What is shipping by Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO)?

RORO Ships are designed to carry rolling-stock cargo e.g. motor vehicles, campervans and large motorhomes which can be driven on and off the ship’s decks. The vessels are fully enclosed and do not expose the vehicles to the salt air while at sea. All vehicles are secured to the ships decks and are safe for the entire journey to NZ.

What is shipping by Flat Rack?

Flat Rack shipping is a method of shipping bulky items like motorhomes and caravans that will not fit inside a shipping container. The vehicle essentially sits on a 40′ container that has no sides and no top. This container is stowed immediately below the ships’ cargo deck lids, thereby protecting it from the salt air and sea spray while at sea.

What is BAF?

BAF is a variable adjustment in shipping charges to offset price fluctuations in the cost of bunker fuel for the vessel. We let you know what these are at the time of providing you a cost estimate, but please note these rates can change and we will advise you before shipping.

How do I ensure that my Motorhome/campervan is going to comply with New Zealand standards?

Information is available online at the New Zealand Transport website – www.nzta.govt.nz but the team at Kiwi Motorhome Importing will look at the documents and specification of the unit you are looking at shipping before it departs to ensure you don’t run into any costly repairs/modifications or non-compliance when you arrange to get the vehicle on the road.

What is the standard documentation and information required to ship a vehicle?

  • Purchase Invoice
  • Bill of Lading
  • Full details of shipper, consignee and vehicle (make, model, year and chassis number)
  • Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

What is LCL shipping?

LCL shipping means, Less than a full Container Load. Essentially what we do is match up a small motorhome with another vehicle that both fit within a 40ft Container. Our experienced and dedicated teams in both the UK and NZ ensure the vehicles are loaded and unloaded safely – our teams use packing materials to ensure the vehicles arrive undamaged. Most small UK campervans can fit inside a 40ft container, but there are some models that might not so it is important for us to know the full dimensions of the unit you are looking to ship to ensure it will fit. There are some smaller low roof motorhomes that can also fit inside a container – please enquire with our team.

What is a post-shipment condition inspection and report?

A record of the condition of the vehicle noting any damage, scratching, presence of a stereo – including digital photos etc. Our agents personally inspect every Motorhome at the port on arrival and also do full inspections of the vehicle once it is unpacked at our provider’s specialist vehicle unpacking facilities.

Do I qualify to bring my vehicle into NZ without paying any Taxes or Duties?

If you are an immigrant, or are returning to New Zealand after 21 months or more overseas, you are entitled to concessions (conditions apply), on private motor vehicles that either accompany you or are sent separately. It is possible to import more than one motor vehicle or GST and duty free, if you are able to meet all the concessionary requirements for each vehicle. To show that all conditions have been met, you will require full documentary evidence. If you do not qualify for concessionary entry, private motorhomes and will attract Duty (10% for vehicles that are not manufactured in the UK and Australia) and GST when they are brought in. If you have owned the vehicle in the UK for a while but don’t meet these requirements, when we submit the documents to NZ Customs we can depreciate the value according to NZ Customs guidelines, which will mean you would pay less Duty and GST based on this new value.

What do I need to know about Customs requirements?

By law you are required to declare all items and values to Customs or ourselves. If you are unsure about taxes and duties or anything else please let us know prior to shipping. We need to know about any personal effects or other items inside your motorhome upon arrival to NZ so we can accurately declare them to customs.

What do I need to know about MPI requirements?

MPI will be looking for any foreign animals, insects, mud, dirt, and food or plant material. If any of the above are found they may be cleaned, confiscated or destroyed at your cost. It is essential that all items imported are declared and are as clean as possible.

Can I pick up my vehicle from the port in New Zealand?

In most circumstances only an approved carrier can enter the port to pick up your vehicle, however Kiwi Motorhome Importing have the contacts and only use the best carriers in the business and we will ensure the safe delivery of your Motorhome to our compliance facility. We also hold the necessary induction accreditation for the Port of Tauranga.

When should I insure my vehicle?

Almost all NZ based insurance companies may be able to insure your vehicle once it arrives in NZ before it is complied and registered. They can use the vehicle’s unique 17 digit VIN number initially – then once it’s registered, you can update them with the correct number plate details. Our marine and trade insurance policies will cover your vehicle right up to handing the motorhome or caravan over to you. Please talk with us as we can advise you on the industries best insurers, and we will let you know when you need to activate your own insurance.

Does my motorhome or caravan need compliance?

Upon entry to NZ, your motorhome will need to complete entry compliance formalities and a WOF (warrant of fitness) inspection or a COF (certificate of fitness), along with electrical and gas inspection/modifications and certification to complete the compliance process. Caravans do not require entry compliance, however electrical and gas certifications are required. Should you wish to ‘Freedom Camp or Wild Camp’ you will then be required to be fully self-contained to meet current NZ council by-laws and regulations. We can provide all the necessary certifications from accredited practitioners.


How is GST and Duty worked out?

