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How to overcome compliance challenges to import a motorhome from the UK

Posted on August 7, 2015

How to overcome compliance challenges to import a motorhome from the UK

When Darren Smith decided to import a motorhome from the UK, he couldn’t foresee some of the challenges he would face – but having McCullough on his side means he and his family are now able to hit the road for holidays and short breaks.

Having arrived from the UK three years ago, Darren had fallen in love with the wonderful range of places to visit in New Zealand – although he’d transferred his enjoyment of caravanning around the UK and Europe to boating in New Zealand.

But around six months ago after talking with his wife he decided to use some of the pounds sterling he still had in UK banks to invest in a Roller Team Zefiro – a great motorhome which comes in just under 7m long, is built on a Ford Transit base and has a nominal six berths (more than adequate for Darren, his wife and their two children).

“Because we’ve got kids, motorhomes are so great for family holidays – and New Zealand is an amazing place to travel in. I’ve definitely not run out of places I want to visit,” he said.

Because Darren already knew a dealer where he had previously lived in Somerset, he went ahead and placed an order and started to email shipping experts and specialist motorhome importers around New Zealand to help him bring his pride and joy half way around the world.

Darren says it was a simple process to choose McCullough to undertake the contract once he got in touch with McCullough general manager Joe Steele.

“It was partly price – he was certainly competitive – but he was also very responsive. If you asked a question via email you got an answer – and quickly. He was honest and straightforward,” Darren says.

Because Darren had already got experience of shipping “most of my life” from the UK to New Zealand when he emigrated three years ago, he already understood a lot of the paperwork which would be required by Customs and MAFF and says all he needed to know was freely available on the internet.

But all that preparation and information couldn’t help him cope with a couple of dramas which threatened to derail his motorhome’s smooth transition from a showhome in the south-west of England to the open road around his Kapiti Coast home.

“I actually handled the purchase and had a bit of drama concerning the company I bought it off which had nothing to do with Joe or his agent in the UK,” Darren says.

“They shipped the motorhome with a missing seatbelt, which had the potential to cause some unbelievable screw-up. And they also dispatched it without a certificate of conformity, which they’d promised to do and which was a prerequisite to getting it registered in New Zealand.

“So at one point all I had was a very expensive shed sat in the compliance centre up in Auckland!”

But McCullough got involved in shipping a new seatbelt from Italy and helped Darren clear the hurdles to getting the motorhome through its compliance and clear of Customs.

“Joe was fantastic because it was quite a stressful time really. Because we’d looked forward to getting this for quite some time, at one point we weren’t really sure if we were going to be able to register it. I don’t think it’s something we actually contracted Joe for, but he stayed with it and helped us out hugely.

“The dramas seemed to be water off Joe’s back – he was a huge help. I definitely would have struggled without him helping.”

And once the motorhome was good to go – McCullough even went the extra mile to help Darren pick up his new toy by picking him up from the domestic terminal at Auckland Airport and driving him to the compliance centre in Mt Wellington.

So now he’s got it back home, what are Darren’s plans for his Zefiro?

“We’ve been away in it twice on runs out to Taupo and Whanganui after we had the gas compliance done by a local company down here – but it’s been away for three weeks getting its self-containment and electrical warrants done. But next on the list is going to Ohakune with my son for some skiing and then we’ll head to the South Island this Christmas.”

And would he recommend McCullough to others wanting to import a motorhome to New Zealand?

“Absolutely. I’m even hoping to put some business McCullough’s way because I met a guy who’s importing caravans and I'll pa’s on Joe’s details to him. I’d definitely recommend him for all the help he gave us.”

If you’re thinking about importing a motorhome from the UK, contact Joe and the team at McCullough to see how we can help smooth the process and ensure your vehicle gets on the New Zealand roads as quickly as possible – no matter what the challenges you face. You can reach us at info@mmnz.biz or +64 9 303 0075 or via the email form on the website.


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