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Customs and MAF - Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Please note the following information is guide only. For up to date information please contact the Customs or MAF office listed below or visit their website.

Arrival Notification 
New Zealand Customs Service and Ministry Agriculture and Forestry officials are available to complete formalities for your vessel on arrival.

Prior to arrival the Master of every craft is required to give 48 hours notice to the New Zealand Customs Service and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF Quarantine Service), of the expected port of entry and time of arrival. When nearing New Zealand contact can be made by calling Maritime Radio on SSB 4125Khz. On receipt of the advice Customs and MAF Quarantine officials will be contacted with the expected time of arrival. If your initial advised time of arrival changes, you are requested to notify the new time through the local maritime radio network (once in range of the intended port of arrival).

Opua, Bay of Islands
Northland Maritime Radio can be contacted on VHF channel 16. Travel time from the entrance of the Bay of Islands to the Customs/Quarantine jetty is approximately two hours, through a well marked channel into Opua.

Whangarei Maritime Radio can be contacted on VHF channel 16 for berthage details. There is approximately a two hour travel time to the Customs/Quarantine jetty from the harbour entrance.

Auckland Maritime Radio can be contacted on VHF channel 16. Auckland Harbour Radio can be contacted on VHF channel 12 or 16 for directions to a Customs/Quarantine jetty

Arrival in New Zealand - Customs/MAF Ports of Entry
All craft arriving in New Zealand from oversea must first report at a Customs/MAF port of entry. In the Northern Region of New Zealand there are four ports of entry for private pleasure craft and yachts:

  • Opua, Bay of Islands
  • Whangarei
  • Auckland
  • Tauranga

All four ports are situated on the north east coast of New Zealand and offer safe anchorage. Other ports of entry are: New Plymouth, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Lyttelton (Christchurch), Timaru, Dunedin and Bluff (Invercargill).

Harbour Limits
Upon entering the harbour; you must go directly to and tie up alongside the Quarantine jetty. You may not anchor and await tides, or anchor off any islands before clearance. Once your craft has arrived you will be met by Customs and MAF Quarantine Officers with the exception of an emergency situation, all persons must remain onboard until the craft has been entered.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) - NZ Tall Free: 0800 222 009

New Zealand Customs Service Operation Coastwatch - NZ Tall Free: 0800 654 279

Local Customs and MAF Quarantine Contact Numbers 
MAF Quarantine Service New Zealand Customs Service
(incl. Opua)
09-430-7848 Opua 025-509-306
Auckland 09-367-5753 Whangarei 025-509-305
09-303-3423 Auckland 09-307-6516
025-975-171 025-961-375 (A/H)
Tauranga 07-575-6712 Tauranga 07-575-9699
Wellington 04-499-4368 025-770-635 (A/H)
025-448-404 (A/H) Nelson 03-548-1484
Nelson 03-545-7775 025-959-664 (A/H)
025-377-149 (A/H) Lyttelton (Christchurch) 03-328-7259
Lyttelton (Christchurch) 03-238-7166 025-346-896
025-201-0561 (A/H)
Web address: Web address:

Documents required for completion or presented prior to or at the time of your arrival

  • New Zealand Custom Advance Information Facsimile Sheet. (optional)
  • Customs Inwards Report
  • Arrival Card (one to be completed by every person on board)
  • Valid Passport for each person on board
  • Border Cash Report Form
  • Temporary Import Entry (TIE)
  • MAF Masters Certificate


Temporary Entry of Vessels
Craft owned and operated by bone fide visitors will not be subject to Customs charges (Duty) on arrival. Your craft will be entered on a "Temporary Import Entry (TIE)" with Customs charges being deferred for 12 months. The Master, owner or agent will be required to sign a declaration agreeing to the re-export of the vessel within 12 months from the date of arrival. Any extension of the 12 month period must be discussed with the New Zealand Customs Service prior to the expiry of the TIE. Failure to re-export the craft within 12 months may result in Customs charges being levied.

The importation of firearms is strictly controlled in New Zealand. All firearms must be declared to the Customs officer on arrival on the craft from overseas. Firearms onboard will be detained and placed in safe keeping by the New Zealand Police who will hold them until the crafts departure. The importation of weapons such as flick knives, sword-sticks, knuckle-dusters and any weapon designed to give the appearance of another article, is prohibited.

Do not import drugs into New Zealand. The importation of drugs could result in imprisonment.

Cash Reporting
Every person who arrives or departs from New Zealand and has in their possession cash in excess of $10,000 in any denomination, will be required to complete a Border Cash Report. Declared cash means coin or paper money but does not include travellers cheques or other monetary instruments.

Tobacco and Alcohol Stores/Personal Entitlement
Tobacco and alcohol stores carried on board in excess of allowances may be liable to Customs charge. Personal tobacco and alcohol allowance is as follows. (Note the allowance only applies to persons 17 years and over).

Cigarettes, Cigars and Tobacco
200 cigarettes or 250grams of tobacco or 50 cigars or a mixture of all three weighing not more than 250grams.

