IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: we offer the informal summary information on this page to help those planning to visit and operate from Oceania. However, the rules, laws and regulations are complex and changeable, and we are not experts. Please check with the relevant authorities and do not rely exclusively on the following. We would hate you to come all this way only to be turned around and sent straight back, or worse still arrested and clapped in jail.
You can pre-arrange an E5 license by email to the authorities on Rarotonga, then visit the licensing office in person to finalise and collect the paperwork. The E5 authorities do not distinguish North from South Cooks in issued calls but you might try politely requesting an E5 callsign with a suffix starting with, or at least containing, an N if you will be active from North Cooks.
Amateur licensing in VK is complex, involving collaboration between the licensing authority ACMA and the national radio society WIA.
VK9: to obtain a temporary VK9 licence refer to ‘licensing for external territories (VK9)’ in the ACMA guidance. A good place to start is to express your interest to the ACMA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to provide the following information in support of a VK9 licence application:
CEPT rules apply in Australia also. Visitors are evidently supposed to use a VK regional suffix e.g. your-call/VK1 rather than the more conventional and logical prefix. Don’t shoot the messenger.
There are also reciprocal licensing arrangements with many other countries. Good luck making sense of the rules though!
If you hold an amateur license from a CEPT signatory country, the CEPT rules apply for operations on ZL mainland, inshore islands and ZL7 Chathams. Sign ZL/your-call and optionally add the relevant regional number (ZL1, 2, 3 or 4 for the north-south quarters of mainland ZL, or ZL7 in the Chathams). Bring your license with you in case you are challenged. Comply with the local laws including the GURL General User Radio License terms and conditions (e.g. 1kW max, no operation on 60m).
For ZL8 and ZL9, a landing permit is required from the NZ government agency charged with protecting the islands’ unique fauna and flora. You will need to persuade them that your visit will cause no harm. Once you have crossed that major hurdle, you can then apply for a temporary ZL8 or ZL9 callsign through MED, the Ministry of Economic Development, based near the parliament building in Wellington. Expedition parties heading for ZL8 and ZL9 can expect to be inspected carefully and thoroughly by the environmental protection people at the port prior to your departure to the islands, as well as the routine form-filling, inspection, sniffer dogs and X-ray of all your baggage on arrival into NZ. Depending on exactly where on the islands you plan to land and operate, there may be specific conditions to protect the environment and wildlife, as well as for your own safety.
Given our geographical isolation and unique biodiversity, environmental protection is a big thing in Oceania generally, especially regarding biological threats posed by plant materials (e.g. plants and flowers, whether fresh and green or dried/pressed), food (e.g. fruit, anything containing milk products, anything else you eat including the fruit and snacks you may have bought at your departure port or were given on the plane/ship), seeds (e.g. seeds for cultivation, seed pods, nuts), insects (e.g. moths, ticks and maggots) and other animals (dead or alive e.g. pelts and vermin). It is best to avoid bringing any biological materials (except for yourself and conventional clothing!) but if you do, be sure to declare it on arrival.
Even soil is of concern due to the risk of fungal and microbial diseases (such as foot-and-mouth) so make sure everything you bring is clean, including the soles of your shoes or boots and your antennas, cables and packaging. If you have recently been on a farm, trekking, or visited any disease-prone areas of the world, be prepared for additional checks.
Trust me, it is much better to declare anything that is or might not be permitted and have it checked (and possibly sent for cleaning or binned), than to ignore it, or worse still try to conceal it. There are substantial on-the-spot fines and you may well be refused entry and detained. The authorities are just as serious about this as they are about illicit drugs, wads of undeclared cash and travellers without the appropriate visas.