Who we are & what we do

Established in 1840, the New Zealand Customs Service is the country’s oldest government department. Our Māori name – Te Mana Ārai o Aotearoa – translates as the authority that screens and protects New Zealand.

Customs has about 1,200 staff spread around the country. We are located at all of New Zealand's international airports and ports, as well as offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Brussels, Canberra and Washington DC.

This description was last updated on: Thursday, 06 March 2014

Detailed information related to Who we are & what we do

The main purpose of the New Zealand Customs Service is to stop any possible dangers, hazards and threats entering New Zealand. This includes everything from illegal weapons, objectionable material and drugs, to dangerous persons, hazardous substances and unwanted biological organisms – anything, in fact, that might threaten our people or our livelihood.

Customs also helps to protect and nurture New Zealand’s economic well-being. We collect duties, excise taxes and the goods and services tax (GST) due on imports and exports. We protect New Zealand businesses against illegal trade and copyright rip-offs, and we rigorously enforce import and export restrictions.

As New Zealand’s gatekeepers, Customs uses advanced intelligence-gathering techniques to uncover illegal activity. We have the power to check containers, vessels, baggage, mail, persons or property – whether entering or leaving the country. We also conduct investigations and audits of personal and commercial documents, and the movement of currency and goods.

Customs works closely with a number of other agencies including Ministry for Primary Industries, Immigration, and the New Zealand Defence Force. Customs has the power to prosecute offenders and does not hesitate to use it. The protection of New Zealand’s well-being is our absolute priority.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Minister of Customs is the ​Hon Nicky Wagner.

Her other ministerial portfolios are:

  • Minister of Statistics
  • Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery
  • Associate Minister of Conservation
  • Member, Māori Affairs Committee.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Comptroller (Chief Executive) of Customs is Carolyn Tremain.

Carolyn comes to Customs from Inland Revenue where she was Deputy Commissioner Service Delivery, responsible for the frontline service delivery functions of the Department including customer operations, customer and product innovation, contact centres, audit and investigations, litigation management, and the integration of new government programmes. 

Carolyn Tremain – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

​Comptroller's business expenses, gifts, and hospitality disclosure

Customs publishes spreadsheets showing the Comptroller's expenses every six months. The spreadsheets show the business expenses incurred by the Comptroller as well as any gifts and hospitality. This information has been submitted to www.data.govt.nz.

2014
July 2013 – June 2014 – Carolyn Tremain (MS Excel 38kb)

2013
June – December 2013 – Carolyn Tremain (MS Excel 32kb)
January – June 2013 – Carolyn Tremain (MS Excel 79kb)

2012
July – December 2012 – Carolyn Tremain (MS Excel 59kb)
January – June 2012 – Carolyn Tremain (MS Excel 62kb)

2011

July – December 2011 – Carolyn Tremain (MS Excel 52kb)
July – December 2011 – John Secker (MS Excel 46kb)
January – June 2011 – John Secker (MS Excel 19kb)
January – June 2011 – Martyn Dunne (MS Excel 21kb)

2010
July – December 2010 – Martyn Dunne (MS Excel 22kb)

This detail was last updated on Friday, 18 July 2014

The Deputy Comptroller, Operations is Bill Perry.

Bill joined the New Zealand Customs Service in 1976. Between 1990 and 2000 Bill held various positions within Drug Investigations before being appointed Manager, Inspections in 2000. He was then appointed as Manager – Northern Ports from 2003–2006 from where he moved on to take on the role of Manager, Investigations until 2009, and was appointed Group Manager, Investigations & Response in April 2009.

Bill was appointed to his current role in August 2013.

Bill Perry – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Deputy Comptroller, Transformation and Technology is Robert Lake.

Robert was appointed Deputy Comptroller Operations in 2005 and was previously General Manager Operations at NZ Post. Robert took on the role of Deputy Comptroller, Transformation and Technology in July 2013 and is responsible for the Customer Insight, Service Design, and Change; and Communications groups, as well as the Chief Information Officer.

Robert Lake – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Group Manager, Border Operations is Paul Campbell. He was appointed to this role in July 2013. 

Paul joined the New Zealand Customs Service in 1977 and has held a number of roles across Customs.

