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New Zealand - Clearance

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All yachts have to provide specific information before coming into New Zealand waters.

  1. Extended Notice of Arrival (7 days before, most are lodged day before departure from last port)
  2. Appendix 1 to Extended Notice of Arrival (vaccination details of crew)
  3. Advance Notice of Arrival-small craft (normally also lodged day before departure from last port).

Bio-Fouling Management:
Due to New Zealand’s strict bio-fouling regulations you must ensure the vessel’s hull and niche areas are thoroughly cleaned 30-days prior to arrival in New Zealand and maintain records showing this has been done.  See the Biosecurity section for more information.

NZ Customs:

The Extended Notice of Arrival and Advance Notice of Arrival Documents must be completed and submitted to Customs prior to arrival in New Zealand. For details and links to the online forms, go to Noonsite’s Documents section.

If your ETA or Port of First Arrival changes after submitting the documentation, you must update Customs of this change via email prior to arrival.

The New Zealand Customs website offers detailed information and a list of the procedure to assist when arriving by yacht or small vessel in their online Yacht Pack.


Advance Notification:
Every yacht arriving from overseas must notify NZ Customs at least 48 hours prior to arrival in New Zealand waters, or when your vessel is 12 nautical miles of the coastline. Customs will inform MPI of your arrival. You can make contact by calling Maritime Radio on one of the following frequencies:

  • 4125KHz
  • 6125KHz
  • VHF Channel 16

You must fly the Q-flag once inside New Zealand waters until you have been cleared in.

Places of First Arrival:
Your first place of arrival in New Zealand must be a port or marina that has been approved to receive yachts and other recreational vessels from overseas. These are called ‘places of first arrival’ (PoFA). To manage biosecurity risks of small recreational craft, PoFA’s must have access to an MPI-approved transitional facility for haul-out and decontamination.

There are seven ports and marinas where small craft/recreational vessels (i.e. yachts) can enter New Zealand.  All seven ports and marinas are Customs Controlled Areas (CCAs) and Places of First Arrival (PoFA) for MPI.

Five in the North Island:

Two in the South Island:

  • Lyttleton on the Banks Peninsula, the port for Christchurch
  • Picton in the Marlborough Sounds

Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour Marina is the only PoFAs for superyachts (more than 24 meters in length and professionally crewed). Contact the marina directly to make berthing arrangements.


  • Some ports are approved as a Customs port but may not be approved as a biosecurity port, therefore an application must be made to MPI to arrive at such ports. For any questions contact MPI at If it is an emergency and you haven’t been able to get pre-approval, inform Customs or contact the NZ Police immediately.
  • Most New Zealand ports have a harbourmaster (port authority), but there is no requirement to check in on arrival. The harbourmaster is a local government appointee and can offer local advice on maritime matters if needed.

General Process:
All vessels arriving in New Zealand from overseas must first dock at a quarantine berth at an approved PoFA (listed above). Notify Harbour Control (VHF 16) or Maritime Radio (SSB 4125KHz/6125KHz) on approach to the PoFA. You will be directed to the nearest quarantine dock and Customs will be informed of your arrival.

You must not lay anchor before clearing in. All people, animals and goods must remain onboard until Customs has conducted inspections and clearance has been completed.

Customs: You will be required to submit a number of completed documents to Customs on arrival at your PoFA. Noonsite’s Documents section has a list of these forms.

Immigration: Each person on board must also have a valid passport with a valid visa (if required) and your last port clearance. See Immigration for more details.

Biosecurity: New Zealand has strict regulations to ensure unwanted pests and diseases do not enter their islands. Biosecurity officers will come aboard and ask you to complete the Master’s Declaration form and sign it in their presence. The Masters Declaration lists items that are prohibited.

The officers will inspect the yacht, examine any animals on board, remove the rubbish, look for dirt on any bicycles and sports gear and ask for specific information about the crew, goods aboard and voyage history.

You will be asked to declare all food and ‘at risk’ goods. The main risk items are fruit, vegetables, plant products, eggs, pot plants, meat and other animal products. It is advisable to arrive with a minimum of fresh stores, as would normally be the case after a sea voyage.

Biosecurity risk often depends on the origin of the goods, so try to keep food sealed in original wrappings. If you are uncertain about anything, declare it. Risk goods will be removed for destruction by the inspector unless you request that items such as wooden trinkets be treated at your expense and returned to you.

