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Thread: Questions on Containers and bringing possessions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    27

    Default Questions on Containers and bringing possessions

    My family and I have previously resided in NZ and established PR visas. After a few years in the state we have found ourselves pining for our return.

    One consideration is we want to sell our home this time and ship our possessions. I'm trying to figure out the scheduling.
    Ideally we'd want to vacate/pack around July
    Tour around our home region of the US seeing family for 2 months
    Settle into a flat in Otago around early September.

    My understanding is we need to be in NZ to "receive" our container. I don't understand the logistics of getting it from a port to our home, or how long we would have the container at our disposal.
    Since so many flats in that area are furnished what makes sense for our possessions? Short term storage?

    Is there anything you feel is particularly foolhardy to bring (yard tools given biological risks?). My perception based on being there 6 years ago was anything non-electronic makes sense to bring with, rather than down-size and then have to re-buy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    36,000

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    I'll leave it to people who have actually done the container thing to answer that part of your post. Anyone?

    I don't think there's anything foolhardy about bringing your outdoor possessions (garden tools, sports equipment, etc.) as long as you're aware of what risks DPI is checking to guard against, and do the necessary ahead of time. The second paragraph here https://www.enz.org/forum/showthread...395#post578395 is about the bio-security rules. If you've got good, useful items that you're fond of, there's not really any need to discard and replace them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    32

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    Hello,
    We did exactly what you have in mind, but we spent one month traveling to see family, rather than two.

    We used Rainier to ship our 20-foot container. They had all of the information necessary to make all of the decisions you've outlined, including how to get the freight to your door in Otago, and what do to if the shipment arrives before you do. They also provided the connections to all of the various official clearance steps we needed, so we had a name to deal with for each part of the process.

    You can save about $3-$5,000 if you pack it yourself, but you can't get insurance that way, and you will have to figure everything out on your own. We found it well worth the extra money to have our hands held, as it got a little sticky every now and then. Like when our ship left without our container (not Rainier's fault), or when NZ Customs decided to dive in to find a bottle of aspirin we'd declared.

    A few things I'd recommend:
    1) Sure, bring your outdoor stuff. It's so much cheaper in the US. Seriously cheaper. Just clean it really well. REALLY REALLY well. Customs found a leaf in our BBQ and charged us $200 to clean it. We brought tents, fishing gear, bikes, some gardening stuff, etc. We clearly labeled as CLEANED and kept all of it at the front of the container in case Customs wanted to inspect it. And you are right: electronics aren't worth the bother of transformers and whatnot.
    2) If in doubt about size, go with a 40-foot container. We ended up having to leave some stuff behind because it wouldn't fit. If I had to do it again, I would buy more stuff (furniture, outdoor gear, bedding, etc) and go with a large container.
    3) If you go for a smaller container, be sure to prioritize your stuff so the packers will know what they can leave behind if need be.
    4) Have a clear plan with the shipping company about timing. They can hold a container at the port for a while before it ships, and they can also store it in NZ for you. But it's a delicate game of 3-D chess getting yourself and your stuff there and getting the timing right, and it's good to agree on a Plan A and Plan B.
    5) the shipping company should be able to provide you with someone on the NZ end who will give you a quote for storage. I seem to recall it wasn't that bad - $100 a month or so.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by sea-wlg View Post
    My family and I have previously resided in NZ and established PR visas. After a few years in the state we have found ourselves pining for our return.

    One consideration is we want to sell our home this time and ship our possessions. I'm trying to figure out the scheduling.
    Ideally we'd want to vacate/pack around July
    Tour around our home region of the US seeing family for 2 months
    Settle into a flat in Otago around early September.

    My understanding is we need to be in NZ to "receive" our container. I don't understand the logistics of getting it from a port to our home, or how long we would have the container at our disposal.
    Since so many flats in that area are furnished what makes sense for our possessions? Short term storage?

    Is there anything you feel is particularly foolhardy to bring (yard tools given biological risks?). My perception based on being there 6 years ago was anything non-electronic makes sense to bring with, rather than down-size and then have to re-buy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    36,000

    Default

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    815

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    We also used Rainier, their NZ side partner was World Moving and Storage, I believe. As their name implies, they can store your stuff if it arrives before you, but you might be surprised that it may take over two months before it arrives. Estimates are only as good as every link in the chain, our stuff was over a month later than expected (Xmas slow season was a factor). I was happy with our service despite this, which they couldn't really control anyway. There's a lot of moving parts, no pun intended, lots of people get involved from all angles and their services must be scheduled in both ports.

