WAtch MAX in NZ

For anyone in New Zealand trying to access Max, formerly known as HBO Max, to watch the latest shows and movies it offers, you’ll have a hard time accessing the streaming service.

When you try to access Max in NZ, you’ll see a “Max is not available in your region” error. It’s an issue we struggled to get over, but we’ve found a workaround that allows us to watch Max in NZ easily.

With a US IP address, you can make Max think you’re streaming shows on the platform in the US, even though you’re at home in NZ.

This guide will help you find out how to watch Max in NZ by using the best VPNs.

How to watch Max in NZ: Guide

By using the simple steps below, we’ve been able to easily watch Max in NZ. All you need is a US IP address, and that’s easily done with a VPN.

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN

    How to bypass NFL Game Pass blackouts in the UK & Ireland

    Register for an account with ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.79/month). They’re the best VPNs on the market for reliably streaming content.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are renowned for their reliable and fast connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without buffering or interruptions. You can get 3 months of an ExpressVPN subscription for free here. And similarly, you can get 3 months of a NordVPN subscription for free here.

    Prefer a different VPN option? Pick another and simply continue following the steps below.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    ExpressVPN not working on Firestick

    Once you’ve signed up for a VPN, you can install it on nearly any device.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are available on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open your VPN and connect to a US server

    Watch SBS On Demand outside Australia

    Once logged in, select a server located in the US. This will switch your NZ IP address to a US IP address, making it look like you’re connecting to the internet from within the United States.

    Since Max checks your IP address to determine your location, you’ll need to have a US IP address.

  4. Go to Max and log in to your Max account

    How to watch MAX on Apple TV outside the US

    Navigate to the Max website or app. If you already have an account, log in with your credentials.

    If not, you’ll need to sign up for a new account. Be warned that this will require a US form of payment (find out how to create a Max account below).

  5. Watch Max in NZ

    Surfshark not working with HBO Max

    Once you’re connected to a US server on your chosen VPN and logged into Max, you will have access to all its content in New Zealand, just as if you were in the US.

How to create an Max account in NZ

While accessing Max in NZ is simple, creating an account will require a few extra steps. To create an Max account, HBO only accepts US forms of payment. If you’re like us, you won’t have access to a US bank account. Luckily, you don’t need one.

Don’t panic though, if you don’t have a US credit card or a friend living in the US, there’s a very easy way to create an HBO Max anywhere. All you need is an Android smartphone or Apple iPhone. Follow the steps below to create an Max account:

Android

  1. Create a new Google Play account and login to it on the Google Play store
  2. Download and install ExpressVPN or NordVPN on your Android phone
  3. Connect to a US server on ExpressVPN or NordVPN
  4. Open up your Google Play Account
  5. Click Settings
  6. Click General
  7. Click account and device preferences
  8. Change your location to the US
  9. Put in your credit card details
  10. Close Google Play and open it again (you should be on the US version of the Google Play Store)
  11. Download and Install HBO Max
  12. Create an Max account (you can use your local credit card)

Apple

  1. Download and install ExpressVPN or NordVPN
  2. Connect to a US server
  3. Create a new iCloud account
  4. Login with your new iCloud account
  5. Go to settings and click media and purchases
  6. Click view account
  7. Change country to the US
  8. Download Max on the App store
  9. Create an Max account

Why isn’t Max available in NZ?

HBO Max is a US streaming service that is only available to viewers in the US. This means anyone outside the US won’t be able to access the service, including NZ subscribers.

This comes down to several factors, but it’s mainly due to copyright and licensing agreements. Max has complex licensing agreements with various content creators. These agreements often dictate geographical limitations on where the content can be streamed. Negotiating these rights for new regions can be a lengthy and complicated process.

In New Zealand, Sky currently holds the rights to broadcast much of the content that would be offered on Max. Launching Max could potentially disrupt these existing partnerships and create competition for Sky.

Similar to other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Paramount+, if Max made itself available to customers in NZ, it could face copyright and licensing repercussions.

To prevent these issues from arising, Max uses geo-blocking technology that prevents anyone outside of the US from accessing its content. These geo-blocks are the reason you’re running into errors when trying to connect to HBO Max.

Does Max block VPNs?

Like many major streaming services, like Netflix and Peacock, Max tries to block VPN connections.

