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New Zealand

If you’re travelling to New Zealand, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Accident Compensation Corporation

There is no reciprocal health agreement between Ireland and New Zealand. The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) scheme in New Zealand may cover some costs incurred for treatment needed as a result of an accident, but it may not cover all costs. Because of the support available through ACC, it’s not possible to sue for personal injury in New Zealand, except for exemplary damages. ACC doesn’t cover any cost of treatment for non-accidental injuries.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Emergency Assistance

If you require assistance please contact the Honorary Consulate in Auckland on 0064 9 919 7450 as a first step. If a call is made to us outside normal business hours then citizens should be advised to listen to the local telephone message. It will direct callers to a mobile number.

The Embassy in Canberra can assist in the event the Consulate in New Zealand is unavailable. Please contact the website or phone 0061 2 6214 0000.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about New Zealand before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in New Zealand, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in New Zealand for emergency consular assistance, advice and support. However, we suggest you contact the Consulate in New Zealand in the first instance.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Crime

Take the same precautions with your belongings and personal items in New Zealand as at home. Look out for petty crime anywhere and always take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • In large cities there are always areas which are better to avoid, particularly late at night. Use common sense and inform yourself locally of safe places to socialise
  • Be particularly careful with personal possessions and travel documents in popular tourist destinations such as Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown. Thefts from accommodation and unattended vehicles can occur.
  • Tourism New Zealand has comprehensive safety advice on its website

Stolen/lost passports

If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re in New Zealand please report it to the police as soon as possible and to the Consulate on the next working day. The Consulate can issue Irish passports on completion of a new application, duly witnessed, with all supporting documents and fee. The process normally takes approximately six weeks.

You’ll need a birth certificate to replace a lost or stolen passport and we advise you to travel with a Garda-certified copy of your birth certificate or, at the very least, make sure someone at home has easy access to it in case you need to apply for a new passport in New Zealand.

Emergency arrangements are available for those who need to travel but the Consulate will not issue an emergency travel document for purposes other than urgent travel.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in New Zealand, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Canberra if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in New Zealand, take the same care as you would when driving at home. Road quality in New Zealand is generally very good, however, roads through more remote areas such as ski-fields or National Parks may not be in good condition.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • When you park on a road make sure the vehicle is facing in the direction of the traffic

Car documentation

It’s compulsory to carry your driver’s licence with you when driving, and there’s an instant fine for not doing so. Check the insurance policy of any car you’re driving, particularly if borrowing a car from a friend.

Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue is a major killer on New Zealand roads and we recommend that you take regular rest breaks when driving long distances. It’s also important to check the roadworthiness of your vehicle, particularly before setting out on long distance travel in remote areas.

Alcohol

As with driving in Ireland, you should respect the rules of the road including the law regarding drink driving. Use your common sense in avoiding dangerous situations such as travelling as a passenger with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Adventure activities

Many travellers go to New Zealand to take part in adventure activities. It’s important that you inform yourself fully of the risks involved and be sure that tour and activity operators are meeting safety standards. Never take part in these activities unless you’re covered by an adequate level of travel insurance.

Swimming

Make sure lifeguards are on patrol and always swim between the flags on New Zealand beaches. However tempting a remote and unsupervised beach may appear, don’t swim there. Many beaches have dangerous ‘rips’ (currents). Always check the signs before swimming. Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs and avoid swimming alone.

Accident Compensation Corporation

There is no reciprocal health agreement between Ireland and New Zealand. The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) scheme in New Zealand may cover some costs incurred for treatment needed as a result of an accident, but it may not cover all costs. Because of the support available through ACC, it’s not possible to sue for personal injury in New Zealand, except for exemplary damages. ACC doesn’t cover any cost of treatment for non-accidental injuries.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Personal identification

We recommend anyone in New Zealand on the one year working holiday scheme to apply for a HANZ 18+ card. This is an approved photographic ‘evidence of age’ document under the Sale of Liquor Act. The HANZ 18+ card is easier to carry than a passport and can be replaced more easily and with less expense if lost or stolen.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Alcohol

Attitudes to alcohol can vary from one society to another and New Zealand is generally more conservative in this regard than often imagined. A number of Irish visitors have spent a night in the police cells in New Zealand having been arrested while under the influence.

While minor indiscretions are dealt with quickly by the courts and will usually be dealt with by a fine, it’s surprisingly easy to get a criminal conviction, and this will have a negative effect on your ability to remain in New Zealand, to re-enter in the future, or to get a visa for other countries.

Be aware of the risk of having drinks spiked and take normal precautions.

Finally, remember that New Zealand Police are strict and will not tolerate disrespectful language, much less physical contact, from inebriated revellers.

Outstanding Fines

It is advisable that Irish citizens pay any outstanding fines, in particular parking fines prior to leaving the country. New Zealand has a policy of stopping travellers from leaving the country until such fines are paid. For your information, there is a threshold amount (which changes from time to time) where travellers will be stopped if their fines exceed that amount.

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquake

New Zealand lies along a seismically active area and as such is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. For advice on what to do in an earthquake, please check the New Zealand Earthquake Commission.

Christchurch has been extensively damaged by a series of earthquakes and large sections of the city have been earmarked for demolition and clearance. While the majority of buildings have been reconnected to water, sewerage and power there may be some interruptions to services. Don’t enter damaged building or fenced off areas. Check the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority for up-to-date information regarding restricted areas.

Extreme weather

When travelling to or through remote areas, we advise you to check on weather conditions before departing and pack equipment and clothing suitable for extremes of weather.

When travelling through remote areas, make sure you tell the park operators (or someone else) where you’re going and how long you expect to be away. Check New Zealand Department of Conservation for more information about enjoying National Parks and MetService for up-to-date weather forecasts and warnings.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish passport holders don’t need a visa to enter New Zealand and, on arrival, may be granted a visitors permit for up to 90 days. You’ll still be required to provide:

  • travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements, and
  • evidence of funds for maintenance

Passports

New Zealand law doesn’t require that you carry your passport with you and, to avoid loss or theft, we advise against doing so unless it is absolutely necessary. It is a good idea to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you during your visit.

Biosecurity

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity procedures at airports and ports to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases of animals and plants. On arrival, you’ll be given a ‘Passenger Arrival Card’ that you will need to fill in before entering New Zealand. This is a legal document. If you break the law by giving false or incorrect declarations it may result in fines or imprisonment.

People failing to declare biosecurity risk goods can receive an instant fine of $400, be fined up to $100,000 and/or face up to five years in prison.

Risk items include food, plants and plant products, live animals, animal products, salt and freshwater products and items associated with water, sporting and camping equipment. A full list of risk goods that must be declared is on the Passenger Arrival Card or from the MAF Biosecurity website.  If you have any risk goods you no longer want to keep, put them in the amnesty bins provided at the airport's arrivals area or declare them on your Passenger Arrival Card. The bins are usually your last opportunity to throw away risk goods before entering MAF's Biosecurity area.

On arrival you may see MAF Biosecurity Detector Dogs that are specially trained to sniff out risk goods. Your bags may also go through an x-ray machine. If any items are found, Biosecurity staff may open your bags for inspection. Make sure that you declare or dispose of any prohibited items before the biosecurity process.

For further advice and information, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of New Zealand.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for New Zealand.