|If you are thinking about serving
in New Zealand, picture a beautiful natural environment, bungy
jumping, and 45 million sheep—each of which describes something
essential about the country. New Zealand has some of the world’s
most beautiful harbors, fjords, snowcapped mountains, glaciers,
geysers, and rolling green pastures, all easily accessible by car,
boat, or train. With a common language and customs, Americans find
New Zealanders accommodating and friendly, though influenced by
their remote location. Agriculture dominates the economy, while
urban life grows at a manageable pace. Outdoor recreation and sports
are important pastimes, but Auckland and Wellington offer cultural
performances, museums, and superb small restaurants and cafés.
Families in particular thrive in New Zealand, where life is
peaceful, pleasant, and safe.
With its internationalist outlook, anti-nuclear policy, and
strong stands on global trade, New Zealand offers interesting
political, social, and economic issues. Personnel assigned to posts
in New Zealand will find their work challenging and demanding.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand is located in the South Pacific, some 1,200 miles
southeast of Australia. The country consists of two main islands and
a number of smaller islands. The main North and South Islands are
separated by Cook Strait, which at its narrowest point is about 15
miles wide. New Zealand’s total area, 104,440 square miles, is about
two-thirds the size of California. All but 1% of its area is in the
two main islands: the North Island with 44,281 square miles, and the
less populated South Island with 58,093 square miles. Stewart Island
covers 670 square miles and is located off the South Island’s
southern tip. New Zealand also includes small outlying islands,
which are difficult to reach from the mainland: the Chatham Islands,
Raoul Island, and Campbell Island.
New Zealand has a highly varied terrain with mountain ranges and
hill country dominating the landscape. A massive mountain chain, the
Southern Alps, runs almost the length of the South Island. The North
Island also has mountain ranges, and four volcanic peaks, including
Mt. Ruapehu, which has been active (but not dangerous) since
September 1995. These mountains, along with fjords, glaciers, lakes,
hot springs, geysers, mudpools, and beaches, give New Zealand some
of the most spectacular natural scenery on earth.
New Zealand lies in the Temperate Zone and has a generally mild,
invigorating climate although with sharp regional contrasts. The
rugged terrain of the country has a dramatic effect on the weather.
Many parts of the country are subject to high winds and rains
followed by sharp drops in temperature. January and February are New
Zealand’s warmest months with July normally the coldest. Spells of
cool, damp weather occur even in the summer, from December through
February. Rainy winter days of June, July, and August are
interspersed with days of brilliant sunshine and crisp, clear air.
The table on page 2 shows statistics on climatic ranges for New
Zealand’s three main centers: Auckland, Wellington, and
October, November, and December are particularly windy months.
Winds of 60 mph are not unusual, especially in the Wellington area,
and on rare occasions they exceed 100 mph. As the mountainous
terrain suggests, New Zealand lies in an area of active earthquakes
and volcanism ringing the Pacific Plate. A major fault line runs
through Wellington. Earthquakes are sometimes felt but rarely cause
The Embassy also has responsibility for three smaller island
territories falling outside New Zealand proper. These include two
self-governing states in free association with New Zealand—the Cook
Islands (pop. 13,700) and Nuie (pop. 1,865)—along with Tokelau, a
group of three atolls which New Zealand administers.
The Embassy has no formal jurisdiction over Antarctica, but it
provides significant assistance to scientists and other travelers
bound for the only “continent without an Embassy.” The U.S.
Antarctic Program operates out of Christchurch, from which it
provides logistical support to McMurdo Station, South Pole-Amundsen
Station, and numerous smaller field camps in Antarctica. The
National Science Foundation leads the U.S. Antarctic Program but it
receives support from about 60 U.S. Air Force personnel and an equal
number of New Zealand staff deployed in Christchurch as “Operation
Deep Freeze.” The U.S., New Zealand, and Italian Antarctic programs
cooperate extensively both in Christchurch and in Antarctica.
In addition to the Embassy in Wellington, the U.S. has a
Consulate General in Auckland. The Consulate General handles all
consular work for New Zealand, including issuance of visas and
passports. Auckland is also New Zealand’s commercial and trade
For information about New Zealand on the Internet see:
www.govt.nz; www.purenz.com; and www.nzemb.org
Mean Daily Maximum Absolute Maximum
Auckland 73–60 84
Wellington 68–51 80
Christchurch 70–50 95
Mean Daily Minimum Absolute Minimum
Auckland 60–46 37
Wellington 55–42 33
Christchurch 53–34 26
Rainfall and Sunshine
Average Annual Rainfall (mm) Average Annual Hours
of Bright Sunshine
Auckland 1,251 2,028
Wellington 1,246 2,053
Christchurch 635 2,088
Population Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand’s population was over 3.8 million as of 2001.
According to the 1996 census, 83% of New Zealanders were of European
descent (known here as “pakeha”); 15% were Maori; 6% were Pacific
Islanders; and 5% were Asian. Maori are descendants of early
Polynesian settlers and are considered New Zealand’s indigenous
About 75% of New Zealand’s population live on the North Island,
and Auckland’s urban area, with 1,030,000 inhabitants, is the
largest population center. With its significant Pacific Islander
population, Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world.
Also, more people live in the greater Auckland area than on the
entire South Island. Wellington, the capital, is New Zealand’s
second largest city. Including the Hutt Valley and other adjacent
areas its population numbers 343,400. The Christchurch area,
population 333,300, is third largest, followed by Hamilton with
161,700, and Dunedin with 112,900.
Throughout New Zealand the influence of Maori culture is evident
in the names of streets, towns, rivers, and mountains, as well as in
art, literature, and music. Historically, Maori accommodated
reasonably well to the European culture that arrived in the early
1800s and quickly dominated the country. But poverty remains a
problem, leaving Maori over-represented among New Zealand’s poor,
its sick, its unemployed, and its prison population. More recently,
a resurgent Maori identity has focused on cultural activities and
Maori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi, which ceded sovereignty
from the Maori chiefs to the British Crown. The Waitangi Tribunal
has been charged with hearing disputes over land and resource
rights, and recommending settlements to the Government to compensate
Public Institutions Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy based on the British
model. The Governor General, customarily a New Zealander, performs
the ceremonial role of head of state, representing Queen Elizabeth
II. The executive branch of government is the Cabinet, led by a
Prime Minister as head of government. The current Cabinet consists
of 20 ministers, each of whom oversees one or more ministries or
departments of government. Each of these is headed by a career civil
servant, who usually bears the title of secretary or chief executive
Parliament consists of one chamber, the House of Representatives.
Two political parties, the center-left Labour Party and the
center-right National Party, have dominated Parliament and the
nation’s political life since 1935. The present Labour Party
government was elected in November 1999, ending nine consecutive
years of National Party rule. The Labour Party governs in coalition
with the Alliance Party as a minority government—meaning it must
rely on support from other parties to pass legislation.
The parliamentary term is 3 years. An election may be called at
any time, but only two early elections have been held since World
War II. Voting is not compulsory, but all voters must register at
age 18. About 90% of the electorate vote in general elections. New
Zealand has had universal male suffrage since 1879. In 1893, New
Zealand became the first nation to give women universal suffrage.
Under New Zealand’s mixed member proportional representation
system of elections (known as MMP), voters cast two votes: one for
the local electorate Member of Parliament and a second for a
political party list. Of the 120 Members of Parliament, 67 represent
geographic electorates and 53 are MPs elected off the party list. In
1999, six seats were reserved for selection by Maori, and this
number is likely to increase as a result of the 2001 census.
Since the first election under MMP in 1996, the number of parties
in Parliament has increased. A political party must win either 5% of
the party-list vote or one electorate seat to appear in Parliament.
In addition to Labour and National, the Alliance Party, the Green
Party, ACT New Zealand, NZ First, and United Future New Zealand are
represented in the current Parliament.
New Zealand is a unitary state whose government at Wellington
makes and directs all national policy. There are no state or
provincial governmental entities, although local government with
limited powers is divided into 12 regions with directly elected
councils and 74 districts (15 of which are cities) with elected
councils. A number of community boards and special-purpose bodies
New Zealand has diplomatic or consular posts in more than 45
nations and has more than 100 representatives accredited to foreign
governments and international organizations.
New Zealand is a strong supporter of international institutions,
including the United Nations. New Zealand military forces
participate in over a dozen international peacekeeping and peace
monitoring forces, including the UN force in East Timor and non-UN
deployments in the South Pacific. New Zealand has pursued a foreign
policy independent of the British Empire since 1936, although it
remains an active participant in the Commonwealth. Strong ties of
tradition and sentiment link New Zealand with the U.K.
The U.S. has had a diplomatic presence in New Zealand territory
since 1838 when James Clendon opened the first consulate in Russell
to serve whalers and seamen. In 1942, the U.S. became the first
nation with an accredited diplomat in Wellington, and we have had an
uninterrupted diplomatic presence in New Zealand’s capital since
that time. Similarly, New Zealand opened its first overseas
diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., in 1942.
New Zealand’s security relationship with the U.S. previously
centered around the Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS)
security treaty of 1951. In 1986, the U.S. suspended its security
guarantees to New Zealand under ANZUS because of legislation passed
by the New Zealand Parliament which barred U.S. nuclear-powered or
armed warships from entering New Zealand ports. The ANZUS treaty
remains in effect but is active only between the U.S. and Australia,
and the suspension of treaty obligations with New Zealand is
referred to as the “unfinished business.” Despite limits on security
cooperation resulting from the unfinished business, bilateral
relations remain very strong on political, economic, and cultural
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand’s larger cities offer high quality performances in
music and the performing arts. Entertainment and arts sections of
major newspapers promote upcoming performances by the professional
(and amateur) theater and dance companies, the national and regional
orchestras, choirs and the opera. With limited advance booking, one
can also enjoy other live performances by local and traveling
performers and companies, including internationally renowned
performers and local talent.
