New Zealand

Doing Business In New Zealand

Visa Information

Visa application forms are available from NZ diplomatic missions overseas, travel agents or through the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS; 0508 558 855, 09-914 4100; The NZIS has over a dozen offices overseas; consult the website.
Visitor’s visa
Citizens of Australia don’t need a visa to visit NZ and can stay indefinitely (provided they have no criminal convictions). UK citizens don’t need a visa either and can stay in the country for up to six months.
Citizens of another 56 countries that have visa-waiver agreements with NZ don’t need a visa for stays of up to three months, provided they have an onward ticket, sufficient funds to support their stay (NZ$1000 per month, or NZ$400 per month if accommodation has been prepaid) and a passport valid for three months beyond the date of their planned departure from NZ. Nations in this group include Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands and the USA.
Citizens of other countries must obtain a visa before entering NZ. Visas come with three months’ standard validity and cost NZ$100 if processed in Australia or certain South Pacific countries (eg Samoa, Fiji), or NZ$130 if processed elsewhere in the world.
Visa extensions
Visitors’ visas can be extended for stays of up to nine months within one 18-month period, or to a maximum of 12 months in the country. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis; visitors will need to meet criteria such as proof of ongoing financial self-support. Apply for extensions at any NZIS office.
Work visa & working holiday scheme
It’s illegal for foreign nationals to work in NZ on a visitor’s visa, except for Australians who can legally gain work without a visa or permit. If you’re visiting NZ to find work, or you already have an employment offer, you’ll need to apply for a work visa, which translates into a work permit once you arrive and is valid for up to three years. You can apply for a work permit after you’re in NZ, but it’s validity will be backdated to when you entered the country. The fee for a work visa ranges from NZ$180 to NZ$280 depending on where it’s processed and the type of application.
Eligible travellers who are only interested in short-term employment to supplement their travels can take part in one of NZ’s working holiday schemes (WHS). Under these schemes citizens aged 18 to 30 years from 26 countries – including Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Scandinavian countries, the UK and the USA – can apply for a visa. For most nationalities the visa is valid for 12 months. It’s only issued to those seeking a genuine working holiday, not permanent work, so you’re not supposed to work for one employer for more than three months.
Most eligible nationals must apply for this visa from within their own country; residents of some countries can apply online. Applicants must have an onward ticket, a passport valid for at least three months from the date they will leave NZ and evidence of at least NZ$4200 in accessible funds. The application fee is NZ$120 regardless of where you apply, and isn’t refunded if your application is declined.
The rules vary for different nationalities so make sure you read up on the specifics of your country’s agreement with NZ at

Business Etiquette

Relationships & Communication

. New Zealanders can be somewhat reserved, especially with people they do not know. 
. Once they develop a personal relationship, they are friendly, outgoing and social. 
. Do not appear too forward or overly friendly. 
. They respect people who are honest, direct, and demonstrate a sense of humour. 
. They trust people until they are given a reason not to. 
. If this happens in business the breach will be difficult to repair and business dealings may cease or become more difficult. 

Business Meeting Etiquette

. Appointments are usually necessary and should be made at least one week in advance by telephone, fax or email. 
. It is generally easy to schedule meetings with senior level managers if you are coming from another country if the meeting is planned well in advance.
.  It can be difficult to schedule meetings in December and January since these are the prime months for summer vacation. 
. Arrive at meetings on time or even a few minutes early. 
. If you do not arrive on time, your behaviour may be interpreted as indicating that you are unreliable or that you think your time is more important than the person with whom you are meeting. 
. Meetings are generally relaxed; however, they are serious events. 
. Expect a brief amount of small talk before getting down to the matter at hand. 
. If you make a presentation, avoid hype, exaggerated claims, hyperbole, and bells and whistles. New Zealanders are interested in what people 'can do' not what they say they can do. 
. Present your business case with facts and figures. Emotions and feelings are not important in the New Zealand business climate. 
. Maintain eye contact and a few feet of personal space. 


. The negotiating process takes time. 

. Do not attempt high-pressure sales tactics. 
. Demonstrate the benefits of your services or products rather than talking about them. 
. Start your negotiations with a realistic figure. Since this is not a bargaining culture, New Zealanders do not expect to haggle over price. 
. Kiwis look for value for their money. 
. Do not make promises you cannot keep or offer unrealistic proposals. Kiwis do not generally trust people who have to oversell! 
. They are quite direct and expect the same in return. They appreciate brevity and are not impressed by more detail than is required.  
. Agreements and proposals must state all points clearly. All terms and conditions should be explained in detail. 
. Stick to the point while speaking. 
. Kiwis appreciate honesty and directness in business dealings. 

General Business Hours

Most shops and businesses open their doors at 9am and close at 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and either 12.30pm or 5pm on Saturday. Late-night shopping (until 9pm) happens in the larger cities on Thursday and/or Friday nights; Sunday trading is the norm in most big towns and cities. Supermarkets are usually open from 8am until at least 7pm, often until 9pm or later in cities. Dairies (corner stores) and superettes (small supermarkets) close later than most shops.


Banks normally open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday (some city branches also open on Saturday mornings). Post offices are open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with main branches also open 9.30am to 1pm Saturday; postal desks in newsagencies (Take Note, Paper Plus) often open later.


Restaurants typically take orders until at least 9pm but often serve food until 11pm or later on Friday and Saturday nights; the main restaurant strips in large cities keep longer hours throughout the week. Cafés sometimes open as early as 7am and close around 5pm, though café-bar hybrids push the envelope well into the night. Pubs usually serve food from noon to 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm. Pubs and bars generally start pouring drinks at noon and stay open until late, particularly from Thursday to Saturday.


Don’t count on many attractions being open on Christmas Day or Good Friday.