New Zealand

From Halal Explorer

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New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa) is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: jagged mountains, rolling pasture land, steep fiords, pristine trout-filled lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic zones. These islands form a unique bioregion inhabited by flightless birds seen nowhere else, such as kakapo and kiwi. New Zealanders have adopted the kiwi as a national symbol, and have even taken the word Kiwi as a name for themselves.

The islands are not densely populated and the South Island even less so than the North Island, but they are easily accessible. The country has modern visitor facilities and transport networks that are reasonably well developed. New Zealand often adds an adventurous twist to nature. It is the original home of jet boating through shallow gorges as well as bungee jumping off anything high enough to give a thrill.

Māori culture continues to play an important part in everyday life and the identity of the nation. Government and corporate New Zealand is full of Māori symbolism. There are abundant opportunities for visitors to understand and experience the history and present-day forms of Māori life.


An Introduction to the regions of New Zealand

New Zealand is a very diverse country with many regions that are worth seeing, but at a high level it's easiest to break it down according to its two main islands and the smaller offshore islands.

  North Island
Mild climate, with scenery ranging from sandy beaches, through rolling farmland and forests to active volcanic peaks with bubbling mud pools.
  South Island
Spectacular mountains and fjords, large beech forests, beautiful beaches, large glaciers, motorcycle mecca.
  Stewart Island
Covered in native forest and abounding in birdlife, most of the island forms a national park.
  Chatham Islands
Remote islands far in the east, traditional home of the Moriori people.
  Subantarctic Islands
Expedition ships take visitors to these remote and uninhabited islands to view the subantarctic flora and fauna.

The realm of New Zealand also includes the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica. Although these destinations share with New Zealand the same monarch as head of state, and their citizens are issued New Zealand passports and they are also self-governing, and have different immigration régimes, climates, and cultures. Thus and they are dealt with in separate eHalal Travel Guides, rather than here. }}

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in New Zealand

  • Wellington - the national capital, with the Parliament and Beehive buildings, and the wonderful, free Te Papa museum
  • Auckland - the City of Sails with east and west coast harbours, by far the largest city with 1.4 million people and all a big city offers
  • Christchurch - the Garden City and the South Island's largest city, ever-evolving as it rebuilds from a devastating earthquake in February 2011
  • Dunedin - the Edinburgh of the South, proud of its Scotland|Scots legacy, Southern Albatross colony and its wonderful tramping tracks within a short trip from the central business neighborhood
  • Hamilton - leafy centre of the rich and fertile Waikato on the banks of the mighty Waikato River south of Auckland, home of the Mooloo rugby mascot
  • Napier - one of the best concentrations of Art Deco architecture in the world, famous as a region and close to Cape Kidnappers gannet breeding colony and wildlife sanctuary
  • Nelson - thriving arts culture, varied cuisine emphasising local produce, craft brewing, with New Zealand's highest sunshine hours, and surrounded by marvellous coastal and mountain scenery, three stunning national parks, vineyards and orchards
  • Queenstown - adrenaline and adventure capital of the world, where you can ski, skydive, bungy jump, jet-boat and thrill yourself to your heart's content
  • Rotorua - famous for Māori culture and geothermal activity, including geysers, fascinating boiling mud pools and beautiful hot pools and springs

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in New Zealand

New Zealand has a wealth of national parks, rural areas and other out-of-the-way places that are worth a visit. Here are a few of the best.

Popular Mosques in New Zealand

New Zealand, renowned for its stunning landscapes and multicultural society, is home to a growing Muslim community. This community is served by several masjids across the country, each playing a vital role in the spiritual and social life of Muslims in New Zealand. Here, we explore some of the notable masjids in the country.

Al Noor Mosque (Christchurch)

Located in the heart of Christchurch, Al Noor Mosque is one of the most well-known masjids in New Zealand. It gained international attention following the tragic events of March 15, 2019, when a terrorist attack resulted in the loss of 51 lives. Despite this tragedy, Al Noor Mosque remains a symbol of resilience and unity. The mosque is an essential center for worship, community gatherings, and Islamic education.

Masjid Al-Mustafa (Auckland)

Masjid Al-Mustafa, situated in Auckland, serves one of the largest Muslim communities in New Zealand. This masjid is known for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse congregation. It offers daily prayers, Jumu'ah (Friday) prayers, and a range of educational programs for both children and adults. The mosque also actively engages in interfaith activities to promote understanding and harmony among different religious groups.

Wellington Islamic Centre

The Wellington Islamic Centre, located in Newtown, Wellington, is another prominent masjid in New Zealand. It serves as a religious, educational, and social hub for Muslims in the capital city. The mosque offers various services, including daily prayers, Quranic classes, and community events. It also hosts open days and interfaith dialogues to foster better relations with the wider community.

Dunedin Islamic Centre

The Dunedin Islamic Centre caters to the Muslim population in Dunedin, a city known for its educational institutions and historic architecture. This masjid provides a place for worship, Islamic education, and community support. The center also engages in charitable activities and works closely with local authorities to ensure the well-being of its members.

Hamilton Mosque

Located in Hamilton, this mosque serves a growing Muslim community in the Waikato region. Hamilton Mosque offers regular prayers, religious classes, and community events. The mosque is also involved in outreach programs, aiming to build bridges with other faith communities and promote mutual respect and understanding.

Masjid Umar (Mt. Roskill, Auckland)

Masjid Umar, located in the suburb of Mt. Roskill in Auckland, is known for its active community involvement and comprehensive educational programs. The mosque provides daily prayers, Islamic courses, and youth activities. It also hosts events during significant Islamic occasions, such as Ramadan and Eid, fostering a strong sense of community among its members.

Masjid An-Nur (Christchurch)

Another important masjid in Christchurch is Masjid An-Nur. It plays a crucial role in the local Muslim community, offering religious services, educational programs, and social activities. The mosque is dedicated to supporting the spiritual growth and well-being of its congregation.

New Zealand Halal Explorer

New Zealand is increasingly known, both in the indigenous Māori language and in New Zealand English, as Aotearoa, often translated as "land of the long white cloud". Originally, Aotearoa referred to only the North Island.

The two main islands are officially named North Island / Te Ika-a-Māui and South Island / Te Waipounamu. Te Ika-a-Māui means "the fish of Māui"; in legend and the North Island is a giant fish pulled up from sea by the demigod Māui, with its head to the south. Wellington is sometimes called te upoko o te ika (the head of the fish") and once boasted a monthly magazine called Fishhead. Te Waipounamu means "the greenstone waters"; greenstone is a nephrite jade found in the South Island and is highly valued by Māori people. An alternative (but unofficial) Māori name for the South Island is Te Waka-a-Māui (the canoe of Māui).

What is the Geography of New Zealand

New Zealand consists of two main islands (the North Island and the South Island) and many smaller ones in the South Pacific Ocean roughly 1,600 km (1,000 mi) southeast of Australia. The country covers 268,000 sq km (103,500 sq mi), slightly larger than the United Kingdom and around the same size as the U.S. state of Colorado (albeit thinner and longer). The South Island is the larger of the two main islands (150,400 sq km vs 113,700 sq km) and is sometimes referred to as "the mainland", despite having only one-third the population of the North Island.

New Zealand lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, straddling the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. The plate boundary cuts through the western South Island, forming the Alpine Fault and giving rise to the Southern Alps and the main mountain range stretching most of the length of the island. As a result, New Zealand is home to significant volcanic and geothermal activity and is also prone to earthquakes.

The country is long and narrow, with no point more than 130 km (80 mi) from the sea as the crow flies. From the northernmost town to the southernmost by road is 2100 km – equivalent to the distance from Vancouver to Los Angeles, or from Brussels to Málaga.

Make sure to allow sufficient time to travel New Zealand. It's certainly worthwhile to tour for at least three or four weeks on each island, although you can certainly see highlights in far less time. Roads wind along the coast and through mountain ranges, especially in the South Island. In exit polls at Christchurch International Airport, many international visitors commented that they had underestimated the time they would need to properly enjoy their visit.

How is the Climate in New Zealand

In general, New Zealand has a temperate maritime climate, with warm summers, cool winters, and regular rainfall throughout the year. There are four seasons, with summer in December–February and winter in June–August (the opposite of the northern hemisphere). The geography of the nation does create around 10 distinct climate regions, ranging from near sub-tropical north of Auckland to near continental and semi-arid in central Otago.

The mountain ranges along the northeast-southwest axis of New Zealand provide a barrier for the strong prevailing westerly winds - often referred to as the roaring forties. Moist air hitting the mountains is pushed upwards and cooled, with the moisture falling back westward as rain. As a result and the western half of the nation receives more than average rainfall and the eastern half less than average. This effect is most pronounced in the South Island with the Southern Alps: the West Coast receives 2000–7000 mm of rain per year, while coastal Canterbury (New Zealand) | Canterbury and Otago in the east receive just 500–800 mm. Most other places on average receive between 600 and 1600 mm per year. In the northern and central parts of the nation, it is generally drier in the summer; in southern parts, it is generally drier in the winter.

Summer daily highs average from 17°C to 25°C. Winter daily highs average 7°C to 16°C and nightly lows average -3°C to 8°C. The warmest temperatures are generally found in the north and east of both islands, while the coolest temperatures are generally found in inland parts of both islands and the southern South Island. Sunshine hours are highest in coastal Bay of Plenty, Nelson Bays and Marlborough.

Snow falls mainly in the mountainous parts of the nation and some inland areas, and can occasionally close mountain passes and high roads during winter. Snow may fall down to sea level in eastern and southern parts of the South Island once every 1–2 years. Sin the western South Island and coastal North Island is a rare occurrence; Wellington on average gets snow down to sea level once every 40–50 years. The unsheltered areas of the nation can get a bit breezy, especially in the centre, through Cook Strait and around Wellington.

New Zealand's weather is very changeable, and even during summer you may receive all four seasons in one day. Be prepared for the weather to change from fine to showers (and vice versa) without notice. Metservice has weather forecasts for ten days in advance.

History of New Zealand

Waitangi Treaty Display (26738736755)

New Zealand was the last major landmass to be settled by people. This, combined with its late European colonisation, geological youth and geographical isolation, has led to the development of a young, vigorous nation with a well-travelled and well-educated population. One in four New Zealand-born people (one in three between the ages of 22 and 48) live overseas.

