Whether arriving to the Land of the Long White Cloud (Aotearoa) by Airplane, Cruise Ship or Private Plane or Yacht the cigar scene in New Zealand will be a lot different than what you are used to at home.
Anti-tobacco laws in New Zealand:
Since 1984, New Zealand introduced the Smokefree Environments Act and this has now become one of the harshest anti-smoking laws in the world - with a mandate to "eliminate" smoking by 2025.
The New Zealand Government has set a goal so that by 2025 fewer than 5% of New Zealanders will be smokers. This will be achieved by: protecting children from exposure to tobacco marketing and promotion. reducing the supply of, and demand for tobacco.
With this, you will not be able to view tobacco (cigars or pipe tobacco) and you will not see brands or advertising of any form from tobacco producers.
Don't worry - you can still get a very wide-range of your favourite cigars and pipe tobacco in New Zealand, you just won't be entering a walk-in humidor as such.
The harsh anti-smoking laws have also greatly reduced where you can enjoy a cigar or pipe; you will not find any dedicated cigar (smoking) lounges anywhere in New Zealand.
Where to buy Cigars in New Zealand:
CANTEROS.nz is the largest tobacconist in New Zealand with the widest range of new-world cigars (non-Cuban) and also the greatest range of pipe tobaccos.
Specialised in selling online and via a retail store in Christchurch, New Zealand and delivering throughout the country overnight via NZ Post courier service.
If arriving into Akaroa via Cruise Ship, they are just 1.5hrs away and on the edge of the central business/retail district.
From Lyttleton (the closest Cruise Ship terminal) they are 15 minutes drive away; alternatively if you have flown into Christchurch they are just a 25 minute drive away.
Alternatively they happily ship orders overnight to your next available Hotel or destination.
If you are looking for Cuban cigars, they can be purchased from Havana House in Auckland.
Where to enjoy cigars in New Zealand:
Unfortunately, unlike almost every other country in the world; New Zealand's harsh anti-smoking/anti-tobacco laws have eliminated any dedicate smoking lounges throughout the country.
You will still find most hotel's allow smoking in certain areas as well some bars and restaurants in most cities allow smoking (though these are getting harder to find as the government continues to entice the hospitality sector to stop allowing this) - please note these are all outside, some will be covered and semi-enclosed if you are lucky.
Ultimately it pays to check ahead with your accommodation if smoking is allowed or not; certainly you will (sadly) not find anywhere inside where you can enjoy a cigar.
If bringing your own cigars into New Zealand:
New Zealand Customs are certainly one of the friendliest border control agencies in the world in our experience; however you will need to be aware that bringing your own tobacco into New Zealand is likely to incur excise duty fees.
As of January 1st, 2023:-
Cigars NZ$1,472.14 per kilo of tobacco content (KTC)
Pipe tobacco NZ$1,678.29 per kilo of tobacco content (KTC)
For a Robusto-sized cigar expect to pay approximately NZ$20 in local duty; for a Toro-sized cigar expect to pay approximately NZ$26 in local duty.
The Duty Free Limited on tobacco when arriving in New Zealand is 50 grams (4 Robusto's or 3 Toro's).
New Zealand (Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud) is a wonderful country to visit; you can still get a great selection of cigars and pipe tobacco within the country - you may need to brace yourself for a different retail/shopping experience and be prepared to whether the weather for your enjoyment.