Country of residence: the country where the person last lived or will next live for 12 months or more.
Travel purpose: the main purpose for the visit to New Zealand or trip overseas. Categories are holiday, visiting friends and relatives, business, conferences and conventions, education, and other.
Visitor arrivals: Visitor arrivals are overseas residents arriving in New Zealand for a stay of less than 12 months.
These statistics relate to the number of passenger movements to New Zealand, rather than to the number of people - that is, the multiple movements of individual people during a given reference period are each counted separately.
From early 2022, some governments, including New Zealand, relaxed these restrictions, allowing more people to cross their borders. From 1 August 2022, New Zealand’s border opened to all visitors and international students.
Since January 2020, governments have imposed international travel restrictions in multiple countries, due to the spread of COVID-19 around the world. In March 2020, the New Zealand government introduced further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively limiting travel to New Zealand and travel within New Zealand.
A person may change their intentions after their arrival, which may mean the recorded passenger type becomes incorrect. Stats NZ does not revise published statistics for such changes, but advises that the published figures remain a good indicator of trends in permanent and long-term migration.
Data is derived from a sample of records and hence may contain sample error. Caution should be used when using data with low cell values.
'Transit' passengers do not complete border clearance - regardless of whether they travel by air or by sea - so are not included in these statistics. About three-quarters of cruise ship passengers visiting New Zealand are 'transit' passengers.
Changes to data collection/processing
Before September 1997, NZ port data refers to the first port of arrival in NZ. From September 1997, it refers to NZ port of disembarkation (port where passenger was processed by Customs).