The Polynesian Māori settled New Zealand some time around 1280 CE, having migrated from the Cook Islands area. "Nieuw Zeeland" appeared on Dutch maps from as early as 1645, after the explorations of Abel Tasman in 1642 (after whom, incidentally, Tasmania is named); cartographers named the nation after the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is feasible that other European explorers knew of the existence of New Zealand as early as the mid-14th century. Captain Cook rediscovered, circumnavigated and mapped the main islands in 1769.

Some sealers, whalers, traders and missionaries settled over the next 80 years, with many encountering fierce resistance from the local Māori people. In February 1840, British missionaries and Māori chiefs agreed to the Treaty of Waitangi, considered the founding document of modern New Zealand. The Treaty guaranteed Māori the continued ownership of their land and possessions and granting them the rights of British subjects, in return for them ceding sovereignty to the British Crown. More intensive settlement began that same year. Initially annexed to the colony of New South Wales, New Zealand was split off to form a separate colony in 1841. It turned out the Treaty of Waitangi had a number of translation errors and the English and Māori versions of it said different things (for example and the English version says "sovereignty", but the Māori version says "governance"), leading problems between Māori and the British Crown over interpretation of the Treaty. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872, coupled with political manoeuvring and the spread of European diseases, broke Māori resistance to land settlement but left lasting grievances. The New Zealand government has since sought to address long-standing Māori grievances, but it has been a complicated process and still continues to this day.

In 1882 and the ship Dunedin completed the first successful shipment of refrigerated Meat from New Zealand to England. For the next 90 years, supplying Meat, wool and dairy products to the British Isles formed the basis of the New Zealand economy. On 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first (modern-day) country in the world to give women the right to vote.

When the six British colonies federated to form Australia in 1901, New Zealand opted out of joining the federation. Instead and the British colony of New Zealand became a separate self-governing British dominion in 1907. It was offered complete independence under the 1931 Statute of Westminster, although it did not adopt this until 1947. New Zealand provided military support to the United Kingdom in the Boer War of 1899–1902, and in both World Wars as part of the Allied war effort. The nation also participated in wars in Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan, and in several peacekeeping actions.

When the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973, New Zealand effectively lost its main trading partner and the national economy faced an uncertain future. The country subsequently went through major economic reforms lasting into the mid-1990s, increased economic ties with its neighbour Australia, and diversified its exports to Pacific Rim markets.

The New Zealand Constitution Act was passed by both New Zealand and Britain in 1986, ending any remnant power the British parliament may have had to pass laws for New Zealand, although the British queen remains the Head of State, with an appointed (New Zealander) Governor-General as her representative in New Zealand.

Many New Zealanders have strongly opposed the testing and use of nuclear weapons. New Zealand opposed French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, leading French secret agents to bomb the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior while it was docked in Auckland in July 1985. The United States' refusal to declare whether its visiting ships were carrying nuclear weapons led to the government banning them from New Zealand territorial waters in 1987. In response and the U.S. suspended its commitments to New Zealand under the joint US-Australian-New Zealand defence alliance. Defence relations with the U.S. have since thawed, and in 2016 a US Navy ship (the destroyer USS Sampson) was allowed to enter New Zealand waters for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Politics in New Zealand

Parliament House and the Beehive June 2012

New Zealand's political system is largely based on the British Westminster system, with some notable exceptions such as only having one legislative house – the nation abolished its upper house in 1951.

The New Zealand parliament is the 120-member House of Representatives, which is elected every three years using the German mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the party or party bloc which holds the most seats in the House.

The executive branch is the Cabinet, which is headed by the Prime Minister, who appoints his Cabinet ministers from among the members of the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court of New Zealand heads the judicial branch, and has served as the highest court of appeal since taking over that role from the UK Privy Council in 2004.

King Charles III is the head of state, with an appointed Governor-General as her representative in New Zealand. As a constitutional monarch and the roles of the Queen and Governor-General are largely ceremonial, with the Prime Minister wielding the most authority in government.

There are four main political parties in New Zealand: the centre-right National Party and the centre-left Labour Party and the centrist and populist New Zealand First Party, and the environmentalist Green Party. The use of proportional representation means parties very rarely win enough seats to govern alone. National and Labour and the two largest parties and therefore negotiate with the smaller parties to form a coalition government or a minority government. For example and the government following the 2017 general election is made up of the Labour party and New Zealand First party in coalition, with the Green Party providing support (the National party won the largest share of the seats, but failed in negotiating a coalition deal).

New Zealand was the first modern-day country in the world to grant women the right to vote, way back on 19 September 1893. However, women weren't allowed to stand for election to Parliament until 1919, and it was 1933 before New Zealand had its first female MP. During 2005 and 2006, New Zealand had the distinction of having all five senior political offices (Monarch, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, Chief Justice) held by women.

Below the national government, New Zealand is divided into 16 regions, and separately into 65 cities and neighborhoods. Since regions are based on physical geography, and cities and neighborhoods are based on human geography, some neighborhoods fall into two or more regions. Five cities or neighborhoods (Auckland, Gisborne, Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman) are unitary authorities – they are both a region and a city/neighborhood. In addition and there are several Pacific island territories that are in free association with New Zealand; in other words they are completely self governing with regards to their internal affairs, but their citizens are New Zealand citizens and they continue to use the New Zealand dollar as their currency, and New Zealand continues to be responsible for their foreign affairs and defence.

The People of New Zealand

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, people, people.) –Māori proverb

New Zealand is home to around 4.79 million people as of June 2017. Around 1.16 million live in the South Island, with most of the rest living in the North Island. Waiheke Island, in the Hauraki Gulf off the coast of Auckland, is by far the most populous offshore island, with 9,500 residents. The country as a whole is sparsely populated, with an average of 18 people per square kilometre. The country is highly urbanised: 86.5 percent of the population living in towns and cities, and over half the nation's population lives in the four largest urban areas: Auckland (1,535,000), Wellington (412,000), Christchurch (397,000) and Hamilton (236,000).

New Zealand's population is mainly of European descent, owing to being a former British colony and the nation's immigration policy pre-1987 giving preference to European, North American and Australian citizens. In total, around three-quarters of the population is of direct or indirect European descent. The indigenous Māori make up a sizable minority, with around one-sixth of all New Zealanders claiming Māori ancestry. There are also significant Asian and Polynesian groups, especially in the Auckland area and to a lesser extent in the Wellington area. Around 11% of New Zealanders identify with more than one ethnic group, with European-Māori being the most common combination.

The number of people claiming to be Christian has been steadily falling in New Zealand with increased immigration from Asia and an increasing number of people claiming to be irreligious. As of 2023, around 49 percent of the population are Christian, 6 percent follow non-Christian religions, 42 percent are irreligious, and 4 percent objected to stating their religion.

Time zones

New Zealand leads most of the world, time wise!

The Chatham Islands, part of New Zealand but 800 kilometers (500 mi) east of Christchurch, keep Chatham Islands Standard Time (CIST) by adding twelve hours and forty five minutes to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) resulting in UTC+12:45. The only other official time zone with a 45-minutes increment from UTC is Nepal. The Line Islands of Kiribati; Tonga and Samoa are the only time zones further in advance from UTC.

The main islands of New Zealand are 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+12 = NZST = New Zealand Standard Time) and 20 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Daylight Saving (UTC+13 = NZDT = New Zealand Daylight Time) begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday in April.

Public Holidays in New Zealand

The national holidays in New Zealand are:

Auckland Anniversary Day firework 2011 - Auckland Anniversary Day firework

  • 1 January: New Year's Day.
  • 2 January: New Year's Holiday.
  • 6 February: Waitangi Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
  • Easter weekend: a four-day long weekend in March or April (set according to the Western Christian dates) consisting of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and the intervening Saturday (not a public holiday). Most shops must remain closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
  • 25 April: ANZAC Day, marking the anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landing at Gallipoli in 1915. Most shops must remain closed until 13:00.
  • First Monday in June: Queen's Birthday.
  • Fourth Monday in October: Labour Day.
  • 25 December: Christmas Day. Most shops must remain closed.
  • 26 December: Boxing Day.

Each part of the nation has its own Anniversary Day public holiday. The anniversary days are based on pre-1876 provincial boundaries, which do not match up to today's regional boundaries. The most widely observed of these are Auckland Anniversary Day, which is observed on the Monday closest to 29 January by the North Island north of (and including) Taupo, and Wellington Anniversary Day, which is observed on the Monday closest to 22 January by Greater Wellington and most of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region. While Auckland Anniversary is observed by more people directly (2.5 million), Wellington Anniversary is observed by more people indirectly because all the government departments and embassies are based in Wellington. Each region's page should detail the dates of its anniversary day.

The Ministry of Education sets the school year for all state and state-integrated schools (96.5% of all schools). Secondary school students (age 13-18) typically break for the summer holidays once they finish exams at the beginning of December, while primary school students (age 5-12) break in mid-December. Students return to school at the end of January or the beginning of February. There are three term breaks of two weeks each - one in April (usually starting Good Friday), one in July, and one in September/October. Tertiary students typically start in Late February or the beginning of March, and finish in early November, with a three-to-four-week winter break in June/July, and two one-week mid-semester breaks at Easter and the end of August.

Travel as a Muslim to New Zealand

Passports, visas and documentation

Visa policy of New Zealand 2017

Entry is refused to holders of travel documents issued by Somalia

Minimum validity of travel documents:

  • New Zealand and Australian citizens and permanent residents need only present a passport that is valid on the dates they arrive in and depart from New Zealand.
  • Others entering as a visitor, student or temporary worker must present a passport valid either for at least 3 months beyond the date they intend to depart, or for 1 month beyond the date they intend to depart if the issuing government has consular representation in NZ that is able to issue and renew travel documents (you should check with your issuing authority before travelling).
  • See Immigration New Zealand for more info.

Foreign nationals of the following countries and territories are eligible for a visa waiver and can stay in New Zealand visa-free as a visitor for up to 3 months: All European Union member states (except the United Kingdom), Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong|Hong Kong SAR (including British National (Overseas) passports), Iceland, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, Oman, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Province of China, Uruguay, United Arab Emirates, United States and Vatican City. Nationals from the United Kingdom (British citizens and other British passport holders who produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the UK) are eligible for a visa waiver and can stay in New Zealand visa-free as a visitor for up to 6 months. Entry under a visa waiver does not permit employment or studying in New Zealand.

Citizens and permanent residents of Australia are entitled to reside in New Zealand indefinitely under the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement. Australians in New Zealand under the agreement are treated as New Zealand residents and can study and work in New Zealand without restriction, although there are stand-down periods for voting in elections and claiming some tax and social security benefits.

