Arriving in New Zealand

Arriving in New Zealand

We've put together some tips for your trip to New Zealand. Have a look below:


You need to ensure you have a valid passport and the correct visa to come into the country.

You do not need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are:

-        A New Zealand or Australian citizen or resident

-        A UK citizen and/or passport holder (you can stay up to six months)

-        A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay up to three months).

If you don’t meet the above, then you’ll need a visitor visa, which allows you to holiday in New Zealand for up to nine months. The fastest and easiest way to apply for a visitor visa is online.

Before you travel to New Zealand, you need to make sure your passport is valid for at least three months longer than your expected departure date. If you come from a country that needs a New Zealand visa to enter, please be sure to apply in advance.

Please note, that if you are travelling to New Zealand and stop at an Australian airport, you might also need an Australian visa.

Please click here  for more information and to apply for a visa on the Immigration website.

Passenger Arrival Card

When making your way to New Zealand, you will be given a passenger arrival card. This is a legal document that you will take through customs passport control. If you make false or incorrect declaration – even by accident means you are breaking the law and you can be fined or put in prison. You need to fill it in and declare all risk items on your card.

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity procedures at our international borders. This is to prevent people from bringing in harmful pests and diseases. If you are bringing anything into the country that is considered a risk you need to declare it or dispose it on the marked amnesty bins at air and sea ports.

Risked goods can be but are not limited to:

  • Any food:

Cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried

  • Animals or animal products:

Including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shell, raw wool, skins, bones or insects.

  • Plants or plant products:

Fruit, flowers, seeds, bulbs, wood, bark, leaves, nuts, vegetables, parts of plants, fungi, cane, bamboo or straw, including for religious offerings or medicinal use

  • Other biosecurity risk items:

Including animal medicines, biological cultures, organisms, soil or water

  • Equipment used with animals, plants or water:

Including for gardening, beekeeping, fishing, water sport or diving activities

  • Items that have been used for outdoor or farming activities:

Including any footwear, tents, camping, hunting, hiking, gold or sports equipment

Some of the listed above may be allowed into the country. However, this is at the discretion of the quarantine office after treatment of the risk items, or if they are satisfied that your items pose no risk.

However, some of the items may not be allowed into the country under any circumstances and may be confiscated or destroyed

Failing to declare, even on accident, you may be instantly fined an NZD$400 infringement fee. Anyone caught smuggling a prohibited or risk item could be:

  • Fined up to NZD$100,000
  • Face up to 5 years in prison
  • Be deported

Find out more here.

General Travel Information

  • Power supply:

Electricity in New Zealand is supplied at 230/240V (50 hertz). However, most hotels and motels provide 110V AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors. For all other equipment, an adapter or converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option.

  • Currency:

New Zealand uses New Zealand Dollar as its only currency. You are able to swap money at the airport, otherwise at places like Travelex or Travel Money you can swap your money too. All major international credit cards can be used in New Zealand. If your credit card is encoded with a PIN number you will be able to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs) situated at banks and shopping centres throughout the country. You can also use a regular EFTPOS or a Cash Passport.

It is not custom to tip in New Zealand.

  • Weather:

New Zealand’s seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. This means that our warmest months are December, January and February while our coldest are June, July and August. We recommend checking MetService leading up to your trip to check a more accurate temperature in Auckland and surrounding regions.

  • Time zone:

Time Zone in New Zealand is GMT+11:00

Airport Transfers

There are many ways you can get to your hotel from Auckland Airport.

  • Skybus:

The bus into the city costs $19 each way or $36 return. You can buy your ticket on the day, or you can buy it online. If you buy online you get further discounts too. It runs 7 days a week, 24 hours a day with free Wi-Fi on board. For more information click here.


  • Super shuttle:

The shuttle picks you up at the airport, and can drop you off directly at your hotel. This is a shared ride with other people. You can grab a shuttle on the day, but we recommend to book it in advance. For more information click here.