The biennial International Festival of the Arts in Wellington
features major international artists, performers, and writers,
including many from the U.S. In recent years, the festival has
included Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and
the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Other major cities are now developing
similar festivals and several outdoor summertime opera performances
have been established as regular events in different parts of the
country. Concerts by major international contemporary/rock groups
and solo artists are also staged throughout the year, although many
such shows are confined to Auckland.
The metropolitan and larger provincial centers have public art
galleries and museums that exhibit both New Zealand and touring
international shows. All are active in promoting public education
programs in association with their exhibition schedules.
Wellington’s Te Papa Tongerawa (the Museum of New Zealand) has
modern and interactive displays, as does the International Antarctic
Center in Christchurch. The Auckland Museum and the Canterbury
Museum in Christchurch’s Botanical Gardens are more traditional.
City Art Galleries are also available in each major city. Auckland
and Wellington also have several good dealer galleries. Maori art is
particularly popular, especially in tourist centers such as Rotorua.
Scientific activity is largely in the hands of the universities
and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MORST), which
has a large and varied program. A number of scientific associations
are active, including the New Zealand branch of Britain’s famous
Royal Society. Wellington has public showings in Carter Planetarium,
as well as an active astronomy club.
Primary and secondary education is adequate, but may involve
significant adjustments from the U.S. system (see section on
Dependent Education). Universities at Wellington, Auckland,
Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North, and Hamilton offer
undergraduate facilities comparable to those in the U.S. The normal
undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree lasts 3 years.
Several teacher-training colleges and technical and business schools
are available. Most universities offer evening courses and distance
education at the university level, as well as adult education
classes. New Zealanders have a keen interest in pottery making and
weaving. Day and evening classes are available.
“Brain-drain” has been a significant topic of discussion in
modern New Zealand society. Many commentators lament what they see
as the recent departure of New Zealand’s “best and brightest” for
other Western countries with larger economies, particularly
Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. Others remain, however, and welcome
the excellent lifestyle opportunities created by New Zealand’s
relatively smaller economy.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
As an island nation with great natural and agricultural resources
but limited population, New Zealand heavily depends on foreign trade
and investment. Exports accounted for 30% of GNP in 1999 (compared
with 11% for the U.S.). New Zealand’s main exports are meat, dairy,
and fish products. Though the weight of these commodities has
dropped from 75% of exports in the early 1970s, their share of
exports during the 1990s remained steady at 45–46% despite
government attempts to diversify economic activity. Manufacturing’s
share of exports remained at 32% over the same period. Foreign
investment grew sharply in the 1990s under government reform and
privatization programs. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment
in New Zealand stood at $6.7 billion in 1999, second only to
Australia’s $12 billion. U.S. investments are in such sectors as
transportation, telecommunications and forestry.
The U.K. was for many years New Zealand’s principal market. With
Britain’s entry into the then-European Community, however, New
Zealand was obliged to diversify its export markets and has
succeeded to a considerable degree. The U.S. is New Zealand’s second
largest trading partner after Australia, with whom New Zealand has a
free trade agreement.
The government’s heavy role in the economy was reduced in the
late 1980s and the 1990s by successive Labour and National Party
governments. During this period, sectors such as the railways,
electricity, airlines and telecommunications were privatized,
investment rules were loosened, trade barriers were reduced and
labor markets liberalized. Some 10% of the labor force is employed
in agriculture, fishing, forestry and mining; 22% in manufacturing
and construction; and 68% in services.
Per capita GDP in 1999, an estimated US$13,487, translates into a
comfortable standard of living for New Zealanders. Income is
relatively evenly distributed, with limited extremes of poverty and
wealth. The social security, national health, and old-age benefits
systems are nationalized and comprehensive. A vast range of other
social benefits are readily available.
Automobiles Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Although air, bus, and rail connections between cities are
satisfactory, a personal car is a great convenience. Many points of
interest and scenic areas are far from the cities, and some are
accessible only by car. Rental cars are available. Registration
license fees are payable each year in the month the vehicle was
originally registered. The average Embassy staff person pays about
NZ$450–$500 annually to insure a car. If you can supply a letter
from your previous insurance company stating you have not had a
claim during the preceding 12 months, a deduction is granted.
In the cities, roads are generally good and include a small
number of expressways. Two-lane paved highways are the rule outside
the major urban areas and between cities. Numerous curves and narrow
roads or one-lane bridges are a hazardous feature of driving in some
of the more scenic, but mountainous areas. Caution is advised.
Automobile Import Requirements. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs &
Trade Guidelines for the Diplomatic and Consular Corps provides the
Any new or used motor vehicles imported into New Zealand must
comply with New Zealand safety standards, certification, and
registration requirements to enable issuance of a license and to
permit road usage. Personnel on transfer to New Zealand are strongly
advised to ascertain the requirements for the vehicle they intend to
import. Such requirements vary depending on the manufacture and
model of a vehicle. The owner must meet all costs, including
quarantine/cleaning and vehicle compliance inspection, on arrival in
Left-Hand-Drive Vehicles. Only certain limited categories of
left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles can be registered for operation on
New Zealand roads. A special exempted category has been established
for vehicles owned by diplomats assigned to New Zealand, provided
the vehicle is re-exported. The owner must pay all costs involved in
meeting New Zealand safety standards to register the vehicle.
Because New Zealand has some unique requirements, e.g., spiral seat
belts that cost hundreds of dollars per car, and because good used
cars are very cheap, it is advisable not to bring an LHD car to New
Zealand. Some have also had difficulty with LHD cars because of the
narrow and winding roads.
Number of Imported Personal Motor Vehicles. Single staff may
import one vehicle exempt from the 12.5% Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Diplomatic staff with official family members who are eligible to
drive may import and own up to two GST-exempt vehicles at one time.
There is no restriction on importation if GST is paid.
GST Assessment on Sale of Imported Vehicles. GST is assessed on
the depreciated value of the vehicle. A GST exempt vehicle sold or
otherwise disposed of within the first 12 months of ownership will
be subject to full GST calculated on its entry value. Where a
vehicle is to be sold or otherwise disposed of after 1 year, GST
will be reduced by 1/24th for each complete month of ownership in
excess of 12 months. After 3 years of ownership, no GST is
applicable. In cases of uncertainty regarding this provision, the NZ
Customs Service should be consulted.
If the vehicle is sold to another privileged person, GST will
only be payable if the vehicle is subsequently sold or otherwise
disposed of to an ineligible person within the remainder of the
All motor vehicles are required to hold a valid Warrant of
Fitness (WOF) at the time of licensing. This involves a periodic, at
least annual, roadworthiness inspection. If the vehicle passes the
inspection, it is issued with a WOF label valid for 6 to 12 months,
which must be displayed on the windscreen. Members of the Corps are
not exempt from the costs of obtaining a Warrant of Fitness.
Vehicle ownership details are a matter of public record in New
Zealand. Any member of the public may obtain the ownership details
of any vehicle on request. For this reason the Ministry recommends
that members of the Corps use the address of the Mission or post
when registering their motor vehicles.
Motor Vehicle Insurance. All vehicles should be appropriately
insured to cover theft, damage, or accidents including third-party
insurance. The average cost per car currently paid by Embassy staff
is approximately NZ$450 to $500 per year.
Drivers Licenses. A valid drivers license is compulsory for
people to have in their possession while driving. Under the NZ
Transport (Driver Licensing) Rules of 1999, all members of the
Diplomatic and Consular Corps and their private domestic staff
arriving in New Zealand will on application be issued a New Zealand
drivers license provided they hold a valid drivers license or permit
issued from overseas. Those who have not previously held a driving
license, e.g., children of diplomats, will be required to take the
usual tests. In addition, privileged persons and domestic servants
who come from countries which, like New Zealand, have a system of
graduated level of drivers license, i.e., learner, restricted, and
full, and who have not yet attained a full license, will be required
to take the tests for each level. Privileged persons are exempt from
payment of fees for all tests and for the drivers licenses.
The licenses issued to the diplomatic corps and to domestic
servants will take the form of the standard New Zealand lifetime
license but will be valid for 4 years from the date of issue. The
Ministry recommends that all drivers familiarize themselves with the
“New Zealand Road Code,” which can be purchased from most major
Local Transportation Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Ample public transportation serves residents of New Zealand’s
larger cities. Buses and taxis are available at reasonable fares.
Commuter trains run from Wellington to Lower Hutt, Johnsonville, and
Tawa, where official residences are located. Families living in some
neighborhoods may not have access to train transportation. Buses are
available, but families in these locations often will want a second
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Airlines from many countries serve New Zealand through
international airports in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.
Official personnel assigned to the Embassy normally land at Auckland
and travel the same day to Wellington, a 1-hour flight. Air New
Zealand, Qantas, and small local carriers provide all in-country
service. Regular flights exist between the main centers, with feeder
service from provincial airports in most medium-sized cities,
including tourist destinations like Queenstown, Nelson, and Rotorua.
Train service between Auckland and Wellington takes about 12
hours. Trains make several stops along the 400-mile route, giving
passengers a chance to stretch their legs and eat. Scenic train
trips are available in many places in New Zealand, including several
on the South Island reported to be among the world’s most scenic
train trips. Trains and tourist buses also connect most
destinations, and packages are available which combine with travel
on the Interislander ferry.
Travel between the North and South Island commonly occurs by the
Interislander passenger ferry and other ships, which make the 3-hour
one-way trip between Wellington and Picton (in the South Island’s
Marlborough Sounds) several times daily. Vehicles can also be taken
on the ferry. It can be expensive and difficult to reserve space for
your car on the ferry during peak holiday times, but rental cars are
available. Smaller ferries travel across Wellington and Auckland
harbors, and some are used by commuters.