Muslims visitors of the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue are New Zealand citizens. However, due to differing immigration laws, citizens of these countries will need to present a New Zealand passport when entering and leaving New Zealand.

All these visa waivers, including the one for Australians, can be refused. In particular, potential visitors who have a criminal record or who have been refused entry to or deported from any country should check with Immigration New Zealand if they need to apply for a visa. You may also be refused entry for health reasons, especially if you have tuberculosis (TB) or are likely to inflict large costs on New Zealand's health system during your stay (e.g. you need renal dialysis, hospitalisation or residential care). If you are pregnant and going to be in New Zealand beyond 37 weeks, you may need to prove that you have sufficient funds (NZ$9,000 or more) to cover maternity costs before being allowed to enter.

Visitors from countries not in the visa-free list or those wishing to stay longer than the maximum visa-free period for their nationality need to apply for an appropriate visa. Check the Immigration New Zealand web page for details].

If you require a visa to enter New Zealand, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the nation where you legally reside if there is no New Zealand diplomatic post. For example and the British embassies in Belgrade and [https://%20English Tripoli accept New Zealand visa applications. British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a New Zealand visa application and an extra £70 if Immigration New Zealand requires the visa application to be referred to them. Immigration New Zealand can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

If you seeking entry as a visitor and this standard condition is not specifically waived by a visa, you must have a return ticket or evidence of onward travel to even check-in with airlines. If you don't and then you'll have to purchase a ticket before being allowed to check in. You also need to prove you have sufficient funds available for your time in New Zealand – NZ$1,000 per month, or $400 per month if your accommodation is pre-paid (proof of payment is required in the latter case).

For those who need visa and are travelling in a group (having the same travel plans and itinerary), it may be better to apply for the considerably cheaper group visas]. While applying for such a visa, apart from individual application forms, a separate group visa application form (only one form for the entire group) should also be submitted.

Refugee applications should be made before arrival since New Zealand has a formal refugee induction programme. Those who turn up in an airport arrival lounge without papers, claiming refugee status, may find themselves in jail awaiting the outcome of legal proceedings.

Customs and quarantine

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity laws. Being a long way from anywhere else in the world, many pests and diseases that are endemic elsewhere are not present in New Zealand. A significant proportion of the economy is based on agriculture, so importing even small quantities of food, unprocessed animal or plant materials is tightly controlled. These restrictions are designed to prevent the introduction of foreign diseases and pests.

At ports of international entry, both the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Customs Service will inspect passenger baggage and confiscate and fine for any prohibited items. Do not think you can get away with bringing items in surreptitiously by not declaring them; ALL baggage will be x-rayed on arrival as part of standard entry procedures, and random inspections by sniffer-dogs will take place. There are air-side amnesty bins available to cater for accidental importation. On-the-spot fines of $400 are issued for not declaring controlled items; serious breaches can result in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison.

The best advice is to declare any item you think may cause problems — biosecurity control border staff may confiscate and destroy the item, but you will not have to pay a fine (or even face criminal prosecution). Even if you haven't declared an item on your arrival card, you can still advise staff when you get to the border check of any item without incurring a fine.

Items that must be declared include:

  • any kind of food, regardless of whether it's cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried.
  • any animal product, material or biological specimen
  • any plants or plant material
  • any animals
  • any equipment used with animals, plants or water (e.g. gardening, beekeeping, fishing, water sport, diving)
  • any items that have been used for outdoor or farming activities, such as footwear, tents, camping, hunting, hiking, golf and sports equipment.

All food must be declared to customs, even if the food items are permitted. Commercially-packaged or processed food is usually allowed through by MPI, but you can still be fined if you do not declare them. Take care with any items of food that you have obtained during your travel; many people have been caught and fined for not declaring fruit they were given as part of an in-flight meal. If you are unsure it is best to declare any questionable items as the immigration officers will be able to tell you if it needs to be cleaned or disposed of before entry. Some items may be allowable such as wooden souvenirs but be taken for sterilisation or fumigation before being released to you. You may be charged a fee for this.

Anti-money laundering and countering finance of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws requires you to make a declaration to customs if you are bringing NZ$10,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currency, in or out of the nation. There are no restrictions on the amount of money that may be brought into or out of New Zealand provided the money is properly declared. Failure to declare could lead to arrest and a feasible seizure of the cash.

In addition, importation or possession of most recreational drugs, including cannabis, is illegal and results in arrest. If found guilty, you would be subject to a range of penalties from hefty fines for minor offences to lengthy imprisonment, even life imprisonment, for larger offences.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from New Zealand

Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300ER ZK-NCG Sydney Airport

New Zealand is a long way from any other country, so nearly all travellers get there by plane. Flight time from the Australia|Australian east coast is 3–4 hours, Southeast Asia is 10-11 hours and the North American west coast is 13-15 hours, and the Middle East is a thrombosis-causing 17-18 hours. Travelling by plane from European destinations takes 24-26 hours, and involves at least one stopover in either Asia or the Americas.

Auckland (IATA Flight Code: AKL) is the primary entry point. More than 20 airlines connect Auckland Airport with more than 35 destinations in Australia and the South Pacific, eastern Asia, North America, Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Dubai and Doha. National airline Air New Zealand flies a flagship daily service between London Heathrow and Auckland via Los Angeles. As the United States does not permit sterile international stopovers, passengers on the AKL-LAX-LHR flight will have to go through United States#Planning and pre-arrival documentation|U.S. customs and immigration formalities during the stopover; make sure you meet all the requirements to enter the U.S., including having a visa if necessary, or you will not be allowed to board the flight.

Christchurch International Airport (IATA Flight Code: CHC) is the main secondary entry point, with Flights to and from eastern Australia, Fiji, Singapore, Dubai (via Sydney) and Guangzhou, and seasonal services to and from Hong Kong, Perth and Taipei (via Melbourne). Smaller international airports at Wellington, Dunedin and Queenstown (New Zealand) | Queenstown primarily offer services to and from eastern Australia. If you fly through Australia, make sure you have a transit visa or you won't be able to get on your flight otherwise.

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in New Zealand

A small percentage (1.0%) of visitors arrive by boat, mostly cruise ships through Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, and a few private yachts.

How to get around in New Zealand

Travel on a Bus in New Zealand

Buses are a relatively affordable and environmentally friendly way to get around New Zealand. Services are usually only once a day, even between major towns. Most roads in New Zealand are quite narrow and winding (when compared to the highways of the USA), and travelling a long distance in a bus can be a safe and relaxing way to travel compared with driving yourself. Booking in advance can get you great bargains on some lines.

  • Flying Kiwi Adventures - Trips range from 3 to 27 days and cover both main islands. The tours focus on enjoying outdoor beauty and excitement with numerous hiking, cycling and activity options. There are also options to take extended breaks in your favourite places. Discounts are available for holders of YHA, VIP, ISIC and NOMADs cards.

InterCity double decker

  • InterCity - New Zealand’s national coach company, with services connecting over 600 destinations nationwide. InterCity Group has voluntarily adopted European Emission standards across its fleet of modern coaches. Operates the InterCity and Newmans lines, and a fleet of modern vessels and coaches for GreatSights New Zealand, Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands and awesomeNZ. InterCity Group is part of Landcare Research's carboNZero programme, which has a core focus on working to reduce harmful emissions at source. Tickets can be purchased from the InterCity ticket counters at bus stations or i-SITE information centres and a discount is given to students or youth-hostel membership card holders (e.g. BBH, YHA, Nomads, ISIC). Rates start from $1 (plus a booking fee) on all InterCity’s national services and they’ve even been known to give away free seats at various times of the year. A limited number of heavily discounted “Cheap-as-Seats” for travel that week are released via the company’s Facebook and Twitter feeds every Monday. Online fares are often sold at a cheaper rate.
  • Travelpass. A pass offered by InterCity that brings together an extensive range of “hop on and off” fixed itinerary passes, based on the most popular touring routes throughout New Zealand. National passes include the Interislander ferry and a scenic boat cruise in Milford Sound. Passes are valid for 1 year.
  • Flexi-Pass. Utilising the combined national networks of InterCity, Newmans and GreatSights, Flexi-Pass is sold in blocks of time, just like a prepaid phone card, and enables the holder to travel anywhere on the company’s network. Passes start at 15 hr, which is enough to travel from Auckland to Wellington in the North Island. Flexi-Pass hours can also be used to travel on the Interislander ferry and on Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands Dolphin Watching cruises and tours to Cape Brett and the famous "Hole in the Rock". Passes can also be sold on to third parties and are valid for 1 year.
  • Atomic Shuttles operate a no-frills shuttle service in parts of the South Island.
  • Knight Rider. Transport between Christchurch and Dunedin daily.
  • West Coast Shuttle. Daily transport from Greymouth to Christchurch (via Arthur's Pass) and return at more affordable prices than some of the larger firms.
  • Backpacker buses - KiwiExperience Backpacker Bus and Stray Travel Bus offer bus trips around New Zealand where you can get on and off as you please after purchasing a pass.
  • Naked Bus and Mana Bus ceased operation in July 2018.
  • Skip Bus operates express bus services across major cities in the North Island, like Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Wellington.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from New Zealand

Domestic flights in New Zealand can be expensive; some domestic flights can cost as much as a flight to Australia. However, flying often works out cheaper than driving or taking a train, especially when crossing between the North and South Islands.

Airlines operate an electronic ticket system. You can book on-line, by telephone, or through a travel agent. Photo ID will be needed for travel.

Check-in times are usually at least 30 minutes prior to flight departure. Cabin baggage and personal scanning are routinely conducted for services from the major airports that have jet landings.

  • Air New Zealand has the most extensive domestic network, serving most cities over 20,000 people, with jet services between main centres and smaller turboprop aircraft elsewhere. Free baggage allowance is 1 piece of baggage weighing 23 kg on Grabaseat+Bag, Saver and Flexi fares; standard Grabaseat fares don't include checked baggage. All fares include 7 kg carry-on baggage.
  • Jetstar is a budget no-frills carrier that flies to Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Queenstown and Wellington.

Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington airports have timetabled buses to the airport. Regional airports generally have only on-demand shuttle services and taxis.

By motor vehicle

You can reach most of New Zealand's sights in a two-wheel-drive car, motorcycle or even a small camper van. While public transport is usable in the cities of Auckland and Wellington, a vehicle is almost crucial to get around anywhere else.

