Arriving in New Zealand
Welcome to New Zealand and the start of your Waikato University experience. If you have arranged to be collected at Auckland Airport by the University, a shuttle driver will be waiting to meet you. Look out for a driver holding a sign with your name on it in the arrivals area of the airport, the driver will deliver you to the accommodation you listed on your arrival form.
We encourage you to use the first few days in New Zealand to start familiarising yourself with your new surroundings. Try different foods and find out what's happening in the area.
Getting to campus
The best, most sustainable, healthy and affordable way to get to campus is to walk, bike or bus. But we understand these options aren’t always a possibility so if you need to park your car on the Hamilton campus, here are some things to know.
Arriving on campus
When you arrive on campus, our friendly staff will be here to welcome you and guide you through the steps of getting started at the University. You will receive a Welcome Pack from the University full of information which will help you with your enrolment process and help you in settling into New Zealand life.
Your first step will be to enrol.
Your first few days in New Zealand
We understand that arriving to live and study in a new country can be overwhelming, and it may take some time for you to adjust. We've put togther some information below thta might help you during your first few days in Hamilton.
Various food outlets operate on campus between Monday - Friday 7.30am-4pm including:
- Cooked to order meals
- Pre-prepared cafe food (sandwiches, coffee and cakes etc)
- Indonesian food
- Vegetarian meals
- Silverdale Road (short walking distance from campus)- Subway, Dumpling King, Corner Store (Dairy), Fish and Chips, Chinese Takeaways
- Knighton Road (short walking distance from campus) - Fish and Chips, Chinese Takeaways, Corner Store (Dairy)
- Clyde Street (short walking distance from campus), The Warehouse (clothing, electronics, entertainment, household items and more), Asian food market fruit and vege shop, Bakery, and Hells Pizza.
- Hamilton East (20 minute walk or short bus trip from campus) - A range of cafes and restaurants including Indian, Chinese, Turkish, European cuisine. As well as McDonald's, Subway, KFC and more.
Supermarkets (grocery stores)
- Four Square - Silverdale Road (1km form campus)
- Four Square - Clyde Street (300m from campus)
- New World - Cambridge Road (2.4km from campus)
- Countdown - Peachgrove Road (2.4km from campus)
If you are staying in the Halls of Residence on campus, speak with your RA to find out about how you can be included in the weekly supermarket trip.
Banks and money
New Zealand's unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents and $1 or $2 coins. Notes have values of $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100.
There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand, however every person who carries more than NZ $10,000 in cash in or out of NZ is required to complete a Border Cash Report.
Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, New Zealand Post Shops and Bureau de Change kiosks, which can be found in international airports and most city centres.
All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, travellers cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores.
Opening a bank account
Every bank offers a range of accounts from high transaction to savings accounts - but they may have special conditions for international students. Some banks have multilingual staff to help you. Once you have decided which bank would be your best option, opening an account is a simple process. You will need to fill out some paperwork, and the bank will ask you to provide proof of a permanent address. Usually photographic identification such as a passport or a driver’s licence will also be required. Most banks will have an account operating for new customers within two days
Banks on campus
The University of Waikato has two banks located on campus:
- ANZ Bank
- ASB Bank
- ATM machines are available on campus.
Banks off campus
- Westpac (Cambridge Road, Hillcrest)
- BNZ (Hamilton East)
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is employed by the New Zealand Government to collect taxes. You may incur tax if you:
- hold a New Zealand bank account which earns interest
- work in New Zealand.
You will need to apply for an IRD tax number so that you are taxed at the correct rates. You can download an application form for an IRD tax number from ird.govt.nz or freephone 0800 227 774.
Note: AMEX cards are not generally accepted in New Zealand for daily purchases like groceries - we recommend setting up an alternative bank card in New Zealand for day-to-day purchases
It's easy and inexpensive to get around Hamilton and explore the wider region by using Hamilton's public transport system. Thanks to an agreement with the Waikato Regional Council, our University students now receive an additional 30% subsidy on the BUSIT card fares. Visit BUSIT for full information on fares, bus routes and timetables.
There are a range of taxi services located throughout New Zealand, providing you with comfortable and safe transportation.
New Zealander's drive on the left-hand side of the road, if you are planning on driving we recommend that you first familiarise yourself with the New Zealand Road Code.
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). After 12 months you are required to convert to a New Zealand license. Make sure your driver’s licence is current. If your licence is not in English, you must bring an English translation with you or obtain an IDP. A translation of your overseas licence or permit can be issued by:
- the New Zealand Translation Service, or
- a diplomatic representative at a high
commission, embassy or consulate, or
the authority that issued your overseas
licence (an International Driving Permit
may be acceptable as a translation).
The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.
New Zealand has many airports, including Hamilton (approx 20 minute drive from Campus) which offers domestic flights to destinations around New Zealand.
Auckland International Airport (approx 1.5 hour drive from campus) is New Zealand's largest airport and most overseas flights arrive and depart from there.
General safety reminders
New Zealand is amongst the world's safest countries (ranked fourth in the Global Peace Index 2016) but it is important to take steps to ensure your safety.
- Do not walk alone at night, especially in poorly lit, isolated places or parks.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
- Only carry small amounts of cash.
- Carry a phone or phone card with you in case of problems.
- Carry a phone number for a taxi company in case you need transport home.
- Never leave your bag or wallet unattended.
- Make sure you keep your passport and any other important documents in a safe, secure place.
- If you are in a bar or nightclub, never leave your drinks unattended. Its a good idea to buy your own drinks.
- If you have a cell phone let your home-stay family and friends know your number.
- Make sure you lock up your house / room if you are home alone at night, or going out.
The University of Waikato campus has security officers that patrol our campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can be contacted on +64 7 838 4444 or by using one of the emergency/helpline telephones located on campus.
If you require Police, Ambulance or Fire Service in New Zealand the emergency services number to dial is 111.