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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

This page contains useful information about setting up your house.

Dunedin winter temperatures average between 5 and 6degC and at night often drops below zero. Many of our homes are older and not well insulated, so can be cold and damp in winter. It's important for your health to keep warm through our colder months. In older homes, open fires and solid fuel burners are common. However, changes to air pollution rules nationally are likely to affect the use of such options in the near future. For more information visit the Otago Regional Council website, linked below in the related information section.

Fire supplies are available at a variety of places, including garages and supermarkets. Electricity, used in portable heaters, electric blankets and heat pumps, is the most common option. Heaters of many varieties can be found in appliance shops all over the city, and a growing number of companies offer heat pumps. Gas heaters are also available, and portable gas tanks can be purchased and filled locally.

Whether renting or buying, it pays to check your potential new home for things such as ventilation to remove condensation in winter; insulation to keep the heat in; and whether the low angles of the winter sun will reach your home.

  • open windows and doors when you're home
  • open windows so steam can escape from cooking or bathing
  • open curtains early in the morning and close them when the sun goes down
  • keep lids on pots when cooking
  • wipe condensation off walls and windows when it happens
  • hang washing outside to dry
  • open windows when using a clothes drier so moisture can escape
  • dry clothes and shoes before putting them away
  • leave wardrobes slightly open for ventilation
  • keep the shower curtain hanging inside the shower/bath so water doesn't drip on the floor, and wash the curtain every few weeks
  • pull beds and furniture away from the walls so they can breathe
  • keep only a few plants inside.


The means to connect electricity to your home will be in place in your chosen accommodation already. Contact the electricity supplier of your choice to have your supply turned on. The Consumer - Power Switch website, linked below in the related information section, offers you information on the different suppliers available in Dunedin and which best suits your situation.

Gas heating

Piped gas is no longer available in Dunedin. However, a number of companies offer gas tanks for heating, water and cooking if your home has the appropriate appliances to use these.

Telephone providers

Spark New Zealand is the most common option for a home phone, but there is now competition for both home lines and toll calls from online providers. Contact Telecom New Zealand via their website linked in the related information section below, or call 123 from any phone.

How do telephones work here?

All local calls are free in the Dunedin area, and a variety of companies offer choices for toll calls outside the city. Calls to 0800 and 0508 numbers are also free, as are emergency calls on 111.

You can also use cellphones. Telecom and Vodafone are the two main options available in New Zealand, and you can purchase pre-pay or plan phones at stores around the city.

Pre-pay phone cards are available from supermarkets and dairies. These allow cheap phone calls home. There are also internet-only options such as Skype which allow cheap or even free national and international calls to fellow Skype users.

To call emergency services in New Zealand, dial 111. Tell the operator who answers which service you require (fire, ambulance or police) and you will be connected. You are recommended to give your name and the address you are calling from (if it is a rural address, add your rapid number).

Internet access

A variety of internet service providers are available in the city, including modem, broadband and wireless services. Check your whitepages for internet service providers.

Free internet access is available from the Dunedin Public Library, Moray Place and there are several internet cafes around the central city area.


Stamps for sending mail within New Zealand and overseas are available at your local post shop.  To find your nearest post shop visit the New Zealand Post website linked in the related information section below.

Almost all New Zealand homes have a separate mail box, generally at the entrance on the street. Mail is delivered once a day (except Sundays). If your new home is in a rural location, you will have a rapid number as well as a street address. This allows postal workers (and emergency services) to locate you more accurately.


The New Zealand Police offers advice on how to keep your home safe.  Their website can be found in the related information section.

Furnish my home

If you are waiting for furniture to arrive from overseas, there are many good second hand shops around Dunedin which will help fill the gap. Most offer delivery for a small fee. Whiteware and other appliances can be rented from rental agencies in the city.

Pests around the house

Dunedin is free of most pests except common ones such as mice, rats, spiders (none poisonous) and flies. Larger pests, such as possums and rabbits, are only likely to be encountered in semi-rural or rural areas.

Keeping pets

Only dogs need to be registered in Dunedin. General information about having a dog can be found in the keeping dogs section of this website. If you already own a pet, and wish to bring it to New Zealand, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has some information on the procedures and regulations. Their website can be found in the related information section below.


Insurance is not compulsory but is highly recommended. There are a number of insurance suppliers for insurance on your house, home contents, car or even boat. It pays to shop around for the best deal for you.

Rubbish and recycling

The Dunedin City Council contracts out rubbish collection, which is conducted once a week around the city. You must have Council rubbish bags, available from supermarkets and some dairies, for your rubbish to be collected.

Recycling is available on the same day as your rubbish collection, using the blue bin that should be present at your house when you move in. If it is not, please call the Council Customer Services Agency on 03 477 4000.

Visit the Rubbish section of this website to find out your rubbish collection day.

Cost of living

Independent site Emigrate New Zealand offers a cost of living calculator for newcomers. The link to this calculator is in the related information section below.

Local plants

There are a number of excellent nurseries and gardening shops in Dunedin, all of which will offer free advice on gardening in our cooler climate. Information on a wide range of New Zealand native plants can be found on the New Zealand Gardens website. If you wish to learn about and recognise New Zealand weeds Massey University has a website that provides useful tips for identifying weeds and other plants.  Links to both these website can be found in the related information section below.


There are several television providers in New Zealand:

  • Television New Zealand, which offers TV One and TV 2
  • Canwest MediaWorks NZ, which offers TV 3 and C4
  • Sky TV, which offers Pay TV services via satellite and UHF, and owns Prime TV, another
  • free-for-view service
  • Channel 9 Dunedin's own television station
  • Maori channel

The websites for these providers can be found in the related information section below.


The local daily newspaper is the Otago Daily Times, New Zealand's oldest daily newspaper.  See the related information section below or call 03 477 4760 for delivery arrangements. There is also a free weekly delivered to most households, The Star The Sunday Star Times and Sunday News are available every Sunday and delivery can be arranged.

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