Kiwi signpost

Traffic drives on the left in New Zealand. The State Highway network connects major cities and destinations within the two main islands, and are indicated by a number inside a red shield. Motorways and expressways are generally only found near major cities, with most intercity driving done on undivided highways with one lane in each direction and limited overtaking opportunities. Be prepared to get caught behind slow-moving vehicles, and expect drivers behind you to become impatient if you drive slowly without a reason. If you are driving slowly and traffic builds up behind you, find a safe place to pull over and let them pass.

You can legally drive for up to 12 months if you are at least 18 years old and have a current full driving licence from your home country. It must be in English or you must have an approved English translation such as an International Driving Permit (IDP) to accompany it. You must carry your licence at all times when driving. All drivers and passengers must wear a seat belt, and children must be seated in an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday. Talking or using a mobile phone while driving is illegal.

Speed limits are generally 50 km/h in urban areas, and 100 km/h in rural areas and on motorways. A select few motorways and expressways have 110 km/h limits. Heavy vehicles and towing vehicles have a blanket maximum limit of 90 km/h. Being caught 40 km/h or more over the posted limit will result in a 28-day roadside suspension and most likely an appearance in court on dangerous driving charges.

The blood alcohol limit in New Zealand is 0.05% (0.00% if aged under 20). A police officer can pull you over and ask you to undergo a breath alcohol screening test without reason. Refusing a breath screening test will usually result in arrest. Being caught more than 0.03% over the limit will result in an appearance in court, which will result in at least 6 months disqualification from driving and a hefty fine.

Some petrol stations in major towns and cities are open 24 hours, with most other manned petrol stations closing by 10PM. There are 24-hour unmanned petrol stations around the nation, which accept national and international debit/credit cards with a PIN; very rarely do these sites accept cash. Petrol prices vary by region: $1.90-2.15/L for regular unleaded petrol, and $1.30-1.45/L for diesel as of February 2019 (unlike petrol, diesel is not taxed at the pump and therefore the price is lower).

Electric vehicles make up around 0.25% of the vehicle fleet (as of September 2023), and there is a rapidly expanding network of fast charging stations across the nation.


See also: Renting a motorhome in New Zealand

A campervan/motorhome provides considerable freedom and allows you to set your own schedule for travel around New Zealand by combining accommodation and transport. These practical vehicles are often equipped with two or more beds, a kitchenette, a shower and a toilet. They are generally suited for 2-6 people depending on the size.

Motorhome/campervan rentals are available in both the North Island and South Island. Some rental companies offer one way rentals so you can start and finish your travel in different locations. A minimum rental period is generally 5 days but can be up 10 days during the peak season (especially Christmas/New Year).


New Zealand is a motorbike rider's dream country! Rentals of many makes of motorcycles are available throughout New Zealand. The South Island is the main attraction for a motorcyclist and motorcycle tours base most of their time here. Remember to bring your full motorcycle licence from your home country; a standard vehicle licence is not suffice to ride a motorcycle in New Zealand.


Car rental firms range from the familiar multi-national big brands through to small local vehicle rental firms. The advantage of the big name rental firms is they can be found throughout New Zealand and offer the biggest and newest range of rental vehicles. The disadvantage is that generally they are the most expensive. Occasionally rental firms offer free rental in the direction from south to north due to the majority of tourists travelling in the opposite direction, creating a deficit of cars in the north.

At the other end of the scale are the small local operators who typically have older rental cars. Whilst you may not end up driving this year's latest model the advantage is that the smaller vehicle rental firms can be substantially cheaper, so leaving you more money to spend on the many exciting attractions New Zealand offers. Between these extremes you will find a wide range of NZ vehicle rental firms catering to different needs and budgets.

Other things to note are that most vehicle hire firms require you to be 21 or over, hold a full licence and it will help if you have an international licence too. New Zealand rental vehicles may come with either a manual (stick-shift) or an automatic transmission; if you can't drive a manual, make sure to specify an automatic transmission vehicle in advance. If you have a licence from a non-English speaking country, you will be required to have an official translation of that document to rent a vehicle. If you don’t have one at the counter, some companies are able to refer you to a service at a cost of about $80 and a delay of 1 to 2 hours.

Some rental vehicle companies do not allow their vehicles on the Cook Strait ferries between the North and South Island, or only allow them on if you promise to return them back to their originating island. If you do return a rental vehicle on the wrong island, expect to be charged upwards of $500 to repatriate the vehicle. Most rental vehicle companies will allow you to drop off a vehicle at one terminal, travel on the ferry and pick up another vehicle at the other terminal at no extra cost.

Self-drive holidays are a great way to travel around New Zealand as they offer independence, flexibility and opportunities to interact with the local residents. A number of companies offer inclusive self-drive holidays with rental vehicle & accommodation, pre-set itineraries or customised to suit your interests.

Purchase and sale

Main article: Buying or renting a vehicle in New Zealand

All Your Traffic Lane Belong To Us

If you want to have an extended holiday in New Zealand and you would prefer to have your own transport, it may be cheaper to buy a vehicle or van and resell it just before leaving. If you use this method, travel across Cook Strait can be expensive. If purchasing a vehicle for $500 or less it may be cheaper to buy and sell a vehicle in each island separately. However, if you buy your vehicle in Christchurch, tour the South island and then travel North to sell in Auckland, you can take advantage of the buyers market in Christchurch and the sellers market in Auckland and possibly even make a small profit. In addition to the usual ways to look for a vehicle (newspapers, accommodation noticeboards, vehicle markets etc.) New Zealand's biggest on-line auction website Trademe have many listings. You can also try the backpackers vehicle market where there are usually people selling their cars off cheaply. Car auctions can also be a suitable option if you are looking to buy a car. Turner's Auctions have regular auctions and are based in many cities. Look out for "Repo" auctions, where the cars being sold are as a result of repossession. Should any previous ownership problems have existed and these will have been resolved before auction commences.

When you buy and sell a vehicle, you need to notify the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and (if you are buying) pay the appropriate fee. It is very important to notify the NZTA if you are selling since this limits your liability for any subsequent costs (overdue licence fees, speed camera tickets, etc.). Other obligations as a vehicle owner include paying the licence fees ("rego") and having a current Warrant of Fitness (WoF). Diesel vehicles owners also have to pay Road User Charges (RUC) since diesel is not taxed at the pump. Third party insurance to cover your liability in an accident is not mandatory but is highly recommended. The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) automatically covers you for personal injuries in vehicle accidents (see #Stay_healthy|Stay healthy below for more information).

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in New Zealand

Main article: Rail travel in New Zealand

Both Auckland and Wellington have commuter rail services. Auckland's network is managed by Auckland Transport, and has four lines spreading from Britomart station in the downtown to Swanson in the west, Onehunga in the southwest, Papakura and Pukekohe in the south, and Manukau in the south-east; there is no rail to the North Shore or to eastern Auckland. Wellington's network is managed by Metlink, and has four lines spreading north from Wellington station serving Wellington's northern suburbs, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast (as far north as Waikanae), Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt. A fifth service and the Wairarapa Connection, travels several times daily to Masterton in the Wairarapa via Upper Hutt and the 8.8 km Rimutaka Tunnel.

Long distance passenger-rail services are slow and limited in New Zealand, and are largely used for tourism purposes rather than as actual practical travel options, with the bulk of New Zealand's rail traffic being used for freight transport.

Inter-city passenger services are operated by KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, with just a few popular tourist services that pass through spectacular scenery and have a running commentary, panoramic windows and an open-air viewing carriage.

  • Northern Explorer (replaced the Overlander) – a modern train that now operates 3 days a week all year. It heads south from Auckland to Wellington on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and in the opposite direction on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This is reckoned by many to be one of the world's most scenic rail journeys.
  • Capital Connection – commuter service leaves from Palmerston North to Wellington in the morning, returning in the evening.
  • Coastal Pacific – from Christchurch to Picton (via Kaikoura) and return daily. Travels along the rugged north-east coast of the South Island with terrific sea views. Meets the Picton–Wellington ferry. Oct–Apr only.
  • TranzAlpine – from Christchurch to Greymouth and return daily. Classed as one of the world's great train journeys, this trip crosses the South Island, passing through spectacular mountain scenery, some of which is inaccessible by road, and the 8.5 km Otira Tunnel. Many visitors disembark at Arthur's Pass National Park and spend four hours exploring the mountains before catching the return train.

Trains run at low speed, no faster than 110 km/h and can drop to 50 km/h in the summer due to the lack of track maintenance following privatisation in the 1990s. Most New Zealanders prefer to drive or fly long distances, as train fares are comparatively expensive. However, if time is not an issue, going through New Zealand by train is well worth the price-tag as you get breathtaking views you wouldn't get from a vehicle and can wander around the train while someone else does all the driving - benefits no other mode of transportation offers.

All long distance trains have a dining vehicle and you can pre-order your food and have a look at the menu online.

By ferry

Between the North and South Islands

MV Kaitaki, Wellington Harbour

Main article: Cook Strait ferries

There are two passenger and vehicle ferry operators which cross Cook Strait between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. The journey lasts 3.5 hours and there are several sailings daily. It is a spectacular and scenic trip through Wellington Harbour, Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds. However and the weather and seas in Cook Strait are frequently rough and unpredictable; sailings can be delayed or cancelled due to stormy weather, while others can quickly turn from a Mediterranean cruise into a spew-fest. Make sure you pack crucials for every feasible weather situation in your carry-on luggage; you can't return to your vehicle once the ferry has left port.

The ferry terminal at Picton is close to the train station, and the Coastal Pacific train connects with Interislander sailings.

It is crucial to book vehicle crossings in advance. The busiest period is from late December to February. Foot passenger traffic is also heavy at this time, and it is advisable to book well in advance.

Check with your rental vehicle company whether you can take your vehicle on the Cook Strait ferry: some do not allow their vehicles on the ferries but will happily allow you to drop off a vehicle at one ferry terminal and pick up another vehicle at the other terminal at no extra cost. - Interislander ☎ +64 4 498-3302 0800 802 802 Opening Hours: Contact centre Monday–Friday 08:00–20:00, Sa–Su 08:00–18:00 Operates three ships: Aratere, Kaiarahi and Kaitaki.}} - Bluebridge Strait Shipping | ☎ +64 4 471-6188 0800 844 844 Opening Hours: Contact centre 08:00-20:00 daily. - Operates two ships: Straitsman and Strait Feronia

Other ferries

Harbour ferries, for commuters, operate in Auckland and Wellington. A number of communities are served by boat, rather than road, while charter boats are available for expeditions in several places. There are regular sightseeing cruises in several tourist destinations, particularly in the Southern Lakes and Fiordland area.

