Useful Information when travelling to New Zealand

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch International Airports

Agricultural Restrictions: New Zealand’s isolation has kept it free of many animal and plant diseases. To maintain this position, restrictions are imposed on the importation of certain animal and plant materials. Before arrival you will be asked to complete a declaration stating whether you have any foodstuffs, plant or animal material with you or in your baggage. Before entering New Zealand, you will pass through an agriculture check. Officers may check your baggage and some articles may need to be fumigated before they are returned to you. For further information, visit:

Customs Allowances: Visitors over 17 years are permitted to arrive with 200 cigarettes, 4.5 litres of wine or beer; and 1125ml of spirits or liqueur. Goods costing more than NZ$700 may attract duty and tax.

Duty-Free Shopping: Visitors to New Zealand may purchase duty-free goods, which are not subject to local taxes, from airport duty-free shops on arrival and departure. Duty-free stores in the city will deliver purchases to aircraft departure gates.

Commercial Business

Hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm. General shopping hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, late nights Thursday or Friday to 9pm. The majority of central city shops and large shopping malls are open all day Saturday and Sunday.


New Zealand has a temperate maritime climate which is influenced by the surrounding sea. The country’s mountainous backbone provides a variety of climates suitable for everything from tropical rain forests, to wine growing. Weather conditions can vary from year to year and season to season; however, there are four distinct seasons: Spring (September-November), Summer (December-February), Autumn (March-May) and Winter (June-August). New Zealand is beautiful for a conference or meeting at any time of the year.

Disabled Persons

Disabled persons are well catered for at all New Zealand major hotels, restaurants and public facilities. Legislation has for some time required that all buildings be equipped with ramps and elevators and that bathrooms in hotels and public buildings are fully accessible. This means that all New Zealand conference venues are equipped with wheelchair and disabled access.


Overseas visitors can drive in New Zealand if they have a current overseas driver’s licence or a current international driver’s permit. These are valid for one year after first arriving in the country. All drivers must carry their licence when driving. Cars are right-hand drive.


Electricity supply is 230/240 volts, 50 hertz (USA voltage is 110 volts). Most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts). New Zealand and Australia use the same type of three-pin plug: adapters are available from airports and electronic shops. Step-down transformers are required for US appliances (except most laptop computers). These are available from electronic shops in New Zealand. Note: Hairdryers and irons are available in most hotels


New Zealand is located in the South Pacific, between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, between latitude 35 and 45 degrees south, approximately 1200 miles to the east of Australia. New Zealand has a temperate climate with relatively high rainfall, green rolling hills in the North Island and majestic mountains, lakes and fiords in the South Island. Anywhere in New Zealand is perfect for a conference, meeting or event.

Goods and Services Tax

New Zealand has a 15% goods and services tax known as GST. Overseas visitors cannot claim it back. Some stores may waive GST if you show onward or return air tickets. Prices in general are GST inclusive.

Government and Politics

New Zealand is a politically stable country, governed under Westminster-style democracy, with free elections held every three years. The quality of goods and services – as well as food and beverage within New Zealand – is exceptionally high, with New Zealand wines, dairy produce, meat and horticultural products having a well deserved reputation for excellence. If you’re conferencing in Wellington, take a tour of Parliament!

Health and Medical Facilities

No vaccination certificates are required. There are no snakes or dangerous wild animals in New Zealand. New Zealand’s public and private medical and hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment and care. Medical services are not free to visitors. Travel and health insurance for delegates and partners is strongly recommended.


New Zealand has a well-developed, high-tech telecommunications infrastructure and excellent international links. You can check your emails in hotels, kiosks, libraries and internet cafes. Adaptors for telephone connections are available at electronic shops throughout the country. The New Zealand standard for connecting a modem to a telephone line is via a B2 plug.

Mobile Telephones

New Zealand’s GM and CDMA mobile phone systems operate on 900MHx and 1800MHz. Travellers from the USA and Canada will need to set up international roaming with their network provided if they wish to bring their own phones. Local phones and sim cards are available for rental and do not incur roaming charges.

Money Matters

New Zealand currency comprises New Zealand dollars and cents. Major international credit cards are accepted throughout New Zealand. Trading bank hours are 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Most banks have a selection of branches that are also open on Saturdays, with some also open on Sundays. Banking facilities are also available at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch International Airports. Traveller’s cheques can be issued and cashed at banks and also at bureaux de change, hotels and shops in cities and towns.

There are over 3,500 ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) in New Zealand, accessible 24 hours a day. Credit cards with international debit and credit plans can access New Zealand ATM machines.

Population and Language

The overall population of New Zealand is just over 5.1 million, with the majority of the population residing in the North Island and 1.7 million of those located in the greater Auckland area. New Zealanders are predominantly English-speaking, but the rich cultures and languages of the indigenous Māori and those of the Pacific nations, are entwined within the strands of everyday life. New Zealand has also become home to people who have emigrated from a wide range of countries, with Auckland having the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. People of Asian descent now comprise 14% of the Auckland city’s make up.

Postal Services

You can buy stamps and post items at Post Shops. Stamps can also be purchased from stationers and convenience stores. Look for red, black and white post boxes to post letters. Hotels also provide postal services.


New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, with a relatively low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a first-class healthcare and accident compensation system. However, we recommend you observe the same precautions with your personal safety and your possessions as you would in any other country or at home. The emergency telephone number for Police, Fire and Ambulance is 111.

Telephone Directory Services

Most phone boxes are card phones. Phone cards can be bought at convenience stores and service stations. Dial 018 for directory assistance. New Zealand’s international code is +64.


New Zealand is close to the International Date Line and is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. In early October every year, all clocks in New Zealand are put forward one hour, extending the hours of daylight. Clocks are put back again in March.

Tipping and Service Charges

Tipping is not expected in New Zealand, but you may wish to tip for extra special service or kindness.


Visitors from over 50 countries are waived from the requirement of having a visa for stays of less than three months. For further information about visas please visit:

Visas for Overseas Guest Speakers

Please click here to view the requirements if you are an overseas Guest Speaker.

Water Supply

New Zealand cities and towns have excellent public water supplies. In all cases, tap (faucet) water is fresh and safe to drink.