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Living Expenses

Living in New Zealand

General Expenses

General Expenses Cost (NZD)
Serviced Apartment $250-$300/wk
Homestay (per week, including 2 meals/day and all utilities) $250-$300/wk
Groceries (per week) $100-$150
Entertainment (per week) $50
Lunches/takeaways (per week - see below for individual prices) $10-$100

Individual Items

Individual Items Cost (NZD)
Takeaway Pizza (Large) $16
Panini $7-$10
Milk (per litre) $2.50
Coca Cola (per can) $2
Coffee, cappuccino or latte $3.50-$5
Main meal at restaurant (off campus) $15-$40
Local calls made from a public telephone (per minute) $0.50
Local calls made from a cell-phone (peak/off-peak per minute) $0.24-$1.39
Single bus fare per trip (from inner city ride to near by suburbs) $1-$6
Monthly bus pass within Auckland and suburbs (student discount also available) $123-$240
Ferry ride: return ticket Auckland to Devonport (North Shore) $11
Movie ticket (student price) $16-$20
Admission to major sports event From $15
Haircut $25-$55
Visit to doctor $45-$85
Visit to dentist $150-$500
Immigration New Zealand requirement is $15,000 per year + return airfare (or NZ$2,000).

Your living costs will depend on your lifestyle and the type of accommodation you choose, so it’s important to look at all your options carefully before committing to any long-term contracts. It’s a good idea to book some temporary accommodation for your first few nights in Auckland, such as a backpackers or youth hostel. This will give you a temporary base while you find permanent accommodation.

Accommodation types you can choose when you firstly come to Auckland including: Hotels, Motels, Homestays, Flatmate, and Services Apartments.

For homestays, you may contact UUNZ at +64 9 915 3390.


  • As they do in every country, rents depend on the quality, location and size of the property. But to give you an indication, TradeMeProperty reported that across New Zealand, on their site in February 2018 the median rental being asked for a one-two bedroom home was NZ$390 per week.
  • However there are wide variations. Auckland’s median was NZ$550 per week and for larger or more desirable homes, up to NZ$850 per week.
  • Excluding Auckland, the national median is NZ$470 per week.
  • In New Zealand, rent is advertised as a weekly price, rather than monthly.
  • When you first rent a place you’ll need to pay some rent in advance as well as a letting fee if you use an agent (letting fees are normally one week’s rent plus GST). A landlord can ask for a maximum two weeks’ rent in advance.
  • You’ll also need to pay a bond, usually equivalent of up to four weeks’ rent. So you need to be prepared to have to pay up to six weeks upfront.
  • You’ll get the bond payment refunded at the end of your tenancy, provided you leave the place in good condition. To help avoid hassles at the end of a tenancy, bonds are held by MBIE, not the landlord.
  • To get a feel for what renters have been paying in the specific areas you’re looking at check the Building and Housing website.
  • Market Rent | MBIE
  • Rent Price Index | Trade Me
  • Insurance, council taxes and costs
  • If you’re renting, the landlord is responsible for insuring the building. Tenants are responsible for getting cover for their own possessions and liability for any damage they may cause to the property.
  • Taxes imposed by the local council (in New Zealand they’re called rates) are paid by the landlord. Day-to-day running costs like electricity or gas are paid by you, the tenant.
  • Some homes have water meters, in which case tenants must also pay for the water they use.

Essential information

  • Currency and banking
  • New Zealand money is in dollars and cents. Like any country, it is not a good idea to carry around large amounts of cash so most international students open a New Zealand bank account.
  • Most of the major banks have international student packages. However they will want to know that you or your family has a banking history in your own country, so bring a letter from your bank and some proof of your account. You will also need your passport and proof of your enrolment in a New Zealand education provider to open a New Zealand bank account. All accounts come with a cash or debit card. This can be used to pay for goods and services almost everywhere in New Zealand.
  • All the major banks are well served by branches and ATMs across Auckland. All banks offer phone and internet banking. ​

Money & tax

  • Using a card is the most common way to pay here, even for relatively small purchases. Contactless and mobile payments are becoming more popular too. In fact, New Zealand has the least cash circulating per person than any other OECD country,
  • Wages and salaries are usually paid directly into a bank account, so if you have a job to come to it’s a good idea to open an account before you get here. You can transfer money into that account, but you can’t use it until you have verified your identity. Check how easy that will be when you choose a bank.