The MPI website has detailed information on procedures to follow to ensure you are in compliance with biosecurity regulations.

Border Clearance Levy: You will be charged a border clearance levy on arrival. See Fees for more details.

Domestic Cruising:
There are already some marine pests present in New Zealand. As awareness of the need for marine biosecurity grows, more regions implement rules to prevent the spread of these invasive species and how these regions deal with these issues vary. The Top of the North Marine Biosecurity Partnership provides detail on regional marine pest rules, as well as listings for marinas and boatyards and their pest management guidelines.

6 or 1 Rule: When city councils started implementing marine biosecurity programs, some marina’s developed the 6 or 1 Rule – a rule that meant a vessel must provide proof of antifoul within 6 months or lift and wash within 1. Many marinas will require proof of a clean hull or may charge you for an inspection.

See Noonsite’s Restrictions section for further detail.


International Clearance:
All craft departing overseas from New Zealand must depart from a Customs Port of Entry. A Customs officer will meet you at the agreed time and place of departure.

You must submit several forms and advise the New Zealand Customs Service at least 72 hours before your intended departure. See Noonsite’s Documents section for a list of these forms and procedures.

Once issued with a clearance certificate, yachts are required to go to sea immediately unless you have made alternative arrangements with Customs. Any delay should be reported immediately to or by phone at 09 927 8240/0800 486 267; do not resend the forms.

Border Clearance Levy: You will be charged a border clearance levy on departure. See Noonsite’s Fees section for more details.

Last updated:  August 2023

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  1. January 20, 2023 at 8:33 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    November 2022 – reported by Werner Gysi of SY Princess Del Mar:

    Princess Del Mar arrived at the Bay of Island Marina in Opua Nov 1st, 2022. We did the same 8 years ago, when the word biosecurity did not exist. This time I was asked to haul out either in Opua or Marsden Cove Marina and have the hull cleaned. I inquired and found the cost to do so reasonable at $350 for in/out, power wash and one day on hard compared to Opua at $500 plus $25 environmental fee. Marsden Cove Marina would have also been able to accomodate me on Nov 8. already rather Nov. 21. in Opua. Three days later I received an email from Biosecurity that Marsden Cove Marina does not at the time have the licence to do so, so I had to stick around and use the marina in Opua. I did not think that to be very professional, but suggest that sailors arriving in NZ that are not sure about their hull cleanliness should skip Opua and sail the extra 50 or so nm to Marsden Cove Marina. If indeed they have to haul out they at least get a better deal. By the way the re-inspection by Biosecurity after power wash was a modest charge of about $50 to receive the necessary paperwork to keep sailing in NZ.
    I assume that after all Biosecurity noticed that my hull was clean enough. In any case, I was told that the inspector was lenient.
    To get the latest pricing contact:

    Werner Gysi
    Princess Del Mar

  2. May 11, 2021 at 5:08 AM
    2flit says:

    Oceania Marine,; Whangarei, New Zealand Haul Out at Boat Yard
    After a raucous sail up the west coast with over 6 meter seas and 45 knots of wind, boat speeds above 16 kn hitting 20kn, tired after logging our first ever 300+ mile day….We decided to haul-out in Whangarei at Oceania Marine. They had the very best rate for the haul-out and also if we paid them to do all the anti-fouling… so they were almost the most competitive priced of all the yards that had a travel lift for our beam. (Their Travel lift is 10+ meters wide so easily accommodated our 8.06 meter beam.)

    In the last four year of world cruising with two major refits and three bottom jobs…. I would say that I am the most satisfied with this yard for quality of work, friendliness of the staff, and overall ability to get the work done just like I wanted it. This in my experience… is a rare thing to get when you are not doing everything yourself. They did an outstanding job and I am more than 100% satisfied.

    We are hanging in the slings now ready to go back in the water. April 23, 2021.

  3. May 11, 2021 at 2:33 AM
    elyse says:

    All TIEs are now renewed/extended until June 2022.
    Good new for those of us with yachts stuck in New Zealand

  4. May 30, 2020 at 5:41 AM
    swan65cdlgmail-com says:

    Still here! Over five months now on the north island of New Zealand.
    There is now one (1) active Covid case here. NZ has beaten the pandemic!!
    The problem is where to go from here. All the islands in the South Pacific are closed. When they will open is anyone’s guess.
    Should we go on westwards through Asia and the Indian Ocean with the virus looming, or bang our way back to Panama (with the virus looming)?
    Suggestions are welcome.

