South Island Travel Information
GMT +12 (GMT +13 from last Sunday in September to first Sunday in April)
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Oblique flat blade plugs are standard.
The official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.
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.
Gratuities are not expected in New Zealand and service charges are not applied to bills, but it is acceptable to tip at your discretion.
New Zealand has a reputation as one of the safest destinations in the world, however sensible precautions against petty theft are still advised.
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.
Ranked an unbelievable 3rd in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings, those looking to do business in New Zealand are sure to find that the corporate atmosphere of the country is well-suited to their ambitions. The business culture of New Zealand conforms to a typically British model - being formal, reserved, and conservative. However, New Zealand's corporate culture distinguishes itself from the metropole with its characteristically Antipodean warmth and friendliness, creating a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere, in which rewarding personal relationships may be developed among associates.
The general approach to management in New Zealand is hierarchical, with decisions being made by senior-level executives - though ideas, input and collaboration, from all members of the organisation, are also highly valued in the New Zealand workplace. 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. New Zealand businessmen tend to favour forthrightness, honesty and hard work over self-aggrandisement and empty promises - they will be far more interested in what you actually do, than what you merely say you can do.
Business meetings should be scheduled at least a week in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place. When raising an idea or responding to someone else's, present your point directly, and back it up with facts and figures - while a relaxed, human-orientated atmosphere is prized in the New Zealand workplace, business decisions remain unemotional, and motivated by the business' best interests. The dress code for business in New Zealand is difficult to pin down, though you should always appear well-groomed and presentable. For a first meeting, 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.
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. Internet cafes are widely available.
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, and 4.5 litres of wine or beer. 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.
Become our South Island Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our South Island travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to South Island or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.