Many hunters question whether to bring their hunting rifle into New Zealand while planning their trip. It is a very easy process but many hunters now choose to use the Outfitters guns because of travel plans after the hunt.
With many options out there if you decide you prefer to use your own rifle here is the information you will need for U.S residents, for Canadian residents we have a link attached for exporting and importing but the New Zealand side of it is still the same. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/faq/im-ex-eng.htm#f3 for bow hunter you do not need a licence to bring a bow into the country of New Zealand.
- You must first obtain a form 4457 from a local customs port in your State.-https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports where you will take your gun into.
- Apply for your gun permit into New Zealand online no more than 1 month in advance before coming over. New Zealand Safaris provides hunters with all the relevant information you will need to fill this out. And have $25 NZ for customs at your first port of call in New Zealand (most airports have a kiosk where you collect your bags).
- Make sure you have an airline approved gun case and keep the bolt and ammunition in a separate bag (not carry on)- https://www.tsa.gov/travel/transporting-firearms-and-ammunition
- At your airport make sure you notify customs agents that you are travelling with a firearm and ammunition.
- Keep your binoculars, spotting scope, camera or any valuables with you. Your gear MUST be clean, and a good idea to wear your boots if possible as such an important part of your hunting gear if your bag was delayed anywhere at least you have the footwear, the rest can be easily substituted.
- Make a copy of your paper work including flight details and destination, guide pick up point, hotels etc. Technology is great, only when it works.
- Put a tag or identifying mark on your bags, If it is a black there will be 30 others that look like it on the belt.
- When you pick up your bags your gun maybe in the oversized section and not on the conveyor belt typically, look for this there is usually a sign just off to one side.
- Pick up a trolly and take all your gear and gun through customs where they will take you to a police kiosk (at times this can take 10-30 mins) but is a painless exercise once there the local Police in New Zealand are very good dealing with hunters.
- In Auckland you will follow the green line out of Arrivals to domestic, it takes around 10 mins walking (you can catch a shuttle) but its nice to stretch the legs. Re check your bags with typically Air New Zealand, and head back through security to your gate. From Walking off your international flight to your domestic gate will take between 1-1/2 hrs.
- If your travelling after your hunt you can leave your firearm locked at the lodge to pick up on the way back through or take it with you, when leaving New Zealand simple let them know at check in and again keep the ammunition in the box and bolt separated from the gun. On arrival back into the US you will need to declare this at customs with your paper work before carrying on to your connecting flight.