  5. April 5, 2020 at 7:41 PM
    miluna says:

    After spending several months moored in Opua I would like to share my experiences with the local technicians doing business there. There seems to me that the business owners prey on new arrivals and look at them as their personal solution to providing money for their lives. For sure several yacht owners do not know very much about the inner workings of their vessels so they have no choice but to pay someone to take care of their problems. That’s of course OK, but when they start getting beat up with ridiculous pricing for things being done and for things that really do not need doing then the ugly starts showing.

    My personal experience and nightmare was with a boat watcher that just stopped looking after my boat while I was in the US. Upon my return I found grave damage done due to his incompetence which ultimately cost him several thousand dollars and never an apology or a reason for his failure.

    While there I happened to hear a government report of boats that checked into New Zealand then moved on to different anchorages due in part to Opua’s growing reputation for not a nice place to stay and severe lack of supplies available. The government count was 300 less boats staying in the area for the 2018 season.

    Opua is a convenient place to check into the country, but that’s all it is good for in my humble opinion.

  6. March 27, 2020 at 5:41 AM
    swan65cdlgmail-com says:

    A short situation report from New Zealand.

    After spending most of the 2019-2020 cyclone season (November through April) in the South Pacific exploring the varied and beautiful eastern coast of the North Island of NZ the fabric of modern civilization has fallen apart. We are now in limbo.
    Conditions here in NZ are identical to the reports coming in from other countries and islands. Self-isolation until further notice. A short visit to the nearest grocery store, pharmacy or medical clinic is the only acceptable reason to venture off the boat.
    The NZ authorities have also urged all local boat owners to stay off the water for two reasons. First to avoid contact with others and second to minimize the necessity of any rescue operations by the Coast Guard whose personnel are also in self-isolation. In order to further discourage the use of private boats they have specifically forbidden fishing as well.
    Being a foreign (Norwegian) vessel we have little choice but to keep to ourselves and enjoy the now near empty anchorages. Many of our neighbors are also flying courtesy flags and are in the same situation.
    Our plans were to sail back up to Tonga in the middle of May before exploring Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and on. We have considered venturing north and accepting the weeks of self-isolation that are required at the few destinations that have not specifically announced that entry is not allowed at all. However, should the situation remain unchanged until the next cyclone season, it will be a dubious proposition to legally reenter the safety of New Zealand waters.
    What to do? Hope/try to avoid the virus and stay put, at least until the situation becomes more transparent. It’s hard to see how this lockdown can be upheld for many months as the results will be devastating for most individuals and all nations. Our circumnavigation may be prolonged for a year, but hopefully society will be back on track soon.
    Stay safe!


  7. November 25, 2019 at 5:39 PM
    mikwatts says:

    A lot of yachties have been worried about the new regulations for boats arriving in NZ, so here is the latest experience from my arrival from Tonga yesterday 24th November 2019.

    Met at the Dock with a handshake and a smile. Quickly filled in the documents and then the quarantine guy used his camera on a stick to check the hull. He was very happy and gave me my clearance which allows me to sail to any other areas of the coast. Just before I left Tonga I had a local Tongan scrub the Hull thoroughly (unfortunately this removes a lot of the antifouling but that can’t be helped), was very inexpensive and satisfied all the NZ requirements.

    So, it looks as if we don’t need to worry too much.

    Having done this trip 12 times now I can confirm that both NZ and Tonga are friendly and welcoming places: just make sure that you conform to the regulations, particularly sending Advance Notice of Arrival, which is easy enough.

    Mike Watts
    SV Kokoamo

  8. August 1, 2019 at 1:10 AM
    meridiantop20 says:

    Dockland 5 – The story of a shipyard on the other side of the world

    The sun has just risen and the level of the Hatea River has almost reached the high water mark. Europe is still asleep and New York is getting ready for work. But here, in New Zealand, where time begins, there is already pure action. It is early morning because the tides dominate the operation. The forklift, heavily loaded with shipyard equipment, wooden blocks, supports and pallets are on there way to the next hardstand. The new manager, Boss John Peagram and Big-John, who are always prudent travel lift operators, are preparing to lift out a larger motor vessel. The travel lift, heavy lift-belts and shackles are carefully inspected before is going down to business.

