Internet amazed at comedian Rhys Nicholson's tale of departing New Zealand without passport

This article was first published in April 2023.

A clip of an Australian comedian claiming he was allowed to fly from New Zealand to Australia without a passport is going viral online, causing much amusement.

Rhys Nicholson told the story on a recent episode of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, which shared the clip on the official ABC TikTok account.

It has quickly amassed nearly 100,000 likes on the platform and been reshared on Twitter, with commenters expressing amazement at Aotearoa's apparently relaxed departure rules.

"You want to see a trusting country? Go to New Zealand!" Nicholson said.

"This is true. A couple of years ago, I was in Auckland Airport, about to come home when I realised I'd lost my passport. [But] I really needed to get on the flight.

"So I spoke to the guy at the desk and he simply exclaimed 'No worries, bro. Let's call Canberra'.

"He got on the phone and he called Canberra, I guess. He chatted for a few minutes then hung up and - God is my witness - he said 'Well, they said it's up to us, so I reckon just go'.

"A perfect country!"

Although some commenters have questioned the veracity of Nicholson's story, many have backed it up with their own anecdotes, while others have found the tale hilarious.

"The definition of 'she'll be right culture'," said one TikToker.

"I mean, sending an Australian back to Australia - where is the harm?" someone quipped on Twitter.

"I've worked for an airline in NZ and know exactly who in Canberra he would've called and this is legit," the top comment on the TikTok said.

"As long as you have no fruit you're all goods," said another, while one noted: "NZ and Oz have such a 'bro' relationship."

Previously, Nicholson had recounted the tale to The Guardian, with a few extra details omitted during the recent TV episode.

"Then a man in the airport called Canberra, I showed them my licence, and they let me on the plane! So it turns out if you're ever in New Zealand and still have your licence, you can still get home. It's up to the airline, which is wild to me.

"Air New Zealand were just like yeah, you seem like you. And they didn't even find any of the heroin that I had!"