Pack It Up: Sending Your Stuff Back to New Zealand

Pack It Up: Sending Your Stuff Back to New Zealand

There comes a time when it’s all over and you need to send all your belongings back home to New Zealand. How did you acquire this much crap!? Here’s my little overview of how I got my things from London to home.

Where to begin?

Work out how much stuff you need to send. It’s not overly expensive to send things in my opinion, but weigh up with the relative cost. Anything heavy/ big/ generic should end up elsewhere. You might like to donate or pass on any of your things to other people and organisations. Anything perishable or liquid cannot be sent so that minimises some of your choices.

Maybe you don’t have that much stuff and something via mail would suffice. Note that if you go by sea post, you save quite a bit (with the trade off being three or so months before it arrives). The other option is pairing up with a friend to send some stuff back, it will work out cheaper. Note that since all sending boxes options are by sea, it’ll take a solid few months before it arrives.

Quote, unquote

There’s more than a few companies working on sending things to New Zealand. Drop each of them an enquiry and they’ll come back to you with a quote. A few that I got in contact with: Anglo Pacific, Kiwi Movers, Seven Seas. Others: Excess International

Quotes I received for two boxes (although I ended up sending double this!):

  • Kiwi Movers: two suitcases £158, three for £188 (if you wanted boxes, like I did, this incurred additional fees, which made it too expensive).
  • Anglo Pacific: first tea carton box for £105, each extra tea carton £35 (other boxes sizes available, and are dropped off to you). The packaging is included, although my charge ended up being slightly higher due to my hometown being too away from Auckland.
  • Seven Seas: had a bit of a weird quote. £88 for two large boxes but then a $205NZD fee for goods examination.

Seven Seas had the cheapest quote, but then the odd charge which no-one else did. Note that New Zealand customs will always charge at least $65NZD for entry. Even more if they inspect or charge duty. I went with Anglo Pacific.

Packing it up, packing it up

One thing to note is that you need to prove that you will be in New Zealand within the next six months (i.e. have booked a return flight). The advice was somewhat inconsistent across the companies so just to be sure, I also emailed Customs New Zealand.

Excerpt below:

You are able to import your own used household effects into New Zealand free of Customs Duty and Goods and Services Tax if you have a Document Authorising Residence in New Zealand and have lived outside of New Zealand for 21 months or more.

A document authorising residency is either a NZ or Australian passport, a NZ resident visa, Australian permanent resident visa, a NZ work visa for 12 months or longer, an NZ work to residence visa or a NZ visitor visa for 3 years or longer.

You are physically required to be present in New Zealand at the time the goods arrive into New Zealand to qualify for the household goods concession.

You have up to 5 years from when you first arrived on the document authorising residency to import your goods under the above concession free of Customs duty and GST.

Your shipment will be subject to an Import Entry Transaction fee of $49.24 NZD.

Clearance of household effects prior to the arrival of the importer may be made on a Sight entry where the person making the entry can satisfy a Customs officer that the importer meets all the above conditions other than that the importer has arrived in New Zealand. The nominated friend or family member must be able to provide evidence that the importer is a New Zealand passport holder will arrive within six months of the importation of the goods (for example produce confirmed travel bookings). They also must have a letter stating that they can act on your behalf and a completed unaccompanied baggage declaration (attached above). A deposit to secure any duty/GST will be taken.

A few tips for packing

  • Distribute the weight evenly across the boxes. For me, each was max 30kg (otherwise you’d get a fee for packing) so it was important to get it right. Also it also becomes too bloody heavy to lug around the house!
  • Place soft items (clothes) around fragile ones.
  • Make sure to check what you can and can’t pack. No candles, things with batteries, or liquid items for a start.
  • Vacuum bags and packing cubes can help.
  • Flat items on the bottom.
  • More fragile things centred, soft things on corners and sides.
  • Assume things will move around, so packing things tightly and carefully. I don’t think I had any breakable items in the end.
  • Keep a inventory list as you go.

What else?

Once that’s all done there’s a bunch of paperwork. Super important: make sure to state they are personal effects/ used items. Not gifts for anyone else, new items, or anything like that. The forms will ask you to specify what’s in each box so pay mind to what went where. From there organise the pickup with the company and then email through any other info they ask for. Our Anglo Pacific guy was friendly and helpful so top marks for that.

I did have one hiccup. They charged me the wrong fee initially and they charged me again without refunding the first. Lucky my eagle eye spotted that on the credit card.

A partnered New Zealand moving company messaged me a few solid weeks later. Some more paperwork and the fee for importation. It didn’t take too long to get across the sea. And whilst I’m still waiting for the final arrival, I’m hopeful the rest of the journey to my parents’ house will be smooth sailing.