Emergency assistance in New Zealand
If something goes wrong while you are on holiday in New Zealand and you need help, you can contact the Embassy in Wellington or the Honorary Consulate in Auckland or call the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353 1 4082000.
- Travel Advice
- Contacting the Police
- Health Care
- Death or illness abroad
Before travelling to New Zealand, you should read our “Know Before You Go” travel advice for tips on road safety, local laws and customs, precautions against petty crime, and more.
Consular Duty Service Out of Hours
If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on 0064 4 4712252. If you call outside normal working hours, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.
You may also wish to call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin directly at 00353-1-4082000.
Please note that the Duty Office cannot deal with routine passport queries. The Duty Officer cannot issue passports except in exceptional circumstances, such as the serious illness or the death of a family member.
Please note that the Embassy cannot offer assistance relating to problems with New Zealand visas. If you require help of this type, please make contact with the New Zealand Immigration.
The number for all emergency services in New Zealand is 111.
The number for non-emergencies is 105.
The number for reporting driving incidents *555.
For more information go the New Zealand Police website.
The New Zealand government subsidises the health care system. You may be eligible to benefit from the country's public healthcare system if:
- You hold a residence visa or;
- You have a work visa that's valid for two years or more.
If you do not hold an appropriate visa you are strongly urged to get travel insurance.
It is essential to acquire comprehensive travel insurance before travelling to New Zealand. Your travel insurance policy should cover the entire period you are abroad until you arrive home. Working Holiday Makers who apply for a second year visa should remember to renew their travel insurance for a second year. Always check the conditions and exclusions of your policy; most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.
Your policy should at the very minimum cover the following:
- medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad, including medical evacuation/repatriation
- 24 hour emergency service and assistance
- personal liability cover (in case you are sued for causing injury or damaging property)
- lost and stolen possessions cover
- cancellation and curtailment cover
- cover for activities that are often excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing)
We will do everything possible to assist you if you have been the victim of an accident or assault.
We can provide information on where to find a lawyer, but we cannot give you legal or medical advice, or formally recommend or pay for doctors or lawyers.
All cases are treated in complete confidence. We can also help you to contact friends and family and assist with arrangements to get you home, if that is your wish. All persons who have been assaulted or in an accident must report the incident to the Police.
If you are arrested, you may ask the New Zealand authorities to inform the Embassy of your arrest by signing a consular access form.
The New Zealand authorities do not automatically inform us of the arrest of an Irish national, but they are legally obliged to inform all detained foreign nationals of their right to consular assistance. It is therefore your right to ask the arresting officer to inform the Irish Embassy or your nearest Irish Consulate of your situation as soon as possible.
The Embassy can:
- Advise you about your entitlement to visits, mail and other facilities
- Bring details of any medical condition you may have to the attention of police or prison officials
- Pursue with the prison authorities on your behalf any complaints about ill-treatment or discrimination
- Pass messages to and from your family
However, the Embassy cannot:
- Secure better treatment for Irish citizens than local or other nationals receive
- Give or pay for legal advice
- Recommend specific lawyers
- Interfere with or influence the proper operation and application of the local judicial system
- Provide any financial assistance while you are in prison
- Pay bail bonds or fines
If you do not engage your own lawyer, you may be eligible for a Legal Aid solicitor free of charge. Legal Aid is a Government legal service dealing mainly with family law and criminal legal matters. They provide free legal advice as well as court representation, and grants of legal aid funds to pay for a legal aid solicitor or a private solicitor.
Legal Aid in New Zealand is ‘Means tested’, and you must meet the Government’s strict criteria in order to qualify for Legal Aid. Your income and financial means will be taken into account, as well as the merits of your case, i.e. whether or not the case is likely to succeed. They will assess your financial means and you may be required to repay some or all of your legal aid. Any assets or property that you own may be subject to a charge to cover some or the entire repayment amount.
If you’re in police custody you can talk to a lawyer under the Police Detention Legal Assistance (or PDLA) service. It’s free to use and there’s no minimum age. The police have a list of the names and phone numbers of lawyers who are available to be contacted day or night, free of charge. Ask to see the list. You can then phone a lawyer from the list. If you don’t ask the police for the list, they don’t have to show it to you.
For more information on any of these matters go the Ministry of Justice.
If a member of your family dies while abroad, the Irish Embassy will provide all possible assistance in dealing with the formalities that arise in these situations.
The Embassy can:
- Arrange to have the next of kin of the deceased informed by the Garda Síochána
- Assist relatives to appoint a local undertaker
- Assist with procuring documents such as death certificates or medical or police reports
- Assist relatives to communicate with the Police and other authorities
However, the Embassy does not:
- Investigate the circumstances of the death
- Pay expenses relating to local burial or cremation
- Pay the cost of repatriating the remains
- Pay for relatives to travel to where the death occurred or to accompany the remains to Ireland
If the deceased was covered by travel insurance, it is important for next of kin to contact the insurance company without delay. If there is no insurance cover, the cost of repatriation or burial will have to be met by the family.
Families should be aware that the time required to repatriate remains to Ireland varies depending on the circumstances of a death. A minimum of two weeks is quite usual from New Zealand. However, there may be circumstances where repatriation can be delayed for longer.
In an emergency, please go to the nearest public hospital. If you have an accident in New Zealand you will be covered by the ACC scheme. The no-fault scheme covers everyone, including visitors, who are injured in an accident in New Zealand. It includes events that result in mass casualties. The scheme covers children, beneficiaries, students, if you’re working, unemployed, or retired. As long as the accident falls under their legislation. You may be required to pay additional costs.
You still need travel insurance
Make sure you buy travel insurance before your visit because we don’t cover:
- disrupted travel plans or emergency travel to get you back home
- injuries while in transit to or from New Zealand. This includes getting on or off a boat or plane
- travel around New Zealand in the craft you arrived in, eg a cruise ship.
If you become ill or require hospital treatment while in New Zealand, you or your friends/family can contact the Embassy or Honorary Consulate for assistance if you need help in dealing with the situation.
The Embassy can:
- Offer general advice on the local medical services
- Assist in liaising with doctors or hospitals
- Advise relatives or friends about accidents or illnesses
- Assist in arranging repatriation to Ireland
It is important to stress that the Embassy does not have funds to pay hospital bills or meet other medical expenses on your behalf.
Also, the Embassy does not:
- Provide medical advice
- Pursue insurance companies about payment of or refund of the cost of medical treatment
- Pursue claims for compensation relating to negligence, injury or any other matter
- Pay for visits by relatives