    Nothing is left to chance in this not always uncritical business. The tide has to be right, the currents of the river and often also the wind which blows in the Hatea Valley, but mostly weaker than in the country. The Dockland 5 shipyard is surely one of the best on the river. A short time later, the heavy vessel is hanging over the washing area and is been cleaned by the water jet. The offwash is collected, separated and disposed of, but this is handled by shipyard and does not need to burden the respective captains or owners.

    After 30 minutes to approx. 2 hours depending on the size of the vessel and the amount of cleaning required, the ship stands at its stand and shipowners work can commence. Whether DIY or contractors is left to the ship owner’s decision. If you need advice, you are in the right hands with Boss John and Big John. In administrative matters, postal matters and the local business environment. Natasha in here office likes to advice.

    Many improvements and future plans are on the to-do list and there is a healthy optimism prevailing. Finally, the Steve & Bev Bowling Group is behind Dockland 5 and that’s a good thing. Bev and Steve are longtime entrepreneurs and are real go-getters as in the book. Their group works from the South Seas to the Antarctic. So it’s good reason to believe in a good future for Dockland 5.

    That was not always so! Years of sales efforts and the associated future uncertainties had brought down the yard down to the bones. The management was deprived of the ground under their feet day after day, on which a healthy company should stand. In May 2019 the sale and thus the takeover finally took place. From one day to the other, the customers came back. From now on emails and phone calls where answered and appointments been kept. A completely new and heart freshening feeling.

    Today, the main focus targets the worldwide sailing scene, fishing, pilot boats, rescue boats, work pontoons, tug boats, dive- and specialty-vessels and local boats from small dinghies to mega-yacht, the storage of vessels, transfers from land to water or on to trucks and vice versa.

    In the yard itself and in the nearby environment there is a wide range of service companies for shore site assistance. That makes Dockland 5 a hotspot in the entire NZ Northland region if not even the South-West Pacific.

    Finally, a little bit about the history of Dockland 5: The shipyard was founded in the last century by Dave Culham (Culham Engineering). Later it was sold to Jack and Mary Maclardy, who had it operated by a manager for a little over 20 years. Jack and Mary sold Dockland 5 because they wanted to retired and travel, spending more time with their family. One of the many highlights in the shipyard history was the construction of the 22.8m yacht “Isabel of Newport” by the then United States Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry and many other yachts of the former Friendship era.

    Today, in 2019, it is fair to say:
    “The dockyard shipyard Dockland 5, for generations support for world circumnavigators from all over the world, has awakened to a new life ”

    How to reach Dockland 5:
    Boss John Peagram
    Mobil: 0064 (0) 274 930 812
    Phone 0064 (0) 9438 8558

    Admin Natasha Bowling
    Phone 0064 (0) 9438 8558

    By Mail:
    Dockland 5 Marine Limited
    211 Lower Port Road
    Postbox 11031
    Whangarei / New Zealand

    Website of Dockland 5:
    English Site
    German Site:
    A report of

  9. July 8, 2019 at 11:29 PM
    Murtaig says:

    Has anyone tried using an Android Tablet for operating Navionics charts instead of an iPad ( for example)?

    1. April 27, 2020 at 10:52 PM
      sailspirit says:

      Yes. Bought a Samsung Galaxy TabA and it works. Way cheaper too.

  10. April 15, 2019 at 6:08 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Missing harbour — Kaikoura (South Island, east coast). Anchoring is available off the northern beach, but there are no marina facilities. Subsequent to the 2016 earthquake, some areas of the seabed have risen by between 1 and 5m from their charted depths. It is not advisable to rely on shallow areas of the charts without good current local knowledge. In an emergency it may be possible to shelter within the harbour at South Bay (south west of peninsula), by contacting Whale Watch Kaikoura by phone. Although this is shown as almost drying on most charts there is room for vessels up to 2.1m draft after dredging (2019). Berths in the harbour are private and should be entered only by invitation. Entry should only be considered if Lyttelton (south) or Picton (north) are not practical, each of which are around 12 hrs away.

  11. January 7, 2019 at 2:13 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    This now seems to be settled (at least for 2019) and many of the ports listed as Port Of Entry are now no longer available – see

  12. August 19, 2018 at 9:34 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Statement from MPI:
    Ports of first arrival are approved for specific types of craft (i.e recreational craft). Approval can be removed if the port no longer wishes to receive a certain type of craft or does not have the facilities (hull cleaning facilities) to manage the type of craft. As biofouling requirements have been brought in this season, MPI is reconfirming with each port that normally receives yachts if they are still intending to receive yachts or not.

