What we do

Our main purpose is to stop any dangers, hazards and threats entering New Zealand.


This includes everything from illegal weapons, objectionable material and drugs, to dangerous people and hazardous substances – anything that might threaten New Zealanders and their livelihoods.

We also help to protect and nurture NZ’s economy. We collect duties, excise taxes and the goods and services tax (GST) due on imports and exports. We protect NZ businesses against illegal trade and copyright infringements, and we enforce import and export restrictions.

As NZ’s gatekeepers, we use 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.

We work closely with a number of other agencies, including:

We have the power to prosecute offenders, and we don’t hesitate to use it. Protecting NZ’s wellbeing is our highest priority.

Our values

Our purpose

We are here to protect and promote NZ through world-class border management

We protect NZ’s border using world-class tools, people, and innovative approaches. We promote NZ by facilitating trade and welcoming visitors.

Our challenge

Make compliance easy to do and hard to avoid

Our challenge is to maximise compliance by making it easy to understand the rules and to work with us, and by making it difficult for people to miss the rules or get around them.

Our focus

We focus on achieving high assurance with a light touch

We secure NZ’s border by focusing on high-risk goods and passengers and avoiding undue disruption to legitimate traders and travellers. When we identify non-compliance, we deal with it appropriately.

Our beliefs

  • People are at the heart of what we do
  • Compliance should be easy to do and hard to avoid
  • We use information, innovation, and technology to shape our future
  • Intelligence-led, risk-based border management
  • New Zealand Customs is a 'welcome home and welcome here'
  • Partnership and collaboration add value and reduce risk
  • Valuing diversity makes the organisation stronger.

Our spirit

Service excellence.

Our character

  • Mana
  • Professional
  • Integrity
  • Enterprising
  • Agile
  • Belonging
  • Connected.

Māori responsiveness

As a government agency, we’re committed to meeting our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. This means that our policies and actions must include the needs of Māori – whether as employees or users of our services.

Our Māori responsiveness policies reflect strategic work plans and have a strong link to our values. These plans aim to enhance and support our overall objectives while at the same time supporting and encouraging Māori aspirations.

For more on our Māori responsiveness, and on our Māori Network, please contact our Principal Advisor Māori Responsiveness,