Contraband - NZ Customs


More eGates at Auckland International Airport

Travellers try out the new next generation eGates at Auckland International Airport.

More eGates at Auckland International Airport 

Travelling overseas via Auckland? If you’re over the age of 12 and hold an ePassport from New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA or Canada – it is now quicker and easier to breeze through passport control – Customs doubled the number of SmartGates at Auckland International Airport in time for summer’s peak travel season.  

  • Nine brand new ‘next generation’ SmartGates have taken off in departures. First of their kind in New Zealand, this offers the latest world-class technology on our shores.
  • Four SmartGates and kiosks previously located in departures have landed in arrivals, so passengers arriving Auckland now have 11 gates to choose from. 

Manager Passenger Operations, Peter Lewis, talks about the new SmartGates, installations at Auckland International Airport, and what’s planned for other airports in the near future.

“The most obvious difference with the next generation SmartGates, or eGates as they’re known as in many parts of the world, is the integrated single-step process. All the necessary checks, from the passport scan to a biometric facial recognition match, are done at the gate itself.

“Departing passengers now only queue once, which is great. And with twice as many eGates, any wait time should be minimal – if at all. With more travellers arriving and departing this summer, Auckland Airport is looking good with free-flowing queues and passengers rolling through.”

The entire process from scanning the passport, entering the gate for a biometric match and exiting the gate takes around 20-30 seconds.

Peter says a lot of work went into the planning, design, and installation of the new eGates to ensure they are as customer-friendly and intuitive as possible. 

The new eGates are the first thing eligible ePassport holders will see as they walk in to the departures area. Visual screens on the gate use widely recognised symbols and simple images to show passengers exactly what to do. An assistance desk is also located next to the eGates in case any passengers need help or have to be processed manually.

“The increased number of kiosks and eGates in the arrivals area makes a significant difference for travellers coming into the country.

“Another benefit of having the additional gates is it free ups Customs officers’ time so they can increase their focus on identifying high-risk passengers.”

Customs received $6.6 million government funding in July to modernise and expand SmartGates at our main international airports. More SmartGates will be rolled out in Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown airports over the next 12-18 months. Watch this space.


Customs Minister, Nicky Wagner formally opens the new eGates.