NZ$10,000.00 in value.
4. Weather in New Zealand
Situated in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand’s seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. The climate is temperate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.
Summer: December – February (20 - 25 oC)
Autumn: March – May (15 - 20 oC)
Winter: June – August (10 - 15 oC)
Spring: September – November (15 - 20 oC)
The weather in NZ is changeable, it is best to have a raincoat or umbrella with you at all times.
5. New Zealand Currency
The New Zealand Dollar is the only currency used in NZ. Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100Coins: 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2
6. Electricity in New Zealand
New Zealand uses 240-volt three phase electricity (power) and most plugs are three pins.
7. ELA Contact Details
Street Address: Level 5, SAP Centre, 67 Symonds Street, CBD, Auckland 1142
Telephone: +64 9 919 7695
ELA has a 24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT. If there is an emergency phone 0800 864 737 or 027 230 9782