Although censorship is uncommon in New Zealand, there are many other reasons for using a VPN in NZ. For instance, you need a VPN to access geo-blocked websites and stay away from 5-Eyes surveillance to enjoy privacy and anonymity online.
Following the Christchurch mosque shootings, the government forced ISPs in the country to block websites like 4chan, 8chan, and LiveLeak. Because of that, the usage of VPN among long-time users of 4chan has become a common practice.
ExpressVPN is the #1 recommendation for the best VPN for New Zealand owing to its low price, ability to pass through restricted websites, and privacy-boosting features. In this guide ‘Best VPN Reviews for NZ’, we revealed some top VPNs to give you a wider choice.
Important Things before Buying a VPN
No matter how good a VPN is, its usage somewhat reduces your browsing speed. Therefore, when choosing a VPN in New Zealand, make sure that it holds a reasonable number of servers in the country for better streaming speed.
The core purpose of a VPN is to keep you anonymous. If a VPN is storing logs of your online activity, which is a direct violation of your privacy, it fails in its primary purpose. So looking for a VPN with the best privacy records is a must.
Another point to consider when buying a VPN is its refund policy. Before subscribing to a VPN service, investigate its money-back guarantee thoroughly. It must be at least for 30 days, customer support should be easily approachable, and it must have a positive record of refunding policy in the past.
How to Choose Best VPN for NZ
Here is a list of distinct attributes you should keep in mind before buying a premium VPN service.
When you select a VPN service, make sure to go for those which offer extensive server networks. This is important to enable complete access to the internet since you can choose different server locations and bypass geo-restrictions.
Privacy / Encryption
To be considered worthy of use, a VPN must have a no-logs policy and extra features to help maintain anonymity. Not all providers are capable of ensuring your privacy equally. It must be utilizing standard AES-256-Bit encryption.
When it comes to streaming online videos, a stable connection is very important. Frequent disconnectivity of servers is a sign of poor server infrastructure and unreliable service.
Most reliable VPNs offer multiple simultaneous connections. Make sure it has extensions and apps available for all the devices you use.
Customer support is an integral part of quality service. Through live chat, you can quickly troubleshoot your VPN’s connectivity with ease.
7 Best Most Reliable VPN Reviews for NZ
The following services are some of the top VPNs equipped with the privacy and unblocking features to bypass censorship safely:
1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for NZ
ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 160 different locations in 94 countries, including New Zealand. With these servers, users in New Zealand can unblock all 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 against government surveillance.
It comes with an amazing SmartDNS called MediaStreamer that allows you to access almost all major geo-restricted platforms without encrypting your online traffic. No encryption means fast speed for streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more. ExpressVPN is also compatible with all major platforms including routers, Smart TVs, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and more.
The provider has a strong reputation with enthusiastic reviews praising its many aspects. Nonetheless, it is an expensive option, currently priced at $6.67/mo . However, you can claim a refund within 30 days if you are not satisfied with the service.
- audited “no-logs” policy
- 3000+ servers in over 94 countries
- Simultaneous logins on 5 devices
- 30 days money-back guarantee
- Prices are a bit too steep
2. Surfshark – Fast Speed VPN for NZ
Surfshark offers more than 3,200+ servers in 65 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 than the US. It is also perfectly capable of giving New Zealander expatriates access to local streaming services like TVNZ.
Surfshark, based in the 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 who want to boost their privacy to ward off data breach attempts from cybercriminals, Surfshark offers many exciting 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 $2.49/mo , Surfshark is an excellent package with 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 2021.
- Based in BVI
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No WebRTC/DNS/IP leaks
- AES-256-CBC/AES-256-GCM encryptions
- Free trial available for only iOS/Android devices
3. NordVPN – Best VPN for Unlimited Geo-Access in NZ
NordVPN has one of the largest servers in the whole industry, with 5,500+ servers located in 59 countries with 20+ of these in New Zealand. This gives users in New Zealand an option to pick different server locations to bypass geo-restrictions for streaming and torrenting.
Headquartered in Panama’s safe jurisdiction, NordVPN 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 than the US makes NordVPN’s US servers perfect for accessing titles only available in the United States. NordVPN has a good reputation with positive reviews from its customers.
Extra features such as Onion over VPN, CyberSec, and Double VPN 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 $3.71/mo , it is still one of the best options available in the market.
