Gulf Harbour Radio
Arrival in NZ
Requirements are still somewhat confusing and flexible so best to check the government web site for the latest information. There are different requirements from so called ''bubble countries' .
Excerpts from a letter received last year are
" Applications for permission for a yacht to come to New Zealand, including under the humanitarian or compelling reasons, can be made to the Director-General of Health (see Flotsam for web address).
The maritime border exception would be unlikely to enable the granting of visas and entry to foreign nationals on yachts for situations relating solely to financial loss or to vessels travelling primarily for pleasure or convenience such as tourists or 'wintering over'. People in vessels travelling to New Zealand to 'winter over' (for example, to avoid hurricane/cyclone season in the Pacific) may have other genuine humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs for coming, which would need to be demonstrated to qualify for an exception. I hope that this information is helpful to you. Thank you for writing. Yours sincerely , Hon Kris Faafoi, Minister of Immigration"
Fiji now has a significant number of active Covid cases but at time of writing are still operating using the 'blue lane' system' so are the only Island group available to cruisers in the 2021 season. The situation is very fluid so check their web site. A few NZ boats have left or are about to leave. After their negative Covid test and approval from Fiji the boat must leave within 72 hours which can sometimes mean the weather has changed unless you have timed your Covid test well! Getting a test in the weekend is problematical.
You are required to do a direct trip and anything less than 14 days will require a stay in the quarantine area. If a stop is made in Minerva reef then your time starts again from there!
The following is from the Fiji web site:
There are however strict conditions to follow to ensure entry. The PM’s speech highlights the requirements:
Fiji will be establishing safe ‘blue lanes‘, open to those yachts and pleasure crafts sailing to Fiji. Any boat coming to Fiji will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. The only port of entry will be Port Denarau Marina. If this pilot project is successful, extending blue lanes to other ports and marinas will be considered.
Those eligible to sail to Fiji fall under two categories, both of which will require them to be tested in another country before departing.
Tonga has absolutely no entry and during 2020 a Tongan navy vessel was at Minerva Reef to stop boats entering there.
New Caledonia gives permission to enter for fuel if you notify them at least a week earlier. Prior to going to the fuel dock you must stay in the quarantine area and get other deliveries from an agent.
The Cook Islands have successfully kept Covid out of their Islands so will not be looking to open up any time soon.
Vanuatu appears to be closed but I have not confirmed this for 2021.
Australia has one port of entry at Bundaberg Queensland. Strict protocols for testing and quarantine are in place so follow their rules. At least you can make entry there.
Good news for those already in NZ- as of August 5, 2020
It seems the visa extension process is working , if a little frustrating.
"Each application is assessed by an immigration officer and will be determined on a case-by-case basis, as per the current immigration instructions. INZ can apply discretion and flexibility in assessing requests for visitor visas for individuals who are already in New Zealand, as we are aware of the challenges that some foreign yacht owners are facing, due to COVID-19".
A health check is required and although costly it is probably a good thing to have a 'personal rig check' from time to time. I believe it costs about NZ$500 per person.
We hope you are enjoying winter cruising around NZ. We are!
If anyone has any fresh information please contact the following who will pass the information to those in the loop.