Before you leave port, you should take care to complete steps for both Customs and Biosecurity. Here is some information about how to prepare and what to expect when you arrive in New Zealand by sea.
Customs & Immigration
Yachts and other small vessels have to provide specific information to Customs before coming into or leaving New Zealand waters. All the forms and information to assist you to complete border requirements are available on the Customs website and will be given to you on arrival.
New Zealand has strict biosecurity rules. This applies to biofouling and ballast water, as well as to any other hitchhiking weeds or pests that may be onboard your boat that could harm New Zealand’s wildlife.
Once in New Zealand, you will go through a Six-Step Biosecurity process, including an inspection. If staying 21 days or longer, you must provide evidence of biofouling management before you arrive
Essential information about your arrival
Once inside New Zealand waters (12 nautical miles from the coast), the international Q-flag must be flown.
Please ensure now that all rubbish is kept on board - either contained in closed, leak-proof containers or sealed in strong plastic bags. The Biosecurity officer will dispose of these on clearance at no charge.
When nearing New Zealand, radio contact is to be made by calling Maritime Radio on 4125 kHz or 6215Khs or Whangārei Harbour Radio on VHF Ch 16. Customs will be informed and you will be directed to the nearest Quarantine port of entry. For Whangārei it is in Marsden Cove Marina just after the oil refinery at 35*49.839’S 174*28.530E www.marsdencovemarina.co.nz.
Do not anchor in New Zealand waters before customs clearance. In case of emergency inform customs and possibly the NZ Coastguard for rescue via radio Channel 16.
Any pets that are aboard must also be cleared through customs - click here
What to expect when you get to your Port of First Arrival
When you tie up at your Port of First Arrival berth all people, animals and goods must remain onboard until clearance has been completed, unless there is an emergency situation.
The Customs officer will carry out the Immigration process as well for you onboard. You will be asked to fill in the required documentation and to show a valid passport from each person onboard and your last port clearance. Most nationalities will be given a three-month standard visitors visa on arrival which can be extended easily for another six months. The marina office can provide the required forms for visa extensions.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity) staff will come aboard and ask you to complete the Masters declaration and sign it in their presence . They will carry out an inspection of the vessel, examine any animals on board, remove the vessel's rubbish, examine any bicycles and sports gear and ask for specific information about the crew, goods aboard and voyage history.
You will be asked to declare all food and 'at risk' goods. Declare these on the Masters Declaration if they are the galley stores or belong to the vessel generally and on Passenger Arrival Cards if they are goods being brought in by a specific person. If you are uncertain about anything, declare it!
All risk goods will be removed for destruction by the inspector unless you request items such as wooden items to be treated at your expense and returned to you.
Yachts normally receive full biosecurity clearance that allows them to cruise freely in New Zealand waters.
A border clearance fee of just $15.79 per person will be invoiced via email for payment. (Even cheaper than arriving at the airport)
Do you have more questions?
The Whangārei Marina team are a friendly source of advice and the Customs website has full information about aspects including firearms restrictions and immigration contacts.