New Zealand is a part of the Five Eyes where law enforcement enjoy too much power and violate user privacy at will.
Although New Zealand is not known for censorship, the Christchurch mosque shootings and the subsequent sharing of graphic footage and discussions endorsing extremist narratives forced some ISPs in the country to block some websites like 4chan, 8chan, and LiveLeak.
Though we are strongly against online censorship, 4chan’s popularity among white supremacists and its tolerance for extremist elements is sufficient reason to warrant this ban.
Nonetheless, the usage of VPNs to access 4chan in New Zealand has become common practice among long-time users of the forum. In fact, access to the website in most parts of NZ has been restored but some users still experience problems accessing it without a VPN.
Since there are a lot of peaceful uses of VPN services, we’re writing this article in the hopes that you’re only looking for a VPN to access geo-restricted and censored websites in NZ for completely legal purposes and improve online privacy.
PureVPN is the #1 recommendation as the best VPN for New Zealand owing to its low price, ability to pass through restricted websites, and privacy-boosting features.
5 Best VPNs for New Zealand
The following services are some of the top VPNs equipped with the privacy and unblocking features to bypass censorship safely:
PureVPN runs a considerably large network of 2,000+ servers in 140 locations including 12 located in Auckland, New Zealand. These local servers are fully functional when it comes to accessing NZ-specific streaming services and channels like Sky Sports Go, TV3 Online, and TVNZ abroad. At the same time, the offshore servers give complete access to censored websites like 4chan with
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, a country free from data retention requirements. The provider has a strict no-logging stance which it follows to the “t”. Since New Zealand is a part of the Five Eyes alliance, a VPN far removed from this jurisdiction is much needed for people in NZ.
PureVPN also offers extra features such as split-tunneling, killswitch, and ad-blocker to give you greater control over your privacy and activities on the web, making it highly rated among reviewers.
Surfshark offers more than 1,000 servers in 60+ countries including New Zealand. The provider is one of the best you can have for unblocking US exclusive Netflix content within New Zealand, since the local library of Netflix is considerably smaller compared to the US. It is also perfectly capable of giving New Zealander expatriates access to local streaming services like TVNZ.
Surfshark, based in British Virgin Islands, is another highly privacy-focused service that has a zero-logging policy for their customers, leading to raving reviews from experts. For citizens in New Zealand that want to boost their privacy to ward of data breach attempts from cybercriminals, Surfshark offers a lot of interesting features such as CleanWeb and MultiHop.
What’s more, Surfshark is one of the few renowned VPNs in the industry which offers unlimited simultaneous connections. Considering the cost of $1.99/month, Surfshark is an excellent package with of privacy features to keep you protected from malicious elements on the web.
It has the highest speeds making it one of the fastest VPNs of 2019.
NordVPN has one of the largest networks of servers in the whole industry with 5,500+ servers located in 60+ countries with 40 of these in New Zealand. This allows users in New Zealand a lot of option to pick different server location in order to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming, torrenting etc.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama. The provider guarantees zero logs of customer information, which is excellent from the privacy point of view for privacy-seeking users in New Zealand.
The fact that Netflix in New Zealand has a smaller catalog as compared to US, for instance, makes NordVPN’s US servers perfect for accessing titles unavailable in your region. The provider has a good reputation with positive reviews for its service.
Finally, extra features such as Onion over VPN, CyberSec, and DoubleVPN further enhance your privacy if you want to take it up to a level. Although it is slightly more expensive than the VPNs above, costing $3.49/month, it is still one of the best options available in the market.
ExpressVPN has an excellent 3,000+ servers in 94 different locations including New Zealand. With these servers, users in New Zealand can unblock all types of websites including streaming and torrenting platforms.
ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Island and is known for its strict stance on zero-logging of customer information. The provider also offers outstanding performance and reliability. It consists of valuable privacy-enhancing features that effectively guard users privacy from authoritarian government surveillance. The provider has a strong reputation with enthusiastic reviews praising its many aspects.
Nonetheless, it is an expensive option, currently priced at $8.32/month. You can, however, claim a refund within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the service.
CyberGhost offers an extensive network of 5,500+ servers that has a presence in over 90 countries. Out of these, 10 servers are located in Auckland, New Zealand. These servers support torrenting and are also efficient for unblocking US Netflix if you want to access content not available in NZ.
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN service. The jurisdiction of the VPN allows it to stay far away from any data logging practices. On top of this, the service offers 7 simultaneous connections along with 45-day refund period, which is much higher than the industry average. Customers have a mixed reputation for this service but they largely tend towards positivity.
Considering these features, privacy-conscious users in New Zealand will find CyberGhost a decent solution for enhancing online privacy at $2.75/month,
Free VPN Options
It is generally a bad idea to use a free VPN in any country. The reason is simple: free providers are often shady fronts for data harvesting organizations, and they might gather your information for selling to marketing agencies.
You can easily find New Zealand proxies online to get access to blocked websites for free. However, proxies notoriously insecure and there’s no guarantee they won’t track and monetize your personal information you may be inadvertently sharing with them.
In addition, many “free” services only offer limited functionality. You only get a small amount of bandwidth per day or per month and a very small selection of servers. It is best to avoid free VPNs in NZ because of the inherent limitations and sketchy legitimacy.
Nonetheless, there are still a few services that are free yet reliable, albeit with limited functionality:
You can learn more about this service in our free VPN services article.