NZ Customs sets out the guidelines for working out how much GST and Duty you will need to pay on arrival of your vehicle. All United Kingdom and Australian manufactured motorhomes, caravans and campers will be duty free. All other vehicles like motorhomes and campers will attract a 10% Duty, Caravans will attract 5% Duty, (UK and Australian manufactured vehicles are exempt from duty), and all attract 15% GST, based on the purchase price of the vehicle converted in NZD. To work out the GST value to pay, they take the converted purchase price in NZD, add the applicable Duty, add the cost of freight to NZ and also the cost of Insurance (to come up with what is known as the CIF value-Cost, insurance and freight (CIF)) – you will pay 15% of this total CIF value. Talk to the Kiwi Motorhome Importing team, and we can work this out for you and break it down in an easy-to-read spreadsheet.

What documentation will I require?

When you work with the Kiwi Motorhome Importing team, we are very experienced in what is required and we know exactly what you need, and we will ensure you have the correct documentation;

Here are some of the documents we require if buying new:

  • Copy of the Certificate of Conformity (C.O.C)
  • Copy of the Pre Delivery Inspection (P.D.I) – conditions apply please check with us
  • Copy of the Purchase Invoice/agreement
  • Originals of the above will be needed for compliance. And we will need a copy of your passport and a completed NZ customs client code form, which we can provide.
  • If buying second hand:
  • Copy of the Certificate of Conformity (C.O.C)
  • Copy of the purchase invoice
  • Copy of V5 registration (original will be needed by compliance in NZ)
  • And we will need a copy of your passport and a customs client code form, which we can provide.

Concessions and depreciation

Buying a motorhome in the UK and exporting it back to New Zealand can be very worthwhile and currently many New Zealand and Australian citizens are exporting quality new UK/European motorhomes to New Zealand and achieving considerable savings when compared to local motorhome prices, typically in the vicinity of 10-25% with favourable currency exchange rates.  If you decide to purchase a new motorhome in the UK for export, you can currently purchase this without paying any UK Taxes, VAT at the rate of 20%. In addition, if you use the vehicle for your holiday you may be able to qualify for depreciation at 13.5% per year, based on straight line depreciation of 1.125% per month on the vehicle value for duty (UK and Australia vehicles exempt from duty), payable on importation into New Zealand and based on the time of ownership and actual use overseas.

What is a Temporary Import?

If you import non-consumable goods such as your motorhome that will be re-exported within 12 months, you may qualify to bring the goods in using a Temporary Import Entry. This means that you may not be liable for import duties and/or Goods and Services Tax (GST) – although you may be required to provide some form of security e.g. a cash deposit with NZ Customs, while the goods are still in the country. This security will be fully refunded if the goods are re-exported within 12 months from the date you brought them in. In lieu of security, New Zealand accepts the ATA Carnet.

Other Ways to import your motorhome under a TIA - 'The Collector of Customs'

Lodge a cash deposit or financial Bond with the Collector of Customs. This deposit or bond needs to cover the relevant Goods and Services Tax, currently 15%. If you’re bringing in a campervan or motorhome, the deposit or bond should also over the applicable duty, currently 10%. A ‘Temporary Import Approval and Undertaking’ known as a TIA. We can advise further details on these options.

What is a once only extension?

Under certain circumstances an extension maybe granted to the 12 months temporary import.

Other Ways to import your motorhome - 'The Carnet System'

This is a document much like a passport for your car. Arrange a Carnet de Passages en Douane (Carnet) through your local FAI/AIT before bringing your vehicle into New Zealand. Your car will be cleared at customs when it arrives in the country. While we can’t process this clearance for you, we’re happy to explain what’s involved.

What is a Carnet (CPD) - Carnet de Passages en Douane?

The carnet-Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) is an international Customs document. It is designed to make the temporary importation of goods into other countries much easier. It is a guarantee that the goods you are taking into that country will eventually be taken out again and returned to their country of origin. The same document set is used at both ports of departure and ports of arrival. It contains a set of detachable import/export vouchers to be completed by Customs at each port. The ATA carnet has a validity of 12 months commencing from the date of issue.

What is a document authorising permanent residence in NZ?

It’s a document authorising residency in NZ and can mean any of the following:

  • A current New Zealand passport,
  • A current Australian passport,
  • A current New Zealand residence visa or permit or a New Zealand current returning resident’s visa or permit.
  • A current permanent residence visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • A current New Zealand work visa or work permit that was issued for a minimum of twelve months.
  • A current New Zealand work visa or work permit issued under the Work to Residency (Skilled Migrant Category) policy or the Long Term Business Visa/Permit category.
  • A current New Zealand visitor’s visa or permit that was issued for a minimum of three years.

