Arrested New Zealanders

If a New Zealander is arrested in Vanuatu the New Zealand High Commission in Port Vila can provide some assistance (contact details below), but there are limitations to do what we can do.

What can the High Commission do?

On notification of detention/ arrest, we can if requested:

  • give advice on what to do and help with foreign language communication difficulties,
  • provide a list of local English speaking lawyers,
  • inform next of kin of the arrest,
  • arrange for the transfer of money from family or friends for payment of bail or other legal expenses, and
  • attend a final court hearing (depending on location).

On imprisonment, we can, if requested:

  • inform next of kin of the background and contact details,
  • assist with the banking/deposit of money sent by family or friends,
  • seek approval for prison visits by family and friends where this is required,
  • visit prisoners (depending on location),
  • ensure any medical and dental problems are brought to the attention of the prison authorities, and
  • take up any justified and serious complaint about ill treatment and discrimination with the prison authorities and advise the prisoner’s lawyer.

What the High Commission cannot do

We cannot select a lawyer, give legal advice, get prisoners out of jail, or interfere in the judicial process of the host country. We cannot pay lawyer’s fees, fines or bail, or support prisoners financially. Nor can we provide guarantees for bail or parole, or investigate an offence.

What detained New Zealanders can do for themselves

On detention/arrest, ask for legal assistance, and for permission to contact the New Zealand High Commission in Port Vila. Stay calm and cooperate. Do not sign any statement without legal advice.

What to do if I know of a New Zealander who has just been arrested?

If a friend or family member has been arrested in Vanuatu and they require assistance, you should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington on 0064 4 439 8000 and ask to be connected to Consular Division (if you are in New Zealand) or the Consular Officer at the High Commission in Port Vila on 00 678 22933 (if you are in Vanuatu).

Please try to provide us with as much information as possible (arrested person’s full name, date of birth, time and place of arrest, etc).


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