A Brief Summary of Privacy Issues in New Zealand
Over the years, there have arisen several cases where the NZ government and state actors were found involved in breaching user privacy and performing surveillance on suspecting citizens:
Kim Dotcom Spying Case – NSA and GCSB Surveillance
The internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom was a victim of continued surveillance from GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau). In fact, it was later revealed GCSB had shut down surveillance of Dotcom, and it was actually USA’s NSA which was using GCSB’s surveillance technology – without the latter’s knowledge – to spy on Kim.
This confirms the alliance between New Zealand and the US for intelligence-sharing operations, as they are both key members of the Five Eyes alliance. It’s a bit too far-fetched that NSA could simply get their hands on GCSB’s equipment without their knowledge, but that is the official account of the whole case.
Whatever the truth is, it is clear that people in New Zealand aren’t safe from surveillance, be it from GCSB or US’s NSA. VPN services – especially those that are located outside of the jurisdiction of Fourteen Eyes – can help enhance your privacy through military-grade encryption and by shifting your online activities to server that are configured to keep no logs about your web behavior.
Extensive Powers Given to GCSB for Citizen Surveillance
The GCSB enjoys extensive powers for performing surveillance on citizens. In 2016, the Parliament suggested a Bill to further increase surveillance powers of the GCSB. This would allow them to obtain information about citizens such as tax information, driving license photographs, and other data that is normally restricted from access for any institution in New Zealand.
This suggests that privacy issues aren’t going away from New Zealand any time soon. In a time when citizens are getting increasingly concerned about privacy, it is unfortunate that state elements in NZ are making up excuses to further encroach the right to privacy of individuals.
NSA Surveillance through Southern Cross Cable
Southern Cross Cable is the main international internet access point for New Zealand, responsible for more than 95% internet activity in the country. In 2013, it was alleged that Southern Cross Cable had asked NSA to pay them for performing surveillance of all NZ traffic passing through that cable.
This is another confirmation that NZ and US are in cahoots in their respective mass surveillance programs. The fact that Southern Cross Cable is almost exclusively responsible for all internet activity in NZ means that if this cable is tapped, all user information traveling through it would leak through to the NSA.
It is extremely alarming that the state could allow for such blatant acts of breach of privacy throughout the nation, that too for foreign agencies like the NSA. This shows how easy it is for governments to trivialize our individual privacy and the actions of New Zealand government have been particularly disappointing over the fast few years.
These instances prove just how important it has become for citizens to take individual measures towards saving their online privacy and how misguided it is to trust the government to preserve our privacy. Thankfully, VPNs empower privacy-starved citizens to elevate their privacy protection on the web, irrespective of government policies.
Why do you need a VPN in New Zealand?
There are a number of reasons why it is becoming important for people in New Zealand to use a VPN:
- Stay safe from cybercriminals: A VPN secures your online identity and offers access to blocked content from anywhere. Furthermore, you are able to hide yourself from the vicious circle of online hackers, snoopers, spammers, and other cyber-goons quite successfully.
- Surveillance from law enforcement: Law enforcement in New Zealand are known to obtain user information without any search warrants, violating the right of privacy. In addition, the role of GCSB and the continued involvement of NSA in NZ local affairs (see discussion above) clearly highlight how elusive online privacy has become in New Zealand. VPNs with a no-logging policy can help you maintain your anonymity and avoid LEAs spying on you.
- Access geo-restricted social media: Some social media websites such as 4chan and 8chan were blocked in New Zealand by some ISPs. However, access to these services has been restored on most areas of NZ, some users on certain ISPs (such as Spark) have reported problems accessing these websites. You can use a VPN to connect to an offshore server location to gain access to these while in NZ.
- Access local NZ websites from broad: A VPN is also useful for expatriates who want to access local websites in New Zealand that can only be accessed within the borders of the country. Again, you just need to select a NZ VPN server for this and you’re good to go.
Watch Popular New Zealand TV Channels Abroad
There are different TV channels like TV2, TV3, PLUS 1, The Edge TV, Choice TV and TV ONE watched by viewers within and outside the New Zealand. In fact, TVNZ is one of the most sought-after streaming service, which is only available within New Zealand.
If you are traveling to another country then there is a high probability you will not be able to watch your favorite shows like Top of The Lake, and Cleverman on these channels.
In order to watch all these channels and TV shows, you will need a local New Zealand based IP address. You would find this guide helpful for unblocking such as channel – TVNZ outside New Zealand.
How to choose the right VPN?
Here is a list of distinct attributes you should keep in mind before buying a premium VPN service.
When you select a VPN service, you should make sure to go for those which offer extensive server network This is important to enable complete access to the internet, since you can choose different server locations and bypass geo-restrictions.
Anonymity / Privacy
Anonymity and privacy are the two benefits that VPNs offer. Nonetheless, not all providers are capable of ensuring your privacy equally. A VPN must have a no-logging policy and extra features to help maintain anonymity to be considered worthy of use.
When it comes to watching media content, stable connectivity is very important. If the VPN constantly disconnects or takes too long to establish connection with servers, it is a sign of an unreliable service and poor server infrastructure.
This one is obvious but a VPN should have dedicated apps for common devices and platforms including VPN browser extensions. Therefore, you can secure your online activities like web surfing or media streaming from New Zealand quite easily.
Customer support is an integral part of a quality service. Through live chat feature, you can solve your different VPN connection and troubleshooting issues fast.
Best New Zealand VPN: Final Thoughts
PureVPN is the best NZ VPN due to its 2,000+ servers that are equally powerful for maintaining privacy as well as for unblocking streams. In New Zealand, privacy problems and censorship have suffered throughout this year. It is fortunate that we have VPN tools to count on in order to control our online privacy, protect ourselves from NZ state agencies violating our privacy in a better way while circling around needless restrictions on the web.