Travelling back to NZ while Auckland is at Alert Level 3
New Zealand travellers in the Cook Islands can travel back on a scheduled flight. You cannot fly if you have been at a location of interest in New Zealand or if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
Before you travel
We encourage you to fly back as soon as possible. Before you travel:
- make sure you follow all Alert Level 2 health restrictions in the Cook Islands
Check the Cook Islands government website (external link)
- complete the Nau Mai Rā travel declaration. If your travel plans have changed, please fill out the declaration again.
If you have symptoms or have been at a location of interest in NZ
You need to contact Te Marae Ora (Cook Islands Ministry of Health) if you arrived in the Cook Islands between 3 August and 16 August (Cook Islands time) and you:
- have COVID-19 symptoms, or
- have been at a location of interest in New Zealand at the stated time.
Call Te Marae Ora for advice on 57481, or 57482, or 57486, or 56199. You will need to get a COVID-19 test and self-isolate for 14 days before you can return to New Zealand.
When you arrive in NZ
Travel is restricted in Auckland at Alert Level 3. However, you can travel through New Zealand to get home..
You must do the following:
- Travel home as quickly and directly as possible.
- Follow all public health requirements while travelling, including wearing face coverings, physical distancing and scanning QR codes.
- If you need to stay in transit accommodation in Auckland while waiting to return home, follow all Alert Level 3 restrictions.
- Someone can pick you up at the airport if you are joining their household bubble. They can travel into Auckland to pick you up, as long as they do not travel to any other locations in Auckland. They should carry evidence of why they are travelling
Recommended evidence for travel (external link)
How quarantine-free travel works
You can travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands without having to go into managed isolation or self-isolation when you arrive. This is called quarantine-free travel.
Anyone in the Cook Islands can travel quarantine-free to New Zealand, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria and immigration requirements.
You can visit each country for any length of time and you do not need to stay for 14 days before you return.
Quarantine-free travel is available on commercial flights only.
Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands does not include Australia. You must spend 14 full days in New Zealand before you can continue your journey through to the Cook Islands or Australia.
You must meet some criteria
To travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight, you must meet the following criteria:
- You need to spend the 14 full days before your date of departure in either New Zealand or the Cook Islands.
Note this means you can travel from day 15 onwards.
- You have not had a positive COVID-19 test in the 14 days before you depart. If you have, you must have written advice from a health practitioner that you are no longer infectious.
- You are not waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test taken in the past 14 days.
- You must complete a travel declaration before you depart (see information below).
- You must answer questions about your health at departure (see information below).
- You meet immigration requirements (see information below).
Normal immigration rules apply
Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens. They can travel to, live and work in New Zealand and do not need a visa or New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
Australian citizens may travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand without a visa or NZeTA.
Citizens of other countries need a visa or NZeTA to travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand.
You must complete the Nau Mai Rā travel declaration before you depart from the Cook Islands. You will not be able to board the plane if you have not completed it. It mainly asks you about your travel plans and contact details. Everyone travelling must complete the declaration, or have one completed for them.
You cannot use Internet Explorer to complete this form — use Google Chrome or another browser.
If you need help, would like to give feedback or have technical issues, contact the Nau Mai Rā travel declaration team.
Pre-departure health declaration
You must answer questions about your health at departure — you will not be able to travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions that explain any symptoms you may have (for example hayfever), make sure you bring evidence of this to avoid being denied boarding. This evidence must be a medical certificate.
You do not need a pre-departure test
You do not need a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test for travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight.
At the airport and travelling
Wear a face covering
Wear a face covering on the flight. If you do not have one, your airline will give you one. You should also wear your face covering while in your departure and arrival airports.
Before you depart
You’ll notice extra precautions at the border. Please cooperate with requests from staff. Health professionals may be stationed at airports to undertake random temperature checks and health assessments of travellers.
You must answer questions about your health at departure — you will not be able to travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have pre-existing medical conditions that explain any symptoms you may have (for example hayfever), make sure you bring evidence of this to avoid being denied boarding. This evidence must be a medical certificate.
Make sure you and your travelling companions have completed the Nau Mai Rā travel declaration. You need to complete this before you depart the Cook Islands.
On the plane
If you feel unwell on the flight, you will be isolated from others. When you arrive in New Zealand, your health will be assessed, and decisions will be made about what happens next for you and possibly for others on the flight.
You should be prepared in case you need to meet any costs for quarantine or hospital care.
When you arrive
Unless exempt, you must wear a face covering at the airport up until you go through Customs.
Travellers from quarantine-free flights will be taken through a green zone at the airport. There will be no contact with anyone who is arriving from other parts of the world and who are going into managed isolation or quarantine facilities.
Signs will direct you to Customs and baggage claim. You’ll also see health professionals stationed around the airport. They will do random temperature checks and health assessments of travellers.
