Asia and Oceania

New Zealand Flag of New Zealand

Still current at: 11 June 2008
Updated: 28 May 2008

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary, Local Travel and Health sections  (you should ensure that your insurance covers you for extreme activities; HIV/AIDS prevalence in New Zealand).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

 

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • There is no British consular representation on the Cook Islands, or the islands of Niue and Tokelau.  See the General section of this advice for more details.

  • If you are visiting remote areas, you should ensure that your journey details are made known to local authorities or friends/relatives before setting out.  Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous, especially in winter.

  • Motor insurance is not a legal requirement in New Zealand.  Therefore, even though the UK has a reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with New Zealand, private accident insurance is strongly recommended.  This is because New Zealand law has removed the right of accident victims to sue a third party in the event of an accident.  See the Road Travel section of this advice for more details.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism in New Zealand.  But you should be aware of the global risk of terrorist attacks which could be in public places, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Around 300,000 British nationals visit New Zealand each year  (source: Statistics New Zealand).  Most visits are trouble-free. The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in New Zealand in 2007 were: replacing lost or stolen passports (over 630 cases); hospitalisations and deaths, mainly as a result of outdoor activities (over 50 cases); and arrests, for a variety of offences (28 cases).

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  New Zeland offers an extensive range of extreme activities and if you intend to participate in activities eg:  bungee jumping, water boarding or white water rafting, you should ensure that your travel insurance covers these types of activities.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.   See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

Safety and security

Terrorism
 
There is a low threat from terrorism.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public places including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.  For further information see Terrorism Abroad.
 
Crime
 
Pickpocketing and other street crime occur in major urban areas.  Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (eg the Coromandel peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) are on the increase.  There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel/motel rooms in some tourist areas.
 
Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot.  Do not leave valuables in hotel/motel rooms, but use safe boxes when available.  Keep passports, travellers' cheques, credit cards etc separate.

Political Situation


New Zealand Country Profile
 
Local Travel
 
There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors, these also include extreme sporting accidents.  If you intend to participate in extreme sports you should check that the company is well established in the industry and your insurance covers you.

Road Travel
 
Whilst road conditions are generally good in New Zealand, it takes a little while to get used to local driving conditions. In 2006 there were 91 road deaths in New Zealand (source: New Zealand Ministry of Transport).  This equates to 9.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 5.5 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2005.  You are advised to read a copy of the Road Code (the official guide to traffic rules and traffic safety) before driving.  Particular attention should be given to the section covering the right of way rules, which are different from other countries.  UK driving licences are valid for use for a maximum of 12 months.
 
Motor insurance is not a legal requirement in New Zealand.  Therefore, even though the UK has a reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with New Zealand, private accident insurance is strongly recommended.  This is because New Zealand law has removed the right of accident victims to sue a third party in the event of an accident.  Instead the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) helps pay for your care if you are injured as the result of an accident.  However, the ACC only covers the cost of treatment in New Zealand and delayed travel or loss of income in a third country is not covered.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad.

Local laws and customs

The importation of illegal drugs is punishable by up to 8 - 12 years' imprisonment.
 
New Zealand has an established tradition of tolerance towards homosexuality, but there are still isolated incidents of homophobic related crimes.  Gay and lesbian travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, particularly when visiting rural areas.
 
Quarantine Procedures
 
New Zealand has very strict bio-security regulations.  It is illegal to import most foodstuffs (meat and meat products, honey, fruit, dairy produce etc) and strict penalties are handed out to those breaking these rules.  You may also need to take care when importing wood products, golf clubs and shoes (may have soil and dirt attached), wellington boots (for the same reason) and items made from animal skin (eg crocodile handbags).  The immigration arrivals card has full details.
 
If in doubt, declare possibly illegal possessions to a Ministry of Agriculture official or dump them in one of the bins available at the airport.
 
Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a heavy fine.
 
As a result of these quarantine procedures, you should expect some delay on arrival.
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Entry requirements

Visas
 
New Zealand’s immigration rules are strict, particularly in the areas of employment.  Anyone wishing to work requires a visa allowing employment.  British passport holders can enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months on arrival without a visa, provided they can satisfy an Immigration Officer that they meet the requirements of the Rules.  Visitors must have an onward ticket.
 
Passport validity
 
You should ensure that your passport is valid one month beyond the date which you intend to depart New Zealand.  Passports can currently be renewed only at the British High Commission in Wellington.
 
Travelling with children
 
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information contact the New Zealand High Commission in London.

Health

Due to its southerly position, the ozone layer over New Zealand is thinner than elsewhere and burn times are shorter than in the UK.  During the summer, hats should be worn when outdoors and a high factor sun block applied.

Research has shown that asthma sufferers may be more at risk of an attack in New Zealand and sufferers should be suitably prepared.

