There are three official languages in New Zealand: English, Maori and New Zealand sign language.
The country’s official name is New Zealand.
New Zealand has two time zones. The mainland uses New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), which is GMT+12. Chatham Islands use Chatham Standard Time (CHAST) which is GMT+ 12 h 45 min. During summer DST is observed and clocks are advance one hour
Cook Islands are on GMT -10 h and DST is not observed.
Counting and Numbers
Dates in New Zealand —just like in Europe – are written with the day first, then the month and then the year. Most commonly, dates are written 14 April 2008 and not April 14, 2008.
New Zealand uses the metric system for measurements and Celsius for temperatures. In order to convert from Metric to Imperial, you can use this conversion tool.
Electricity and Plugs
New Zealand operates on a 230V/50 Hz electrical system and the electrical outlets are V-shaped flat prongs (the same as in Australia). However, most hotels and motels provide 110 volt sockets for electric razors only.
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If you travel to New Zealand and your camera / laptop etc doesn’t accept 230V/50Hz you will need a converter or a transformer.
The official currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD or NZ$). It is also informally known as Kiwi Dollar. It’s divided into 100 cents. Current circulating coins include: 10 c, 20 c, 50 c, $1 and $2. Current banknotes include: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Do check the current conversion rates before you go.
Banks and ATMs
ATMs can be found pretty much anywhere in the cities. Despite the fact that there are plenty ATMs available, make sure to check with your bank if you can withdraw money in New Zealand.
Credit cards are also widely accepted. The most useful credit cards in New Zealand are MasterCard and Visa but American Express, JCB and Diners Club are also accepted. Discover are not accepted in New Zealand.
Travelers’ checks can be a good option as well but they are not quite as used anymore.
Using the Telephone
The country code for New Zealand is 64. To call New Zealand from the US you should first need to dial out of the US and into Australia. So that’s 0011 + 64 and then the New Zealand phone number. To call within the country, just dial the number you were given. To call the US from New Zealand, dial 00 + 1 and then the US number (area code + telephone number).
There are three types of public phones in New Zealand: card phones, credit-card phones and coin phones (although these are quite rare). You can purchase card phones at bookstalls or newsagents.
You can always check with your mobile carrier if you can use your mobile in New Zealand (if so, don’t forget to active the roaming feature).
Useful Telephone Numbers
From mobile phones: 112, 911 or 08
Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa to visit New Zealand: EU countries, Australia, Canada, Japan and US; nationals of Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Kiribati, Korea (Rep. of), Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Nauru, Norway, Oman, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Zimbabwe and Vatican City for visits of up to 3 months.
Visitors not requiring visas are initially allowed a stay for up to 3 months but they can apply for an extension of up to 9 months. Those requiring a visa can remain in New Zealand for 9 months within an 18-month period.
All visitors must have enough funds during their stay: NZ$1000/month for each person or NZ$400/month for each person if accommodation is already paid for.