New Zealand Basics

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The Basics

Time: GMT +12 (GMT +13 from last Sunday in September to first Sunday in April)

Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Oblique flat blade plugs are standard.

Money: Local currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), divided into 100 cents. Most businesses accept MasterCard and Visa, and while Diners Club and American Express are also widely accepted in the main tourist centres, they might have limited acceptance elsewhere. ATMs can be found in all towns and cities.

Currency Exchange Rates

NZD1.00 = USD 0.63GBP 0.49CAD 0.83AUD 0.93ZAR 9.25EUR 0.57NZD 1.00
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: The official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required for stays of up to three months. Travellers must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. They must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding. British citizens holding a passport endorsed British Citizen, or a passport containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom (and accompanied by documents that further establish their right of abode in the UK), do not require a visa to enter New Zealand for a stay of up to six months. British citizens with passports endorsed British National (Overseas) may stay for up to three months without a visa. In all other cases, a visa is required.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required for stays of up to three months. Canadians must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in New Zealand. No visa is required.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. South Africans require a visitor visa which must be organised prior to travel.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the period of intended stay in New Zealand. No visa is required for stays of up to three months. They must have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) obtained prior to boarding.

Passport/Visa Note: All foreign passengers to New Zealand must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country (usually NZD 1,000 per month, or NZD 400 if accommodation has been prepaid). Note that all visitors must obtain a permit to enter Tokelau from the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Apia, at least two weeks prior to travel. It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: There are no health risks associated with travel to New Zealand. New Zealand's accident compensation scheme (ACC) covers emergency treatment for visitors, but health insurance is recommended to cover any additional charges and for those not entitled to free emergency treatment. Those intending to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, etc should ensure that their travel insurance covers these types of activities.

Tipping: Gratuities are not expected in New Zealand and service charges are not applied to bills, but it is acceptable to tip at your discretion.

Safety Information: New Zealand has a reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world, however sensible precautions against petty theft are still advised.

Local Customs: Quarantine procedures mean that strict bio-security regulations are in place at immigration points into New Zealand. It is illegal to import most foodstuffs, and care should be taken when importing wood products, golf clubs and shoes (which may have soil and dirt attached), and items made from animal skin. The immigration arrivals card has full details.

Business: New Zealand is ranked first in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings. The business culture of New Zealand conforms to a typically British model: formal, reserved and conservative. However, this is tempered with a characteristically Antipodean warmth and friendliness, creating a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere. Business etiquette in New Zealand will be familiar to those who've worked in western corporate environments before. Use titles, until instructed not to do so, and maintain eye contact when speaking to your associates. Business meetings should be scheduled at least a week in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place. The dress code for business in New Zealand is usually formal. For meetings, men should stick to a dark suit, worn with a tie; and women should wear a smart dress/business suit/pants suit and limited accessories. The official language of business in New Zealand is English, and business hours are generally from 8.30am (or 9am) to 5pm, Monday to Friday; and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

Communications: The international access code for New Zealand is +64. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0061 for Australia). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)9 for Auckland and (0)4 for Wellington. Vodafone offers GSM 900 coverage in and around the main cities and popular holiday areas. A good option is to purchase a local prepaid SIM card at the airport on arrival in New Zealand. Wifi access is widely available in hotels, restaurants and other tourist establishments, except in some of the more remote areas.

Duty Free: Travellers to New Zealand over 17 years do not have to pay duty on 50 cigarettes, or 50g of cigars or tobacco, or a mixture of all three not exceeding 50g; three bottles of spirits or liqueur each containing not more than 1,125ml; 4.5 litres of wine or beer; and other goods to the value of NZD 700. Goods exceeding the allowances must be declared. Personal effects not dutiable include items such as jewellery, binoculars, portable radios, prams, camping equipment, cameras and video cameras. Prohibited items include concealed firearms, foodstuffs, animals, plants and plant products. It is forbidden to export Greenstone, Maori antiquities and Paua shells (unless they are products manufactured from such shells). Prescription medications need to be accompanied by a doctor's letter and the original prescription, they should not amount to more than three months worth of the medication.