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New Zealand Travel Tips & Questions

What is the drinking age?

OK, let's get this straight from the very outset – there is no minimum age for drinking alcohol in New Zealand. However, only those 18 and over can purchase it.

And this isn't supposed to be some kind of trick set-up. Those under 18 are absolutely allowed to drink alcohol legally in licensed premises but with certain conditions attached. The idea is that parents of New Zealand minors get to have some say as to the 'when' of a young person drinking alcohol and also the 'who with'. This is how it works – the parent or guardian of the under-18 person can buy and supply the alcohol as can any 18+ aged individual who has the direct consent of the parent or guardian and acts responsibly in the act of supplying that alcohol.

The bottom line is if you are under 18 and want to drink in licensed premises while you are travelling in New Zealand you will have to plan ahead. And don't think that you'll be able to bluff your way through because you look older. It is standard practice in many licensed premises and places where you can buy alcohol to ask anyone who appears to be under 25 to show their ID card.