Getting ready for your arrival

When to arrive

You are encouraged to arrive three to four weeks before the start of your course so that you have enough time to find accommodation and attend orientation before classes begin.

Visa information and immigration

You will need a current student visa to study at WITT. Information on how to get a student visa is available from Immigration New Zealand. This website has information and contact details for your closest Immigration New Zealand office, as well as downloadable application forms.

Planning your finances

You’ll need to think carefully about the amount of money you will need while you are studying. Remember, your daily cost of living is in addition to our tuition fees. This section explains important financial things about money, including the cost of living, transferring money to a New Zealand bank account and family expenses if they are planning to come with you.


New Zealand currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). Notes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Coins come in denominations of $0.10, $0.20, $0.50, $1, and $2. There is a bank branch, or at least an automatic teller machine (ATM), on nearly every tertiary campus. All banks offer phone and internet banking. Most New Zealanders use EFTPOS to pay for large and small items. This is an electronic transaction that automatically transfers money from your bank account to the retailer.

General Living Expenses in New Plymouth

Prices listed below are approximate only.

Food $100 - 150 per week
Local bus fares FREE to WITT Te Pūkenga students
Movies $20
Restaurant dinner $20 - $40 pp
Laundry $6 per load (washing) / $8 (drying)

Fees are quoted in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) unless stated otherwise. 

Opening a bank account

Some banks let you open an account before you arrive in New Zealand. New Zealand’s banks include:

Foreign currency

You can bring as much foreign currency as you like into New Zealand, but if it’s more than NZ$10,000 you need to declare it to Customs. Most overseas currencies are easily exchanged at New Zealand banks. Check out the latest exchange rates.

What to pack 

In keeping with New Zealand’s relaxed lifestyle, dress is informal on most occasions. Most houses do not have central heating so New Zealanders tend to wear many layers of clothing to keep warm, including merino (wool) or polypropylene long-sleeved tops. In winter and summer you'll need:

  • Warm footwear for cold weather
  • Woollen sweaters or other warm garments
  • A warm and windproof coat
  • Winter hat, scarf and gloves
  • A sunhat or cap (it’s easy to get sunburnt here, even on cool or cloudy days, as the sun in New Zealand has strong UV rays)
  • Suitable footwear for outings to the beach and countryside.

If you do not have suitable clothing available in your country, we suggest that you buy warm garments suited to our climate when you arrive. Items such as merino and propylene clothing, and winter jackets can be purchased year-round from the following shops:

Electrical items

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most hotels and motels and some homes provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors. For all other equipment, you’ll need an adapter or converter, unless the appliance has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets only accept flat three- or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.  

What not to bring

When you fly to New Zealand from overseas, it is important to follow New Zealand law. That means you must declare or dispose of risk goods at our international borders. Biosecurity risk goods that must be declared include:

  • Any food including cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried goods
  • Plant or plant products including fruit, vegetables, leaves, nuts, parts of flowers, seeds, bulbs, fungi, cane, bamboo, wood or straw
  • Animals, animal medicines or animal products including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shells, raw wood, skins, bones or insects
  • Biological cultures, soil or water
  • Equipment used with animals, plants or water
  • Articles with soil attached, outdoor sport or hiking shoes, and tents.

For more information, visit the Bio Security website.

Upon arrival in New Plymouth

When you arrive in New Plymouth you will need to enrol with the Reception team in the Reception/Admin block on 20 Bell Street. Please make sure to have your visa and passport ready.

Once you are enrolled you will be able to use our services onsite. For more information, see the following resources:

International Study Programmes

International Support and Resources

Life in Taranaki

International Student Handbook

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