- No WebRTC/DNS/IP leaks
- 5,500+ servers in over 59 countries
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Windows app is a bit slow
4. PureVPN – Best for 4K Streaming in NZ
PureVPN runs a considerably large network of 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries 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 and 8chan.
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, a country free from data retention requirements. The provider has a strict no-logging policy, which it follows to the “t.” Since New Zealand is a part of the Five Eyes alliance, a VPN far away from this jurisdiction is much needed for NZ people.
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.
- Dedicated IPs
- 10 multi-logins allowed
- Torrenting/P2P is allowed
- 140+ countries with 6,500+ servers
- No Free Trial (Paid Trial at $0.99)
5. CyberGhost – Best for Anonymous Browsing in NZ
CyberGhost offers an extensive network of 6,600+ servers with over 89 countries in 110 different locations. Out of these, 13 servers are located in Auckland, New Zealand. These servers support torrenting and are also efficient for unblocking US Netflix if you are fond of US shows.
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN service. The jurisdiction of the VPN allows it to stay far away from any data logging practices. The service even offers 7 simultaneous connections along with a 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 $2.25/mo .
- 7 devices can be connected simultaneously
- No WebRTC/DNS/IP leaks
- 6,600+ servers in over 89 countries
- Very Basic security features
6. PIA – Best for Torrenting in NZ
PIA provides 25 exclusive servers in New Zealand and 25,000+ servers at 77+ locations worldwide. The service allows you to unblock famous streaming services like US Netflix, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and others in New Zealand. The provider is based in USA, which is a cooperative member of the 5 Eyes alliance.
However, it offers a zero-logging feature that makes it an exciting choice for New Zealand users who want to secure their privacy while streaming their favorite region-blocked content. Apart from this, you can use various privacy benefits like kill switch, port forwarding, split tunneling, and IPv6 leak protection to protect users from exposing their crucial information online.
You can get PIA at the cost of $2.69/mo to avail other advantages such as 10 multi-logins and 30 days refund policy.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited server switching
- 10 simultaneous log-ins
- 256-bit data encryption
- Based in the USA (a member of the 5-eye alliance)
7. Hotspot Shield VPN – Best Free VPN Service for NZ
Hotspot Shield is a US-based VPN with 3,200+ servers in more than 70 countries. The service offers a free version with some basic features. As the US is a 5-eye, 9-eye, and 14-eye surveillance block member, there is no surety of your privacy as they may store your activity logs on their servers.
It’s eye-catching 7 days free trial lets you check its premium plans’ performance in detail before taking any risk. It has a 45-day money-back guarantee and you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously with a single subscription.
With Hotspot Shield you can unblock US Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer from New Zealand. This free VPN is a perfect choice for beginners because of its user-friendly interface.
You can get access to premium features like 3,200+ servers, unlimited bandwidth, no ads, military-grade encryption, five simultaneous connections, and 24/7 live support with its premium plan of $2.99/mo.
- Free Version available
- 7 days of free trial for premium plans
- 45 days money-back guarantee
- 256 bits AES encryption
- Based in the US (a leading member of 5-eye, 9-eye, and 14-eye alliance)
Is VPN Legal in NZ?
VPNs are widely used throughout the world, and their usage is entirely legal in most of the countries except for a few ones, as North Korea and Iraq had strict laws regarding VPNs while China and Russia had put partial bans on the VPNs.
Although New Zealand is not known for censorship, some websites promote hate and violence in the country banned from the government like 4chan, 8chan, and LiveLeak.
Some long-time followers of these websites are using VPNs to access the content on these websites. But this is certainly not a big reason to put a ban on VPNs.
Just like many other countries, VPNs are legal to use in New Zealand. However, the service is surely legal, but what you are doing with it must also be legal.
Recommended VPN for Netflix in NZ
ExpressVPN secures the first place when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Its US servers are packed with high-end server technology for providing an uninterrupted streaming experience in New Zealand with incredibly fast speeds.
ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature allows you to bypass Netflix geo-blocks and get access to the biggest streaming service in the world. You can access other Netflix libraries as well including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Another best alternative to ExpressVPN for Netflix in NZ is Surfshark.
Speed and Security of VPNs
The two most important factors that often ignored are Speed and Security. Most VPNs lack one or the other because both these factors are inversely proportional to each other. Strong encryption with complex algorithms ultimately affects the server speed and vice versa.
