1. Investors
  2. KiwiSaver and superannuation
  3. About KiwiSaver

About KiwiSaver

Page last updated: 15 Mar 2018

KiwiSaver is a voluntary work-based savings scheme set up by the Government to encourage New Zealanders to prepare for retirement. It may be your first investment and is likely to represent a large part of your retirement savings.

Once you’ve joined, your money will be locked in until you qualify for NZ Super (currently 65), with a few exceptions.

We monitor KiwiSaver and other superannuation providers closely to make sure they meet the required standards and act with your best interests in mind. All KiwiSaver schemes must be registered. See IRD’s list of KiwiSaver scheme providers for details.

How KiwiSaver works

If you’re employed, you can contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your salary before tax to a KiwiSaver scheme. You can also make lump sum payments or set up additional direct payments. Your employer must also contribute at least 3%.

If you’re self-employed, you decide how much you want to contribute and make payments directly to your chosen KiwiSaver scheme provider.

If you contribute to KiwiSaver and you’re aged 18 or over, the government also helps you save by giving you an extra 50 cents for every dollar you put in, up to a maximum payment of $521.43 (as at 2016). To get the full Government contribution, you have to contribute at least $1,042.86 a year.

You decide which KiwiSaver scheme provider your contributions will go to. Each provider offers a range of funds you can invest in. These typically range from ‘conservative’ (low risk, low return) to ‘growth’ or ‘aggressive’ (higher risk, higher return).

Use Sorted's KiwiSaver fund finder to help you decide which type of fund is best for you.

If you don't choose a scheme for yourself, and your employer doesn't have a chosen scheme, Inland Revenue will allocate you to one of the nine government-appointed default providers.

If you are allocated to a default provider's KiwiSaver scheme your contributions will be invested in the scheme's default conservative investment fund option.

Joining KiwiSaver

All New Zealanders can join KiwiSaver. You must be:

  • a New Zealand citizen or be entitled to live in New Zealand indefinitely
  • living or normally living in New Zealand.

3 ways to join

  1. Automatic enrolment when you start a new job
  2. Opting in through your employer’s KiwiSaver scheme
  3. Opting in through a KiwiSaver scheme provider.

You can choose which scheme to join, even if you’ve already been allocated to an employer-chosen scheme or a default scheme.


When you join KiwiSaver, you’ll receive a copy of the scheme’s product disclosure statement (PDS).

You should read this as it describes how the scheme works and gives you an understanding of the risks and return, and any fees and charges.

Switching your KiwiSaver

You can change your KiwiSaver scheme provider whenever you like, but you can only have one KiwiSaver account at a time.

Sorted's KiwiSaver fund finder has some great information on things to consider before transferring to another provider. See our 5 things to ask before moving your KiwiSaver.


You should not be pressured to join any particular KiwiSaver scheme. Be wary of KiwiSaver schemes being sold as part of a bundle of other services, with a special offer attached, or through door-to-door sales.

If you've felt pressured to sign up for KiwiSaver, please let us know.

Transferring superannuation funds into KiwiSaver

If you are a New Zealander wanting to transfer money you have saved in a private or workplace superannuation scheme into a KiwiSaver scheme, you need to check:

  • the trust deeds of your superannuation scheme and the KiwiSaver scheme allow you to transfer
  • the trustees of your superannuation scheme and the manager of the KiwiSaver scheme agree to the transfer.

Once your money is in KiwiSaver, it is locked in until you qualify for NZ Super (currently 65), with a few exceptions. This may not be the case with the money in your private or workplace savings.

If you would like advice about KiwiSaver schemes, you should talk to an authorised financial adviser. You can also contact IRD.

If you have superannuation benefits overseas, see transferring overseas superannuation.

Where to learn more about KiwiSaver

Our glossary will help you understand some of the technical terms used to explain KiwiSaver.

Stay informed

It’s a good idea to review your KiwiSaver or another superannuation scheme at least once a year to make sure your investment choice and contribution rate is still right for you. To help you, learn more about the various reports your provider publishes.