New Zealand Overview

How is New Zealand doing?

Covid has seen New Zealand (and Australia) emerge as one of the safest places in the world. Our economy was doing well before Covid so it is our expectation that we will rebound faster than many people think. We know that personal safety has prompted many kiwis overseas to think it’s time to come home and if that’s you, you are not alone. Since March some estimates put the number of New Zealanders returning at over 28,000. NZ migration statistics are positive.

Our team have put together what we know are the key issues for you to consider in making the transition.

Education and Schooling in New Zealand

When moving countries when you have children, finding a good school and getting them settled in will be a high priority. The New Zealand education system reflects our unique and diverse society and has processes in place to provide students with a consistent, high-quality education at all levels.

New Zealand has three types of schools:

  1. Most of the schools in New Zealand are owned and funded by the state (state schools). They teach the national curriculum and are secular (non-religious). These are free for New Zealand Citizens and Residents although there may be charges for some extracurricular activities. [ school fees are voluntary but are they still charged? ]
  2. State integrated schools are schools with a special character. These schools have their own unique aims that reflect their own values, which generally are set within a specific philosophy or religion. You will pay compulsory attendance dues. They are funded by the government and teach the national curriculum.
  3. Private schools which develop their own learning programmes and do not have to follow the national curriculum. You are more likely to find these schools will be teaching in addition to the National Curriculum either Cambridge International Examinations or International Baccalaureate. Private Schools get some government funding but are mostly funded through charging parents school fees. Fees are typically around NZD $20,000 per annum as a rough guide, excluding any add on extracurricular activities etc.

Children can start school when they turn 5 years old and it is compulsory for all children from the age of 6 to be enrolled with a school or in home education. By law, they are required to be at school until after their 16th Birthday.

The New Zealand school structure is based around years. There are 13 years in total and each year denotes how long a child has been at school. The school years typically starts at the beginning of February.

New Zealand's education system has 4 levels:

  • Early Childhood Education — from birth to 5 or 6 years of age
  • Primary Education from 5 to roughly 12 or 13 years of age ( school years 1-8)
  • Secondary Education roughly from 13 to 18 years of age ( school years 9 to 13, although some private schools do run from year 7 – 13 as secondary schools ).
  • Further Education— higher and vocational education, typically universities or trade training.


New Zealand in the 2019 OECD report continues to outperform most OECD nations, ranking seventh in the world for science and eighth for reading, and 22nd for maths.

We have eight universities with current rankings in the World University Rankings 2021 ranging from 147= (University of Auckland) to Lincoln University and Massey University that sit in the 600-800 bracket.

The 2020 Top 9 New Zealand Schools for getting into Top-ranked Universities
1. Auckland International College
2. ACG Parnell College
3. St Cuthbert’s College
4. Kristin School
5. Pinehurst School
6. Macleans College
7. St Kentigern College
8. St Andrew’s College
9. Baradene College of the Sacred Heart

Source Crimson Consulting


For more information we recommend the following resources:

1. New Zealand Immigration – Live in New Zealand  
2. Education in New Zealand