  • Taxi:

Taxis are easily accessible at the airport and can take you directly to your door. If you’d like to pre-order a taxi, click here for more information. Taxi and shuttle ranks are located outside the arrivals area (door 8) at the international terminal and outside door 4 at the domestic terminal. Indicative fares from the airport into the city is between NZ$38- NZ$75 one way.


  • Car hire:

You will be able to find several car companies at Auckland Airport. Companies include: Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty. The international terminal car services are located next to the arrivals are on the ground floor. Domestic travellers can find rental car operators on the ground-floor of the multi-level car park building, directly opposite the domestic terminal forecourt. Please note, hotel carpark can range from $20-$50 per day. Please check Millenium Hotel rates on their website

  • Uber:

Uber is now available at the Auckland airport. Please note the app will direct you to the pickup location, and there may be a fee for airport pickup.

Culture and Customs

Māori Cultural experience: 

pōwhiri is a Māori welcoming ceremony involving speeches, dancing, singing and finally the hongi.

Traditionally this process was used to discover whether the visiting party was a friend or a foe. As the years went by, it became a formal welcoming of guests by the hosts. 

The pōwhiri begins with the karanga. This is the high pitched voices of women from both sides, calling to each other to exchange information to begin to establish intent and the purpose of the visit. 

It is said that the kaikaranga (callers) between them weave a mat laid upon Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) binding the two sides together, and protecting Her from the men who will verbally, and perhaps physically, joust with each other.

In traditional times a wero or challenge was performed by a warrior or warriors, advancing on the manuhiri to look them over and further establish intent. The wero is sometimes performed today, particularly for the most prestigious manuhiri.

The tangata whenua will perform the haka powhiri, a chant and dance of welcome, during which the manuhiri are symbolically drawn onto the marae (sacred courtyard). The chants often use the symbolism of hauling a waka or canoe onto the shore.

Next is the mihi or exchange of greetings by the orators (usually male) from both sides. Oratory is much prized. An expert will display his knowledge of whakapapa (genealogy and history) and mythology, and his mastery of language, rhetoric and dramatic presentation. During whaikorero (speechmaking) links between the ancestors and the living are made, and genealogical links between tangata whenua and manuhiri are emphasised. The kaupapa or purpose of the occasion will be discussed, and perhaps general present day issues and concerns might be aired.

Each speech is followed by the performance of a waiata (song), or sometimes a haka (dance), by the orator's support group. The quality of the performance is a matter of critical concern, and reflects on the orator, and the orator's party.

At the completion of their speeches the manuhiri will present a koha to the tangata whenua. Today it is usually in the form of money, but in the past it would have been food or valued possessions.

Then the manuhiri move across the marae to hongi with the tangata whenua. The hongi is a gentle pressing of noses, and signifies the mingling together of the sacred breath of life, and the two sides become one.

The powhiri concludes with the sharing of kai or food, called hakari. The food removes the tapu or sacredness from the manuhiri, so that the two sides may complete the coming together. As in all cultures the sharing of food also signifies a binding together.

Popular Kiwi Terms and Phrases

Common Maori phrases you will hear

  • Kia Ora (key-or-a): Hello
  • Haere Mai (high-reh-my) – welcome.
  • Haere Ra (high-reh-rah) – goodbye
  • Whanau (far-now): Family
  • Mana: Respect
  • Kai: Food
  • Ka pai: Good work

Popular Kiwi phrases

  • All good: That’s ok, good, fine
  • Sweet as: Great, good, fine
  • Choice as: That’s great, awesome, sure
  • Yeah nah: This has a large variety of meanings, the most common one’s being: an acknowledgment that you have spoken, but disagree with what you said; a space filler within a sentence

          Most common use example: “Nick thought the show was rubbish, didn’t you Nick?”, “Yea, nah”

  • Bring a plate: Bring a shared dish of food to a party/gathering
  • She’ll be right: It will be fine, everything is ok, don’t worry about it
  • No worries: You’re welcome, no problem
  • You right?: Are you ok? Is everything ok?