Your first few weeks in New Zealand, particularly until your belongings arrive, can often be quite unsettled. Some families rent holiday accommodations, such as a motel unit, then move to unfurnished accommodation when their furniture arrives - though even this can be a bit of a juggling act, as you are never quite sure when the container ship will arrive!
Most rental properties in NZ are let unfurnished, with just an oven, curtains and carpets. There are some properties, often inner city apartments and town houses, that are available furnished or semi-furnished, but these will often be quite expensive - and there aren't really many of them.
It is possible to rent furniture - short-term appliance rentals are relatively common, but furniture rentals are much less so and very expensive.
As in the UK, you may find it a bit harder in New Zealand to find rental accommodation when you have pets.
You can find rental accommodation in the classified in daily newspapers, and through real estate agents and rental agencies.
Real estate agents and rental agencies often charge the renter a fee, usually around one week's rent plus GST. It may help to be able to show references from former employers, but is often not necessary.
To check prices and availability in the area you'd like to settle in, see http://www.realestate.co.nz/rental. The Tenancy Agency publishes a list of average market rents by area at http://www.minhousing.govt.nz/market-rent.
You will probably be interested in an open rather than fixed term tenancy - when you wish to move on you will only need to give the landlord 3 weeks notice, though they may agree to less.
A landlord needs to give you at least 3 months notice if they need you to leave, unless they need the property for a family member or employee, or if they have sold the property, when they will still need to give 42 days notice.
It is normal for a landlord to ask for 2 - 4 weeks bond and 2 weeks rent in advance. The Bond is lodged with Tenancy Services, part of the Department of Building and Housing. Tenancy Services also runs an adjudication service for tenants and landlords.
For more information see http://www.minhousing.govt.nz/ This article was contributed by Jeremy Henderson from Broadbase International. Their UK website, www.broadbaseimmigration.co.uk, has a great range of up-to-date articles on life in New Zealand written especially for prospective migrants.