Moving to New Zealand from Ireland: Costs, visa and facts you need to know

Gabrielle Figueiredo

There are many reasons people move to New Zealand. Some go for work or family, while others simply want to enjoy the country’s natural beauty and laid back culture. Whatever the reason it clearly appeals to the Irish with over 3500 people migrating from Ireland to New Zealand in February 2023 alone.¹

Moving to the other side of the world is not without its challenges but you can overcome them with a bit of research and planning. To help out, we’re going to break down some of the things to know before moving to New Zealand, including the cost of living, how to find a job and where to find a rental.

We’ll also tell you how having a Wise Account can help make your international adventure cheaper by managing, spending and receiving New Zealand dollars like a local.

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Facts about New Zealand

  • Total population: 5,128,000²
  • Capital: Wellington
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Official languages: Māori and New Zealand Sign Language. However, English is the most widely spoken language in the country.
  • Number of Irish: Over 18,000¹²
  • Biggest cities: Wellington, Auckland²

New Zealand visa for citizens of Ireland


Irish passport holders do need a visa for New Zealand if planning to stay longer than the 3 months the New Zealand Visa Waiver Visitor Visa allows.¹³

Which long term visas you are eligible to apply for depends largely on your background and reason for moving to New Zealand. Here’s some of the ones that are currently available.

Working Holiday Visa

If you’re aged 18-30 years and hold an Irish passport you can work temporarily in New Zealand with an Ireland Working Holiday Visa.³

It allows you to be in New Zealand for 12 months and study or train for up to 6 of those months.

Skilled Migrant Visa

If you are trained or work in an area that New Zealand believes would benefit the nation's economic growth then you could apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.⁴

It’s available to people aged 55 or under and allows you to live, work and study in New Zealand indefinitely. Your partner and any dependent children can also come under the same application.

Fee Paying Student Visa

If you secure a spot at a place of study in New Zealand then you can move there for up to 4 years with a Fee Paying Student Visa.⁵

This visa also allows you to work up to 20 hours a week while studying and if you have a partner or children they can apply for visas based on their relationship with you.


Moving to New Zealand from Ireland: What is the cost of living?

The cost of living is an important factor to consider when deciding how much money you’ll need to move to New Zealand. The good news is it’s generally cheaper to live in New Zealand than Ireland when you compare everyday expenses including rent.⁶

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s the cost of a few everyday expenses in New Zealand compared to Ireland.

Cost of living New Zealand vs Ireland⁶
Expense Ireland New Zealand
Domestic beer (1 pint) 5.50 € 5.68 €
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant 15.00 € 14.19 €
Regular cappuccino 3.44 € 3.02 €
Loaf of bread 1.52 € 1.57 €
Chicken fillets (450g) 3.98 € 3.79 €
Monthly public transport pass 104.35 € 93.10 €
Unlimited internet (monthly) 51.03 € 48.15 €
Fitness club membership (monthly) 45.12 € 37.59 €
1 bedroom rental apartment in city centre (monthly) 1,445.37 € 1,024.07 €

Finding a job in New Zealand

It’s actually possible to move to New Zealand without a job but it all depends on your visa conditions. Some visas require you to secure a position before you even apply, others allow you to search for work after you’ve arrived and certain visas place restrictions on if and how much you can work.

In general, applying for a job in New Zealand is pretty similar to Ireland:

  1. Find an open position
  2. Apply with a cover letter and CV
  3. Complete the interview process

If you get stuck on how to apply, New Zealand Immigration does provide some helpful advice for how to tailor your applications to the New Zealand job market.

One of the easiest ways to find an open position is to take a look at an online job board. To get you started here’s some of the ones expats and locals use in New Zealand.

How to open a bank account in New Zealand

Depending on your personal circumstances it’s possible to open a New Zealand bank account before you arrive. All you need to do is find a bank that offers this option, go through the online application process and if you’re successful you just need to visit a branch once you arrive to activate the account.¹¹

Here’s some of the banks you may be able to apply to:

  • Bank of New Zealand (BNZ)
  • Kiwibank
  • Westpac
  • ANZ Bank New Zealand
  • ASB

Keep in mind that you’ll be asked for personal information and documentation during the application and account activation process. It varies depending on the bank but generally includes the following:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of address
  • Full name and date of birth
  • Contact information

If you’re looking for a simpler solution you can always sign up for a Wise Account. This account allows you to manage 40+ currencies, including Euro and New Zealand dollars.


