New Zealand Travel Guide

Customs and Duties

Customs and Duties

New Zealand has stringent regulations governing the import of weapons, foodstuffs, and certain plant and animal material. Anti-drug laws are strict and penalties severe. In addition to personal effects, nonresidents over 17 years of age may bring in, duty-free, 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or 50 cigars, 4.5 liters of wine, three bottles of spirits or liquor containing not more than 1,125 ml, and personal purchases and gifts up to the value of NZ$700.

Most stringent is the agricultural quarantine. New Zealand is highly dependent on its agriculture and horticulture industries and cannot risk unwanted introduction of pest plants or animals or disease. The authorities don't want any non-native seeds (or popcorn kernels or honey) haplessly transported into the country. You must declare even a single piece of fruit, and all camping and hiking gear must be declared and inspected at customs. You'll be hit with an instant NZ$250 fine if you're caught bringing in fruit—those cute beagles at customs will bark if they smell even a whiff of a banana. And be truthful about your camping gear because they will take it into a back room, unravel your tent and sleeping bag, and check for grass and muck. Do yourself a favor and make sure any camping gear and hiking boots are reasonably clean when entering the country. If you are unsure, simply declare it on the immigration card. An official will ask what you’re declaring and if it’s okay (like chocolate, for example), he’ll send you straight through. Check the following websites for a more detailed description and explanations of no-nos. All bags coming into the country are X-rayed.

Information in New Zealand

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (www.biosecurity.govt.nz.)

New Zealand Customs (www.customs.govt.nz.)

U.S. Information

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov.)

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