Nigella Lawson was all smiles with Customs staff as she touched down in Auckland yesterday.

It was a far cry from the the celebrity chef's battle with Immigration New Zealand to gain a visa to film a television commercial here.

Two weeks ago, the Herald on Sunday revealed that Immigration officials had granted a waiver for Lawson, which they claimed was required after she was barred from the United States for admitting cocaine use.

But days later they were forced to admit the waiver wasn't needed - officials had relied on British media reports she was excluded from the US, but that was not the case.


Lawson, 54, boarded a flight at Singapore's Changi airport on Friday night.

She travelled business class on the Singapore Airlines flight and arrived in Auckland just before 11am yesterday, looking stylish and relaxed in a black dress and black-and-white coat.

While airport staff appeared excited about her arrival, she went unnoticed by other passengers and the public.

She was escorted from the aircraft and while waiting for her bag she chatted to airport staff, discussing where in Auckland they lived.

"So this is about as far away from England as you can get isn't it?" she said.

A fellow traveller said: "She looked great, especially after such a long flight, and was pretty chatty and upbeat. She was really unassuming and went through the airport like any other passenger."

Lawson is here to film a commercial for Kiwi chocolate makers Whittaker's.