What to see in New Zealand

Mountains, lakes and glaciers

Milford Sound at Sunset

It can be said that in New Zealand it's the nationside that's magnificent, and perhaps no more so than the Southern Alps of the South Island. In the Mackenzie Country and the snow-capped jagged peaks rising above turquoise lakes have provided the inspiration for many a postcard. Tucked in behind is the nation's highest peak, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park|Aoraki Mount Cook (3724 m). The lakes and mountains continue south, becoming a stunning backdrop for the towns of Wanaka, Queenstown (New Zealand) | Queenstown and Glenorchy.

Another region where mountain meets water with striking effect is Fiordland National Park where steep, densely forested mountains rise from the sea. The most accessible, and perhaps one of the most beautiful, spots is Milford Sound. The road in is spectacular and the view even more so when you arrive.

Glaciers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an island in the South Pacific, but New Zealand has several. The most notable are the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in Westland National Park. These glaciers are unique in how close they get to sea level and are sustained by the enormous amount of precipitation that falls on New Zealand's west coast.

New Zealand's sceneries have featured famously in the Lord of the Rings tourism|Lord of the Rings film series, and many natural and artificial settings on the island can be visited.

Volcanoes and geysers

Rotorua's Steaming Town Park - panoramio

New Zealand is a geological hotspot and has many dormant and active volcanoes, geysers and thermal spas (Muslim Friendly)). The best place to start is Rotorua, where the smell of sulphur lets you know you're close to the action. The surrounding countryside has many parks with geysers and thermal spas (Muslim Friendly)), and Mount Tarawera and the site of one of New Zealand's more famous eruptions, lies a short trip away.

South of Rotorua is the town of Taupo, on the shores of the nation's largest lake, which was formed in a massive volcanic explosion 26,500 years ago, and expanded by an equally massive explosion 1800 years ago (it reputedly turned skies over China and Rome red). Beyond Lake Taupo is Tongariro National Park, dominated by its three volcanoes, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.All three mountains are still active (Tongariro last erupted in 2012) and Ruapehu has a crater lake that can be viewed with a bit of hiking. Ngauruhoe is famous for filling in as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Northeast of Rotorua is Whakatane, with tours to White Island, a volcanic island not far off the coast. The island is truly a different world with its smoke plume, green crater lake and the pohutukawa trees clinging to a fragile existence on the volcanic rock.

Dormant and extinct volcanoes help define the landscape in many other regions, including Taranaki and three of the largest cities (Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin). North of Taupo and at Kawerau, New Zealand's geothermal resources are put to use generating electricity, supplying around 17.5% of the nation's electricity demand. Hot springs are sprinkled across the nation, and are often popular bathing spots.

Flora and fauna

Lake Ohau Lodge lupin field, NZ

Because New Zealand is so remote from the rest of the world, and has been for millions of years, its plants and animals are unique and distinctive. New Zealand's wildlife evolved in isolation, in absence of land animals (apart from three species of bat), and the roles of mammals were taken by reptiles, giant insects, and flightless birds (most notably the giant extinct moa, whose 3 m tall skeletons can be seen in museums).

New Zealand's forests are mostly cool-temperate rain forest, resembling tropical jungle with vines, tree ferns, and a thick understorey. The most impressive native trees is the kauri, one of the largest tree species in the world. Heavily logged in the 19th and early 20th century, few of these giants are left (a result of over-logging), but a visit to the Waipoua Forest in Northland will afford a glimpse. New Zealand has a large number of ferns for a temperate country, including the silver fern and the national "flower".

The beaches of the South Island, particularly The Catlins and the Otago|Otago Peninsula, are good places to see marine animals such as penguins, seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. The Otago Peninsula is also noted for its albatross colony.

Unfortunately, over-hunting from the time humans first arrived, has meant many of New Zealand's unique animals are now endangered and can only really be seen in captivity or in mammal-free nature reserves. This includes the kiwi and the nation's national bird; this flightless nocturnal chicken-sized bird is unique in having nostrils at the tip of its beak and laying the largest egg in the world relative to its body size. Other unique (yet endangered) wildlife includes the flightless takahē and the kākāpō (made famous internationally after the "shagged by a rare parrot" incident), and the tuatara (a lizard-like reptile, last survivor of a branch of the reptilian family tree dating back to the dinosaurs). One non-native pest is the brush-tailed possum, which was imported from Australia for its silky fur, which is used to make warm, lightweight knitted goods.

New Zealand's National Parks are maintained by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and various local governments. Access is free, but may be restricted in some parks during some parts of the year due to weather (e.g.: avalanche risk) or farming needs (e.g.: lambing season). It's best to check with local tourist information centres for up to date information before venturing into the wilderness, even for a day hike.

Eradication and management of non-native animals is common but sometimes contentious in New Zealand. Visitors from overseas may be surprised by the lack of affection New Zealanders hold for what would be cuddly bunnies or fluffy possums in other countries. Much pest management is through poisonous baits, notably sodium fluoroacetate or "1080". These are delivered through ground bait stations or, more cost effectively (though controversially), by helicopter drops. Department of Conservation and OSPRI/TBfree NZ] provide regularly-updated pesticide summaries that include warnings, maps of the areas affected, and which poisons have been used.

Urban fare

While the nationside is the main attraction of New Zealand, it's worthwhile to spend some time in the cities. Auckland is a pleasant city with its waterfront neighborhoods like the Viaduct Harbour and Mission Bay, old volcanoes (Mt Eden and One Tree Hill), a handful of museums and the Sky Tower and the tallest free standing building in the Southern Hemisphere. The more interesting architecture and the fine Te Papa museum can be found in Wellington and the capital. Napier is worth a stop, if you have the time, for its Art Deco CBD and Christchurch is interesting for its English character and the rebuilding of the city after the 2011 earthquake. Dunedin has a Scottish character with some fine nineteenth century buildings.

Top Muslim Travel Tips for New Zealand

Outdoors and adventure

Outdoor and adventure activities include:

  • Bungy Jump Queenstown, Auckland, Taupo – the modern bungy jump was invented here by New Zealander A.J. Hackett.
  • Canoeing and kayaking on rivers and lakes – Sea kayaking Abel Tasman National Park|Abel Tasman Marine Reserve and the colder waters of Milford Sound
  • Caving – Waitomo, Nelson, New Zealand|Nelson, South Island West Coast, Te Anau
  • Diving
  • Fishing – both freshwater (some of the finest trout-fishing in the world) and gamefishing (some of the best sport fishing in the world for marlin, broadbill, sharks, tuna, kingfish and many other salt-water species)
  • Hiking – New Zealand has a number of national parks and other wilderness and forested areas, much of which is managed by the Department of Conservation (DoC)]. The activity known in other countries as hiking, trekking or bush walking is known as tramping in New Zealand and is a very popular activity for visitors and local residents.
  • Hot-air ballooning
  • Jet boating – the Hamilton jet was invented in New Zealand in 1954 by Bill Hamilton, specifically to overcome the nation's shallow braided rivers.
  • Mountain biking
  • Off-road driving
  • Rafting
  • Sailing - New Zealand has produced many world-champion yachties and is the only country apart from the U.S. to have won and successfully defended yachting's ultimate prize and the America's Cup.
  • Skiing and snowboarding – the Queenstown-Wanaka area is New Zealand's premier ski destination, with many top international skiers and snowboarders coming to the area in chase of the eternal winter. Other public ski areas exist in the Canterbury foothills, and on Mount Ruapehu in the North Island.
  • Skydiving
  • Surfing
  • Whale watching in Kaikoura
  • Windsurfing and kitesurfing
  • Ziplining


All Blacks Haka

Rugby football|Rugby union inspires more passion than religion, and New Zealand's national team is the mighty All Blacks, whose ground-trembling opening haka are arguably better known than any other aspect of New Zealand. The All Blacks have won the Rugby World Cup three times (1987, 2011, 2023) and the only team to have done so. They also have a winning record against every other team they've played; in the professional perioid (1995 onwards), only Australia, South Africa, England, France and Ireland have won more than one game against the All Blacks. New Zealand is the most formidable national side in the sport of rugby, and playing against them, let alone beating them, is a dream come true for rugby players from around the world.

The All Blacks generally play at home in the southern hemisphere winter (June to August), mainly in The Rugby Championship against Argentina, Australia and South Africa. Unlike many other national teams and the All Blacks do not have a single home stadium; test matches circulate between stadiums in the major centres, including Eden Park in Auckland, Westpac Stadium ("The Cake Tin") in Wellington, AMI Stadium in Christchurch, Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, and Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Super Rugby is a competition among clubs from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan, with 5 of the 15 sides based in New Zealand. New Zealand sides tend to perform well in the competition and have won more finals than teams from any other country. Women's rugby was rather insignificant until the mid-2010s, but since then interest and participation have increased exponentially. The women's national team is known as the Black Ferns, and their record puts the All Blacks to shame - they have won six World Cups, and only England has won more than one game against them!

The All Blacks winning all the time gets rather repetitive and boring, so New Zealanders also enjoy a wide variety of other spectator sports. Other popular team sports in New Zealand include cricket, rugby league, Association football|football (i.e. association football or soccer), netball (a variant of basketball popular in Commonwealth countries and played almost exclusively by women), and increasingly, basketball (third to only netball and rugby union in terms of high school participants). On the Olympic stage, New Zealand's best sports include rowing, sailing, kayaking, track cycling, and athletics (track and field) middle distance and throwing events.

New Zealand has over 400 registered golf courses, from local clubs to internationally renowned resorts, offering uncrowded golfing and superb scenery.

Māori words and expressions

See also: Māori phrasebook
  • Kia ora - Hello, welcome, literally good health. Often used as an utterance of agreement, especially during speaking at a hui.
  • Haere mai - A greeting to a person arriving, while haere ra is a salutation to one leaving.
  • Hui - A meeting or gathering to discuss and debate issues in traditional Māori fashion.
  • Iwi - A Māori tribe or people, sometimes known as a waka (canoe), as some iwi are named after the ocean going canoes that brought their ancestors to New Zealand.
  • Koha - A Māori term for gifts or donations. Often an exchange of gifts takes place. (Sometimes the admission signs say, "Entry Koha", meaning Gold coin or what you feel like donating.)
  • Kai - Food. Common with both Māori and European.
  • Mana - is defined in English as authority, control, influence, prestige or power. It is also honour.
  • Marae - A traditional Māori meeting or gathering place. Also a community centre.
  • Pākehā - The Māori word for New Zealanders of European descent. Widely used, including by non-Māori, who see the name as part of their unique iNew Zealand identity. Some New Zealanders however find the term offensive and won't refer to themselves as Pākehā.
  • Pāua - Abalone to the rest of the English-speaking world.
  • Pōwhiri - A Māori ceremonial welcome. Especially to a marae, but now also may take place at the start of a conference or similar large meeting in New Zealand.
  • Tangi or tangihanga – a funeral, especially one conducted to traditional Māori rites. (tangi means to weep or mourn)
  • Whānau - A Māori (extended) family. Kinfolk. Used often in advertising to alliterate with friends such as 'friends and whānau'.
  • Wharenui (literally big house) is the meeting house on a marae.
  • Wharekai (literally food house) is the dining room and/or kitchen on a marae.
  • Wharepaku (literally small house) - Toilet
  • Just in case, Tāne is the mens' toilets, Wāhine is the womens' toilets.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in New Zealand

Money Matters & ATM's in New Zealand

The currency used in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar, denoted by the symbol "$" or "NZ$" (ISO code: NZD). It is divided into 100 cents.