Car rental is available throughout the country. Companies in New
Zealand charge an average daily rate of NZ$60–100 for a medium-sized
vehicle with unlimited mileage.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Local phone service is good and international calls are priced
quite reasonably. Most areas in the U.S. can be dialed direct, and
connections are usually excellent. A 3-minute call to the U.S. costs
under US$1. Special rates are available in the late evening and on
weekends. Telecom NZ has offered weekend specials to the U.S. and
Canada as low as US$4 per call for an unlimited length of time.
International service to other parts of the world is equally good
and reasonably priced.
Wireless Service Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Mobile phones are common in New Zealand and provide good service,
although coverage is limited in outlying areas.
Internet Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Internet service is available from US$12 per month for a phone
modem. High-speed Internet access is also available from US$50 per
month. Fax service to and from the U.S. is excellent; commercial fax
services are widely available.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
International airmail arrives from the U.S. almost daily and
surface mail about once a month. Airmail from the U.S. takes 10–14
days and surface mail, 4-8 weeks. Address first-class mail, which
requires international postage, to:
P.O. Box 1190
Wellington, New Zealand
American employees at the Embassy may use the Army Post Office (APO)
operated by the U.S. Air National Guard Detachment in Christchurch.
Letter mail by APO is usually 7 to 10 days. Personal mail received
at the APO in Christchurch is forwarded to the Embassy twice weekly.
Using the APO for parcel post shipments from the U.S. is
advantageous, although the APO cannot accept liability for loss or
damage to mail during shipment from Christchurch to the Embassy.
Letters and parcels routed through APO require U.S. postage.
Certified mail may be used and parcels may be insured, but you
should advise correspondents not to use registered mail, which under
Army postal regulations can be released only to the addressee or his
authorized representative (which means waiting until you or a
colleague can visit Christchurch).
The APO address is:
PSC 467, Box 1
APO, AP 96531-1001
The Pouch address is:
Department of State
4360 Wellington Place
Washington, D.C. 20521-4360
Radio and TV Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Radio reception is good. Local programs include music, news, and
sports on both AM and FM. Radio New Zealand, the state broadcaster,
provides reliable news and current affairs. The radio news includes
some BBC reporting on international events.
Television is phase alternating line (PAL) color transmission.
Programs are scheduled 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Four
over-the-air stations broadcast for free, including two channels
operated by state-run Television New Zealand. These channels include
some evening programs commonly seen on U.S. networks. Cable and
satellite television is available here and common in Embassy homes.
Costs are about NZ$75 for a package including news (CNN and BBC),
movie, documentary, and music channels. U.S. standard (NTSC) sets do
not work in New Zealand. Do not bring them to post. Local prices for
remote control color televisions range from NZ$500 (20" screen) to
NZ$800 (25" screen). Multisystem sets are common and work well; they
may also be purchased through the AAFES catalog service.
Video rental chains are common and reasonably priced, although
they rarely carry NTSC tapes. A multisystem or PAL video cassette
player is recommended. In video stores (and cinemas), movie releases
are delayed somewhat relative to the U.S., but a wide selection
exists. In major cities, video stores also rent video games and DVD
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
8/31/2002 6:00 PM
American magazines appear at local newsstands several weeks after
publication, and the International Herald Tribune is only available
by mail and arrives about 5 days late. The Pacific edition of Time
is printed in New Zealand and that of Newsweek, in Australia.
Magazines and newspapers should be sent by international mail or
through the APO, not by pouch. Another option is to access U.S.
media via the Internet. The Embassy Information Research Center
carries a good stock of U.S. periodicals, the Sunday edition of the
Washington Post and the New York Times, plus a number of reference
materials. The Information Research Center also maintains the
Embassy web site, the address of which is: www.usembassy.org.nz
In the principal cities, morning and/or evening newspapers are
published 6 days a week, except on certain holidays. Two national
newspapers publish on Sunday, and two business newspapers publish
weekly. Local news coverage is good, but international coverage is
The following major New Zealand media have a presence on the
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand has a socialized medical system. Medical services are
considered excellent by world standards, but are not equal with
those in the U.S. Americans are accustomed to more intensive
diagnostic testing and to easier access to specialists and
prescription medication. Some of the latest techniques and medicines
are not yet available in New Zealand.
A local doctor serves as the post medical adviser. Each employee
should locate a general practitioner in his or her neighborhood as
soon as possible after arrival so that medical attention will be
assured when required. Medical costs are quite reasonable by U.S.
standards, with office calls costing less than US$20. Prescriptions
are filled at nominal cost. Although private insurance is not
common, the services provided in New Zealand have caused few
problems for staff seeking reimbursement from their FEHB insurance
For New Zealand citizens, much health care is subsidized. For
example, medical care for children under age 6 is free. However, the
guidelines for the Diplomatic and Consular Corps state that
diplomatic and consular staff members, including locally employed
foreign nationals, are not eligible for any publicly funded health
benefits or social security benefits in New Zealand. They may
receive medical care in the public health system but must pay for
it. The exception to this policy is in respect to medical treatment
received under the public system as the result of an accident,
including motor vehicle accidents. Treatment in these circumstances
is covered under the Accident Compensation system (ACC).
One of the primary differences between the U.S. and New Zealand
medical systems is that in New Zealand it is almost impossible to
see a specialist without a referral from a general practitioner.
Waiting lists for surgery, especially in certain specialties, can be
Hospital facilities for surgery and in-patient care are
considered adequate. Public hospitals have only a few private rooms.
Some Embassy people seeking hospital care use private hospitals.
Urgent care clinics and pharmacies operate on evenings and weekends
in most suburbs. For normal pregnancies, obstetrical care is
provided by a general practitioner or an OB/GYN with follow-up care
provided by nurses from the Plunket Society, a voluntary agency
subsidized by the New Zealand Government, which cares for mothers
and children. Physiotherapy and chiropractic services are good and
Dental care is good. Routine cleanings are about NZ$65 and x-rays
are $12 each. Wellington and Auckland have orthodontists with cost
similar to that in the U.S.; periodontal treatment is available.
The services of opticians and oculists are good and available at
Community Health Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Except for Hepatitis B, no endemic diseases exist. However, New
Zealand lags behind other developed countries in vaccination levels
and outbreaks of diseases such as measles and meningitis do occur.
All preschool children in New Zealand are vaccinated against
Thanks to its location and seasonal winds, New Zealand has some
of the world’s cleanest air. However, the damp climate and numerous
flowering plants may trouble persons suffering from asthma,
arthritis, rheumatism and sinusitis. Colds and flu are relatively
frequent, partly as a result of frequent weather changes. BCG
vaccination (against tuberculosis) of all 13-year-olds is performed
in most schools but is voluntary. Because the vaccine causes a
positive tine test reaction, parents may wish to have their children
exempted from vaccinations.
The ozone layer is relatively thin over New Zealand. As a result,
it has one of the world’s highest rates of skin cancer, making
sunblock and hats very important.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Milk is pasteurized. All urban water supplies are chlorinated,
and it is safe to eat raw fruits and vegetables. No inoculations are
required for entry into New Zealand. Except for the pre-exposure to
rabies and Japanese B Encephalitis vaccines, all other shots
required for travel to points outside New Zealand can be obtained
here. Oral polio vaccine is available locally.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/31/2002
The Mission’s size and budget limit spousal employment
opportunities inside the Mission. At present, there are two
designated Foreign Service National/American Family Member (FSN/AFM)
positions in Wellington. Temporary clerical positions in the Mission
become available from time to time.
Dependents may seek employment outside the Mission but must pay
New Zealand income tax on income earned in New Zealand. The New
Zealand pay scale is also very low compared to similar positions in
the U.S. Mission dependents who have actively sought local
employment have been successful.
American Embassy - Wellington
Post City Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Wellington is a city of superb views, with a spectacular natural
harbor ringed by hills. Many Americans find it somewhat reminiscent
of San Francisco or Seattle. Located where the North Island tapers
to its end in the Cook Strait, Wellington’s land has been pushed up
and twisted into a pattern of ridges and gullies. Settlement dates
from 1840, when the first shiploads of settlers arrived under the
auspices of the London-based New Zealand Land Company. The city was
named for the Duke of Wellington and became New Zealand’s capital in
1865. Wellington’s Port Nicholson Harbor has many moods, but when
the sun is shining, and the air is still, it is breathtakingly
beautiful. The city and its suburbs extend like a huge amphitheater
across the surrounding green hills.
Wellington’s aggressive terrain has a climate to match, and the
threat of earthquakes is ever present. “Windy Wellington” is a term
of abuse applied by some visitors unprepared for the city’s gales
but a term of affection from residents who have long since come to
terms with the vagaries of the local weather.
Except for a small area of flat land in the city center, most of
reclaimed Wellington City clings to the steep hillsides. There is no
room for expansion, except upward. Residential areas spread across
the hillsides, providing many residents with spectacular views of
the city and harbor below. The downtown area is dominated by a
number of modern commercial office buildings and by the Parliament
Buildings, notably the Executive Wing of Parliament known as the
Located near the geographical center of the country, Wellington
is a principal overseas shipping terminal. Wellington houses the
head offices of all government departments and many national
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
The American Embassy is located in a modern Chancery building at
29 Fitzherbert Terrace in the Thorndon section of Wellington, near
other embassies and New Zealand Government ministries.
The Embassy is traditional in its organization, with State
Department Political/Economic (combined), Public Affairs, and
Administrative Sections, and Agricultural, Commercial, and Defense
Attache Offices. The Embassy has a complement of approximately 20
Americans and 30 FSNs, including a part-time Community Liaison
Office (CLO) Coordinator. Contract local guards provide internal
security. The Embassy has supervisory authority over American
Embassy Apia, Samoa, which has one officer assigned as Charge
Public Affairs offices are in the Embassy. One American officer
and 7 FSN employees administer an information research center and a
broad program of informational and cultural activities.