To enforce regional restrictions and comply with licensing agreements, streaming services like Max often employ technology to detect and block VPN usage. This includes the following:

  • IP Address Blacklisting: HBO Max maintains a list of IP addresses associated with known VPN servers. When a user attempts to access HBO Max through one of these IP addresses, the service blocks the connection.
  • DNS Filtering: HBO Max may employ DNS (Domain Name System) filtering to identify and block requests coming from VPN servers. By analyzing DNS requests, the service can detect VPN usage and block access accordingly.
  • Geolocation Detection: Streaming services like HBO Max can analyse network traffic to determine the geographic location of users. If the detected location differs significantly from the user’s claimed location, it may trigger a block.
  • Behavior Analysis: HBO Max may also use behavioral analysis to identify patterns consistent with VPN usage. For example, sudden changes in IP addresses or multiple simultaneous connections from the same IP address can indicate VPN usage.

Mainly, it detects VPNs through an IP address. When Max sees hundreds of connections coming from the same IP, it knows that that’s an IP provided by a VPN, and it blocks it.

Will any VPN work with Max?

While some VPNs may work with HBO Max, it’s important to note that HBO Max actively tries to block VPN usage to enforce regional restrictions and comply with licensing agreements. As a result, not all VPNs will reliably work with HBO Max, and their effectiveness can vary over time.

Not all VPN providers have the resources or capabilities to constantly stay ahead of HBO Max’s detection methods. Some might have limited server networks, outdated technology, or simply not prioritize bypassing geo-restrictions for streaming services. This is especially true of free VPNs.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are able to work reliably with HBO Max because they have measures in place to get around the streaming services blocks. Neither of these VPNs can guarantee that an IP address they provide won’t get identified and blocked by HBO Max. However, they can guarantee their service will consistently work with HBO Max.

When HBO blocks an IP address provided by ExpressVPN and NordVPN, these VPNs will close that IP address and open a new one. They also have dedicated servers and specialised features designed to bypass geo-blocking and access streaming services like Max.

Choosing a premium service (check out our list below) makes watching Max in NZ a breeze. In our tests, these have all worked reliably.

Best VPNs to watch Max in NZ

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN stands out for its ability to bypass geographic restrictions, seamlessly integrating with streaming platforms, even in regions where VPN usage is prohibited. It consistently demonstrates strong performance across various tests conducted with HBO Max and other streaming services like Netflix.

Servers: ExpressVPN boasts a resilient network spanning 104 countries, which is effective at bypassing HBO Max and more. With less than 3% of its servers being virtual, it guarantees a dependable and swift physical infrastructure.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN proves highly proficient in circumventing geo-restrictions on popular streaming platforms, including HBO Max. Its track record demonstrates reliable success in establishing connections to diverse streaming services, devoid of discernible complications.

Servers: NordVPN operates servers in 60 countries, slightly under the average of 71 countries among the leading 20 VPNs. Nevertheless, its dedication to physical servers guarantees access to HBO Max.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: Private Internet Access seamlessly works with streaming platforms like HBO Max. Although it encountered initial challenges with BBC iPlayer, these issues were successfully resolved through fixes.

Servers: PIA has over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, which is above the average of 71 countries. That’s more than enough to access HBO Max. However, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark delivers fast and effective streaming on Max, and performs well with most streaming services. However, it’s been known to face some challenges with some, like Hulu. Still, it has plenty of servers to switch to in order to get access.

Servers: Surfshark has over 3,300 servers in 100 countries, and many of these are in the US. For Max subscribers, that’s a huge bonus. It includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

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5. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN is now a reliable way to access Max and other streaming services, even though it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer. PureVPN can unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN boasts over 6,000 servers in over 65 countries, with many mainly based in the US. Its server offerings are robust and speedy, allowing for buffer-free streams for Max users.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

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How to watch Max in NZ: FAQ

Q: Where can I stream HBO Max shows?

Answer: Max is available on multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktops, smart TVs, gaming consoles, Apple TV, and more. This is thanks to the standalone Max app.

Q: Can I do anything about my current VPN not working with Max?

Answer: Yes, of course you can. For Max, make sure your VPN is connected to a US server. If that’s already the case, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. Occasionally, switching the VPN connection protocol can also help. If all else fails, consider contacting your VPN provider or switching to a more reliable one known for bypassing geo-restrictions effectively.

Q: Are there specific VPNs known to work best with Max?

Answer: Yes, some VPNs have been consistently successful with HBO Max, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. They often have dedicated servers or features designed to bypass geo-blocks.

Q: What should I do if only one of my devices can’t access Max using the VPN?

Answer: If HBO Max works on one device but not another, it likely means there’s a device configuration issue. Check VPN settings on the problematic device, clear its cache, and ensure location services are off.

Q: Why does Max block VPN services in the first place?

Answer: Like many US-based streaming services, Max is available only for US residents due to licensing agreements. HBO Max actively tries to detect and block VPN services that are used to bypass these geographic restrictions.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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