to buy and listen in to usual traffic - no licence is required
to broadcast in emergency - no licence is required
to transmit a trip report to coastguard or otherwise "talk" to somone else - a licence and call sign is required
early next year?
nz vhf channels will be shuffled slightly to suit new international regs.
won't affect auckland much
but some places like kaikoura
will end up with channels that aren't currently programmed on to vhf sold in nz
so either wait until next year to buy
or buy something cheap off trademe to use until then
or buy something new that the seller will reprogram next year