Three Americans staff the Defense Attaché’s Office. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture has an Attaché, FSN marketing assistant,
and an FSN agricultural assistant. The Foreign Commercial Service
has one FSN commercial assistant in Wellington.
Embassy office hours are 8:15 am to 5:00 pm, Monday–Friday; phone
(644) 462-6000 Wellington during office hours.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Newcomers usually stay in a full-service apartment or motel with
limited cooking facilities, or move directly into permanent
quarters. Several hotels and apartment complexes offer comfortable
accommodation at reasonable rates.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
All employees assigned to the Mission are provided
government-owned or -leased furnished quarters. For specific housing
information, write to the
general services officer.
Government-owned quarters. The Ambassador’s residence is a large
two-story frame house in Lower Hutt. The 2-acre site was once part
of a private botanical garden, and the grounds are among the most
attractive in the area. The Deputy Chief of Mission’s (DCM) house,
built in 1926, is gracious and the garden unusually beautiful. There
is a two-car garage.
Most other government-owned houses are spacious, attractive,
generally older homes that compare favorably to similar American
houses of equal age. One house has five bedrooms, one has three
bedrooms plus a sunroom, and most of the others have four bedrooms.
All residences have one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half bathrooms. Many
are not connected privately to any bedroom.
The DCM’s house and one other home are in Karori, a residential
suburb in the nearby hills, about a 10-minute drive from the
Chancery. The Ambassador’s residence, the houses usually designated
for the Public Affairs Officer, the Agricultural Attaché and the
Defense Attaché, and three other houses for senior officers are in
residential areas in Lower Hutt. The drive from Lower Hutt is 15–25
minutes, depending on traffic. Regular train service between Lower
Hutt and Wellington takes about 20 minutes. Other homes are in the
suburbs of Khandallah, Churton Park and Tawa.
All government-owned or -leased residential properties are
completely equipped with major appliances (range, refrigerator,
freezer, washer, dryer, dishwasher, disposal) and basic furniture
and furnishings. The Ambassador’s residence and the DCM’s home are
also furnished with silverware, chinaware, glassware, kitchen
utensils, and linens.
Occupants of government quarters should bring pictures, books,
stereo equipment, small appliances, and small objets d’art.
All government-owned residential properties have either gas or
electric heating units, which vary in efficiency from fair to good.
Most central heating units were installed after the residences were
built, so the heating varies from room to room. Electric heaters
supplement central heating in some houses.
Government-leased housing. American employees not placed in
government-owned housing are assigned furnished government-leased
housing. Many newer houses have two-car garages. Government-leased
houses will probably not have central heating, but the Embassy can
provide electric space heaters. Weather stripping in New Zealand
lags behind that in the U.S. In winter months, houses can be drafty
Furnishings Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Because the post provides furnished quarters, furnishings
required by a new employee are those that are normally shipped in
airfreight and limited shipment of household effects. Home
furnishings are comparable with the U.S. Just about anything you
would want to furnish a household is available in New Zealand. Wool
blankets, paintings, and local pottery are reasonably priced.
Furniture from New Zealand’s unique hardwoods is also popular.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
The water supply for housekeeping purposes is good. In most
houses and apartments, individual gas or electric heaters are used.
Few local houses or apartments have central heating. Even during
summer, the average American may want to have the heat on at times.
Do not bring an American TV set unless you want to use it with an
American-style VCR for viewing American videos. Local transmission
uses the PAL system and multi-system equipment is an excellent
Electric current is 230v, 50-cycle, single phase, AC. Each
Embassy housing unit is issued two step-down transformers. Standard
U.S.-made electric clocks and phonographs will not run
satisfactorily here without expensive adjustments. U.S. computers
may be run without problems from the transformers. Neither American
nor European wall plugs will fit the prevailing New Zealand
three-pronged outlets. New Zealand-type plugs are readily available
and may be attached to lamp cords, transformer wires, etc. Adapter
plugs are usually available locally.
Food Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most familiar foods can be purchased in New Zealand. Wellington
has many large supermarkets that resemble American chains, but some
people shop at smaller stores and specialty shops, such as the
greengrocer, butcher and delicatessen.
Staple items are in good supply. New Zealand is not a consumables
post, but if you need a particular American brand or product, you
might want to put some in your shipment. Many U.S. cereals are not
available in New Zealand; nor are many U.S. brands of junk food.
Local flour, vegetable shortening, and yeast are different from
American products and certain seasonings, double-action baking
powder, maple syrup, and Bisquick are not available. Check the
quarantine rules carefully, as some items cannot be imported,
including honey and popcorn. Substitutes for almost all items can be
purchased here, and Internet grocery shopping is an option. For
those who bake, you may wish to bring baking supplies, as measuring
spoons and measuring cups denominated on the U.S. system, angel food
cakepans, and cooking thermometers on the Fahrenheit scale are not
available in New Zealand. There is no PX; however, staff may order
from AAFES and other catalogs for delivery through APO.
Fresh meats are abundant and relatively inexpensive. Dairy
products are excellent and cost somewhat less than in the U.S. Fresh
pasteurized milk is completely safe for infants and can be purchased
in dairy stores and supermarkets or through home delivery. Skim milk
and cow milk substitutes are also available.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and reasonably priced,
as are frozen foods. New Zealand prohibits import of frozen,
refrigerated or uncooked meat, poultry, eggs and egg products, most
honey, and pet food containing raw lamb or sheep meat. Most
commercial pet food is acceptable.
Clothing Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Warm clothing can be worn comfortably most of the year. New
arrivals should bring a good basic wardrobe, although you can
supplement it through U.S. mail-order companies or on the local
economy. The selection in New Zealand is not as large as in the U.S.
but everything you need is available here.
Men Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Men wear spring-weight suits about 3 months of the year and
heavier suits the rest of the time. Temperatures may occasionally
call for a topcoat, but the most often-used outer garment is a
raincoat. A topcoat with a zip-in liner is useful, although many
purchase waterproof leather overcoats on arrival. Umbrellas are
sometimes impractical because of Wellington’s high winds, but are
highly useful at other times. Shirts, suits, topcoats, raincoats and
sport-coats may be purchased locally, and, at the present exchange
rate, are reasonably priced. Officers rarely need formal wear for
black-tie functions. All male formal attire, except shirts and ties,
can be rented.
Shoes are one item that is generally more expensive in New
Zealand than in the U.S.
Women Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
In Wellington, summer cottons are practical for only 2 or 3
months of the year. Long-sleeved dresses of any weight, blazers,
suits, heavier dresses, pant suits, slacks, sweaters, and skirts are
comfortable the rest of the time. Darker, subdued colors are worn
more frequently than bright prints. Good raingear is essential, and
the same types of coats suggested for men are recommended.
Wellington evenings are cool. Even when the weather permits wearing
lightweight apparel, most women carry a light wrap or sweater to
guard against sudden temperature changes. Female personnel may
choose to bring a long gown and cocktail dress for occasional use.
Skirts with a variety of dressy blouses and tops are useful for
Children Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Clothing for children and infants is available at reasonable
prices. Some people supplement children’s wardrobes with mail-order
clothing. School uniforms, which must be bought here, satisfy much
of the clothing needs of most school-age children. Boys and girls at
most secondary schools and most private primary schools wear
uniforms which include a raincoat, shirt or blouse, pants or skirt,
cap, socks or stockings, sweater (“jersey”), and blazer. Some public
primary schools (ages 5 to 12) do not require uniforms. Away from
school, children and teenagers wear essentially what they would wear
in the U.S.
Bring a good supply of play clothes and dress clothing. For boys
up to 12 years old, white shirt, tie, and sweater can be combined
with school pants for dressy events. During most of the year, a
jacket and a lightweight coat are useful. Children need cardigans or
sweaters and warm pajamas for winter.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most toiletries and cosmetics are available, but imported
perfumes and cosmetics are relatively expensive. Common household
items (like cleaning equipment, repair materials, clothespins, and
tools) are readily available. First-aid supplies are available, but
over-the-counter medicines often carry different brand names than in
the U.S. and some medicines are not available.
Imported wine and liquor can be obtained duty-free by persons
entitled to diplomatic privileges. New Zealand is a wine-producing
nation and offers some internationally renowned wines. New Zealand
also brews excellent beers. A few brands of American wine, bourbon,
and beer are obtainable from local suppliers, but choice is limited.
Basic Services Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
There are many barbers and beauty shops which do good quality
work. Prices are comparable to those in the U.S. Appointments are
necessary at most shops. Tipping is not customary. Dressmakers and
tailors are skilled but are heavily booked and quite expensive. Dry
cleaning services are good and readily available.
New Zealand is a do-it-yourself country and boasts many hardware
stores. Workmen for minor household repairs are few.
Electronic/radio equipment repair is good, but parts for U.S.-made
items are often hard to obtain. Local repairers are not always
familiar with most recent models of American appliances and
equipment. Employees should bring wiring diagrams and service
manuals for newer model appliances.
Auto repair work is satisfactory and is comparable in cost with
the U.S. An oil change costs about NZ$96.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand nationals or permanent residents can be employed as
domestic staff without restrictions. However, domestic staff in New
Zealand can be quite expensive and limited in availability. If you
bring a domestic staff person from a prior assignment to work for
you here, you must acquire a visa for the person. Check with the
Administrative Office at post for further details.
Bartenders, waiters, and catering services for dinners, cocktail
parties, and buffets are available. The current U.S. dollar exchange
rate makes this service fairly reasonable.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Virtually, all religious denominations can be found in the
Wellington area. There are Anglican (i.e., Episcopalian),
Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Jewish and
Latter-day Saints congregations, as well as smaller groups.
