Our borders are closed and guarded by the military - but if you've got enough money you can get your superyacht and an international crew into the country courtesy of a boat repair loophole.
A Ministry of Health exemption is opening the border to superyachts provided they spend a "minimum dollar threshold" getting refitted or repaired in a New Zealand boat yard.
Their crew can also skip quarantine at a New Zealand managed isolation facility - meaning once a superyacht docked at Tahiti gets approval for repairs in Auckland they can count the eight-day sea journey here as quarantine time.
At least six superyachts and large vessels have entered New Zealand waters and docked here since the maritime border was closed on June 30 and about 20 more are waiting in Tahiti and the Mediterranean which have applied.
One 55-metre boat which arrived in Auckland in July is undergoing a $7 million refit at Orams Maine Services.
The only problem for the millionaire and billionaire yacht owners is they themselves can't get in because they aren't considered crew.
But it's something the marine industry is campaigning hard to change before America's Cup events begin in December.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) told the Herald the "New Zealand maritime border is closed to foreign vessels" and that "the closure applies equally to superyachts".
But there are several exemptions for entry including "if ship has a compelling need for… carrying out a refit, refurbishment or repair that is more than minor".
The MOH insisted: "The operative word in the above is 'compelling'. The bar to qualify for an exemption is necessarily high, to avoid creating an unwanted 'back door' into New Zealand".
However, within New Zealand's marine industry, there is no doubt the exemption is being treated as business opportunity for agents, boat yards and ship builders brought to their knees financially after visiting millionaire yachties stopped arriving at Kiwi marinas after the border was closed.
Auckland superyachts agent Duthie Lidgard says "100 per cent" he is trying to get wealthy international boats here for the America's Cup via the refit and repair exemption.
He says six have already come in through him, but two have since left because their owners did not want to fly in and quarantine for two weeks. These superyachts typically have five to 18 crew.
Lidgard says he has "numerous" superyachts waiting in Tahiti for approval by MOH.
Once all their crew get approval from MOH, they take a Covid-19 test and can set off and count the eight-day sea journey to New Zealand as time quarantined.
They then dock in one of two large fenced-off quarantine berths in New Zealand - one in Opua, Bay of Islands, and another planned for Queens or Princes Wharf in the Ports of Auckland - to complete 14 days' quarantine.
They take a second Covid-19 test on day 12 and, if negative, can walk straight out of the quarantine berth and onto NZ soil after day 14 of total quarantine.
"We've got numerous applications in with the MOH for superyachts to enter through our boarder. Last week we got three superyachts approved to enter New Zealand for refit and repair. There is a minimum dollar threshold they review," Lidgard, who runs Catalano Shipping Services NZ, said.
"We're fielding a lot of requests with boats now aiming to get down here early February and it's based on what we're seeing, regardless of [who's in] government, there's a real big call for opening the borders for the luxury sector.
"Customs have been incredibly helpful. Immigration have been incredibly helpful, but they can only rule around what the legislation states."
At present, the marine industry is campaigning to allow superyacht owners to sail into New Zealand waters with their vessels.
NZ Marine executive director Peter Busfield negotiated with the Government to allow the refit and repair exemption, and the quarantine at sea exemption for crew - which was only put in place on September 6.
"If the America's cup wasn't on, we'd still be doing the same representation. Now, the owners are not able to come," Busfield said.
"It's actually got nothing to do with the America's Cup, technically. It's only a coincidence that some owners might think 'oh we'll send our boat down for a refit and repair, hopefully the Government changes its mind and allows the owner to come down as well. That has not happened; we'd like it to happen.
"They can't fly in a corporate jet or an airline and fly into New Zealand at the moment. We'd like them to, because that would add extra business if the owner was allowed to come.
Busfield said NZ Marine "have got a bit of frustration with the delays" to MOH approving superyachts' exemption, but they have had five or six boats arrive in New Zealand "under this regime".
"Those boats have brought in over $20 million dollars worth of work, which is currently being conducted. We're hugely appreciative of Cabinet making that Government order. I don't think they've made too many changes for other industries. We're very pleased about that."
Busfield said about 20 other international superyachts and large cruising yachts were in the application process to arrive in New Zealand.
Busfield said "he would like to think" the Government might change its stance on allowing superyacht owners to sail into New Zealand before the America's Cup.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield may give permission for a ship to arrive in New Zealand waters for reprovisioning or refuelling, delivering the ship to a business, carrying out a refit, refurbishment or repair that is more than minor and humanitarian reasons.
The first superyacht which entered NZ post-border lockdown
Captain Chad Thieken brought the first superyacht to enter New Zealand waters after the border was closed on June 30.
The 55-metre sailboat is getting a $7 million refit job done at Orams Marine Services in Auckland.
"I think we were the first yacht to be let in to do the refit and repair work. We've been here since the middle of July," Thieken said.
"We have what's called our 10-year refit and survey that we have to do. The boat has been down here one time before and I've spent time down here at this yard. So we've literally been planning this for two years.
"We're just two months away and Covid hits and all of a sudden we can't get to New Zealand. We've paid our deposit, we've got worklists scheduled, we've got riggers flying in to do the work. It's all organised and then all of a sudden the New Zealand Government says 'sorry we're closed'. So, oh god, now what?"
But the crew of eight all got exemptions under the MOH's refit and repair exemption and made it to Auckland.
The yacht is currently out of the water at the Orams boat yard in Wynyard Quarter, being refitted in a large tent with several levels of scaffolding. The process will take months.
Thieken said the owner of the yacht "has a vested interest in watching the America's Cup and loves that kind of stuff" and had planned to fly into Auckland after his yacht's refit job to watch the event.
"It was definitely a pull. They definitely wanted to do some cruising in the South Pacific," Thiefken said.
However, if there is no further exemption for superyacht owners to enter New Zealand before the America's Cup begins, Thieken says they will likely set sail out of the country.