10 things Malaysians need to prepare for New Zealand working holiday

The idea of going to a different country, especially one that is so different from mine, can be daunting. 

I’ve put together the things that you need to do before leaving for New Zealand working holiday. Here’s a list of things I’ve compiled for your convenience:

10 things you need to prepare for NZWH:

If you have been working in Malaysia before going for the working holiday, it is vital that you settle your income tax and obtain the clearance letter before leaving the country.

Your question: Why do I need to settle it? I will be back anyways.

Louis and I both didn’t know about this until his salary for his final month was withheld from him. He had to settle his income tax and obtain the tax clearance letter in order to receive his final month’s salary. 

Basically, if you’re leaving for a working holiday in New Zealand, get a CP21 Leaver form (can be obtained from the internet or from your employer)

You also need to prepare your BE form (personal income tax form – if the form is not available online, you can always go to the LHDN where you registered your income tax number to get the form done over the counter). 

And finally, your EA form, which will be issued by your company. 

Depending on different LHDN offices, the documents they require will be slightly different. I read online that some require your passport. Prepare extra because you never know what they’ll need. I find reading Maccablo‘s article extremely helpful.


#2: First week accommodation in New Zealand

What you want to do in the first week when you arrive is entirely up to you. Some don’t like to get straight into action while others prefer to relax and get accustomed to the new surrounding first.

It may sound daunting to book your accommodation early. Plans might change and you’re not sure if you’ll stay the whole length anyway.

Booking your accommodation earlier is helpful as you may end up getting a really cheap deal! Last minute bookings are always expensive!


An accommodation in Auckland

Initially, I thought that it was crucial for me to stay in Auckland Central to set up my bank account. But, we can make bank appointments everywhere! There are so many ANZ branches all over New Zealand. 

Some of my friends worked while they set up their bank accounts. Make sure your employer allows, though! Most of them require you to set up a bank account first! 

#3: Set up your bank account before arrival

This was a huge mistake I did before arriving in New Zealand. I learned that we could open our bank account before arriving in New Zealand. It is possible with ANZ – one of the largest banks in New Zealand. 

We went to ANZ online website and opened a Go Account. Immediately, we received an email reply from ANZ’s staff.


However, after reading this email, I immediately thought that the information was supposed to be given during our bank appointment. This was what I did wrong.

The documents and information that she needed can be sent through email. Simply scan the documents (or using CamScanner app to take a picture). I sent it only after I arrived in New Zealand.

Their bank system is very different from Malaysia as you need to call their bank and book an appointment. Alternatively, you can also reply to the email sent by the ANZ staff you’re dealing with. 

But you need to be quick or else the appointment slots fill up fast

Note: phone service is 24 hours (I was informed that 24 hours service is mostly catered for credit card accidents, but you can always try).

This was my reply:

And then she replied the day after:

That’s when I started making an appointment with the nearest branch. But I actually typed the date wrongly. *double smack forehead*

(photo) At the ANZ New Lynn branch:

The appointment was made for Thursday – for one person. We both went anyways.

She gladly took both of us in and assisted us in opening our Go accounts, applied and gave us our debit cards. 

We also obtained our bank statements to prove that our bank accounts are fully functional. The last one is really important as you need the prove to apply for your IRD account

You can always print out the PDF at home and show it to your advisor.

#4: IRD number

This is a little off topic as we’re talking about preparation for New Zealand, but I thought since I’ve covered the bank part, why not talk about IRD as well. 

Once we obtained our bank accounts, we immediately applied for an IRD number through their online website

For those who can read Chinese, you might find Shepherdess Jen’s article extremely helpful. 

For those who can’t read Chinese, head over to their website, select registration, and Apply for individual IRD number. Just fill in accordingly and you’re done! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

We received our IRD numbers through email within a week.

#5: Money exchange - MYR to NZD

New Zealand wants to see your prove of sufficient funds to fund your travels in New Zealand. 

In my case, when I arrived in NZ, no one asked to see my bank account statement nor did I bring much cash with me. 

We did our research and found that 2 stores offered cheap exchange rates: Midvalley and Port Klang. We opted for the latter. 

#6: Airport Shuttle

There are two ways to do this: walk more or pay more. 

We opted for the second one. Someone advertised his shuttle service on Facebook so we went for it. The ride costed us $20 per person.

Later, I learned that I could take public transport for only $3.30. 

If you are planning to save the cash and don’t mind walking with your heavy backpacks, you can always use Auckland journey planner to know which bus or train to take to your destination. 

Just remember to get your AtHop cards (like our TnG in Malaysia) for the $3.30 fare. You can get it at iSite upon your arrival in Auckland Airport. We topped up $10 each. 

