New Zealand is precious, and everyone who lives and travels here has a responsibility to look after it!
The New Zealand tourism industry has come together to launch the Tiaki Promise which actively encourages all visitors to experience New Zealand in a way that keeps them safe; protects the natural environment; respects all cultures; and preserves the country for future generations.
Tiaki means to care for people and place in New Zealand’s native language Te Reo Māori and the Tiaki Promise is an invitation to visitors to care for New Zealand alongside Kiwis. Visitors to New Zealand will learn about the Tiaki Promise before arriving and while travelling around the country. The Tiaki Promise is a commitment to care for New Zealand, for now and for the future.
Basically, you can’t bring food into New Zealand. You are also not supposed to bring “dirty” shoes and camping gear into the country. It might seem a bit over the top, but New Zealand is an island nation with a fragile environment. There are many endemic plants that can be easily harmed when non-native species are introduced. Unfortunately we have had very bad experiences with it in the past.
New Zealand is virtually a nearly cashless society, we use credit and debit cards for everything – even out in woop woop (New Zealand expression for ‚in the middle of nowhere‘). Some shops will decline credit card payments for purchases under $20.
If nobody tells you about the sandflies, we do. First of all – why we have sandflies in New Zealand:
Early Maori legend even has it that the god Tu-te-raki-whanoa had just finished creating the landscape of Fiordland, but the landscape was so stunning in beauty that it stopped people from working and they stood around staring in awe. The goddess Hinenuitepo became so angry at these unproductive people that she created the sandfly to bite them and get them moving again.
Whether it was the goddess’s fault (interestingly, it’s only the sandfly females that bite) or the beauty of our country or our relaxed lifestyle has not been clarified until today. However, the most vicious biters live exclusively on the west coast of the South Island. These pesky insects will swarm on you in the summer, especially in stunning places like Milford Sound or beautiful Lake Rotoiti (Nelson Lakes National Park).
Don’t bring plenty of strong bug spray, or purchase some before you leave civilisation to head out back-country hiking. Don’t spray everywhere with insect repellant. Why not? It’s useless and doesn’t help this much! Our tips and tactics to refrain from scratching:
And another ‚Don’t‘: Do not underestimate these tiny pests. Foreigners appear to be the least tolerant to the insects and it is almost like the sandflies can sense their blood is sweeter or that they are most vulnerable.
Practice sun safety because we have a good strength of the sun. Even if it’s not sunny or hot outside, still put on a layer of SPF to protect your skin. Especially at high altitudes and on the North Island, so always wear sun block even if it’s a cloudy day.
While New Zealand is in the deep southern hemisphere, Auckland is on the 36th parallel south of the equator. So when thinking about the sun, think of cities on the 36th parallel north of the equator – places you’re probably more familiar with, such as Malaga in Spain, the Tunisian capital Tunis, San Luis in California or Las Vegas.