Some other benefits include:

✅ You’ll get access to local NZD account details that you can use to receive money like a local
✅ You can order a debit card to spend, buy and shop in the local currency as soon you arrive in New Zealand
✅ You'll always get the mid-market rate (the same you find on Google) for sending money between Ireland and New Zealand.

Open your Wise Account today 🚀

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

New Zealand health system: How does it work?

New Zealand has a subsidised public healthcare system that’s available for free or at a low costs to citizens, residents and people who have work visas that are valid for two or more years.⁷

If you don’t fit into any of those categories you can still access the healthcare services for a fee and could take out private health insurance to help cover the costs.

Here’s a few things to know about New Zealand healthcare system.⁷

  • If you’re eligible to be enrolled in the public healthcare systems you’ll be issued a National Health Index (NHI) number
  • Within the public healthcare system treatment following an accident is free
  • Ambulance trips can cost you even if it was an emergency and you didn’t call it yourself (dial 111)

Rent in New Zealand


Renting an apartment or house in New Zealand is relatively straightforward as the process for foreigners to apply is the same as locals. The main legal requirement is there must be a fixed-term residential tenancy agreement or a periodic tenancy agreement in place.⁸

These are some of the sites you can use to start your hunt for a New Zealand property.

The real estate rules are a little different from Ireland so here’s a few key points to keep in mind when you join the New Zealand rental market:

  • Bond can be up to 4 weeks rent
  • Landlords are limited to asking for 1-2 weeks rent in advance
  • The fee to hold a property while you decide is a maximum of 1 week rent
  • Asking for letting fees or key money is illegal
  • The landlord is responsible for paying building insurance and council rates

New Zealand rent prices

The price of New Zealand rental properties vary based on a number of factors including the location, property size and current state of the housing market.

To give you a bit of an idea, here’s a comparison of what a month's rent could cost in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Approximate cost of rent in New Zealand
Apartment Type Auckland⁹ Wellington⁹ Christchurch¹⁰
1 bedroom in city centre 2,126.93 NZD 2,537.09 NZD 1,751.00 NZD
1 bedroom outside city centre 1,889.50 NZD 2,233.05 NZD 1,532.50 NZD
3 bedroom in city centre 3,840.53 NZD 4,257.14 NZD 2,485.71 NZD

Moving to New Zealand? Save on your relocation costs with Wise


When moving outside of Ireland there’s a number of costs you’ll likely need to cover and not all of them can be paid in euros. For New Zealand you’re going to need New Zealand Dollars to pay for things like visa applications, real estate costs, local transport and daily living expenses. This is where Wise can help.

Using Wise you can easily send money between Ireland and New Zealand. The fees are normally lower than traditional banks and any currency exchanges are done using the mid-market rate (the same you find on Google). And you can see all the costs associated with your transaction upfront:

If you choose to open a Wise Account you’ll be able to hold and convert money in 40 currencies+ and spend money in 150+ countries. Wise can also give you local account details for 9+ currencies including EUR, GBP and NZD, making it easier to send and receive like a local.


To make daily spending simpler you can order a Wise debit card. It automatically takes from your local currency balance or if there’s not enough, uses smart technology to make automatic currency conversions with no mark ups or sneaky transaction fees.

This means you can use the same card in Ireland and New Zealand without any hassle.

Open your Wise Account online 🚀

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Sources used:

  1. Ministry of Business, Immigration & Employment - Data Explorer
  2. Britannica - New Zealand
  3. New Zealand Immigration - Ireland Working Holiday Visa
  4. New Zealand Immigration - Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
  5. New Zealand Immigration - Fee Paying Student
  6. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison Between Ireland and New Zealand
  7. New Zealand Immigration - Healthcare
  8. New Zealand Immigration - Renting a house
  9. Numbeo - Property Price Comparison Between Auckland and Wellington
  10. Numbeo - Property Prices in Christchurch, New Zealand
  11. BNZ - Moving to New Zealand
  12. Stats NZ - Irish Ethnic Group
  13. New Zealand Immigration - New Zealand Visa Waiver Visitor Visa

Sources last checked on date: 13 April 2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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