Simple and to the point, the process for authenticating your NZ-issued visa documents are:
Step 1 – Have your documents notarized by a Notary Public.
Step 2 – Have your document authenticated and verified by the New Zealand Government.
The New Zealand Government will use a two-step authentication of your documents: first, they’ll go to the Department of Internal Affairs and then they’ll be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Do note that various levels of authentication are offered (with varying prices). By selecting China on the above link, you’ll see that:
China is a category A authentication country.
Your documents will be authenticated by the Department of Internal Affairs Authentication Unit and then sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) for verification.
Your authenticated documents will have a covering page with a stamp from MFAT. The documents will be tied with a ribbon and get an official embossed seal. They are then sent to the address you included on your application form.
The authentication process should take about two weeks, but delays are common.
COST: The minimum official charge for Notary Public services is $90, but they usually charge $10 for all subsequent documents, so it’s worth waiting until you can have them notarized together. Category A authentication, on the other hand, costs NZ$65 for the first document and NZ$31 for subsequent ones. Again, it (literally) pays to have them processed as a bundle.
Living abroad? You can use the same links if sending/receiving documents from abroad. Alternatively, Vital Consular can do the whole thing for you – they are not cheap, but they guarantee authentication (or your money back), so it’s worth requesting a quote to save time and hassle.