New Zealand arrival

A surprising find in the backpack.

The dog sniffed around the kids’ roll-on bag.  And sniffed some more.  The dog’s handler, a customs/biosecurity agent, asked whether we had any food items inside the bag.  No, we assured her, we did not – but she was welcome to look inside. Read on to see what she found!

Auckland skyline, New Zealand.

In the middle of the books and toys was a squashed banana.  Ahah! that’s what happened to the banana snack we had had in the Sydney airport.  Nobody would own up to putting it inside the bag, or even dropping it in by accident.  The banana was confiscated – it was icky anyway – and the dog was given some treats.

After that incident we interrogated the kids about what other surprises might be in the bags.  We carefully declared everything when we went to the Biosecurity section of Customs.  Australian honey – remember that, from Kangaroo Island? – is not allowed into New Zealand.  Darn, we had purchased three large bottles because it was such lovely honey.  They offered to store it for us while we were in NZ – something they clearly do for a lot of banned items for a lot of passengers, judging by the paperwork.  This just added NZ$20 to the cost of our honey.

[update – later, when we left NZ, we debated whether to take the honey to Fiji and risk losing it there, or to leave it in NZ and try to pick it up while in transit on our way back through Auckland.  The latter would be too complicated – all of us would have to enter NZ, with all our bags, and get the honey and check in again for our onward flight.  Not a good plan.  So we brought the honey to Fiji, but the guards there just waved us on.]


This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2021, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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