At Post Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Overview. Primary education is satisfactory, although differences in
the educational systems have made the transition difficult for some
students, especially those nearing the end of high school. Early
childhood education is very good. Secondary schools are of high
quality in some respects, but not all prepare children adequately
for American universities. The Embassy has prepared a comprehensive
comparative analysis of the New Zealand and U.S. education systems,
which is available from the Embassy on request, and also from FSI’s
Overseas Briefing Center, and the Family Liaison Office in the
Department of State.
School Year and Holidays. Seasons in New Zealand are the reverse
of those in the U.S. and so is the school year. School begins in
late January or early February (just after the 6-week
summer/Christmas break) and ends in December, when the summer
vacation starts again. The school year since 1996 has been divided
into 4 terms of about 10 weeks each, with short breaks of some 2
weeks during the months of March/April, July, and September/October.
High schools close for the year in early December; public elementary
schools in mid-December.
Major differences from U.S. Schools. The differences in school
year and consequent grade placement are factors that affect all U.S.
children transferring from the Northern Hemisphere, but there are
other major distinctions, which can affect adjustment. For instance,
there are no American or international schools in New Zealand. All
children attend New Zealand schools, public or private, which teach
a New Zealand curriculum. This curriculum has similarities to the
British and Australian systems, but is not the same. Schools differ
widely in their philosophies, degree of community-supported funding,
and academic achievement levels. Many are single-sex schools.
The terms used to distinguish grade level are different from
those used in the U.S. and vary from school to school. You may hear
the terms Form, Standard, Class, or Year to describe placement. For
example a child in third grade in the U.S. may be described as
attending Standard 2 or year 4. High school achievement levels can
have similar differences. Grade placement on arrival must be
assessed for each student individually after discussions with the
school. If a student is within the age range of his/her grade and is
a good student, she/he can usually go ahead a grade. For example, if
a student finished sixth grade in a Northern Hemisphere school in
June, he/she would probably be placed in year 8 (or 7th grade in
U.S. terms). A student arriving later in the year would probably
join Year 7 (6th grade in U.S. terms), and enter Year 8 (7th grade
in U.S.) at the beginning of the next school year in February.
New Zealand “colleges” are the equivalent of U.S. high schools,
but often include students as young as primary school. The choice of
schools, both public and private, is fairly wide, but none will be
the same as an American high school. In the past, some parents of
children age 12 and older have had difficulty finding schools they
found satisfactory, especially as children approach university. New
Zealand standards in math appear lower than in the U.S. and science
is taught by mixing biology, chemistry and physics together
throughout the year. Some students supplement their education by
taking correspondence or independent study courses, especially for
American history. The New Zealand education system may not prepare
students for American universities.
Upon transfer back to the U.S., it can also be difficult for
schools to assess what a student has learned in New Zealand schools.
New Zealand report cards are progress reports rather than clear
final grades, and there is no precise equivalent to an American
transcript of grades or credits. Rather than report cards, New
Zealand students’ examination results [National Certificate of
Educational Achievement (NCEA), Bursary and Scholarship-level
examinations] are the important requirements for placement in New
Zealand tertiary education. In addition, there is no clear-cut
diploma at the end of high school. Very few schools provide overall
grade/class rankings, but they may provide them by subject for
Choosing a School: Public and Private Options. American employees
should consider the alternatives for older children as early as
possible, particular as entry to some schools, public and private,
is limited and very competitive. Parents should consider the
school’s academic standards, size, and extracurricular options, as
well as your individual child’s educational and social needs. If you
have a preference for a particular school, be sure to advise the
housing officer and CLO as soon as possible.
Like the U.S., New Zealand’s public school system is secular.
Children start school at age 5 and must attend until age 16. Tuition
is free in public schools, but charges are made for some books and
supplies. The Ministry of Education’s web site (www.minedu.govt.nz)
includes helpful information about the New Zealand education system
and some information about individual public schools. In all
neighborhoods where the Embassy has housing, there are “decile ten”
public schools (i.e., schools in the top 10% nationally ranked by
socio-economic support level).
About one in nine New Zealand school children attends a private
school, many of which are single-sex only. Most private schools are
affiliated with a Christian denomination (e.g., Anglican,
Presbyterian, Catholic). The extent of religious input varies from
school to school. Non-Christian U.S. families have found private
denominational schools in which their children were comfortable.
The at-post education allowance adequately covers the cost of
private schools. Tuition and other charges vary at private schools,
and children at some schools must buy books and other supplies.
Parents should not expect the at-post education allowance to cover
uniforms (even where required) or field trips. In schools requiring
uniforms, the cost may be as much as NZ$300–500 per child. Students
who commute by public bus pay a reduced fare.
In recent years, Embassy children attended and had good
experiences at the following private schools, although others are
available (look on the Internet at: www.independent.school.nz):
Girls: Samuel Marsden Collegiate School (e-mail: email@example.com)
in Karori (now also accepting boys to year 3);
Chilton Saint James School (www.chilton.school.nz) located in
Lower Hutt; and Queen Margaret College (www.queen-margaret-wellington.school.nz)
next door to the Embassy.
Boys: Wellesley College (www.wellesley.school.nz) in Eastbourne,
across Wellington harbor from the central city; and Scots College
(E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) near Wellington Airport.
Co-educational: St. Mark’s Church School (www.st-marks.school.nz)
in Wellington central city.
Because of specific prerequisites for entry into U.S.
universities, American students may have to supplement their New
Zealand high school courses. A few American students have felt that
New Zealand schools discourage individual initiative and have chosen
to finish their high school work in the U.S.
Early Childhood Education. A variety of very good, early
childhood educational options are available in New Zealand.
Kindergartens operate programs for children 3 to 5 years of age.
Playcentre is a parent cooperative where parents take responsibility
for the management and supervision of mixed age group sessions.
Numerous private pre-school options are available, including
Montessori and Rudolf Steiner programs. Educational opportunities
for young children are plentiful: drama, dance, gymnastics, t-ball,
swimming, musical tots, art courses, horseback riding-the list goes
on and on. Embassy families with young children have found New
Zealand very enjoyable.
Away From Post Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand has some highly regarded boarding schools, but most
away-from-post schooling takes place in the U.S. Students in grades
9 to 12 are eligible for an away-from-post education allowance.
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Special education services are available for pupils whose
educational requirements cannot be met by an ordinary school. The
policy in New Zealand is to educate these pupils in ordinary classes
as far as possible, and to provide separate classes and schools only
where necessary. Most students enrolled in the special education
services are primary pupils aged 5 through 12, but emphasis is now
being placed on developing services for preschool children and
Selected schools provide special classes for students who are
intellectually and physically handicapped, visually handicapped,
hearing-impaired, or emotionally disturbed. Classes are run in
hospitals, and speech and reading clinics offer part-time tuition
for selected pupils. Special day schools are provided for
intellectually handicapped and some physically handicapped students.
The Ministry of Education administers six residential schools for
pupils who cannot be cared for in special classes-two for
hearing-impaired, two for mentally handicapped, and two for
maladjusted pupils. It also has an advisory service on special
education for hearing-impaired children and a psychological service.
The Ministry maintains a close association with voluntary groups
such as the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind and the
Intellectually Handicapped Children’s Society.
Embassy dependents are eligible to receive Ministry of Education
funding to pay for needed services such as taxi transportation
to/from school, a teacher’s aid in the classroom and special
equipment for home or school.
Recent experience has indicated that special education services
in Wellington are not comparable to those available in the
Washington area for either primary or secondary level pupils.
Employees who expect to require special education for their
dependents are advised to contact the Administrative Section (CLO)
concerning their specific needs.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand is a paradise for sports enthusiasts. Golf courses
are numerous, popular, and inexpensive. Tennis and squash courts are
also very accessible. Private tennis and squash clubs are popular
(especially with those seeking an indoor haven from the
unpredictable weather in Wellington) and less expensive than the
U.S. Jogging is very popular among both men and women. A Marathon
Clinic is available and there is a chapter of the infamous Hash
House Harriers. Horseback riding lessons and facilities for boarding
of horses are nearby.
Sports attire for general outdoor activity is similar to that in
the U.S, and some golf courses enforce a dress code of no metal
spikes or jeans. Tennis and squash generally do not require white
clothing. A wide variety of sports equipment is available, including
golf clubs, tennis rackets, and scuba gear, but at higher prices
than in the U.S.
All water sports are extremely popular in New Zealand. Wellington
and Auckland harbors are among the world’s best venues for sailing.
Sailing lessons are available at many yacht clubs and often include
discounted yacht rental afterward. Sea kayaking, scuba diving, and
other water sports are also popular. Among world-famous New Zealand
dive sites are the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior and the Poor
Knights, both north of Auckland. Within an hour’s drive north of
Wellington are a half-dozen sandy beaches, used in summer for
sunbathing and swimming. For those who find the sea water a bit
cold, the Wellington area has excellent, public, indoor swimming
Deep-sea fishing is good, and trout fishing is popular. Both
require a fishing license. Fishing season opens October 1 (earlier
for some South Island areas) and extends to April 30 in most South
Island and North Island areas. Fishing is allowed all year on Lakes
Rotorua and Taupo.
For hunters no license is needed, but permits are required to
hunt on most lands and the availability of game is becoming
restricted. Upland game shooting, which requires a license, is
Skiing is popular, despite the fact that the nearest major
skifields are 220 miles from Wellington. Both the North and South
Islands have good skiing most years. Although the facilities are
adequate, they are less developed (and less expensive) than most
U.S. ski resorts. Extreme sports, like bungy jumping, hang gliding
and luge, are popular in tourist destinations like Rotorua and
Rugby is New Zealand’s “national game,” and the New Zealand
national team, known as the “All Blacks,” has earned international
acclaim for over 60 years. New Zealand also has gained international
recognition in cricket, soccer, golf, lawn bowls, track and field,
rowing, sailing, motor racing, horse racing, and distance running.