The New Zealand dollar is free-floating, however barring a major change in the international market, exchange rates are generally stable. Payment in foreign currencies is not readily accepted. Some hotels and stores in tourist hotspots may accept foreign notes, but expect the exchange rate to be poor (e.g. Australian dollars being accepted at 1:1). As the New Zealand dollar is one of the world's most actively traded currencies (10th most traded as of April 2022), it is widely available in banks and money changers throughout the world.

Coins come in 10¢ (copper), 20¢, 50¢ (both silver), $1 and $2 (both gold). If paying in cash and the total price will be rounded to the nearest 10¢ (5¢ can round either way, but most businesses round down.) It is not uncommon to see prices written as decimals, with the last zero dropped from prices that end in multiples of 10¢, e.g. $9.4 instead of $9.40.

Banknotes come in $5 (orange), $10 (blue), $20 (green), $50 (purple), and $100 (red). There are two series of notes in active circulation and the sixth (1999) series and the seventh (2023) series; both are basically similar with a notable New Zealander on the front (except the $20 note, which features Queen Elizabeth II) and a local New Zealand bird on the rear. All banknotes are printed on polymer, so they won't get badly mangled if you leave them in your laundry.


New Zealanders are among the highest users of electronic banking services in the world. Nearly all shops have Eftpos terminals for debit and credit cards, so most purchases can be made electronically. Credit cards and international debit cards are not accepted by some merchants with Eftpos, especially smaller food retailers such as dairies, takeaways and cafés that do not serve alcohol. Smaller retailers may often set a minimum purchase of around $10 when dispensing cash, if they agree to provide cash. Many New Zealanders don't carry large amounts of cash, seeing it as a risk and bothersome compared to using their Eftpos card. However, it's still a good idea to carry some emergency cash, as Eftpos systems can go down and only a few retailers have the capacity to process Eftpos transactions offline.

All NZ banks offer telephone and internet banking services. If you are going to be in New Zealand for a while, it may be convenient to open a New Zealand bank account and set up a local debit card. Payment by cheque is common in New Zealand, and most shops won't accept them. Most businesses and people now supply their 15 digit bank account number (eg: 12-3456-0789123-00) on their invoices, and clients transfer the money into their account via Internet banking. This is common when purchasing a vehicle, or pre-booking accommodation; the payment usually completes the following business day.

All New Zealand banks will allow visitors and migrants to set up an account via their respective websites fewer than six months before arrival. Your Eftpos card will take about two weeks to arrive, and the bank will be more than happy to have it waiting for you at the branch of your choice. In New Zealand and the 'Big Four' banks are ANZ, ASB, BNZ, and Westpac; other major banks include Kiwibank and TSB.

Automatic teller machines (ATMs), locally known as 'the hole in the wall' or a 'cash machine', are available in just about every town, even those without a bank. Banks no longer charge fees for using a competitor's ATM, however independent ATM operators may still charge a withdrawal fee. If you withdraw with an overseas card at ANZ you'll be charged $3 for using their ATM. BNZ and Kiwibank don't charge overseas cards.

New Zealand is a user of the nearly universal chip and PIN card system which uses an electronic chip in the card and the holder's Personal Identity Number to verify the transaction. Most merchants also accept the swipe and sign method. If you're using a card with no embedded chip and then after your card is swiped and the terminal will prompt you for your PIN. Just press Enter and your transaction should be conditionally approved. After signing the printed receipt, you may be asked to present photographic ID. Automated machines such as those at unattended fuel pumps may not accept cards without a PIN.

MasterCard and Visa are universally accepted; other cards are not. American Express is widespread, Diners Club less so. Theoretically, you can use a Discover card everywhere you see the Diners Club International acceptance mark; however, almost no merchant will know this so, as long as you have a chip and PIN card, it's worth sticking it in the terminal and giving it a try. UnionPay cards are accepted at the Bank of New Zealand's 420 ATMs nationwide and selected EFTPOS merchants.

What is the living cost in New Zealand

New Zealand is a fairly expensive country for most visitors, as its relative isolation drives the cost of importing items up. Prices are comparable to neighbouring Australia, although individual items may vary both higher and lower.

As a guide, here is the average prices of some common items (as of September 2022):

  • Loaf of bread (600g) – $2.10
  • Two-litre bottle of milk – $4.30
  • Apples – $2.80 per kg
  • Potatoes – $3.40 per kg
  • Lamb chops – $18.40 per kg
  • Fish and chips, one portion – $7.30
  • Big Mac – $6.00
  • Glass of organic juice (400ml) – $6.20
  • Cup of coffee (flat white) – $5.00
  • Petrol (91 octane) – $1.95 per litre

Taxes and fees

Mosgiel Main Street

Goods and services sold in New Zealand are subject to 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST). The tax is usually included in the advertised price; exceptions must state that GST is excluded or is additional. Some shops, especially in tourist destinations, will ship purchases overseas or make them available to pick up at the airport, as export goods are not subject to GST. Ask about this service before making your purchase. Goods purchased and taken with you will be subject to GST. Ordinary visitors cannot claim a refund on GST already paid when leaving the nation. Business visitors may be able to claim back the GST paid on their company's return, in which case you will need to give your accounting department a tax receipt for all purchases $50 and over.

GST and duty (if applicable) are payable on all goods imported over the duty-free allowance. The duty-free allowance per person is 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of tobacco, three 1125mL bottles of spirits, 4.5 litres of organic juice or wine, and NZ$700 of other duty-free goods.

A few restaurants and cafés may charge a holiday extra charge of 15%, often claimed to cover the cost of higher wages for staff working on public holiday (by law, staff working on public holidays must be paid 1.5 times their normal rate).

Price negotiation

New Zealand has strong fair trading and consumer protection laws, which among other things requires goods and services to be sold at a reasonable price. In most cases, price negotiation or haggling on advertised prices is therefore viewed as an insult on the shopkeeper.

Some retailers may be willing to match or discount the price of an item if you find a competitor selling the same product for a lower price. For big-ticket items such as home appliances and furniture, retailers may be willing to negotiate the price if you are buying multiple items or are paying in cash or Eftpos.


Tipping is not part of New Zealand culture and is often treated with suspicion or actively frowned upon, as many people view it as a largely American custom that over-compensates certain workers while others are left out; additionally there is a feeling that tipping is paying twice for one service. Do not be surprised or offended if you receive bemused looks or if your tip is refused or questioned, as New Zealanders themselves generally do not tip, and it is also a form of courtesy in New Zealand culture to first decline such a gesture before accepting it. Despite this, some forms of tipping are common, such as rounding up a taxi fare. It is almost as likely, however, that the taxi driver will round the fare down to the nearest dollar. Some cafés keep a jar on the counter marked "tips for staff", in which clients can leave small change.

Occasionally tips are given in a restaurant for exceptional service, particularly in the larger cities like Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. But in these cities it is becoming quite common for bar staff to be given tips of around 30 dollars built up over the whole night, especially the waiting staff. Again this is not a percentage amount of the bill but just a goodwill gesture by the patrons. Others may feel that the people who do this are being ostentatious and showing off their wealth. New Zealanders travelling overseas often find the custom difficult and confusing. It is common training and polite to donate your spare change from the meal to what ever charity has a collection jar on the counter, and this acts as the standard substitute for tipping.

However, many New Zealanders travel and live in other countries, often returning to New Zealand and bringing the tipping habit back with them. In general, people who perform a service in New Zealand, such as waiters and hairstylists, are tipped with a smile and a thank you instead of money. This is considered reasonable because their average wage is substantially larger than their American counterparts.

Shopping hours

New Zealand has a very liberal shopping hours law. There are only 3.5 days of the year where shops must close: Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and before 13:00 on Anzac Day (25 April). Exceptions include dairies, convenience stores, petrol stations, cafes and restaurants, pharmacies, and some other shops in airports and tourist hotspots such as Taupo and Queenstown. If you are in New Zealand on these days, make sure all your shopping needs are met in advance.

High street stores are generally open weekdays between 08:00 and 09:00, and close between 16:30 and 18:00. On weekends and public holiday, stores generally open between 09:00 and 10:00 and close between 13:00 and 17:00, if they open at all. Shopping malls are generally open 09:00 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 10:00 to 17:00 on Sunday; most have one or two late nights per week, usually on Thursday and/or Friday, where stores stay open until 21:00. Supermarkets and most big box retailers open every day between 07:00 and 08:00 and close between 21:00 and 22:00.

Major retail chains

The Warehouse, commonly referred to as The Red Shed, is the New Zealand equivalent of Walmart. The Warehouse group sells a variety of cheaper products including clothing, camping equipment, electronics, toys, CD's, DVD's, Gaming etc. Regular stores are found in all cities and most large towns, with some smaller stores also operating in rural towns. Despite its Walmart-like reputation, stores do sell some respected upmarket brands, such as Sony, LEGO, Apple, and Adidas. Prices are cheap, and if you're buying products to use for the duration of a New Zealand holiday (and don't plan on taking them home) then The Warehouse is recommended. The Warehouse also has a very liberal change-of-mind returns and exchange policy - you can return or exchange an item within 12 months of purchase as long as it's in re-saleable condition and you have proof of purchase (some items such as underwear, swimwear, recorded media and perishables are excluded). More traditional department stores include mid-market Farmers and the upmarket department stores in the major cities: Smith & Caughey's in Auckland and Ballantyne's in Christchurch.

Other 'big box' chains include Briscoes, a homewares store (which seems to hold a "30–60% off everything sale" every other weekend); Noel Leeming, an electronics retailer; and Mitre 10 Mega, a home improvements retailer.

