What Not To Bring To New Zealand

What Not To Bring  To New Zealand

“Anything to declare? the customs inspector said.”Two pounds of uncut heroin and a manual of pornographic art,” Mark answered, looking about for Kitty. All Americans are comedians, the inspector thought, as he passed Parker through.” Leon Uris, Exodus

Biosecurity entering  New Zealand is definitely a bigger threat to them than terrorist security. New Zealand depends heavily on natural resources and agriculture and they have gone to great lengths to prevent foreign organisms or disease from entering and harming the country’s wildlife, plant life, marine life and health. I know this because I waited in a queue for two hours to be checked for fruit. If you carry an Australian or New Zealand passport, their line moves faster.

The best thing is not to bring anything with you that resembles food. I ate my almonds while I waited. The sign says no dairy products, honey products, meat, fish, fresh foods, anything not sealed in manufacturer’s packaging or any plant material including seeds, cuttings, and bulbs. Also excluded from entry are some medicinal or natural health products, especially anything unpackaged or without a full list of ingredients. You may also need to be wary of materials such as animal hide, bones or teeth etc. I really want to make some jokes here but I won’t because I was really annoyed about that wait.

If you are bringing outdoor equipment such as tramping boots, camping, fishing or diving gear, this also needs to be declared. It is also a good idea to make sure that your gear is clean, give it a good wash and clean off any debris, such as plant material or soil.

There are specially trained dogs at the airport to check for food. How specially trained does a dog have to be for that? There is an exhaustive list on the MPI  website of things that you cannot bring in. (Ministry for Primary Industries not Military Police Information as I originally thought)

Having an Arabic sounding last name when pronounced wrong, I’m used to being thoroughly checked for weapons and really did not understand the seriousness of this.  I did not declare the closed big bags of M and M peanuts, jelly bellys and vitamin C bars  in my luggage. It passed through the  food X-ray machine and no one went through my bags as they normally do. Apparently I look more like a terrorist then a candy smuggler. 

If you don’t declare any at risk goods you are immediately fined 400 NZ dollars and it can go up to 100,000 NZ dollars. So declare all food. I will next time also.They will decide if you can keep it or not. 

There is a big  interactive exhibit in the Wellington Museum called Catch the Invaders where you can pretend to be the MPI. I was finally able to comprehend the importance of this. New Zealand’s isolated geography has been helpful in keeping disease and pests out. Greater international trade, climate change and tourism makes it vulnerable to new pests and diseases that will affect their wildlife and economy. New Zealand is a beautiful country that still has vast areas of wilderness  and I understand now why they want to keep it that way. (photo Cordula Reins)

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Auckland, New Zealand

Things I Have Learned In Auckland, New Zealand

“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.”  Simon Van Booy 

Auckland  is called Tamaki Makaurau in Maori. This area is known as the Tamaki plains. It means “Tamaki of a hundred lovers,” referring  to the many battles of tribes for the possession of this desirable region.

It is also known as “the city of sails”. It has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.  One in three Aucklanders have a boat.

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Kiwis are among the best sailors in the world. New Zealand won the last  America’s Cup .

The MPI ( Ministry For Prima industries) have serious recreational fishing rules. They want to keep fish available for everyone. There are rules around the number of fish and shellfish you can catch, the sizes of fish you are allowed to keep and where and how you can fish.

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Auckland  has largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. It was originally inhabited by Maori people.

The Sky Tower In Auckland  is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 metres. You can hurl yourself off and plummet 192 meters if you are looking for something to do in Auckland. Its called the Sky Jump and it has a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor which I guess makes it completely safe.

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Parnell and Ponsonby are trendy areas in Auckland full of bars, restaurants and cute stores.

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It is fun to walk around the lively marina and have green lipped mussels. I normally am not a fan of mussels but these are giant and delicious. They are supposed to be really healthy and help with joint inflammation.

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Waiheke Island is a beautiful island 40 minutes away by ferry from Auckland.

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It has become quite expensive in the last few years but still has a relaxed island feel.

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It is known as New Zealand’s island of wine.

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Mudbrick and Te Whau wineries stand out, with their stunning views, great food and superb wine.  

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There are  wine tasting tours or do it on your own.

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You can do it as a day trip as i did or stay a few days as my daughter and son-in-law do. It is one of their favorite places. I  can see why.

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The island is small but not walkable. We toured some art galleries and met local artists.(Gabriella Lewenz Studio Gallery)

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(Waiheke Community Art Gallery)

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We stopped in the little town of Oneroa with plenty of  restaurant options and on to the beach. I would have been happy to stay there with a book for the rest of the day.

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I spent a beautiful day on Waiheke Island with Niki Walker of Ananda Tours.www.ananda.co.nz/ She is fun, knowledgeable and clearly loves this island. Thanks for a lovely day.

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New Zealand’s most famous soap opera, Shortland Street, is filmed on the North Shore of Auckland.

Auckland is the largest as well as the most populous urban area of New Zealand.

One in three adults in New Zealand are obese. Though it is bad for their health, it makes it a great place to go to the beach as opposed to Los Angeles.

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mt. Everest lived in Auckland. His number was in the phone book. When school children, did a report on him, some called him up to get the information directly from him. He was happy to help. Eighteen thousand people showed up for his funeral.

Australians love to tell sheep jokes to New Zealanders. New Zealanders laugh it off because they know Australians come from criminal stock. (Ha) They have a good-natured rivalry.

The Auckland Domain is Auckland’s oldest park, and one of the largest in the city.  The park is home to one of Auckland’s main tourist attractions, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which sits prominently on the crater rim of Pukekawa.

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Pukekawa, is one of the oldest volcanoes  in the Auckland Volcanic Field.

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Rangitoto is a baby volcano in Auckland and is only about 600-700 years old when compared to the other giant volcanoes.

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Auckland is built on a volcanic field. There are about 50 volcanoes in Auckland, all of which were active in the last 600 years or so and 96 per cent extinct. 

The city of Auckland  uses their volcanic craters as sports fields.

Auckland has two harbors on two separate major bodies of water, namely Manukau Harbor on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbor on the Pacific Ocean.

The Harbor Bridge in Auckland has 8 lanes and the central barrier in the bridge is moveable.

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Kauri trees in New Zealand are among the oldest trees in the world. By the time Auckland became the capital of New Zealand Kauri was being used  for building. It was a prestigious timber to have and nine out ten houses were being built from it inside and out. The supply of Kauri is dwindling so boats and houses made from kauri are worth a lot of money in Auckland. People try to keep them in the family.

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Auckland has a perfect, 100 km of coastline and is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world.

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You can get a government no interest loan for college if you stop the brain drain and stay in New Zealand. if you leave, the Kiwis say it raises the IQ of both countries.

If you have an engineering degree from the University of Auckland you are guaranteed a job around the world.

Auckland is the breeding ground for the New Zealand Sea Lion, which is the most endangered of the five species of sea-lion in the world.

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A very weird fact is that ‘pigeon post’ is still considered an official posting service in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. Pigeon post refers to using pigeons to carry the mail. Pigeons were used to post letters between the North and South island before 1908. The stamps are very valuable now.

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In regard to the quality of life, Auckland currently ranks 5th among 218 major cities of the world.

I usually don’t write  about a half day tour of a city but I learned and retained more information with Wayne Thomas of Bush and Beach Tours http://www.bushandbeach.co.nz/, then any day tour I have ever been on. He has a way of passing on knowledge that is sometimes funny and sometimes personal  that makes you remember it.  This is a wonderful welcome tour of New Zealand. I highly recommend him.

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Fly safe,

JAZ