NZ currently holds the America’s Cup sailing title and will defend
it in Auckland in 2002. Spectator sports in Wellington received a
boost from the opening of a new stadium in 2000. Tickets are
available for national and international rugby, cricket, soccer,
basketball and netball.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand’s natural scenery is among the most spectacular on
the planet. Exploring this natural beauty by car, boat, and other
means of transport is a most rewarding aspect of the country. The
North Island is justly proud of its mountains, volcanoes, rivers,
islands, and farm country. And the South Island, with its Alps,
fjords, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers, is equally scenic. Many
personnel have said the highlight of their tour was a week to 10-day
touring vacation on either island. Eco-tourism is becoming
increasingly popular, especially on the South Island. Wildlife tours
allow nature lovers to view sperm whales, dolphins, penguins,
albatross, kiwi, and many species of rare birds.
Hiking and walking possibilities abound on both islands. In fact,
the New Zealand national pastime may be hiking (known here as
tramping). The country offers numerous scenic backpacking trails for
overnight trips, including the famous Milford Track. Tramping clubs
in Wellington sponsor outings on weekends and holidays. Many
excursions are offered at reasonable prices, with transport,
sometimes by boat or kayak, often included.
Some of the country’s major wine growing areas are only a few
hours’ drive or ferry ride from Wellington and are a popular weekend
destination, especially over the summer months. Wine and food
festivals in Marlborough, Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay are popular.
Gardening is very popular and many public gardens are open to the
public throughout the country. Flowers blossom year round, and grow
in profusion in spring and summer. Camellias, rhododendrons,
fuchsia, azaleas, and roses flourish, as well as many native New
Zealand, Australian, and South African species.
Entertainment Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Public entertainment in urban centers has improved dramatically
over the past 10 years. Although singles might find nightlife
limited, pubs and restaurants on Wellington’s Courtenay Place are
open well after midnight. Elsewhere in Wellington, dining out is
popular and less expensive than in the U.S. There are numerous
excellent small restaurants and cafes. Restaurants usually serve
dinner until 10–11 p.m. on weekends, but close earlier on
weeknights. Some restaurants not licensed to sell alcohol have
“Bring Your Own” (BYO) licenses. BYO restaurants provide wineglasses
and may charge a NZ$1–NZ$2.00 “corkage” fee per bottle. Tipping is
not customary in hotels and restaurants.
There are a limited number of clubs for dancing. During winter,
some business, charitable, and professional groups sponsor annual
balls; many open to the public.
Wellington is known as the cultural center of New Zealand.
Professional theater productions are staged during the season.
Touring companies sometimes feature American musicals. Several
intimate repertory theater groups and a number of amateur theatrical
organizations also perform. Concerts by the New Zealand Symphony
Orchestra, chamber music groups, and soloists are frequent. The New
Zealand Opera Company offers several productions each year;
performances are often superior. Every even-numbered year,
Wellington hosts its highly acclaimed, 3-week “International
Festival of the Arts” (see Arts and Culture section, previous). Most
recently, the festival was accompanied by a fringe festival,
featuring more avant garde type performances.
Among Americans Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Because New Zealanders are so friendly and accessible, social life
at the small posts in New Zealand often centers around friendships
made with New Zealanders. Within the Embassy community, we hold
welcoming and farewell parties, monthly Happy Hours and movie
nights, and other activities. The Embassy also has a softball team.
The New Zealand-American Association, an organization consisting
primarily of older New Zealanders with particular ties to the U.S.,
offers an organized way to meet New Zealanders. Its Ladies Auxiliary
invites women employees and dependents to its monthly ladies’ coffee
mornings. The Association of American Women (AAW), made up largely
of younger women and families, is open to women employees and
dependents. Both groups host traditional holiday events, such as
Thanksgiving and Fourth of July parties.
A Diplomatic Corps organization for those below the rank of Chief
of Mission holds monthly luncheons from February through November,
often with Cabinet Ministers and other prominent persons as guest
speakers. The Diplomatic Corps has a spouse’s group, which meets
monthly at a restaurant or other venue. A program of interest is
A number of voluntary groups involved in charitable work are
receptive to help from Americans, particularly those with special
qualifications or experience. Scout activities are available for
boys and girls. These groups also welcome offers of assistance.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most events require only American attendance, and no
participation. These include: Opening of Parliament (Ambassador or
Charg‚); Governor-General’s reception for diplomatic corps (All
officers on the diplomatic list); ANZAC Day, the New Zealand
equivalent of Memorial Day (Ambassador or Chargé and Defense
Attaché); Waitangi Day Celebration (Ambassador or Chargé).
The Ambassador’s reception on the Fourth of July is the main
recurring U.S. function. Representatives of other governments in New
Zealand give official receptions on national days and other special
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
New Zealand is a rather informal country where the standards of
private entrtainment and conduct are substantially the same as in
the U.S. American participation in New Zealand social, home, school,
and community life is invited and welcome.
There are no calling formalities, except for the Ambassador.
Calling cards are generally used and officers will find them useful
when calling informally on diplomatic collegues, New Zealand
officials, and business representatives.
Special Information Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Post Orientation Program
As part of the post orientation program, each new staff member is
briefed on arrival about Embassy procedures and post living
conditions. New employees are assigned a sponsor who will help them
settle in to their new neighborhood. The employee receives a
welcome/household kit that includes basic household supplies like
blankets, sheets, pillows, and kitchen utensils, for use until
personal effects arrive.
Consulate General - Auckland
Post City Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Auckland is on a narrow isthmus between two harbors that open
into the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, respectively. New
Zealand’s largest city with a population of over one million,
Auckland is the commercial and industrial center of the country. The
primary international air and shipping ports are located here. A
cosmopolitan city, Auckland is home to many immigrants including a
large population from Pacific Island nations, earning it the moniker
of the world’s most populous Polynesian City.
Auckland’s International Airport is outside the city, 13 miles
from the Consulate General. Bus and taxi service is available to the
center of town. Overseas ships, including a large number of cruise
liners, dock in Auckland’s refurbished downtown harbor, home of the
America’s Cup yacht race in 1999 and 2002.
Downtown Auckland has a modern skyline with numerous skyscrapers
including the Sky Tower casino complex with its unmistakable space
needle design. Five-star hotels are abundant. Attractive residential
areas are close by, each of which has its own character. For
example, the North Shore tends to be newer and reflects a relaxed
atmosphere. Remuera is an older established suburb. Most homes are
comfortable and many have magnificent views of the harbor.
Auckland offers education, medical care, and a standard of living
comparable to Wellington.
Auckland’s temperatures are cool in winter and warm in summer. It
is generally warmer than Wellington, but may receive more rainfall.
Average annual rainfall is 50 inches; hours of sunshine per year
average 2,140. Occasional storms are accompanied by fairly high
winds, but they are not as significant a hazard as in Wellington.
Because of high humidity and dampness in most houses, mildew is a
problem, especially for leather goods. During summer, flies,
mosquitoes, and other insects are troublesome because most houses
are unscreened. Moths and silverfish are a threat to woolens.
About 5,000 Americans reside in the consular district, and as
many as 900 American visitors are in the consular district at any
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
The Consulate General is one of six foreign missions in Auckland,
all of which rank as Consulates General. Twenty-eight other
countries have honorary Consuls. The Principal Officer is an honored
participant in city, civic, and social events. Three American
officers and 11 Foreign Service nationals handle the full range of
Foreign Service activities: political, economic, commercial,
administrative, consular, and public affairs. Consular work occupies
most of the Consulate General’s employees.
The Consulate General is on the third floor of the Citibank
Center on the corner of Commerce and Customs Streets. The principal
telephone number is (649) 303-2724; Foreign Commercial Service is
(649) 303-2038; and Fax is
(649) 366-0879. A duty officer is available after hours and on
weekends and holidays. The Consulate General Postal address is:
United States Consulate General, Private Bag 92022, Auckland, 1. All
agencies are located at the same address.
Letters, publications, and regulation-sized packages can be sent
to the pouch address: Department of State, 4370 Auckland Place
Washington DC 20521-4370. Packages from the U.S. can also be sent
through APO in Christchurch, with onward stops at Wellington then
Auckland. APO packages come by military airlift on a space-available
basis. The address is United States Consulate General Auckland, PSC
467, Box 1, APO, AP 96531-1001.
The Consulate General occupies the entire third floor of the
Citibank Center, a modern skyscraper a few blocks from the Auckland
harbor. U.S. officers all have individual offices in a modern
facility that was inaugurated in October 2000. The Consulate General
offices are equipped with a small kitchen and employee lunchroom.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Auckland has first-class hotel facilities, including all-suite
hotels. Apartments in downtown residential areas are available on
short-term and long-term leases. Hotel rates are attractive by
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
There is no government-owned housing in Auckland.
Government-leased housing. All-American employees are provided
government-leased housing, which is government furnished, including
major appliances. For furnishings and appliances, see the Wellington
section, as conditions are comparable.
Food Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Food requirements are similar to those in Wellington.
Clothing Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Clothing requirements are similar to those in Wellington.
Auckland winters are not as severe or windy as those in Wellington,
but clothing requirements of Wellington otherwise apply. The
maritime climate means that temperatures can vary considerably
throughout the day.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Supplies and services available in Auckland are comparable with
Wellington. Starbucks and other American chain restaurants are
somewhat more prevalent in Auckland than in Wellington.
American personnel can buy cigarettes, cigars, tobacco,
cosmetics, film, etc., duty free. Other items such as radios, stereo
equipment, cassette players, watches, cameras, etc., are also
available in duty-free shops both downtown and at the airport.
Basic Services Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Such basic services as dry-cleaning, laundry, shoe repair, beauty
salons, appliance repair, and other repair services are often less
than adequate and are expensive. Mail, milk, and newspapers are
delivered daily. Trash and recyclables are collected weekly.
Auckland is covered by a regional bus service, which extends to
the outlying suburbs and satellite towns. Service is good during the
morning and evening rush hours but is not frequent at other times.