What is a period of ownership and actual use? (Source material NZ Customs)

A vehicle will not qualify for concessionary entry if the owner surrenders it for shipping to New Zealand before 12 whole months have passed since original delivery was taken; or the owner leaves for New Zealand without having used the vehicle for a minimum of one year e.g. if you purchase and take delivery of a vehicle on 10 June, you must not hand it over to be shipped before 10 June of the following year; and you must not leave for New Zealand before that date. Lifestyle and work requirements may dictate that the owner is not in a position to use the vehicle on a daily basis. This will not necessarily disqualify a vehicle from concessionary entry if you can satisfy Customs that the vehicle in question was available for use whenever it was needed. The key element is that the periods of actual use, if not continuous, should span a full 12 months.


This varies depending on the vehicle and country of origin.

A temporary vehicle import is where a vehicle is brought into New Zealand by a resident of another country, usually for a maximum of 12 months, while remaining registered in its country of origin. The vehicle’s registration in its country of origin must remain current for the duration of its stay in New Zealand, and must remain in the name of the person who imported the vehicle into New Zealand.

The vehicle must be exported out of New Zealand within the allowed temporary entry period.

What is it all going to cost?

Talk to the Kiwi Motorhome Importing team and we can put together a cost analysis for you based on the specific vehicle you are looking at.

Yes you could do it yourself!!!

We New Zealanders like to think of ourselves as a nation of DIYers who can turn their hand to most jobs, however international shipping and importing of motorhomes is an entirely different proposition.

When importing a caravan, motorhome, car or motorbike from another country, you’re looking at having to consider more than one countries set of rules and regulations. You will need to consider the best way to have the vehicle shipped  and you have to think about even the smallest details to ensure your vehicle arrives in New Zealand safe, secure, complied and ready to hit the open road.

If you were to travel to the UK or Europe could you really be doing all this work whilst you are travelling around, thousands of kilometres from home probably with limited forms of communication…..

And you’re supposed to be on holiday!!!

Here are just some of the challenges you could face if you chose to import a vehicle on your own;

Being in two places at the same time:

One of the most difficult aspects of shipping is being based in New Zealand and having to deal with companies half way around the world.

The Paperwork:

Ensuring your choice of motorhome is VAT free if brand new and unregistered. Before shipping you may have to find a place to have the vehicle steam cleaned, source a reliable shipping agent, organise Bills of Lading, is the vehicle FOB or CFR on the ship? Where do I access the best insurance for shipping/transit? What is the correct paperwork required by NZ customs and for MAF clearance when it arrives in NZ? will the vehicle comply to New Zealand standards, what about gas, electrical and self-containment modifications and certification?


There are a lot of processes and procedures to go through just to get your motorhome ready to ship. For example, you’ll need to coordinate export documentation and clearance, transport the motorhome to the port, access marine insurance and bill of lading


Take close-up photos of all parts of the vehicle (inside and out) in case you need to show marine insurers, and when you are importing a caravan or motorhome, you disconnect the battery and remove things like fire extinguishers, gas bottles and food.

Customs and MAF clearance:

New Zealand has some of the world’s strictest and toughest regulations surrounding importing vehicles. Customs clearance is one thing you’re probably aware of, but knowing exactly how closely MAF monitors imports and the levels to which vehicles need to be clean can save you money and time (MAF will charge you if extra cleaning is needed or if it has to destroy anything discovered in the shipped motorhome). Key things to understand, check and ensure are: the vehicle has less than a quarter tank of fuel, cleaning is very thorough throughout motorhome (including tough to get to places such as the underside and engine bay, awnings and wheel arches) and inner cargo is also clean, compliant and documented.


Compliance can be a major headache for vehicles purchased overseas – ranging from emissions to seat-belts and construction to usage. Getting this wrong can mean your vehicle is stuck in a warehouse in New Zealand for months while you source parts from overseas or arrange for work to be done. And, of course, this can be extremely costly. Your statement of compliance has to come from an authorised representative of a vehicle manufacturer and list standards that are in the New Zealand current prevailing rules and regulations. We can advise exactly how your vehicle needs to comply with NZ regulations, we can also spot potential pitfalls before the vehicle is shipped and help arrange compliance before the vehicle arrives in New Zealand. If you get this wrong your vehicle may never be able to achieve compliance!!!

Door-to-door service:

Upon arrival in New Zealand, there can still be some major challenges to get over before you can get behind the wheel. An inspection for damage (to compare before and after photos), a MAF inspection, any potential cleaning, Customs clearance and actually taking possession of the vehicle can be time-consuming and potentially very costly. We ensure the inspections and cleaning happen all in one location – a Customs Bonded Warehouse – to minimise handling and transport costs and the risk of damage. We utilise purpose-built Transporters to transport your vehicle to our premises, or right to your door to make life far easier and worry free.

Costing model:

We are working for you, on your behalf.

Because Kiwi Motorhome Importing is utilising the best industry professionals, we understand how to blend a trusted, careful and worry free service with competitive prices. Go it alone and you’ll be likely to pay full rates at every step of the journey, whereas we can provide competitive rates for all of the procedures including marine transit insurance; because we’re not affiliated to any single shipping line, we can also advise on best prices; and because we understand the process we can arrange for services such as cleaning and compliance to be carried out where the vehicle is to avoid extra handling and transport costs.