    We ended up buying a few pieces of essential furniture in NZ, but overall it pays to shop in America. Just take everything out of its packaging so you don't get charged a ton of GST. Airbnb or homeaway are good resources for furnished temporary housing, which we did use for the first 6 weeks of waiting for our stuff. There are also furniture rental services like Mr. Rental that will deliver to your door, but I think you need to use the stuff for at least a month (and they didn't service Taranaki, not sure about Otago). I recently updated my thread about container estimates, you can find it in New Posts.
    Last edited by Juniper; 9th May 2019 at 02:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    California to Tasman Bay
    Posts
    1,135

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    Quote Originally Posted by sea-wlg View Post

    My understanding is we need to be in NZ to "receive" our container. I don't understand the logistics of getting it from a port to our home, or how long we would have the container at our disposal.
    Since so many flats in that area are furnished what makes sense for our possessions? Short term storage?

    Is there anything you feel is particularly foolhardy to bring (yard tools given biological risks?). My perception based on being there 6 years ago was anything non-electronic makes sense to bring with, rather than down-size and then have to re-buy.
    I packed and shipped the container myself. It came to my house in California but didn't get offloaded off the truck and I had two hours to pack it before extra charges were incurred. We reverse packed our garage how we wanted it on the container and it took us well under that two hours.

    When I packed the container, I put all items that I thought might get inspected together and at the doorway. My packing list was itemised very thoroughly and I put things together like all cane and wicker baskets in one box. When the MPI (MAF at that time) inspector asked to see the items they were all placed at the front of the container and it took very little time for the inspection as we didn't have to unload the entire container to find them. We then loaded, at the port inspection site, a moving van we hired and relocated the items to a storage unit whilst we were looking for permanent accommodation. The container never left the port. We did originally have the option to have the inspection done at the house we were living at but the MPI inspector didn't like the set up of the driveway and we had no choice but to collect our things from the port.

    There are other people on this forum that disagree but my opinion is bring all the things. Bring your yard tools, your bikes, your tents etc. Just clean everything thoroughly with pinesol. Only leave something if it is really difficult to clean. We had an old couch that we couldn't be sure about all the nooks and crannies and left it but there was so much space left in our 20ft container, that I regret a lot of our pre-move purge. I ended up selling old Ikea children's furniture on TradeMe for more than I paid for it at Ikea in San Diego. You will be able to sell on what you don't need.

    I still kick myself over that Gorilla Ladder we purged.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    162

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    For what it's worth I run a bunch of things I acquired in the US on transformers here in Germany, including a Plasma TV and a laser printer. They have been working fine for a decade. The only 110V items I wouldn't bother with are things with AC motors that would be affected by the 50Hz frequency, otherwise using a transformer is often cheaper than replacing the item.

    When we [finally] make the move to NZ, I'll be bringing the 110V items and the transformers with me.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    California to Tasman Bay
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    1,135

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    Quote Originally Posted by diallta View Post
    For what it's worth I run a bunch of things I acquired in the US on transformers here in Germany, including a Plasma TV and a laser printer. They have been working fine for a decade. The only 110V items I wouldn't bother with are things with AC motors that would be affected by the 50Hz frequency, otherwise using a transformer is often cheaper than replacing the item.

    When we [finally] make the move to NZ, I'll be bringing the 110V items and the transformers with me.
    I still have a Vizio TV that I run here without a transformer, just a plug converter. I wouldn't think there would be too many TVs that would need a transformer and if they did, surely they are so old that they wouldn't be worth hauling over? TVs are pretty inexpensive in NZ now compared to what they were when we moved here.

    I'm trying to think of a really expensive piece of electronic equipment that wouldn't already be 110-240 capable so that they couldn't be operated with just a plug converter or would be so expensive here as to justify the transformer...maybe a flash mixer? Probably heaps of specialty things that I don't know about!

  9. #9
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    Nov 2004
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    USA
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    815

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwieagle View Post
    I still have a Vizio TV that I run here without a transformer, just a plug converter. I wouldn't think there would be too many TVs that would need a transformer and if they did, surely they are so old that they wouldn't be worth hauling over? TVs are pretty inexpensive in NZ now compared to what they were when we moved here.

    I'm trying to think of a really expensive piece of electronic equipment that wouldn't already be 110-240 capable so that they couldn't be operated with just a plug converter or would be so expensive here as to justify the transformer...maybe a flash mixer? Probably heaps of specialty things that I don't know about!
    Yeah, my husbandís treasured plasma tv now looks kind of blurry after 2 years without it, since we got used to higher def ones, and itís sooo much heavier than current models.

    Most of the appliances we sold off were kitchen-oriented. I kept like, 2 thinking it would be worth it, but I hated the transformer. Huge, noisy, weirdly smelly. Thereís another recent thread allll about transformers.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Germany
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper View Post
    Yeah, my husband’s treasured plasma tv now looks kind of blurry after 2 years without it, since we got used to higher def ones, and it’s sooo much heavier than current models.
    I also love my plasma display, I think all of the newer displays don't have the natural colors and look that the plasma screens did. They are sharper, certainly, but they just don't look right. The OLED screens are an improvement but they're expensive and I still don't think they look as good.

    Now, that said, can I probably find a second hand plasma on offer in NZ? Almost certainly, but if we're shipping things anyway, I'll bring it (and the transformer) with me.

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