Based on our ExpressVPN speed tests, it delivered excellent download speed on its servers. Beyond just speed, it is also the most popular VPN in the market.
We ran a trial for ExpressVPN’s speed and noticed these results; Ping: 358ms – Download Speed: 85.84 Mbps – Upload Speed: 68.59 Mbps.
The company’s encryption system is characterized by perfect forward secrecy, whereby your encryption keys are automatically changed every 60 minutes and every time you connect to ExpressVPN.
It utilizes powerful military standard AES 256-bit encryption with additional protocols like L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN UDP / TCP.
No doubt Surfshark is amongst the fastest VPNs in the market, but the download speed is a factor where it needs to be improved a bit.
When I ran a speed test for Surfshark, although the ping and upload speed were good download speed was a little disappointing. The US server results were; Ping: 251ms – Download Speed: 24.09 Mbps – Upload Speed: 87.5 Mbps.
Surfshark uses two VPN protocols, IKEv2 and OpenVPN with a variation of TCP and UDP, and cryptography standard AES-256-CBC/AES-256-GCM encryption.
Its Multihop feature puts another layer of security and masks your IP address twice to provide ultimate protection against the attackers’ malicious attempts. It has a verified and trusted no-logs policy.
NordVPN’s 5,500+ servers are optimized to deliver the top speed possible. Our test for NordVPN’s speed revealed how fast this VPN is.
When I connected to NordVPN’s United States server with a 100 Mbps internet connection, the results were; Ping: 194ms – Download Speed: 93.5 Mbps – Upload Speed: 94.92 Mbps.
NordVPN has a firm no-logs policy, which means it does not keep any logs of its user’s activity. It uses a high in-class encryption method, AES-256-CBC with a 2048-bit DH key, and has recently added Wire-Guard to its security features.
PureVPN offers 6,500+ servers in 140+ countries. Its servers are less crowded and offer stable connections. When I examined its servers speed test, the results were; Ping: 299ms – Download Speed: 51.67 Mbps – Upload Speed: 65.42 Mbps.
PureVPN is one of the safest VPNs in the industry, and there’s a reason for it. Its powerful 256-bit encryption and protocols like OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2 are optimized for different functions like gaming, streaming, secure online browsing, etc.
CyberGhost delivered the best results when I ran its speed test on my 100 Mbps internet connection. Its 6,900+ servers use advanced server technology to deliver fast speeds.
Just like other top VPNs it also passed its servers speed test, with these results for the US server; Ping: 255ms – Download Speed: 73.41 Mbps – Upload Speed: 73 Mbps.
One of the main reasons for choosing a VPN provider is your security. CyberGhost VPN with its no-logging policy is an excellent VPN to consider in this regard.
CyberGhost supports protocols like L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, and WireGuard. It also deploys Military-grade 256-bit encryption with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA256 authentication.
6. PIA VPN
PIA VPN didn’t disappoint me when I ran its servers through the speed test. But instead, it delivered exceptional results above our expectations. The results for the US server were; Ping: 207ms – Download Speed: 80 Mbps – Upload Speed: 92.5 Mbps.
PIA delivers top-notch encryption and security features. There is an option for different protocols like OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2 for different devices. As for encryption that PIA offers, it all depends on which protocol you use.
7. Hotspot Shield VPN
Although Hotspot Shield is good at unblocking restricted websites, its speed was not that much impressive. We ran the speed test and it wasn’t very pleasant; Ping: 211ms – Download Speed: 11.75 Mbps – Upload Speed: 4.74 Mbps.
Hotspot shield only uses its own Catapult Hydra protocol to give protection to its users. I didn’t find other industry-standard protocols like OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, and others in its armory while doing research. Moreover, it is based in the United States, a member of 5-eye, 9-eye, and 14-eye surveillance.
Best Free VPNs for NZ
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 are 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 the surveillance of Dotcom, and it was actually the USA’s NSA that 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 U.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 servers 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 the 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% of 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 the 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 the New Zealand government have been particularly disappointing over the past 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.
ExpressVPN is the best NZ VPN due to its 3,000+ servers that are equally powerful for maintaining the privacy and unblocking streams. In New Zealand, privacy problems and censorship have increased.
It is fortunate that we have VPN tools to control our online privacy and protect ourselves from NZ state agencies violating our privacy in a better way while circling unnecessary restrictions on the web.
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