Cases of New Zealanders held in jail overseas were the most time-consuming dealt with by consular staff last year.
In the year to June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade dealt with 234 cases in which New Zealanders broke the law in other countries.
The manager of the consular division, Carl Reaich, said although statistics are not kept on the types of crime, the cases that come to the ministry's attention tend to involve overstaying or not complying with visas.
He said occasionally it takes some time before staff learn what has happened to a New Zealand citizen abroad.
"Under the Vienna Convention, the local authorities should notify the embassy, high commission or consulate that a New Zealand national has been detained," Mr Reaich said.
"That doesn't always happen, typically because the local police or local authorities aren't aware of that obligation or the New Zealander might ask that the embassy not be contacted."