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New Zealand Travel Information

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.

Language

The official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.

Travel Health

There are no health risks associated with travel to New Zealand. New Zealand's Accident Compensation Commission (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 for guests to tip at their 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

Though New Zealand has a strong reputation for tolerance towards homosexuality, there are still isolated incidents of homophobic related crime. LGBT travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, especially when visiting rural areas. Importing illegal drugs is punishable by up to 12 years' imprisonment.

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. Foreigners should use titles until instructed not to do so, and maintain eye contact when speaking to their 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; 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). 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.

Become our New Zealand Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our New Zealand travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to New Zealand or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.