Post-entry quarantine facilities

If you are importing plants into New Zealand they may need to be held in post-entry quarantine (PEQ) before being released to you. The Plant Health and Environment Laboratory provides PEQ for plants.

Plants being checked by scientists in PEQ glasshouse 
Plants being checked by scientists in PEQ glasshouse

Post-entry quarantine for imported plants

If you are importing plant material, such as nursery stock or seed for sowing, you may need to book them into a PEQ facility. PEQ requirements are listed for different plant species in the relevant import health standard (IHS).

About the PHEL facility

The PHEL facility is registered as a:

  • level 3B transitional facility for imported plants and plants in tissue culture
  • physical containment level 2 (PC2) facility for microorganisms and cell cultures
  • PC2 facility for plants.

For more information on facility levels:

Our glasshouse facility has 12 separate units, each measuring 4m x 4m. We manage each unit separately to create a suitable environment for the plants it contains.

What plants do we hold?

Glasshouse unit with plants
Glasshouse unit with plants

The PEQ facility can hold any high-value crop species such as strawberry (Fragaria sp.), kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.), blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), blackberry and raspberry (Rubus sp.).

High-value crops are plants that are highly important to New Zealand's primary industries. New genetic material is regularly imported to provide new varieties.

Book PEQ space

If you plan to import plant material that needs to be held in a level 3B facility, you must have a confirmed booking with us before you can apply for an import permit.

Follow our steps to book PEQ space.

Contact MPI plant imports team to discuss your intended import
Contact PHEL about space availability and cost to house your plants in PEQ.
PHEL provides tentative dates and cost. We may ask for further information.
 Contact PHEL when your import is confirmed with an approximate date of arrival.
 PHEL books your space and sends a booking confirmation.
 Contact plant imports team to arrange your import permit. Permit is sent to you.
 Notify PHEL when you receive the import permit.
 PHEL creates client file and sends you a contract agreement.
 Sign the contract agreement before the import arrives and return to PHEL.
 PHEL organises plant growing and testing conditions.
 PHEL contacts you when your plant material arrives.

To contact the PHEL about available space:

To contact plant imports:

Step-by-step requirements for importing plant materials:

What happens during post-entry quarantine?

Quarantine times for your plant material

Your plant material will be held in PEQ for the period stated in the Import Health Standard (IHS) and the permit to import. This is the minimum PEQ period - it can be longer if your plants grow slowly, have pests or diseases detected, or need treatment.

Common plant quarantine times:

  • 3 months for Solanum (potato)
  • 9 months for Vaccinium (blueberry) tissue culture
  • 16 months for Vaccinium (blueberry) dormant cuttings
  • 16 months for Fragaria (strawberry) and Rubus (blackberry/raspberry).

Find out more:

PEQ testing for pests and diseases

While in our level 3B quarantine facility, your plants will usually need specific testing to get clearance for import. The required tests are listed in the IHS.

If you are importing from a high-health source of plant material, MPI may allow a lower level of quarantine. These plants may also need to be tested for pests and diseases.
If your plants show symptoms during our routine PEQ inspections, we will test for pests or disease.

Details of tests and their costs:

PEQ manuals

Our PEQ manuals provide test methods for different plants and are based on IHS requirements.

Find the PEQ testing manual for your plant

Subscribe to updates

PHEL provides email updates on current PEQ activities.

To subscribe to updates, email

Who to contact

To ask about PEQ bookings and facilities:

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