In 2002, he was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, where he was attached to the Domestic and External Security Secretariat. In this role, he co-ordinated work on the first multi agency doctrine for response to maritime illegal migration and co-ordinated New Zealand’s first civilian military joint maritime interdiction exercise.

In 2009, Paul was given the opportunity to rotate to his current role of Group Manager Trade & Marine. Paul is a representative on the Ministerial Experts Advisory Committee on Drugs and also held the role of chair of the World Customs Organization Enforcement Committee during 2009/2010.

Paul Campbell – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Group Manager, Communications is Katie Mathison.

Katie manages Customs’ reputation externally and internally across all communications channels. She has over 20 years’ experience of communications in government and non-government organisations. Previously Katie was Director of Communications at the New Zealand Food Safety Authority before it merged with MAF (now MPI). Katie is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand and has an MBA with distinction and a Bachelor of Science.

Katie Mathison – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Group Manager, Customer Insight, Service Design and Change is Denise Hing.

Denise has an Executive Master in Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government.

She previously managed our Policy group. The group provides advice to the Government and the Minister of Customs on border management issues, including international trade and international relations.

Denise Hing – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Group Manager, Finance, Strategy and Performance  (Chief Financial Officer) is Kevin Martin.

Kevin is a chartered accountant who started his career in the business services division of a large accountancy firm.

Prior to joining Customs he held senior finance roles in consultancy organisations in New Zealand and Australia where he was responsible for financial reporting and management for both local and international business units.

Kevin Martin – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Group Manager, Intelligence, Investigations and Enforcement is Chris Howley. He was appointed to this role in October 2013.

Chris joined the New Zealand Customs Service in 1977 and has held a number of roles across Customs, including investigations and most recently managing technical support and surveillance and intelligence collection functions. Chris has also spent some time working for an external government agency in a complementary role.

Chris Howley – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014

The Group Manager, Legal Services is Peter Taylor.

Peter joined Customs in 2011. Peter has 30 years’ experience in the law. Peter held the post as General Counsel at the Commerce Commission for 10 years from 2000 to 2010. Prior to joining the Commerce Commission, Peter was in private practice in New Zealand and London specialising in commercial litigation.

Peter Taylor – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013

The Group Manager, People and Capability is Anne Marie Taggart.

Anne Marie joined Customs in May 2011, and has a strong background in the public service, having previously been the National Manager, Customer Stakeholder Information at the NZ Transport Agency. She has managed many large change projects within the public sector. Anne Marie holds an Executive Masters of Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government, as well as an undergraduate business degree from Edith Cowan University in Perth majoring in Human Resource management and industrial relations.

Anne Marie Taggart – Download high resolution image.​

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Group Manager, Policy is Michael Papesch. He joined Customs on 2 September 2013 as the Group Manager Policy.

Michael has nearly 30 years of policy experience in the public sector, including senior roles in the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Building and Housing, and the Treasury.

Most recently Michael was the Director of the Pike River Implementation Team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This team is responsible for implementing the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Pike River Royal Commission by the end of 2013. Previously Michael was the General Manager of Labour and Immigration Policy in the former Department of Labour.

Michael Papesch – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 03 October 2013

The Group Manager, Revenue and Assurance is Terry Brown. He was appointed to this role in October 2013.

Terry joined the New Zealand Customs Service in 1978 and has held a number of roles across Customs, including twenty years specialising in the conduct and management of fraud investigations. Most recently he was the Manager, Client Services.

Terry Brown – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014

The Group Manager, Risk and Assurance is John Kyne.

John joined Customs in 1998 as the Chief Financial Officer and held the role for a number of years focussing on building Customs’ capability, collecting revenue, and advancing various projects including the Customs building programme and new initiatives such as SmartGate.

In 2010 he became Group Manager, Asset & Innovation Programmes, a role that was established to lead and advance a number of business enhancement projects and deliver information systems and corporate support alongside the development of the Joint Border Management System. He was appointed to his current role in July 2013.

John Kyne – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Chief Information Officer Is Murray Young.

Murray joined the New Zealand Customs Service in April 2014 having previously held a number of CIO and other management roles in the telecommunications and government sectors. He has also spent a large proportion of his career working for supplier organisations predominantly providing services to the government sector.

As Chief Information Officer, Murray is responsible for the provision of technology and information to support the business activities of Customs and our stakeholders.

Murray Young – Download high resolution image.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 31 July 2014

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