    Should any changes occur this will be notified on the below webpage. Please check the webpage prior to arrival to ensure you arrive at an MPI approved port.

  13. July 31, 2018 at 6:01 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Auckland is no longer a port of entry, as we received the following mail from the Customs NZ:
    Due to changes with biosecurity requirements governed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand, all arriving small craft can only now be cleared at approved Ports of First Arrival (POFA).
    Auckland is no longer a POFA.

    1. May 5, 2019 at 9:13 AM
      mgfitzoutlook-com says:

      Auckland is a POFA according to the MPI Web Site.

    2. June 13, 2019 at 8:36 AM
      lyndalim says:

      Auckland is NOT a POFA for recreational vessels (yachts). It is only a POFA for “Super yachts only for specified clients only” as per the Biosecurity NZ website.

  14. May 7, 2018 at 2:55 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    New biosecurity rules for boats arriving in NZ: Marine pests and diseases introduced to New Zealand on vessel hulls (biofouling) are a threat to NZ’s marine environment and resources. From May 2018, all commercial and recreational vessels arriving in New Zealand will need to have a clean hull. This means vessels will only be allowed to be carrying a slime layer and goose barnacles. For more info go to
    Have a dive and check niche areas of your hull before you leave for NZ (bottom of the keel tends to get less antifoul and more growth).

  15. May 12, 2017 at 5:10 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Re. Wet Exhaust Silencers/Water Locks:
    Brent at Marine Exhausts Ltd in Auckland was very helpful. We had leaky stainless end caps on our Volvo warlocks that had reached the end of their life. Brent fabricated entire new fibreglass units that exactly matched our old units for our main engine and generator.

    The fibreglass option will never pit and corrode as the stainless steel ones did. He completed the job for less than the cost of the new Volvo parts only!
    As we have met many cruisers who report the same issue with their waterlocks, I thought I’d put his details here and hopefully, it helps someone.
    Brent can be contacted on 021-119-3043.

  16. July 24, 2016 at 4:09 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    I spent last cyclone season in Whangarei working on my yacht. Whilst I believe there must be some honest and hardworking contractors I didn’t find any. Almost without exception the work was delayed, poor or came in way over quotation. Not a good destination for yachties.

  17. September 28, 2015 at 9:11 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Comment from Noonsite

    The 2 years Alan mentions is for the YACHT only, NOT for the crew. See the Immigration section above for the details on visas etc.

  18. September 24, 2015 at 5:19 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Alan! I just read your comment regarding the 2-year stay in New Zealand! Where can I find information about this? We were just about to apply for VISA- but after reading your comment maybe this is all for nothing!


  19. September 1, 2015 at 2:17 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    No fresh produce can be bought into NZ! If the Quarantine officer finds any kind of pests(bugs or anything) in your dry stores, they may be taken and destroyed, meat rules change as to where you can bring certain goods in from as the authorities react to outbreaks of diseases in other countries, therefore rules can change overnight.

    They often want to check wooden souvenirs especially from the Pacific islands for insect damage (or insects themselves) NZ has very few pests and diseases making it’s meat and produce some of the best you will ever have! But there are VERY strict rules in place to keep it this way. I know of a person who tried to hide (his salami and cheeses of all things) and almost ended up in prison, but got away with a hefty fine, $12,000NZD I believe. Please declare and ask if you are unsure. From a former Quarantine Inspector-turned-cruiser.

  20. October 29, 2014 at 12:18 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Additional comment from Alan:
    Word of caution – no meat can be brought in to NZ, except bacon from Sweden and Finland!!…don’t ask; read the rules, they are very strict.
    A French boat ahead of us had two large sacks of probably most of their provisions taken away by quarantine.

  21. October 26, 2014 at 12:53 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    If you want any SSB work done in Auckland, contact Jaques Calvo, Calvotech,
    +64 29 415 0454

  22. October 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Visiting yachts now get an automatic 24 month stay allocated – no extensions, everyone gets 2 years, whether you want it or not!

  23. July 7, 2014 at 4:57 AM
    Data Entry1 says:

    Re ICOM radio repairs: If you are having issues with your ICOM HF radio go to anyone in New Zealand but ICOM NZ. I took my 802 to them (as did one other yacht) and the result was they said “we cannot find out what the fault is but it is uneconomical to repair. We recommend you buy a new one”. In addition, they charged several hundred dollars for their failed efforts. You’d be throwing your money away.

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