Bus service is expensive. An automobile is indispensable in
Auckland; however, parking is expensive. In contrast to the Embassy
in Wellington, the Consulate General does not provide parking to
officers. A ferry service operates frequently between the foot of
Queen Street in downtown Auckland and Devonport, across the harbor.
Commuter train service is limited. Although the cost of gasoline is
high, more than 60% of New Zealand's work force use private
transportation to get to work.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Servants are hard to find in Auckland. Few New Zealand families,
regardless of social or economic standing, employ full-time
servants, especially live-in workers. Some part-time help is
available at about NZ$10 per hour. A part-time cleaning woman
(referred to as “housekeeper”) is about the best that most people
are able to find. Baby-sitters for evenings, generally neighborhood
school girls, are available and are less expensive than in
Washington; but daytime sitters are hard to find and expensive.
Special nurses, called karitanes, are available to live in for short
periods to care for young children while parents are away, or to
help before and after birth.
In Auckland, it helps a great deal to be handy about the house.
GSO services are limited. Extra help, especially waiters, is often
useful when entertaining.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most religions are represented in Auckland; there are Church of
England (Anglican), Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist,
Baptist, and Jewish congregations.
At Post Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Schools are available from kindergarten through university level.
Children may attend kindergarten several half-days a week from the
age of 3. Kindergartens usually have a waiting list of at least 8
months. There is stiff competition to secure a slot in the best
schools. Children may begin school at 5 and are automatically
accepted at public primary schools. School is compulsory between
ages 6 and 15. See the Wellington section for detailed information
about the New Zealand school system.
Some private and public schools provide transportation for day
students. Facilities for athletics and other activities are adequate
in all schools. Private schools vary considerably; public schools
are nominally free; however, parents are required to pay numerous
fees, buy books and school supplies to supplement the under-funded
schools. Bullying has been a problem and needs to be closely
monitored. Admission to public schools is determined by location;
consequently, officers with school-age children should devote a
substantial amount of attention to school zones. Private schools are
available; however, admission to children of Consulate General staff
is on the same basis as the regular New Zealand population and is
The University of Auckland offers degrees in arts, science,
commerce, law, and medicine. Music and art classes are provided in
private schools and art classes in public schools at primary and
Away From Post Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Away-from-post education is usually in the U.S.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
The University of Auckland, Auckland Technical Institute, and
many secondary schools conduct extensive programs of adult education
in commerce and the trades for hobbyists and those who work about
the home. Auckland’s public libraries and the library of the
University of Auckland provide a good if limited coverage of all
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Aucklanders spend much of their time outside, and opportunities
for outdoor activity abound. Most homeowners take pride in
maintaining their lawns and gardens.
Many fine beaches are in and near Auckland. The city has five
large swimming pools. Heated pools offer year-round activity.
Waitemata Harbor, with its irregular coastline and many islands,
is a paradise for boating enthusiasts. About 4,000 sailboats of all
classes participate in the Anniversary Day Regatta races.
The area offers several excellent golf clubs and two public
links. In the past, the Consul General has been extended honorary
membership in one or more of the golf clubs. Grass and asphalt
tennis courts are in all sections of the city. Except for a few
courts at schools, all are either private or club-owned. Organized
midweek tennis for women is available at all clubs. Squash is very
Waitemata Harbor and Hauraki Gulf have an abundance of fish. The
Bay of Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, and Tauranga, in the Bay of
Plenty, are centers for big game fishing. Lake Taupo and several
other lakes are notable for their abundance of rainbow trout, and
fishing is permitted year round. Many trout streams and rivers
exist. Although trolling is permitted in the lakes, and spinning in
some sections of the major rivers, normally only flycasting is
allowed in the streams.
Many places in New Zealand provide hunting for deer, wild pig,
duck, and rabbit. Firearms are strictly regulated and gun owners
should check with the Embassy Administration Section before bringing
a weapon to post.
Good hiking trails are found in the mountains (particularly the
Waitakere Ranges) near Auckland. Hiking or tramping clubs are
popular. Many areas offer tramping opportunities. Rain gear is
essential; good-quality, reasonably priced, and lightweight gear is
available locally. Heavy-duty shoes are less useful than medium or
lightweight shoes. Other camping gear (tents, bags, etc.) is
available but expensive.
Bowling on the green is a popular sport, and clubs exist in all
parts of the city. American-style bowling alleys are available in
Halfway between Wellington and Auckland at Mount Ruapehu, snow
skiing occurs through the winter months. Auckland offers ample
opportunities for water-skiing and surfing.
Many good potters exist, and dyeing and weaving are popular.
Principal spectator sports include horseracing, autoracing,
rugby, soccer, cricket, and tennis. American football and basketball
leagues exist in Auckland, but the level of competition is
comparable to U.S. junior college teams.
Sports attire for men and women is similar to that worn in the
U.S., except that New Zealanders adhere more closely to the
traditional forms of sports dress. Sports equipment is available.
Entertainment Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Auckland offers a number of first-class movie theaters downtown
and many suburban ones. Most films are American or British, with
French, Italian, and Swedish films shown occasionally.
Auckland has a professional repertory theater. Occasional plays
or musicals are staged by touring overseas companies. The Grand
Opera Society usually features one or two productions a year. The
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Regional Orchestra and
various other groups perform frequent concerts and recitals.
The city has a museum containing many interesting relics of Maori
and European life and an art museum.
Local events of interest include an annual agricultural and
pastoral show, gymkhanas, and Maori concerts. The 3-week Auckland
Festival held each May offers plays, concerts, recitals, art
exhibitions, and a film festival.
A number of good restaurants and nightclubs exist; most close
Mondays. Good meals are readily available. Traditionally, tipping is
Radio reception is good and local stations offer a fairly broad
selection of programs. American and other rock music is popular with
local disc jockeys. Satellite TV channels broadcast dozens of
stations 24 hours a day.
Among Americans Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Auckland’s American and diplomatic communities are smaller and less
cohesive than in many countries. Most American residents have been
here for many years and have integrated into New Zealand society.
However, many Americans belong to the American Club and/or the
American Women’s Club. They are composed almost equally of Americans
and New Zealanders who have lived in or have an interest in the U.S.
The Principal Officer/Consul General is the patron of the American
Club. Other officers and their spouses take part in the activities
of the American Club, and women participate in the American Women’s
The Consul General traditionally is invited to join the Auckland
Rotary Club. The English-speaking Union usually extends honorary
membership to Consulate General officers and spouses.
A new Principal Officer and spouse, where appropriate, make
formal official calls on the Mayor and a few other officials. New
Principal Officers should bring a reasonable supply of calling
cards. Spouses will find informals convenient. Local engraving is
more expensive than in the U.S.
The Auckland consular corps consists of the 6 career consuls
general (or trade commissioners) and about 28 honorary consular
officers representing other countries, most of who are New Zealand
citizens. The senior of the career consuls general occupies the
office of Dean of the Consular Corps. Although the Consular Corps
usually has only one business meeting per year, each country
traditionally has a social function honoring its national day. In
addition, the consular corps normally holds an annual summer
reception for the Governor-General.
Official Functions Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
The highlight of the annual social season is the
Governor-General’s Garden Party, normally held in February during
his/her summer residence in Auckland. The Principal Officer and
spouse are invited to attend this function. The Mayor and City
Council hold civic receptions for prominent visitors to the city
several times a year, and the Principal Officer and spouse are often
invited to these functions. The Principal Officer is invited to
attend the annual Anzac Day service and lay a wreath at the Auckland
Cenotaph. Normally, the Principal Officer plays a prominent role in
the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea in
The Principal Officer normally offers a reception in honor of the
American Independence Day on or about the Fourth of July. At
Thanksgiving, the American Club holds a dinner. The Principal
Officer usually is asked to speak at the annual American Club and
frequently receives invitations to speak before New Zealand social
and civic clubs. The Principal Officer and spouse entertain
frequently at the residence and are often invited to social
functions. Other officers have the opportunity to speak to various
groups and participate in official community activities.
Special Information Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Post Orientation Program
No formal orientation program is necessary, due to the size of
the post. However, all American staff travel to the Embassy for
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Embassy staff members arriving at Auckland will have to change
planes for a 1-hour domestic flight to Wellington. Travelers must
transfer from the Auckland International to the Domestic Terminal. A
free bus is available for the 5-minute ride. Travelers should allow
a minimum of 2 hours to clear customs/immigration and transfer to
the domestic terminal. New arrivals are met at the Wellington
Airport, and should advise the Embassy in advance of arrival times.
Train service between Auckland and Wellington takes 12 hours and is
not recommended for new arrivals.
Although Embassy personnel who are transiting can seek assistance
from the Consulate General at Auckland, they should not expect to be
routinely met and assisted with onward transportation. A new officer
arriving at Auckland for duty with the Consulate General will be met
When traveling from the Northern Hemisphere, remember that the
seasons are reversed in New Zealand and pack accordingly. When
coming to New Zealand from the West Coast of the U.S., travelers
lose a day crossing the international dateline. For instance, a
passenger who leaves Los Angeles by air on the evening of April 14
will arrive in Auckland on the morning of April 16.
All new arrivals should inform the Embassy of travel plans and
arrival dates so that they can be met and taken to their quarters.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Employees on the diplomatic list are granted duty-free privileges
on arrival and during their tour of duty in New Zealand. During each
3-year period they may import or purchase one car duty-free per
diplomat. Cars may be sold duty-free 3 years after first
registration in New Zealand. Duty on cars sold before the 3 years is
prorated. Non-diplomatic personnel are granted first-arrival
privileges, which means exemption from payment of customs duty and
sales tax on personal household effects imported within 6 months of
arrival in New Zealand. Within 1 year of their arrival,
non-diplomatic personnel may import or purchase one duty-free car.
