Gifts & personal belongings

In general, items sent to or brought into New Zealand are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15%, and possibly Customs duty. But there are concessions for genuine gifts and genuine personal items.

This description was last updated on: Friday, 15 April 2011

Detailed information related to Gifts & personal belongings

When entering New Zealand, travellers are entitled to a wearing apparel and personal effects concession which includes the following items:

  • Clothing.
  • Toiletries.
  • Personal jewellery (including watches).

The wearing apparel and personal effects concession covers the above items which may have been acquired duty free in New Zealand or overseas.

These will be admitted free of Customs duty and goods and services tax (GST) irrespective of whether they accompany you or are sent separately, provided they are:

  • intended for your own use or wear; and
  • personally owned by you; and
  • not intended for any other person or persons; and
  • not intended for gift, sale or exchange.

Commercial quantities of individual items of clothing (including footwear) are not allowed under this concession.

Visitors to New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand may bring in the following additional items under the wearing apparel and personal effects concession provided that they take them with them when they leave:

  • Personal cameras, film, tapes and accessories.
  • Binoculars.
  • Portable musical instruments.
  • Portable sound and video reproduction devices including tape recorders, compact disc players, mini disc players, DVD players, and dictating machines with discs and tapes.
  • Portable radio receivers.
  • Cellular or mobile phones.
  • Portable personal computers (laptops, net books) and accessories.
  • Baby carriages and strollers.
  • Wheelchairs for invalids.
  • Sporting equipment.

If there is any doubt about a visitor’s intention to take the item out of the country, we may require a cash deposit to cover the duty and GST normally payable. The deposit will be refunded when the goods leave New Zealand.

Goods paid for overseas but not yet received

If you pay for goods while overseas, but receive them after you arrive in New Zealand, no Customs charges will apply if you can produce an appropriately dated receipt, and can prove that the goods qualify for the wearing apparel and personal effects concession.

Genuine personal effects qualify for the concession even if they are unaccompanied.

For example, made-to-measure clothing, which you paid for overseas but was not available at the time of your departure for New Zealand, will not attract duty if you can show valid evidence from the clothing supplier that it has been paid for.

You will also need to show Customs that your travel movements coincided with the date on the invoice.​

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 12 May 2011

With the exception of clothing and personal effects, baggage arriving in New Zealand that does not accompany you through Customs will not qualify for concessions and may be subject to duty. 

 If you do send some of your goods to New Zealand ahead of your arrival, you can maximise the benefit of the concessions by ensuring that the items you send consist only of clothing and personal effects.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 April 2011

There is no limit on the amount of cash you can bring into New Zealand. But, if you have NZ$10,000 or more on you – or the foreign currency equivalent, you will need to complete a Border Cash Report.

Cash means physical currency (the coin or paper money of NZ or any other country) or bearer-negotiable instruments. A bearer-negotiable instrument means any of the following:

  • Bill of exchange.
  • Cheque.
  • Promissory note.
  • Bearer bond.
  • Traveller’s cheque.
  • Money order, postal order, or similar order.
  • Any instrument prescribed by regulations.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012

​There is no requirement for travellers returning to New Zealand to declare goods  that were physically in their possession before they left for their overseas trip – unless the goods were purchased duty free in New Zealand at the time of departure; or are of significant value, for example a camera or laptop. If you are concerned that the possession of such re-imported goods might affect your duty-free entitlements when you return, you can ask for a Certificate of Export before you go – as proof of previous ownership.

A Certificate of Export can only be issued for goods that are uniquely identifiable by serial number, eg photographic equipment.

Customs can issue a Certificate of Export before you depart. Simply present the goods to a Customs office prior to leaving. Certificates of Export can be issued at point of departure; but this facility is not always available. If that is the case, it would be wise to keep your receipts or any other purchase documentation with you, as proof of prior ownership.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 April 2011

There are no Customs, health or agriculture restrictions on bringing human ashes into the country. But you are required to declare them. Customs recommends that you also have a copy of either the death certificate or the cremation certificate with you. 

If you send the ashes by post, you must declare on the postal declaration that the parcel contains human ashes; and insert a copy of either the death certificate or the cremation certificate in the parcel.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 April 2011

​Gifts are items sent from persons abroad to persons resident in New Zealand that are unsolicited by the recipient and relate to a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding or Christmas.

If the value of the gift is no more than NZ$110, it can be imported free of Customs charges.

If the gift is worth more than NZ$110, Customs charges will be payable on the value of the gift that is worth more than NZ$110.

Gift parcels

Where the contents of a parcel are intended for more than one person – and the contents are worth more than NZ$110 – a multiple gift allowance will be given. This is on condition, however, that the identity of each recipient is clearly established. This means that the gift allowance of NZ$110 can be applied to each gift separately.

Alcohol and tobacco

Alcohol may be allowed the gift concession provided the recipient is able to prove they are genuine gifts and not part of a repetitive import pattern designed to avoid payment of duty and goods and services tax (GST).

All tobacco products are specifically excluded from the gift concession and full duty and GST is payable on these imports.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 31 October 2014

Visitors may bring in the following items without Customs charges, on condition that they take them with them when they go:  

  • Personal cameras, film, tapes and accessories.
  • Binoculars.
  • Portable musical instruments.
  • Portable sound and video reproduction devices including tape recorders, compact disc players, mini disc players, DVD players, and dictating machines with discs and tapes.
  • Portable radio receivers.
  • Cellular or mobile telephones.
  • Portable personal computers (laptops) and accessories.
  • Baby carriages and strollers.
  • Wheelchairs for invalids.
  • Sporting equipment.

If there is any doubt about a visitor’s intention to take an item out of the country, Customs may require a cash deposit to cover the duty and goods and services tax (GST) normally payable. The deposit will be refunded when the goods have been exported.

Prescription medicine

If visitors wish to bring prescription medicine to New Zealand, Customs recommends the following:

  • carry a note from your doctor outlining what the medication is, the medical condition it is for, and the quantity you are expected to need during your stay
  • keep all the medication in its original packaging.

Computers for study

If you are coming to New Zealand for study, and you are bringing your own computer, GST of 15 percent may be payable on it. The GST is assessed on the purchase price, less depreciation for the length of personal ownership and use, plus international freight and insurance.

If the computer is to be re-exported within 12 months, and this is able to be proved when you first bring it in, there is provision for a cash deposit to be taken which will be refunded once the computer has left the country.

Hunting rifles

If you wish to bring a hunting rifle into New Zealand, you will need a Police Permit to Import. A GST deposit may also be payable, but will be refunded if the rifle is exported again within 12 months.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012

If you aren't sure what goods are allowed into New Zealand:

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012