New Zealand business customs are similar to the United States – although business attire is less formal. Punctuality is important for business appointments. Senior level officials are as accessible for relevant business consultations as their peers are in the United States. Gifts are not standard practice. Business cards are commonly shared; however, digital business cards are gaining popularity.
The State Department consular information sheet for New Zealand provides U.S. travelers safety and security information to help assess any risks of travel to this destination.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, U.S. passport holders can visit New Zealand for 90 days or less without a visa. U.S. citizens with Global Entry membership traveling to New Zealand may use a dedicated lane arriving at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch International Airports. The lanes will streamline border processing for U.S. Global entry members. To be eligible to use the lanes, U.S. Global Entry members simply present their Global Entry card, their U.S. passport and arrival documentation. This initiative is the result of an agreement between New Zealand and the United States to improve the border experience for travelers flying between the two countries. U.S. Global Entry members will still be subject to standard customs, immigration, and biosecurity processes on arrival in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, consular activities are undertaken at the American Consulate General, Auckland.
U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website”
New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$). All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand. Visa and MasterCard ae accepted nationwide. ATMs are widely available in New Zealand’s urban centers. Electronic transactions dominate over cash. Travelers checks are no longer accepted.
There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels, and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centers.
New Zealand has a modern telecommunications infrastructure. Internet coverage is nationwide and integral to everyday life. Free internet access is available in most hotels and through wireless hotspots and Internet cafes. More cellular phones are linked to the main providers than landline. (Residential landline services are declining.) 2Degrees, One and Spark are the three cellular networks. International roaming services are available.
Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option.
Most travelers to New Zealand arrive by air. Airline services/routes were severely disrupted by the pandemic. Air travel is now almost at pre-COVID levels and as new routes between the United States and New Zealand become available, flight connectivity has never been as good. Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas and United Airlines provide (or are due to add by the end of 2023) regular flights between New Zealand and United States. Most flights depart from Auckland. Towards the end of 2023, American Airlines and United Airlines are scheduled to introduce direct flights to the United States departing from Christchurch, New Zealand.
Air New Zealand has begun to weigh volunteer passengers for international flights. The data is used to calculate the weight and balance of the aircraft.
New Zealand is well equipped with both public and private transportation options that can be booked through the Internet or travel agents. Automobiles are right hand drive and traffic travels on the left side of the road.
New Zealand is an English-speaking country. Te Reo Maori is the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand and legally is an official language. New Zealand sign language is the third official language.
The New Zealand health system consists of public, private, and voluntary sectors that interact to provide and fund health care. New Zealand’s public health system provides approximately 80% of healthcare requirements. The public sector provides free and good quality treatment at hospitals for emergency and major medical problems, including maternity and geriatric care and free dental treatment for those less than 18 years of age. U.S. travelers to New Zealand are no longer required to by fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Local time, business hours, and holidays
New Zealand business operates on a five-day (Monday through Friday) work week. Retail outlets are open until 6 p.m. with extended hours Thursday/Friday and in December. In New Zealand’s urban centers, some supermarkets and gas stations are open 24 hours a day.
Public holidays and regional holidays in New Zealand are popular for domestic travel and can be the cause of traffic congestion in and out of Auckland and Wellington and at holiday spots.
Daylight Saving commences on the last Sunday in September, when 2:00 a.m. becomes 3:00 a.m. It ends on the first Sunday in April, when 3:00 a.m. becomes 2:00 a.m. New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of U.S. EST during Daylight Saving.
Ocean surrounds New Zealand, allowing for a temperate climate. The Southern Hemisphere’s seasons are opposite the Northern Hemisphere with summer weather during the five-month November to March period. Temperature extremes are confined to mountainous areas in the North and South Islands.
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings
New Zealand admits samples of negligible value duty free. Small shipments of trade catalogs and price lists printed outside New Zealand and advertising products produced abroad are admitted duty free if they bear the name and address of the foreign manufacturer and are not designed to advertise the sale of those products by any company, firm, or individual with a business established in New Zealand.
Goods imported to New Zealand on a temporary basis may be able to be imported without paying duty, including Goods and Services Tax (GST) via a Temporary Import.