Halal Restaurants in New Zealand

Please check Halal restaurants under city listings.

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to New Zealand

New Zealand - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to New Zealand, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for New Zealand. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in New Zealand and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to New Zealand. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to New Zealand. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations inNew Zealand: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in New Zealand.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in New Zealand: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in New Zealand, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in New Zealand.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in New Zealand, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in New Zealand, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within New Zealand and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in New Zealand, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in New Zealand, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of New Zealand without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for New Zealand is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring New Zealand.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group New Zealand is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in New Zealand, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group New Zealand Media:

Buy Muslim Friendly condos, Houses and Villas in New Zealand

eHalal Group New Zealand is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in New Zealand. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in New Zealand.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in New Zealand ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within New Zealand. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in New Zealand, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in New Zealand are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at

Muslim Friendly hotels in New Zealand

New Zealand offers a wide range of accommodation, from campsites and shared hostel rooms to international-quality luxury hotels in the major cities.

New Zealanders seem to have perfected the art of the top-dollar home-stay. Hosted luxury lodges are the top-end equivalent of the bed-and-breakfast market and New Zealand has upwards of 40 internationally recognised lodges. Per capita, that's probably the highest in the world. They tend to be situated away from cities and can be difficult to get to, though some are right in the heart of the major centres. At the very top-end, helicopter transfers and private jets help the luxury traveller move between the lodges they've chosen for their visit.

Motels of a variety of standards from luxury to just adequate can be found on the approaches to most towns. Most New Zealand motels feature kitchenettes, usually with cooking utensils, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, so the traveller can avoid the cost of eating out by self-catering from their motel bedroom. Heating can be a problem in winter though – while an increasing number of motels have their ceilings and walls insulated, double glazing is still uncommon. Small-scale central heating is also uncommon, and most motel rooms are heated by plug-in electric heating or gas heaters.

Springfield NZ Hotel 002

Bed and Breakfasts are popular with visiting Brits and Swiss, as are homestays, farmstays and similar lodgings – some of which are in the most unlikely places. These can be a good choice if the traveller wants to benefit from local insider tips from the resident hosts, and many visitors welcome the opportunity to sample the rural life. For uniquely New Zealand accommodation and there are Māori homestays and tourist-catering marae stays.

Holiday parks and motor camps provide sites for tents, caravans and campervans, with shared kitchens and bathroom facilities. Many also provide built accommodation, ranging from basic cabins to self-contained motel units. Many visitors travel around New Zealand in hired shuttle vanes and vans, including self-contained campervans that can be driven by anyone who holds an ordinary vehicle driver's licence.

Study as a Muslim in New Zealand

For many years, New Zealand schools and universities have educated foreign students from the countries of Southeast Asia and education has now become a major source of export earnings for the nation. English language schools have been established for students from the region, particularly South Korea and China, but also many other countries. The most prestigious university in New Zealand is arguably the University of Auckland; other major universities include Victoria University in Wellington and the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, and the University of Otago in Dunedin.

The Ministry of Education has established a Code of Practice that New Zealand educational institutions enrolling international students under 18 years old need to abide by. This Code of Practice includes minimum standards for the pastoral care of international students. Primary school students (ages 5–12) need to either live with a parent/guardian or else board in a school hostel. Secondary school students (ages 13–18) may live in home-stays, temporary accommodation or with designated caregivers. Where the institution arranges accommodation for students older than age 18 the code of training applies to their accommodation situations also.

New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and refugees can receive financial assistance through loans and allowances, to pay the tuition fees and to attend tertiary education at Universities, Polytechnics, Whananga (Māori operated universities/polytechnics) and Private Training Providers. Australian citizens and permanent residents pay the same tuition fees as New Zealand citizens, but must have lived in New Zealand for at least 3 years to be eligible for loans and allowances. Overseas students will need to pay the full tuition fees and their own living costs while studying at a New Zealand institution. Many universities and polytechnics in New Zealand have minimum English language requirements, and may require proof through an English proficiency test such as IELTS for students who have not completed at least three years in a New Zealand secondary school.

Non-Australian overseas students need to have a student visa and a reasonable level of cash to spend in order to undertake a course of study at a New Zealand based educational institution. Visas are generally valid for the duration of the course of study and only while the student is attending the course of study. New Zealand educational institutions will inform the appropriate immigration authorities if a student ceases to attend their enrolled courses, who may then suspend or cancel that student's visa. Educational institutions often also exchange this enrolment and attendance data electronically with other government agencies responsible for providing student assistance.

How to work legally in New Zealand

Harvesting Semillon underneath bird netting at Gisborne Peak

To work in New Zealand as a non-Australian foreign citizen you will need to obtain a work visa, which generally requires a job offer from either an accredited employer or in an area of skill shortage to obtain. Students on student visas can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week. Australian citizens and permanent residents are entitled to work in New Zealand indefinitely on a visa waiver. It is illegal to work in New Zealand on a visitor visa, and doing so runs a risk of arrest, imprisonment and deportation.

You will need to have a New Zealand bank account, as most employers pay using electronic banking rather than in cash. You will also need to apply for an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Number if you don't already have one, so your employer may deduct income tax at the correct rate. If you don't supply your employer with your IRD number, you'll be taxed at the no declaration rate of 45% (compared with the top tax rate of 33%).

The New Zealand tax year runs from 1 April to 31 March. Most wage and salary earners don't need to file a tax return; it is up to you to file one if you have income to declare or think you've overpaid. Being a foreigner means that your New Zealand income is subject to local income tax at the fullest levels. Although many people believe that they can collect all their tax back when they leave the nation, this is not true. Be careful though, if you choose to work in New Zealand and you stay more than 183 days in any 12-month period, your worldwide income could be taxed. New Zealand has double taxation agreements with several countries to stop tax being paid twice.

Unless you choose to opt out, employers will automatically deduct 3% of your wages each week in KiwiSaver and the government's retirement savings scheme. If you permanently leave New Zealand and move to any country other than Australia, you can claim back any KiwiSaver funds after one year. If you move to Australia, you can transfer your KiwiSaver funds to your Australian superannuation scheme at any time; contact your provider to arrange this.

As of 1 April 2018 and the minimum wage for those aged 18 and over is $16.50 per hour before tax and deductions. Be careful as some unscrupulous employers like to pay foreigners below the minimum wage thinking they don't know better.

Seasonal work such as fruit picking and other agricultural work is sometimes available for tourists. More information about legal seasonal fruit picking work can be found at Pick NZ].

New Zealand has a number of reciprocal Working Holiday Schemes, which allow people between 18 and 30 to travel and work in New Zealand for up to one year and vice versa. At present young citizens of a number of countries from Europe, South America, North America and Asia can apply. These schemes are vastly popular and in many instances, participants can apply to stay in New Zealand longer once they have completed their one year stay. Information on all the various schemes and application details].

Stay safe as a Muslim in New Zealand

The main emergency number in New Zealand is 111, and can be used to contact ambulance and the fire service, police and the coastguard, and rescue services. 112 works from mobile phones; 911 and 999 may work, but do not rely on them. You can call *555 from mobiles to report non-emergency traffic incidents.

Due to their isolation and the Chatham Islands are not connected to the 111 network and have their own local emergency number: +64 3 305-0111. While you can dial this number from your mobile, it won't work as the Chatham Islands have no mobile phone reception. Deaf people can contact emergency services by fax on 0800 16 16 10, and by textphone/TTY on 0800 161 616. It is feasible to send an SMS to 111, but you must register with police first.

Full instructions are on the inside front cover of every telephone book. Other emergency numbers and personal crisis numbers are on pages 2 to 4 of the white pages section.

Crime and security

Police Officers In Downtown Auckland

While difficult to make international comparisons and the level of crime in New Zealand is similar to other GCC countries. Dishonesty offences, such as theft, are by far the most frequent crime. Much of this crime is opportunistic in nature, so travellers should take simple, sensible precautions such as putting valuables away out of sight or in a secure place and locking doors of vehicles, even in remote locations.

The New Zealand Police is the national police force, and police officers are generally polite, helpful and trustworthy. Unlike in most other nations, New Zealand police officers do not routinely carry firearms and the exception being those guarding key installations such as airports, diplomatic missions and some government buildings; officers on the beat typically only carry batons, offender control pepper spray, and Tasers. Firearm-related incidents are typically left to the specialist Armed Offenders Squad (AOS, similar to SWAT in the United States) to deal with. Armed police or an AOS callout usually rates a mention in the media.

Police fines can be paid online by credit card or internet banking, by posting a cheque or in person at any branch of Westpac Bank. Do not try to pay the police officer directly as this is considered bribery, which is illegal and punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Islamophobia & Racism in New Zealand

New Zealand is in general a fairly tolerant country with respect to race, and most visitors to New Zealand do not run into any incidents. While it not particularly difficult to encounter someone who has racist views in the pub, it is in general rare to face open aggression in the street on the basis of one's race. Legislation prohibits hate speech and racial discrimination in a wide range of public spheres such as education and employment.

Natural hazards

Severe weather is by far the most common natural hazard encountered. Although New Zealand is not subject to the direct hit of tropical cyclones, stormy weather systems from both the tropics and the polar regions can sweep across New Zealand at various times of the year. There is generally a seven to ten day cycle of a few days of wet or stormy weather followed by calmer and drier days as weather systems move across the nation. The phrase four seasons in one day is a good description of New Zealand weather, which has a reputation for both changeability and unpredictability. The phrase is also a popular Kiwi song.

Weather forecasts are generally reliable for overall trends and severe weather warnings should be heeded when broadcast. However both the timing and intensity of any weather events should be assessed from your own location.

You should always seek advice from the Department of Conservation when trekking in alpine areas. There are annual fatalities of both foreign nationals and New Zealanders caught unaware by the weather.