Alcoholic Liquor Concession
4.5 litres of wine or 4.5 litres of beer. 
One bottle containing not more than 1125ml of spirits, liqueur or other spirituous beverages.

Personal Goods
On arrival in New Zealand all person travelling on the craft will be required to complete an arrival card and combined Customs/Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry declaration form. Goods purchased or acquired overseas which will not be taken from New Zealand and exceed NZ $700 in total value are required to be declared in the section provided.

Notice of Departure
To ensure that there is no delay in your departure you are requested to give the New Zealand Customs Service 72 hours prior notice. At that time you will be provided with a Departure of Yachts and Small Craft Information Pack.
This pack will include the following documents for completion:

  • Departure Cards (6)
  • Outward Report
  • Advance Information Sheet

Advance Information
To further assist in clearance formalities, it is suggested that you complete the Advance Information Sheet and fax it to 09-307-6720 prior to departure.

Departure Points
Craft must depart from a Custom Port of Entry.

Duty Free Stores
Duty Free Stores can be arranged prior to departure through Duty Free outlets. This is by way of the New Zealand Customs Service approved requisition, submitted to New Zealand Customs by the Duty Free outlet, for approval. NB: Stores purchased Duty Free are required to be available for inspection by a Customs officer at the time of your departure.

This can be obtained for export, exempt from Goods and Services Tax (GST) by way of a requisition form approved by New Zealand Customs.

Prior to departure contact must be made with the New Zealand Police to arrange for any firearms detained on your arrival to be delivered to the vessel prior to your departure. To contact the New Zealand Police, phone 09-379-4240 and ask for the Arms officer. Please note that this contact is only available during office hours Monday to Friday.

Certificate of Clearance
To obtain a Certificate of Clearance you should have available:

  • Departure cards (completed) and passports for all persons departing on the craft.
  • A completed Outward Report along with a photograph of the craft, suitable for visual identification/search and rescue.
  • The yellow copy of the temporary entry documentation, if your craft was entered on a Small Craft Temporary Import Entry.
  • If your craft is registered in New Zealand, you require a Category One Inspection Certificate from Yachting New Zealand For further information phone 025-583-915

A Customs officer will attend, at the agreed time of departure and on completion of Customs and Immigration formalities, the owner/master will be issued a Certificate of Clearance by the New Zealand Customs Service. If for any reason you are unable to depart at the agreed time, you must advise the New Zealand Customs Service and arrange an alternative time.

Once this Certificate of Clearance is given, craft are required to proceed directly to sea. If due to extenuating circumstances you are unable to do so, the Customs Service must be advised immediately.



MAF/Customs Declaration - Every person must complete a personal declaration which requires notification of quarantine risk items.

Masters Certificate - The Biosecurity Act 1993 requires that the Master complete this declaration and declare all mean onboard the yacht. This includes beef, sheep, pigs, poultry, venison, but not fish. It also includes all types of products such as canned, fresh, frozen, dehydrated, vacuum packed and freeze dried.

Fresh Provisions - Vegetables and fruit may not be landed. If utilised onboard, this will incur costs of daily quarantine incineration of all the waste. Your yacht will still continue to be under surveillance and will be restricted to berthing at a wharf where garbage facilities exist until such stores are either consumed or destroyed.


Honey - Unless accompanied by the appropriate documentation must not be landed.

Eggs and Egg Cartons - Must not be landed.

Stored Products - Will be inspected, assessed and depending on the disease risk, released or destroyed.

Growing Plants - Growing plants may not be landed or retained on board.

Cycles, Motor Bikes & Sporting Equipment - Must be cleaned to the satisfaction of a Quarantine officer before landing.

Garbage - All garbage from overseas stores i.e. meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables etc. must be disposed of through the recognised disposal system for that particular port. This will be explained at each port by the Quarantine Officer.

Unaccompanied Items - It is the Masters responsibility to declare any unaccompanied baggage, stores or items he intends to land for person other than those onboard.

Animals - Stringent requirements are necessary to keep New Zealand free of exotic diseases such as Rabies. Animals for which a quarantine clearance is to be sought must fulfill requirements which will be forwarded on request by MAF. Other animal movements conditions/surveillance will be explained during clearance procedures. These requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed with the MAF Quarantine Service prior to your departure for New Zealand.

As well as the quarantine clearance, Quarantine Officers have responsibilities under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This will involve inspection of goods to be landed and ensuring there are no restricted items present such as ivory, turtle shells, coral, whale bone, cam shells and animal skins.

The Quarantine Officer is required to inspect the vessel for the presence of pesticides. These must be registered in New Zealand. Pesticides aboard may include cockroach traps, insecticide sprays and antifouling which contains pesticides.

There are severe penalties under the Biosecurity Act 1993 for Masters, Passengers and Crew of vessels who fail to follow Quarantine clearance requirements. These requirements are to protect our unique environment and valuable primary industries.

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