The flight from Mel to Chc took approximately 3hr++, so we arrived at Chc Airport around 5.20am. The immigration process, again was tiring and exhausting. After we passed the counter for passports checking, came the dreadest part, that is food checking. We filled up the declaration forms earlier in flight, declaring all the foods and medications that we brought in. Counter 1 by officer 1, done. The friendly guy screened through our food list and checked our luggages, very thorough i must say, we chit chatted about few things, i told him how much i have been wanting to come to NZ, NZ is beautiful yadaa yadaa and after a few minutes he gave a 'yes' for us to proceed to the next pit stop for luggage security scanning. We thought everything was fine just like the 1st counter before a lady officer dropped us a bombshell and showed us one piece of very ripe banana inside a plastic bag, together with few other rubbish which we intend to throw away before boarding onto the flight. I was like adoiiiii kenapa boleh lupa nak buang pisang nihhhh!!! Muka pucat lesi toksah ckplah. and so our conversation went something like this...
She: Do you really understand all the declarations that you've made as per the declaration forms?
Me: Yes mam. I understand and fully aware. I know what is allowed and what is not.
She: So now i found this in your bag. This is not allowed into our country. But it's ok mam you don't have to pay the fine now. I shall bring this to the officer and come back to you later.
Me: We're really really sorry. I thought we've already thrown it away before boarding the flight. We didn't intend to bring it in. This is a mistake and I know it shouldn't happened. We have declared everything just now..and that guy already gave us the green light to proceed here. (muka panik, pucat, musnah harapan, terbayang2 denda NZD400 dlm kepala yg pompuan tu ckp tadi, Ya Allah memang tak terkata apa dah time tuh. Bila lady officer tu pegi report ke officer dia, mulut ni tak berenti zikir and doa minta dipermudahkan urusan kami)
And to our luck, she let us go. Yes she did, and i could have never thanked her enough for letting us go. Syukran Ya Allah kerana Kau bantu kami...selamat NZD400, kalau idak mmg nangis kat airport dah kot! I knew and i can felt that the guy at the 1st counter was actually our saviour. Moral of the story, please be friendly with all the officers in charged, be it at the counter, during food checking, when passing by at the airport, in fact just be nice to all of them at all time! You never knew how your little smiles and probably some honest compliments about their country can actually save your lives! Alhamdulillah tiada tragedi berlaku di hari pertama kami sebagai musafir di bumi Kiwi :)
When I recall again, the other night during checking in our flight at the Jetstar counter, i talked a lot with one of the lady officers. She was pregnant, with 1 small kid, almost due, stayed in Melbourne CBD, etc. She kind of impressed with me travelling with 4 kids, all boys to be exact, one infant precisely. She asked how did i handle it, and I admitted to her that it wasn't easy, with all the chaos and dramas, but we survived and loved every bits of time spent. She loved talking to Irfan, who couldnt stop exploring every inch of the counter and her computer, messing up with the free bookmarks for customers. I talked about Malaysia (of course only the good things!), and she said how she would love to come here one day. I asked for her courtesy for us to be seated in 1 row (i didn't buy the seat selection, kedekut dan dalam masa yg sama berharap ada rezeki duk sama2), before we parted our ways, i wished her for a smooth labour, and she said she has reserved 1 empty seat in our row, for our convenience, on top of us being seated in 1 row! TQ so much dear, i know you won't read my entry but i do hope you really had a smooth labor and is now enjoying your confinement days with a beautiful baby girl next to your side :)
Good deeds surely get return with good things as well. Alhamdulillah.
Tips for passing through the NZ immigration:
1. List down all the foods and medications you are bringing in, together with their ingredients.
2. Print it out, and voluntarily hand it over to the officer(s) in charge. Explain to them.
3. Speak nicely to them, give your best smiles all the time.
4. No hiding of any info please. DECLARE everything.
5. It is safer to buy commercial packs of rice, instead of you buy, re-package and re-seal it. Buy 3 packs of 1kg rice each if you aim for 3kg, instead of buying for a 3kg pack. Chances are that you'll get 2 out of 3, or all of them passed through, rather than that single 3kg pack being seized sbb ada kutu! haha
6. Strictly NO fresh products (eg: meat, fish, chicken, peanuts, veggies, etc) and dairy (eg: cheese, fresh milk, mayonnaise).
7. Place all foods/medications in a single luggage/back pack only for ease of checking. You'll be praised for neat packing. Help them to help you.
8. Go through your packing again and again. Make sure you don't fall into the same mistake like us.
9. Refer to their website for list of prohibited items, example of declaration form, etc. I sent an email to them attaching all the pictures of foods we're bringing in, just to be safe.
Best of luck!