Airport staff will give you information sheets about how to stay safe from COVID-19 while you are in New Zealand, what to do if you feel unwell or there are community cases of COVID-19 during your stay. You can also pick up an NZ COVID Tracer booklet to help you keep track of where you have been.
New Zealand’s biosecurity checks at the border will operate as usual under quarantine-free arrangements. You will need to declare or dispose of any goods that could carry pests or diseases.
After you arrive in New Zealand
Practise good hygiene
Wash your hands often with soap, or use hand sanitiser. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
Keep track of where you have been
Keep track of your movements so we can let you know if there have been community cases of COVID-19 where you have been.
Download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app
Download and use the NZ COVID Tracer app to help you keep track of the places you have visited. Using the app is one thing we can all do to help contact tracing go faster and stop the virus from spreading when a case of COVID-19 is detected.
New Zealand's contact tracing system is a little different to the CookSafe+ app and CookSafe QR code Card system. You can both scan QR codes and turn on Bluetooth tracing in NZ COVID Tracer.
You do not need a New Zealand phone or a New Zealand Apple or Google account to download NZ COVID Tracer.
- Download on the App Store for iPhones (external link)
- Get it on Google Play for Android phones (external link)
- How to use NZ COVID Tracer
Scan QR codes
All businesses and services in New Zealand have to display a QR code. Use the NZ COVID Tracer app to scan the QR code to keep a private digital diary of everywhere you go.
Turn on Bluetooth tracing
You should also turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app. Bluetooth tracing allows you to receive an alert if you have been near another app user who tests positive for COVID-19. It is safe, private and anonymous.
If you have the CookSafe+ app, turn Bluetooth tracing on in NZ COVID Tracer. Doing this will switch off Bluetooth tracing in CookSafe+. This is because you cannot use more than one Bluetooth tracing app at the same time.
Use your own paper notebook or keep a photo record
If you do not have a smartphone, keep track of where you have been with the NZ COVID Tracer booklet or your own pen and paper, or keep a photo record. Remember to sign paper registers when you visit places like shops.
Keep track of:
- where you went
- when you went there — date and time
- who you met.
You can pick up an NZ COVID Tracer booklet when you arrive at the airport in New Zealand, or you can download one to print yourself.
Wear a face covering
Wear a face covering on all flights in New Zealand. If you do not have one, your airline will give you one.
You must also wear a face covering on public transport. Public transport includes buses, trains, ferries and jet boats. We also encourage you to wear one in places where physical distancing is not possible.
Some people do not need to wear a face covering.
If you feel unwell
If you feel unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms, stay in your accommodation and call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116 for advice.
If you are offered a test for COVID-19, please take it. The test is free of charge for everyone, unless you need one to enter another country. By getting a test, you are helping keep everyone safe.
Get to know our COVID-19 Alert Levels
New Zealand has a 4-tier COVID-19 Alert Level system. Make sure you know what to do at different Alert Levels.
Announcements, changes to Alert Levels and what to do at different Alert Levels will be on this website.
Be prepared, and have a plan if your travel is disrupted
Community cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand or the Cook Islands could lead to the Government pausing any quarantine-free travel arrangements while it gathers information about the risk.
You are responsible for managing any disruption to your travel due to COVID-19.
Have a plan if your travel is disrupted
Have a plan for what to do if your return to the Cook Islands is delayed. You may need to stay in New Zealand for longer than you planned.
You should get travel insurance
You should get travel insurance before you travel overseas. Read the travel insurance conditions and talk to your travel insurer if you are unsure about whether their policy covers COVID-19-related travel disruption.
You may need to enter managed isolation when you return
If the COVID-19 situation changes in New Zealand, you may need to enter managed isolation or self-isolation when you return to the Cook Islands.
What to do if there are COVID-19 cases in New Zealand or the Cook Islands
If community cases occur in New Zealand or the Cook Islands, the Government could pause quarantine-free travel for a time to assess the risk or it could suspend travel for a longer period of time. Travellers should have a plan and be prepared for travel plans to be disrupted.
You airline or travel agent should contact you if your travel is affected.
Where to get information about COVID-19 and quarantine-free travel
Covid19.govt.nz (this website), our social media channels and the Cook Islands Government Department of Health website will announce changes to the COVID-19 situation and quarantine-free travel.
- Cook Islands Department of Health website (external link)
- Unite against COVID-19 social media (external link)
Check these websites and social media regularly for updates that may affect you. You should especially check Covid19.govt.nz for updates just before your return.
How COVID-19 cases would be managed
The New Zealand and Cook Islands governments have a plan for how they will manage quarantine-free travel arrangements if there is an outbreak of COVID-19. The response will depend on the situation and level of risk.
Here is a guide to what might happen and what you could be asked to do if there are COVID-19 cases in the Cook Islands or New Zealand.
Travel to the Cook Islands
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