Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > New Zealand International Parental Child Abduction Information
Citigroup Centre, 3rd Floor,
23 Customs Street East
Auckland, New Zealand
Telephone: +(64)(9) 303-2724
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (64)(4) 462-6000
Fax: +(64)(9) 366-0870
29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon
Wellington, New Zealand
Telephone: +(64)(4) 462-6000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(64)(4) 462-6000
Fax: +(64)(4) 499-0490
*** Consular Services to U.S. Citizens are only available at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland. Consular Services are not available at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington even in case of emergency. Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland for consular assistance. ***
New Zealand and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Convention (Hague Abduction Convention) since October 1, 1991.
For information concerning travel to New Zealand, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for New Zealand.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizen Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including New Zealand. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States: 1-202-501-4444
The New Zealand Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is located in the Ministry of Justice. The Central Authority has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications by reviewing applications received and, if complete, forwarding to the nearest District Court. They can be reached at:
New Zealand Central Authority
Ministry of Justice
Level 3 Vogel Centre
19 Aitken Street
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in New Zealand, the left-behind parent or the relevant Central Authority must submit a Hague application along with supporting documentation to the New Zealand Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the New Zealand Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or New Zealand central authorities. Court costs and attorney fees are covered by New Zealand's legal assistance program. The left-behind parent may be required to cover additional costs, including travel arrangements for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, New Zealand. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in New Zealand. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Convention application to a court in New Zealand. The New Zealand Central Authority will appoint an attorney for left-behind parents who are pursuing the return of or access to a child who was habitually resident in a Convention country. The New Zealand Central Authority provides legal assistance to applicants regardless of their financial situation.
The U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, New Zealand, posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
The New Zealand Central Authority strongly promotes mediation in abduction cases and will attempt to initiate mediation in all Hague Abduction Convention cases. Counsel appointed to represent the left-behind parent will investigate mediation options for the parents.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.