Passage Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Employees and their dependents must have valid New Zealand visas.
New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture officials board many incoming
international flights and spray the cabins with a non-toxic insect
spray before passengers disembark. This is a routine procedure.
Agricultural inspectors will question new arrivals and may examine
their luggage and household effects to insure against the entry of
agricultural diseases and pests. Everything made of wood, leather,
and straw will be inspected very carefully and may be held for
disinfecting. Do not bring food with you, as you may have to discard
it at the airport.
Under New Zealand law, all arriving passengers are required
(without exception) to complete an agricultural questionnaire, which
is contained in the Passenger Declaration Form. Baggage of incoming
diplomatic and consular representatives will be inspected only when
New Zealand officials have valid reasons for assuming that it
contains material prohibited or restricted by the quarantine
regulations. In all other cases, exemption from inspection will be
All footwear in one’s baggage should be soil-free, especially if
the footwear has been worn on farms or in areas where animals are
To guard against the accidental introduction of pests and
diseases please check the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry (MAF) web site at www.quarantine.nz.govt.
Pets Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Bringing a dog or cat to New Zealand can be a complicated and
expensive (US$1,500 - US$3,000) undertaking. You may not import an
animal to New Zealand without a permit, obtainable from MAF by mail.
You should begin the permit process a minimum of 7 months before
your planned arrival in New Zealand.
Quarantine restrictions for animals are very strict. The usual
quarantine period of 6 months applies to pets imported to New
Zealand from all countries where rabies has not been eliminated. For
animals imported from certain countries, including the continental
U.S., a special 1-month quarantine may be applied for, but it is not
always granted. The 1-month expedited quarantine requires careful
documentation and veterinary monitoring of the animal for a 6-month
period before the date of importation. The animal will require
several expensive tests-including rabies titer tests-and
implantation of a microchip or tattoo to qualify for expedited
monitoring. Further details are available from the New Zealand
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (www.quarantine.govt.nz) or
from the only licensed quarantine facility for dogs (www.qualifiedpet.co.nz).
Quarantine will take place in Auckland, even for those posted to
Wellington. Permits to bring a pet into New Zealand will not be
granted without a letter confirming reservations at the quarantine
Transporting a pet to New Zealand is also difficult. As of 2001,
the U.S. Government contract carrier prohibited carriage of animals
in the cargo section of their aircraft, although exceptions have
been made for USG officials traveling on orders. Other pet shipment
options exist, but are complicated. Be very careful to check this
out early in the process of making your airline reservations. Once
in New Zealand, veterinary services and kennels are readily
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
All firearms owners and users must obtain a firearms license,
issued by the Police. Handguns and fully automatic weapons are not
permitted. Registered gun clubs provide facilities for target
The 30.06 is perhaps the most desirable rifle for New Zealand
game, but the .270, 6.5mm, 7mm, and their variations are widely
used. The .308 is popular because the ammunition is locally made. A
12-gauge shotgun is an excellent choice for upland game shooting. To
shoot waterfowl, shotguns with three or more shell capacities must
be pinned (not plugged) for only two shells. Imported rifle and
shotgun ammunition is available in most other calibers.
Those intending to import a rifle or shotgun must provide the
Embassy or Consulate General with the following information in order
to obtain import licenses: caliber, country of origin, name of
manufacturer, serial number, and type. Contact post to obtain a copy
of the firearms policy before arrival.
Following is an extract from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign
Affairs Note No. 1983/14 of 10/19/83: ”New Zealand law on the
importation, possession and use of arms and explosives is contained
in the Arms Act and the Explosives Act.” It is an offense under
these Acts to import arms or explosives without a permit; to possess
arms without a permit (license) or to store explosives above a
certain quantity without a license; and to carry pistols or
explosives without the consent of the appropriate New Zealand
“Personal protection is not one of the reasons for which
permission to possess such items will be given in New Zealand. In
the case of members of diplomatic missions and consular posts, the
Diplomatic Protection Squad provides protection. In the event that
there are serious grounds for believing that the personal baggage of
members of the diplomatic or consular staff of a mission or of their
families contains arms or explosives, an inspection of baggage will
be made in the presence of the person concerned, in accordance with
Article 36(2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and
Article 50(3) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Any
attempt by members of diplomatic missions, (or) consular posts, to
import arms and explosives (without a permit) would be regarded by
the Ministry as a potential threat to the safety and security of the
New Zealand public. Appropriate action would be considered against
the individual or mission concerned.”
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/31/2002
New Zealand uses decimal currency. The New Zealand dollar is now
valued at about US$2.06. Decimal coins in circulation are 5¢, 10¢,
20¢ and 50¢ pieces. Bank notes in use are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50
The New Zealand Government’s foreign currency regulations do not
permit currency transactions on the open market. However, local
currency may be purchased with dollar instruments at banks, hotels,
and certain stores. Only banks are permitted to reconvert local
currency into U.S. dollars. Banks require a minimum of one day’s
notice for such transactions.
New Zealand uses the metric system of weights and measures.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00
All American staff members are exempted from payment of direct
income taxes (spouses working on the economy must pay New Zealand
income tax). Employees on the diplomatic and consular lists and
administrative and technical staff are exempt from fees for drivers
licenses, vehicle registration (all employees must, however, pay the
Accident Compensation Corporation levy annually and payable at the
time of vehicle registration), hunting and fishing licenses, radio
and TV licenses, gun licenses, dog and cat licenses, and airport
New Zealand has a 12-1/2 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) and
all diplomatic and consular personnel in New Zealand must pay this
Most personnel find it necessary and convenient to open a
checking account with a New Zealand bank. In general banking
procedures compare to those in the United States. The Embassy’s
bank, WestPac, is within easy walking distance of the Chancery and
provides accommodation exchange and the full range of banking
services available in New Zealand.
Sales. Personal property, including automobiles, boats, personal
computers, audio and video systems, photographic equipment, major
household appliances (including air-conditioning units) and other
high cost or high value items, imported by U.S. employees into New
Zealand or purchased locally under diplomatic or consular privilege,
must be exported upon departure of the employee(s) unless sold or
otherwise disposed of in accordance with mission regulations and the
laws, regulations and conventions of New Zealand.
Personal property, including automobiles, imported into New
Zealand by United States employees, or purchased locally under
diplomatic or consular privilege, must be for their bona fide
personal use or that of their dependents and not imported solely
with the intent of sale or transfer.
The Ambassador has delegated authority to the Administrative
Officer to approve the sale of automobiles and other personal
Unless extenuating circumstances dictate (as approved by the
Administrative Officer), sale of personal property should not be
undertaken prior to 6 months from the termination of an employee’s
scheduled departure from post.
Prior to the sale of personal property with an acquisition cost
of more than US$300, authorization must be obtained from the
Administrative Officer. New Zealand Government approval must also be
obtained prior to the sale of any motor vehicle.
It is the responsibility of the employee to become familiar with
and honor U.S. tax obligations incurred as a result of sale of
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published in this country. The Department of State does not endorse
Belich, James The New Zealand Wars. Penguin Books NZ Ltd, 1998.
Chapple, G. 1981 The Tour. Paper. Reeds: 1984.
Cheyne, Christine Maree. Social policy in Aotearoa New Zealand: A
critical introduction 2nd ed. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford University
Clark, M. Beyond Expectations. Wm., Allen & Univen/Port
Oliver, H. and Williams, B. R., eds. Oxford History of New
Zealand. Oxford University Press: 1981.
Orange, Claudia. The Treaty of Waitangi. Allen & Unwin, Port
Nicholson Press with assistance from the Historical Publications
Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1987.
Perry, P. E. (Paul Edward) New Zealand politics at the turn of
the millennium: Attitudes and values about politics and government.
Alpha Publications, 1999.
Rolfe, J. New Zealand’s Security: Alliances and Other Military
Relationships. Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of
Sinclair, Keith. A History of New Zealand (additional material by
Raewyn Dalziel). Rev ed. Penguin Books, 2000.
Williams, Mark. Leaving the Highway: Six Contemporary New Zealand
Novelists. Auckland University Press, 1990.
A Study of Economic Reform: The Case of New Zealand edited by
Brian Silverstone, Alan Bollard, Ralph Lattimore. Amsterdam:
Anthology of New Zealand Short Stories edited by Michael
Morrissey. Auckland [N.Z.] Flamingo 2000.
Governing Under MMP: The Constitutional and Policy Challenges
[editor, Ginny Sullivan]. Wellington, N.Z.: Institute of Policy
Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 1999.
Health and Society in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Peter Davis
and Kevin Dew; in association with Te Ropu Rangahau Hauora a Eru
Pomare. Oxford University Press, 1999.
New Zealand and the United States 1840–1944. New Zealand
Government Printer: 1972.
New Zealand Encyclopaedia (of New Zealand General Knowledge).
NZIER Industry Outlook New Zealand Institute of Economic
The New Zealand Official Year Book. Statistics NZ, David Bateman:
The Oxford illustrated history of New Zealand edited by Keith
Sinclair. 2nd ed. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Public Bodies, Private Lives: A Century of Change in New Zealand
Public Health [Duncan Anderson ... [et al.]. Social History of
Health Group, Dept. of History, University of Waikato, 2000.
The Structure & Dynamics of New Zealand Industries edited by
Michael Pickford & Alan Bollard. Dunmore Press, 1998.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 8/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most stores and offices are closed on holidays. Public services
such as transport continue operation, and travelers are not
seriously inconvenienced. In general, holidays falling on weekends
are observed on the following workday.
New Year’s Day January 1 and 2
Anniversary Day, Wellington Monday nearest January 22
Anniversary Day, Auckland Monday nearest January 29
Waitangi Day February 6
Good Friday Variable
Easter Monday Variable
ANZAC Day April 25
Queen’s Birthday First Monday in June
Labor Day Fourth Monday in October
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26