#7: Scan Important documents and send it to yourself

I think the subheading is rather self-explanatory. 

I scanned my passport, IC, driver’s license, bank statement, saved my income tax number (Malaysia’s), passport photo, CV/Resume, and most importantly, my VISA in Google Doc and Google Drive. 

You can also email it to yourself or just print everything out. 

#8: Clean your boots/hiking gear

You will risk getting your hiking shoes temporarily taken away from you to go through some biosecurity cleaning if they’re dirty.

Clean and wash your hiking equipment or gear before your departure. I showed my squeaky clean shoes to the customs and she took a quick glance without saying anything. 

I guess my shoes were too shiny that it temporarily blinded her sense of judgment. 

But yeah, you get the idea.

Also, while we’re at this topic, please DO NOT bring any form of food in your luggage. If you really want to bring your maggi mee, declare them when you get your declaration card on the plane. 

You just have to tick on the relevant boxes of the things you have brought and then hand the declaration card to the declaration counter when you arrive.

#9: BUY only the relevant things

And by relevant I mean your backpacks. If you’re going on a backpacking trip, please choose good backpacks and try not to buy online because you can’t assess the quality and the size. 

Get backpacks that can be locked with TSA locks. Also, choose backpack that can open wide so it’s easy to retrieve your clothes. 

Do not choose backpacks that are too big because you will only stuff unnecessary items in it. My backpack is 60L while Louis’ 70L. We bought ours from Decathlon

Do not bring too much winter clothing because it can really add up.

You can buy winter jackets for cheap during winter. We did buy an ultralight down parka from Uniqlo because they are so light and versatile they don’t use up any space at all! We also used our parka as pillows when we were on the plane.

You don’t really need much. Here’s a guide on what you can pack:

  1. 3 short-sleeve T-shirts
  2. 1 long-sleeve T-shirt
  3. Light Jacket (It can be cold even in summer)
  4. 2 short pants
  5. 2 long pants
  6. 5 pair of undergarments and socks
  7. Waterproof jacket/trousers (Important if you go on frequent hikes)
  8. Hat (sun hat especially)
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste
  11. Microfibre towels (they dry really fast and don’t eat up any space!)
  12. One pair of hiking/sports shoe
  13. One pair of sandals
  14. Sunglasses
  15. Medication (also need to declare and should not be more than 1-3 month’s dosage)
  16. Menstrual cup (no purchase needed for cotton pads)
  17. Recycling bag/Tote bag
  18. Powerbank

These are just some of the essentials that I think are necessary. You can add or delete based on your own preferences. 

Wash your clothes! I can’t stress this enough! It’s easy to find laundry shop in New Zealand especially self-service ones!

#10: Do your research

This is the final step. 

The trip to New Zealand is not the same when you do your research. You will discover interesting and cheap places and save a whole lot of money! 

Also, research which mobile plan you should get when you arrive! It is essential to have a NZ number to call your shuttle service, your accommodation hosts, job, and the bank! 

Bottom Line

Enjoy this whole process and your arrival in New Zealand will be a stress-free one! I hope this article has helped you in your preparation!

If you need even more detailed and comprehensive insights, ranging from pre-arrival to after arrival in NZ, check out Travels With Sun’s post, she had listed everything down in such detailed descriptions that you can’t possibly miss anything out!


Let me know how has it gone for you in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “10 things Malaysians need to prepare for New Zealand working holiday”

    1. Hi Eric! Yes. Definitely. However, you need to make sure that you have enough money to get it as petrol and cost of service/maintenance can be scary. I haven’t buy a car yet because I don’t think that’s necessary for me at the moment. Maybe towards the middle of my journey I would. 🙂

  1. Hi! Thanks for all the info. We are travelling to NZ for a holiday soon and I was wondering if you declared your Uniqlo down jacket? Cos I was reading that any products that contain feathers need to be declared and so was wondering if we needed to declare ours

    1. Hi Jia Yin, do you mean the proof of address of where you’re staying in NZ? Yes, I guess bank statement would work. But if you could find any information online, do research first, so you didn’t need to do the same work twice 😉 cheers!

  2. Hi Anna, thanks for sharing. Where would you recommend to stay for first timer? Will be arriving Auckland next year Jan for working holiday too.

    1. Hi Sinnee,

      I recommend anywhere as long as it is convenient for you, and you can walk-in to the nearest bank to open your bank account 😀 you can always choose to stay in Auckland, or jump straight into work if your employer is willing to help you (or wait for you) to set up your bank account, then your IRD. If you need more time to get used to the jetlag, then you can stay a few days in Auckland until you feel like you’re ready to move on.


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