There are other natural hazards you may encounter, though far more rarely:

Cracks in road, Halswell

  • Strong earthquakes - New Zealand, being part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, sits astride a tectonic plate boundary and experiences large numbers (about 14,000/year) of earthquakes every year, although only around 200 are strong enough to be felt by humans and only 1-2 causes any material damage. Only two recorded earthquakes in New Zealand have resulted in serious loss of life; the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake (7.8 magnitude, 256 dead), and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake (6.3 magnitude, 185 dead). The latest quake news is reported by GeoNet]. In an earthquake, running outside the building is generally more hazardous than remaining inside and finding cover; buildings in New Zealand are built to high standards, and while they may be damaged in an earthquake and they should remain standing.
If you do feel a strong earthquake, remember Drop, Cover, Hold: drop to the ground, cover yourself under a table or desk (or cover your head and neck with your hands if no table or desk is available), and hold on until the shaking stops.
  • Tsunami is a feasible risk in coast parts of New Zealand. Warning of a tsunami from an overseas earthquake will be widely publicised via media. However, should you experience a very strong earthquake (over a minutes long, or so strong you cannot easily stand) you should move to high ground (35 m or more) or at least 1km inland as a precaution until an all clear is given.
  • Volcanoes|Volcanic eruptions - New Zealand has a number of volcanoes that are classified as active or dormant. Active volcanoes include Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park|Tongariro, White Island and the remote Kermadec Islands. Volcanic activity is also monitored by GeoNet.
  • There are almost no poisonous or dangerous animals. The katipo and Australian redback are the only two venomous spiders and bites from both species are extremely rare. Serious reactions are uncommon and unlikely to develop in less than three hours, though you should always seek help at your nearest hospital, medical centre, or doctor. The bite of the white-tailed spider is painful but not in fact, despite folklore, especially dangerous to humans]. Certain ferocious-looking species of wētā (a giant flightless cricket) can deliver a painful but harmless bite. New Zealand has no wolves, bears, big cats, crocodiles or other predators, and no snakes at all: it's safe to walk alone in the bush, or even lie down and have a nap.

Medical Issues in New Zealand

New Zealand has very high levels of Sunburn and ultraviolet radiation, around 40% more intense than you will find in the Mediterranean during summer, and consequently has high rates of skin cancer. Sunday hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are highly recommended.

Smog is a perennial winter problem in many South Island towns and cities, especially Alexandra, Christchurch and Timaru. Like Los Angeles and Vancouver and these areas are affected by temperature inversion, whereby a layer of warm air traps cold air full of pollutants from vehicles and wood fires close to the ground. Be wary in these areas if you have any respiratory problems (including asthma).

New Zealand has high and equitable standards of professional health care, comparable with Sweden or Australia.

Tap water in New Zealand is regarded as some of the cleanest in the world; it is safe to drink in all cities. Most comes from artesian wells or freshwater reservoirs, but some comes from rivers, which can be chlorinated to be made safe, but does not always taste very nice. Tap water in places such as Christchurch is usually not chlorinated at all as it is drawn from the pure artesian aquifers of the Canterbury Plains. Bottled water is commonly available if you prefer. Precautions should be taken against Giardia when tramping: do not drink water from rural streams without boiling it first. Risk may be lower in the highlands of the South Island, especially where streams are strong and come directly from melting sin the mountain.

You will not need any special immunisations before travelling to New Zealand. However it is recommended you check you are up to date with vaccinations for whooping cough (pertussis) and measles, as there have been sporadic outbreaks, especially among children and teenagers. It may pay to get a flu vaccination if you are travelling in the New Zealand winter season.

Medical care

Healthcare in New Zealand is generally of a similar standard to other developed countries. Visiting the doctor will cost about $60-70 but varies between trainings and localities. Appointments outside normal business hours may cost extra. The New Zealand public hospital system is free of charge to citizens and permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand, British citizens, and work visa holders authorised to stay in New Zealand for at least 2 years, but will charge all others for treatment received. International students are generally required to take up private health insurance as part of their visa conditions. Travel insurance is highly recommended for visitors.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to have a universal, no-fault, accidental injury compensation scheme, run by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)]. Even if you are just visiting, if you are injured while in New Zealand, ACC will pay the cost of your treatment and, if you're working, will cover up to 80 percent of any lost New Zealand earnings. To claim ACC, you only need to turn up at the doctor's surgery or Accident & Emergency; they will give you a claim form to complete which will then be sent to ACC on your behalf. There may be a part charge for treatment at a doctor's clinic. You can not sue any party, whether they were to blame or not, in relation to injury covered by ACC.

ACC will not cover any incidental costs you incur, such as costs for changing travel arrangements or for relatives to come to New Zealand to assist in your care, as you will be expected to hold travel insurance for these costs. ACC coverage is limited to New Zealand, so you are liable for any medical costs relating to an injury once you leave the nation. Any property damaged or lost in an accident is also not covered by ACC, but if another person was at fault you can claim via their insurance, or directly if they are uninsured (although you may need to claim through a court process if they refuse to pay).

Fox Glacier terminal face (6706352227)

Ambulance services are provided by Wellington Free Ambulance in the Greater Wellington area, and Street John's Ambulance elsewhere. The New Zealand Fire Service generally co-responds to any report of cardiac or respiratory arrest, so don't be surprised if a fire engine turns up before an ambulance does.

Prescription medication in New Zealand is generally referred to by its International Non-proprietary Name (INN) rather than any brand name. New Zealand has a single national drug-buyer, Pharmac, whose main aim to keep medicine prices low. It does mean subsidised drugs changing brands every five years (hence why drugs are known by their INNs), but it also means prescription drug shelf prices are among the cheapest in the OECD. On average, subsidised prescription medicines in New Zealand cost two-thirds of what they do in the UK and Australia, and one-third of what they do in the United States. Subsidised medications are available to New Zealand, Australian and UK Muslims; a deductible of $15 applies for casual patients ($5 for enrolled patients). For those from other countries and those requiring unsubsidised medications, you will have to pay the full shelf price.

On arrival at an Accident and Emergency department of a public hospital you will be triaged and treated in order of priority rather than order of arrival. In a moderately busy A&E, a simple broken bone will generally require a 30- to 60-minutes wait, but if heart attack and vehicle accident victims keep coming in this can easily blow out to several hours. Children with a similar injury to yours will probably be treated before adults. If your illness or accident is minor, you may be advised to seek assistance from a doctor's clinic or after hours medical centre. This may cost you more than $100, but will prevent you waiting up to a whole day for treatment.

Healthline, a free 24-hour hotline staffed by registered nurses, is available if you need advice on a medical condition. The phone number is 0800 611 116.

Local Customs in New Zealand

Social behaviour

New Zealanders are generally warm and sociable, but will hold strangers at a distance.

  • New Zealand is a country where "please" and "thank you" can be used more than once in a sentence without being out of place, and where an initial refusal of an offer is part of a polite banter. You should follow up a politely refused offer, with "Are you sure?", etc. Criticisms and compliments are often understated.
  • If you wish to communicate with a New Zealander outside of a formal situation you are best to initiate the conversation. If you are unsure of the location of your intended destination ask a local. Your accent will trigger the local's desire to be helpful to tourists and they will normally offer to go beyond giving simple directions to help you.
  • New Zealanders will often ask many (sometimes probing) questions about your home country or culture. This is not meant to be offensive: it reflects a genuine interest in other people and cultures and a desire to gain first-hand knowledge.
  • If staying for more than a few days at someone's house, if they are younger than 35 it is considered polite to leave a token amount of money, say $20, to 'cover the power bill', especially if you are the guest at a shared flat/apartment/house.
  • In conversations, if you want to contradict something someone has said, be gentle. New Zealanders will often be happy to learn something new and incorporate it into their knowledge but will also defend strongly something they have direct knowledge of.
  • Some New Zealanders tend to swear a lot. Sometimes they may even use swear words to refer to friends. It generally isn't meant to be offensive.
  • New Zealand society is understood by New Zealanders to be classless and egalitarian. While in reality New Zealand is far from classless, talking about class and personal wealth isn't usually well received. New Zealanders, even wealthy New Zealanders, tend to behave in a somewhat frugal manner.


New Zealanders generally dress 'smart casual', with a prevalence of wearing black or dark clothing. You will see people in suits on weekdays only in the cities.

  • Wearing brightly coloured clothing will mark you as a tourist. In most cases this will be to your advantage due to New Zealanders wanting to be hospitable to tourists. However, being marked as a tourist may attract unwanted attention from less than savoury people. Use common sense if you are approached by a local.
  • New Zealand's weather can be very changeable, a cold front can make the temperature drop suddenly. Make sure you take a jacket or jumper with you at all times. Equally, if you hit a beautiful, sunny, warm day you may also need to cover up to prevent the harsh sun causing sunburn.
  • If going to an expensive formal restaurant for a meal you will not need to wear a suit and tie, but wearing jeans and t-shirts is frowned upon. Smart trousers, a collared shirt and dress shoes for men, and smart trousers or skirt and blouse for women would be typical. At all non-formal dining there will be an expectation of being tidily dressed.

Māori culture

Whakarewarewa dance 2011

Māori cultural experiences are popular tourist attractions enjoyed by many people but, as with any two cultures encountering one another and there is room for misunderstanding. Some tourists have found themselves more confronted than they expected by ceremonial challenges and welcomes. These are serious occasions; avoid chatter and laughter. There will be plenty of time to relax and joke later after the formalities are over.

Māori tikanga (cultural customs and etiquette) is generally simple for foreigners to follow even if the reasoning behind them may not seem clear:

  • Do not eat, drink or wear shoes inside the wharenui (carved meeting house).
  • A person's head is considered tapu (sacred). Do not touch someone's head without permission, pass anything over anyone's head, or sit on a pillow (since it's used to rest your head).

National identity

New Zealanders have a distinct and jealously guarded national identity. Although it has many similarities with other western cultures, it isn't a state of Australia, or still part of the British Empire (though it is a member of the Commonwealth and the British Monarch is the head of state). While Australia and New Zealand have close foreign policy ties, considerable inter-migration and overlapping cultures, saying New Zealanders are basically Australians will not gain you any Kiwi or Aussie friends. It is pretty much the same relationship as with Canadians and Americans or the Irish and Brits. In many ways, Australia and New Zealand have a similar outlook towards the other, with the same clichéd jokes being made.

Despite the jokes about New Zealand, most Australians have a genuine affection for New Zealanders (and vice versa); the relationship between the two countries is often described as sibling-like, with the sibling rivalry to boot. This can be traced back to ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), participation in two world wars (particularly the Gallipoli and North African campaigns), Korea, Vietnam and the Malaya Crisis, Solomon Islands, etc. When a disaster strikes one country, you will see charity collections for relief efforts underway in the other.


Historically, New Zealanders have never been very religious, and contemporary New Zealand society is one of the more secular in the world, with regular church-goers being in the minority. Nevertheless, most New Zealanders are (usually) tolerant towards people of all faiths as long as you do not proselytise or inconvenience others with your religious beliefs. If you do so, do not be surprised to get an earful.

Consular assistance

All embassies and high commission are in the capital, Wellington, but there are also consulates in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson and Queenstown.

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