Living in Canterbury/Waitaha

We're proud to offer new residents one of the most welcoming and attractive lifestyle choices in New Zealand.

Explore our amazing backyard

The largest city in Canterbury/Waitaha, Christchurch/Ōtautahi is a city of opportunity – where change and innovation have been embraced, creating a strong economy and a vibrant place to live.

Take advantage of the region’s beauty by exploring our regional parks for walking, swimming, boating, fishing, gamebird hunting, motocross, mountain biking, bird watching, horse riding and more.

Christchurch/Ōtautahi is the city of exploration, a refreshing urban centre full of new secrets to discover. If you haven’t been here in a while, you’re in for a surprise. The city has been through some massive changes in the past few years, and the time has come to explore it all.

The region offers excellent medical and educational facilities, a vibrant and enterprising business sector, an abundance of sporting and recreational facilities, and a friendly community. It is a fantastic place to live, grow and bring up a family.

A brief history of Canterbury/Waitaha

Founded out of the spirit of exploration – from the first Māori explorer to early European settlers – the region of Canterbury | Waitaha as we know it today has a rich and varied history. 

With the Southern Alps on the western horizon and the pacific sea to the east Canterbury is know for its wide variety of activities – it is said that in canterbury you can ski in the morning and be surfing in the afternoon. 

The Canterbury plains between the mountains and sea are home to many wineries, restaurants, bars, cafes, museums and galleries. The largest city in the Canterbury region is Christchurch with  to 380,000 people, after a series of Earthquakes in 2011 Christchurch is a reborn and revitalised city.   We have a proud cultural heritage that continues to form a strong link between past and present.

Visit the below websites for more information on Canterbury and Christchurch:

New Zealand immigration

Moving to New Zealand/Aotearoa for work could seem overwhelming for some. There are a number of options available to you, which you can see on the New Zealand Immigration website.

Immigration information and accredited employer information – check if you are eligible to work in nz.

For information specific to living in Christchurch/ Ōtautahi visit

Connecting with your new community 

Connecting with people through reaching out and being included is an important part of settling into a new country.  There is plenty to see and do in and around Canterbury, why not get involved and meet some awesome people along the way!

Information and ideas on how to meet new people:

Community groups

We have many community groups and interest clubs in Canterbury.

Christchurch Resettlement Services was created to support migrants and refugees to settle successfully in Christchurch, they provide a variety of services including.

Events in Christchurch and Canterbury

In such a vibrant and exciting region there is always something going on.

'Welcoming Communities' is a programme led by Immigration NZ that works towards healthier, happier and more productive communities by welcoming newcomers into the local community.     


We recognise how important accommodation is to feel at home when moving to a different country. Fortunately, Canterbury has many options for housing from renting to owning or building to even house sitting – there is a home waiting for everyone. 

How to obtain an IRD number   

An IRD number keeps track of the tax you pay and is unique to you.  You are required to have an IRD number to open a bank account or earn income in New Zealand.   


KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings scheme set up by our Government to help New Zealanders save for their retirement.

You cannot join KiwiSaver if you hold a temporary, visitor or student visa - please check their website for further information.  

Healthcare services 

We have a wide range of health services available in Canterbury. The main public health facility in Canterbury is the Christchurch Hospital located in Christchurch.

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides insurance cover for personal injury for everyone in New Zealand, whether you are a citizen, resident or visitor.  This means if you are injured by an accident, ACC may pay some of your medical and rehabilitation costs.

Transport options

In Canterbury there are many ways to get around – from boat, car, bus electric scooter or take the tram – there is something for everyone. 

The links below will assist you with renting or buying a car including insurance, understanding our public transport system and using a taxi or the Uber app.  

You can convert your valid overseas driver's licence to a New Zealand driver's licence too, just check out what is required here. 

Studying in New Zealand 

Canterbury offers a wide range of study options, from early childhood education for your children | tamariki, to tertiary education at a number of world class institutions. Information on further education opportunities for the whole family.

Health and Safety

Health and safety in New Zealand is governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) and associated regulations, including the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016.  

He aha te mea nui o te ao maku e ki atu? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. What’s the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people.   

We are committed to providing a safe environment for its employees. For information on what the health and Safety at work act (2015) mean for you please visit the WorkSafe website. 

Citizens Advice Bureau 

A Citizens Advice Bureau helps people to know and understand their rights and obligations. They provide free and independent services to everyone. 

There is plenty of information online and the Immigration NZ website provides guidance for working, living and studying in New Zealand.