American Cruise Ship Arrives in Wellington Harbour  © US Embassy New Zealand

Arriving in New Zealand by Sea

Cruise ships, freight vessels and private boats all arrive frequently in New Zealand's many ports. Here is a brief outline of some of the crew requirements when arriving in New Zealand by sea.

When arriving by sea, all overseas craft entering New Zealand waters must display the International Q-flag within 12 nautical miles of the coast.

New Zealand requires that international craft notify Customs staff of their intended arrival at least 48 hours prior to reaching New Zealand. 

New Zealand border information packs can be obtained from a number of outlets in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Rarotonga, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu.  For details visit the New Zealand Customs Service website.  

All craft are met by Customs and MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) quarantine officers and, with the exception of an emergency situation, all persons and goods must remain onboard until the craft has been entered.

On arrival the following documents must be presented:
  • Inward Report (Small Craft)
  • New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card (for each person on board)
  • Valid Passport (for each person onboard)
  • Border Cash Report (if applicable)
  • Import Entry (Temporary) Yachts and Small Vessels form
  • Last port clearance
  • MAF Masters Declaration


For more information on Arrival Packs and MAF/Customs documentation visit the New Zealand Customs website, or contact the New Zealand Customs Service on 0800 4 CUSTOMS (NZ only).

 Cold Water Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park.  Nelson Tasman Tourism

Find New Zealand Accommodation

No matter what your budget, style or destination, you'll find the ideal New Zealand accommodation for your holiday.

Find Accommodation

 Skydiving at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.  Lake Wanaka Tourism

Find New Zealand Activities

Skiing, bungy jumping, hiking, jet boating... New Zealand is the ultimate destination for fun and adventure! 

Find Activities