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Q & A

Darron Nuku, NZ Customs

As a Customs Officer in the Wellington District Port there are a variety of functions that Customs officers perform. Darron is currently the Excise Officer for the Wellington and Central regions involved in the licensing and compliance of Custom Controlled Area’s for the purpose of manufacturing excisable products. 

Protecting our Borders

By David Pine

Every hour of every day, NZ Customs staff are watching NZ’s borders. Speaking to Plimmerton Rotary on 13th May, Central Region Excise Officer Darron Nuku gave a lively presentation that was entertaining but also sobering.

The role of NZ Customs covered a vast spectrum. If people of dubious character were travelling into or out of NZ, or if any suspect goods were being transported into or out of NZ, or if pornographic information was being repeatedly viewed online by NZ residents, NZ Customs were interested. With the technology available today, the chances of being found out had never been higher.

Customs had two main priorities – to eliminate the importation of harmful drugs and of child pornography. Darron noted that if a NZ resident continually viewed pornographic material, even if they subsequently deleted it from their computer or smartphone, Customs could still retrieve it from the internet service provider. The evidence of the person’s actions could never be deleted completely.

Customs simply couldn’t monitor everything and so they took a targeted approach, watching those people who were most likely to offend. “This is based on the intelligence we have built up, plus equipment we use, which is getting better all the time. Also we work in with other agencies such as NZ Police.”

Darron demonstrated some of the more bizarre items that had been seized by Customs in recent times, ranging from a walking stick with a long knife hidden inside it, to a man’s belt buckle with a concealed knife attached to the buckle, to a tea caddie filled not only with tea but also counterfeit Mastercards. “It’s amazing what some people will try to get away with.”

A large part of Darron’s work involved ensuring that the correct amount of excise tax was collected on products containing alcohol or tobacco. This tax had to be collected not only on imported goods, but also on locally made goods which were sold to the public. The only exception was where the product was being made for the person’s own use, as in a home brew situation. But the moment the goods were sold to the public, excise tax was payable.

Darron really enjoyed the interaction he had with people in the local wine and beer industries. “It’s all about building relationships. I keep in touch with the people in the local industry, including two of the local brewers – Tuatara and Aotearoa. I really enjoy taking an interest in their businesses and developing relationships with them. They are far less likely to contravene the regulations if they know you personally.”


The meeting of 27 May 2014 will be a very special Club meeting, dedicated to our Pathway. The completion of the first section of Te Ara Piko, The Meandering Path, around Pauatahanui Inlet will be recognised with DG Deb Gimblett and other visitors attending our meeting.  Te Ara Piko is an on-going and visible project and it will be the Club’s opportunity to celebrate this milestone. Most members have worked on the Pathway over the years, with construction of bridges and boardwalks when OSH and traffic control were not an issue and more recently planting, weeding and spraying. President Ron has been involved since the beginning and this project is very special to him. This meeting will be an occasion to bring partners and friends - a ring around will be done.

John Key


Members who confirmed that they will be attending  the Prime Minister Breakfast should NOT buy their own tickets as Treasurer Bruce Couch has purchased the tickets for our club and will bill the costs back to individuals to reimburse the club.

 A Movie Night with Plimmerton Inner Wheel is being held on Thursday 12 June at the Pauatahanui Lighthouse Cinema. 7.30 for 8.30pm, $11 / head. The film is The Two Faces of January - In 1962, a well-heeled couple (Viggo Mortensen & Kirsten Dunst) come to know an American expatriate acting as an Athens tour guide (Oscar Isaac). But an incident at the couple’s hotel puts all three in danger and creates a precarious interdependence between them. A tense and dangerous battle of wits between the two men leads them from Greece to Turkey, and to a dramatic finale played out in the back alleys of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Please advise Jenny Lucas of your intention to attend.  or  ph 234 7657. 

NZ Business Week for year 12 and 13 students is a week-long event being held at Massey University from 6–11 July 2014.  Applications close on 31 May 2014. Any family, friends or neighbours who are possibilities - please let Terrie Turner know asap. Phillip Reidy has posted an excellent event about this here. The cost is $550 but the club (or any sponsor) will subsidise an applicant in the sum of $400.

There is a Blog about the Fitzpatrick's trip to past exchange student Ignacio’s wedding in Chile.

Leonie James is writing some interesting blogs on the website and this is the latest.

Graeme Blick has recently returned from a conference in Geneva where coincidentally he had the chance to talk with others about Polio in the world.  From three countries only a year ago there are now six countries with endemic polio (Syria, Somalia and Ethiopia are the new ones) and there is now a Global Warning. Immunisation is absolutely essential, in all part of the world, or we will have another epidemic, and all the efforts of Rotary, Rotarians, the Gates Foundation and others will have been for nothing.


Protecting our Borders

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