Avoid the Unintentional Sober Nights
150+ breweries and 700 wineries, alcoholic beverages are certainly a part of New Zealand culture. So if you want to try the best of NZ beers, go out in Auckland, Queenstown, Wellington, or wherever, you will have to show valid ID. Having some sort of proof of age with you when buying alcohol in New Zealand is essential, as there are some very strict rules surrounding underage drinking. Even to get into some late-night bars or clubs you need ID. Hell, you’ll have to show it to every winery on the Marlborough Wine Trail!
So get familiar with what you can and cannot show as a piece of ID with our quick guide. You can’t just show any old piece of ID in New Zealand to buy alcohol. There are only three forms of valid ID, which we will go through in the article below.
Other Things That Will Stop You Being Served Alcohol
Remember that having a valid ID is not the only obstacle you face when trying to get served.
- A bouncer can deny you entry to a venue if he thinks you are drunk
- You can be denied service at the bar if you have had too much
- If one of your friends is underage or does not have an ID, they will not be able to join you in a bar, even to drink a coke.
Your passport should be your go-to ID in New Zealand. You must have one when backpacking on your Working Holiday visa, as it will be accepted and recognised by all.
Most people believe that a simple copy of their passport is enough to purchase alcohol. They would be wrong. Your actual passport is a valid piece of ID.
On the other hand, many of us do not want to risk losing our passport when taking it on a night out. Consider purchasing one of the IDs mentioned below to keep your all-important passport more secure.
Kiwi Access Card
The Kiwi Access Card issued by Hospitality New Zealand was made specifically to act as valid photographic evidence of age and identity document that can be used across New Zealand. It is ideal for anyone who does not hold a New Zealand driver licence or wants to keep their passport safe while travelling.
Applying for the Kiwi Access Card is a simple three steps:
1. Get a Kiwi Access Card Application Form. You can download this from the Kiwi Access Card website here. You can also get a Kiwi Access Card Application Form from any participating New Zealand PostShop. You can find a list of participating New Zealand PostShops on the Kiwi Access Card website under ‘where to apply’.
2. Fill out the form and provide an original photo ID OR original identification document, proof of address, and passport-sized picture.
3. Take the form to a participating NZ PostShop with your supporting documents and the NZ$55 application fee.
You’ll receive the card in about two weeks.
For more details on applying for the Kiwi Access Card, check out How to Get an ID Card in New Zealand.
New Zealand Driver License
Another option for valid ID in New Zealand is to get a New Zealand Driver License. Of course, you will need to have a driver licence from your country or sit a driving test in New Zealand. For most countries, all you need to do is fill out a simple form, do a quick eye test, and pay around NZ$52. Two weeks later, you’ll have yourself an easy-to-carry NZ drivers license.
Although the NZ Driver License is a slightly more expensive option of valid ID in New Zealand, it comes with a few extra benefits for those who plan to drive in New Zealand and/or stay longer than 12 months. As it is a valid form of ID, the NZ Driver License means you can legally drive in New Zealand too – great if your overseas driver license is not in English which would make it invalid. Overseas driver licenses become an invalid form of driver license in New Zealand if you have been in the country for more than 12 months, so you would have to get NZ Driver License if you plan to stay and drive in New Zealand for more than a year. As an added bonus, it will make a great souvenir to take back home.
For more information of how to get an NZ Driver Licence, check out Converting Your Driver License into a New Zealand Driver License.
Forms of ID That Will Not be Accepted in New Zealand
Only the three forms of photographic ID mentioned above are accepted in New Zealand to prove your age when buying alcohol. If that message is still unclear, then here are some examples of IDs that will most definitely not work when buying alcohol in New Zealand!
- Overseas driver licence
- International driver licence
- Student card
- Youth travel card
- Photocopy of your passport, Kiwi Access Card, 18+ Card or NZ Driver License
- Any passport, Kiwi Access Card, 18+ Card or NZ Driver License that is out of date
What You Need to Know About Alcohol Bans
- Some local councils ban alcohol in defined public areas. Big signs indicate which areas these are.
- Police can search your bag if you are in, or entering, an area with an alcohol ban. If you are found with alcohol, police can confiscate all of it and search you and your vehicle.
- Plus, the fine is NZ$250… Yikes!