In the 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 1,400 adults aged 15 or over in New Zealand were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.1% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%.  You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see the “HIV and AIDS”.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to New Zealand and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Heath Network and Centre NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel. or or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
 
For more general health information see the Travel Health
 
Natural Disasters
 
New Zealand is located in a seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes.  You should follow the advice of local authorities in the event of a natural disaster.
On 20 December 2007 a magnitude 6.8 earthquake affected Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island. There were no deaths reported.

General

Insurance
 
We strongly recommend that you obtain appropriate comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling.  If you intend to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, water boarding, white water rafting etc, you should ensure that your travel insurance covers these types of activities.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  See Travel Insurance for more details.
 
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.
 
Consular registration
 
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.
 
Consular Assistance
 
Routine consular matters are covered by The British High Commission in Wellington.
 
Auckland is primarily a trade office but can offer limited consular assistance in an emergency.
 
British Consulate-General, Level 17/151 Queen Street, Auckland1; (tel: +64 9 303 2973; fax: +64 9 303 1836); www.uktradeinvest.co.nz/
 
In case of emergency in the South Island, contact Mr Alister James, the Honorary British Consul, 1st Floor, Harley Chambers, 137 Cambridge Terrace, PO Box 802, Christchurch (tel: +64 3 374 3367; mobile +64 (0)27 272 5590; fax +645 3 374 3368); E-mail: alisterjames@xtra.co.nz
 
The Cook Islands
 
Most visits to the Cook Islands are trouble-free.  You should check that local water sports and tour operators have adequate insurance.  The level of serious crime is low, but incidents of petty theft do occur.  You should not leave your belongings unattended and should use hotel safes for passports and valuables.
 
Health
 
Medical facilities are limited and therefore medical evacuation by air ambulance may be necessary.  We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation to mainland New Zealand is likely to be the only option for treatment, and insurance policies should cover this eventuality.
 
Between October 2006 and 15 May 2007, 1383 cases of Dengue Fever were reported, a large number of which were on Raratonga.  As at June 2007 the Dengue fever risk is said to be low.  For more information on the disease, please consult the World Health Organisation's Dengue fact sheet (under ‘health topics’) at the following website: http://www.who.int/topics/dengue/en/

You are advised to check with local visitor’s bureaux on local customs/courtesies.
 
There is no resident British Diplomatic Mission in The Cook Islands.
 
In case of emergency, contact Mr Mike Mitchell, The Honorary British Consul,
Arorangi, P O Box 552 Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
(Tel: +682 29937 – Office or +682 23681 – Home; Fax: +682 21087;
E-mail:  mitchell@oyster,net.ck
 
Routine consular matters are covered by The British High Commission in Wellington.
 
Niue and Tokelau
 
Most visits to the islands of Niue and Tokelau are trouble-free.
 
You are advised to check with local visitor’s bureaux on local customs/courtesies.
 
There is no resident British Diplomatic Mission in either Niue or Tokelau.
 
Medical facilities are limited and therefore medical evacuation by air ambulance may be necessary.  We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation to mainland New Zealand is likely to be the only option for treatment, and insurance policies should cover this eventuality.
 
In case of emergency in Niue contact:
 
The Hon Sandra Lee
New Zealand High Commissioner
Tapeu
Alofi
P O Box 78
NIUE
Tel + 683 4022; Fax + 683 4173
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 0730 to1200hrs, 1300 to1600hrs
 
In case of emergency in Tokelau contact:
 
The Honorary British Consul in Samoa
Mrs Barlow
C/- Kruse, Enari & Barlow, Barristers & Solicitors, P O Box 2029
2nd floor NPF Building, Beach Road, Central Apia, SAMOA
Tel + 685 21895; Fax + 685 21407
E-mail: barlowlaw@keblegal.ws
 
Routine consular matters are covered by The British High Commission in Wellington.

Travel advice for this country

Change country

contacts

New Zealand, Wellington, British High Commission

Address:

Non-resident British High Commissioner
(resides in Wellington, New Zealand)

British High Commission
44 Hill Street
Wellington 1

Mailing Address:
P O Box 1812
Wellington

Telephone:

(64) (4) 924 2888

Fax:

(64) (4) 473 4982 Economic/Trade Policy Section
(64) (4) 924 2831 Chancery
(64) (4) 924 2809 Management
(64) (4) 924 2810 Passports
(64) (4) 924 2822 Immigration

Email: PPA.Mailbox@fco.gov.uk

Email: consularmail.wellington@fco.gov.uk

Email: passportmail.wellington@fco.gov.uk

Email: visamail.wellington@fco.gov.uk

Office hours:

GMT:
Sun-Thurs: 2045-0500
Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0845-1700
Enquiries in person to Consular Section should be made between 0900-1400 only

Website: http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/newzealand



 

Taking a gap year?

Then visit.....