Everyday life

All sorts of useful, everyday information about living in Whangārei


Dial 111 for all emergencies, including Fire, Police and ambulance. Tell the operator what the emergency is and they will connect you to the correct service.


NZ political system

New Zealand is a democratic country in which the members of parliament (MPs) are chosen in free and fair elections every three years. Citizens and permanent residents who are aged 18 years and over are required to enrol to vote but voting is not compulsory. Find out more about our system of government at New Zealand Parliament Paremata Aotearoa.

The law

New Zealand is a relaxed and welcoming place to live. Our local police force is strong and you can be assured that all criminal matters are taken seriously. As in any country, there are incidents of crime and New Zealand Police are dedicated to solving and resolving offences. Our robust justice and court systems provide a fair process for those involved as well victim support. Find out more about the NZ Legal System at Ministry of Justice Tahu o te Ture and the New Zealand Police Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa.


New Zealand is a modern, secular, democratic society, and freedom of religious beliefs is guaranteed by law. Over half of New Zealanders identify themselves as being Christian. As more migrants choose to make New Zealand home, Hindu, Buddhist, Islam and Spiritualism make up the most significant minority religions.

Making friends

It can take a while to make friends when you move to a new place. If you have children, their school can provide an introduction to your community . Sporting activities, clubs and volunteering are great ways to meet people who have similar interests to you. The Multicultural Whangārei and Citizens Advice Bureau can also help you with more information.

Improve your English

If you would like to improve your English language skills (and perhaps make some new friends) contact English Language Partners Northland.


You can drive in New Zealand if you hold a driver licence or driving permit from another country and:

  • Your overseas licence or driver permit is current and valid, and
  • You've not received a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand, and
  • You entered New Zealand less than 12 months ago, and
  • Your overseas licence is in English; if it's not, you must have an accurate translation, and
  • You've not been granted a New Zealand driver licence

If you are in New Zealand for more than a year, you need to obtain a New Zealand driver licence. Find out how at the NZ Transport Agency.

Public transport

CityLink Whangārei is the public bus service that operates in the city and suburbs. Children under five travel for free. For information about fares and timetables, visit CityLink Whangārei

Taxis are also readily available and can be ordered online or by phone. There is more information about getting around Whangārei here.

Water and rubbish

Whangarei District Council is responsible for providing clean water to many households and for managing rubbish and recycling.


Whangārei has one daily newspaper, The Northern Advocate and a community paper, The Whangārei Leader. The community paper is free, with local news about our people, places and events. The Northern Advocate provides local and national news.

Tax numbers

Before you start a job or business you must have a tax number. Visit the Inland Revenue Department Te Tari Taake to find out how.

Bank account

Call in to any bank in the Whangārei shopping district and they can give you advice on what bank account will suit your needs. Once their bank account is active, many New Zealanders make the use of online banking, ATMs and EFT-POS transactions, rarely visiting their bank in person.

Daylight savings time

New Zealand has daylight saving time -  all clocks are put forward one hour in spring and put back one hour in autumn. These dates are well publicised through television and radio. Find out more at The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua.


Pets go hand in hand with the outdoor lifestyle enjoyed in Whangārei, with dogs and cats being the most popular. Dogs need to be registered and there are some restrictions on where they can be taken. Find out more at Whangarei District Council . The Whangārei Public Dog Park at Pohe Island is fully fenced with shelters, ramps and agility equipment that your dog will love. 


Whangārei has libraries in the city centre as well as the suburbs. They are a wonderful community hub with not just great  book collections and resources in different languages but also hold community and art exhibitions, and frequent events. The staff come from diverse cultures and many different languages are spoken. Find out more at Whangārei Libraries.

For the elderly

Age Concern is a voluntary organisation providing a range of services for the older people, including advice, advocacy, mobile assessment, parking, help with home maintenance and much more.

For migrants

The Multicultural Whangārei helps migrants settle into Whangārei. They provide information and support, making it easy to access information and connect with others.

For everyone

Whangārei Citizen’s Advice Bureau is a volunteer organisation that can help you with many, many things. From legal issues and finance, tenancy information and human rights, clubs and hobbies, education and much more. They run regular information sessions for new migrants in Whangārei and all services are free, confidential and independent.