Items to declare

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity procedures at airports and ports to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases. MPI's role is to help people arriving in New Zealand meet these requirements.


What you need to know

To make sure your arrival in New Zealand goes smoothly you'll need to know about:  

  • the passenger arrival card
  • prohibited items
  • declaring all food, plants, animals, animal products, organisms, and salt or fresh water products
  • declaring all used equipment like camping, farming, hunting, sporting, gardening, and other recreational equipment
  • endangered species
  • cleaning, checking, drying, and declaring
  • fines and other penalties.

Fill in your passenger arrival card

On your way to New Zealand, you'll be given a passenger arrival card that you'll need to fill in before you can enter the country. This is a legal document. If you make a false or incorrect declaration, you are breaking the law and you can be fined or put in prison.

Any of the items listed on this website page must be declared on your passenger arrival card and to an MPI quarantine inspector.

If you're in doubt about any items you're carrying – like:

  • food
  • plants
  • sporting and camping equipment – or any used equipment
  • shells

you should declare them on your passenger arrival card – or dispose of them in one of the bins provided at ports and airports.

Declare or dispose – a quick guide

MPI has a guide outlining what items have restricted entry to New Zealand. The guide is not a full list and you should check the information on this page for more specific items. It's not illegal to bring risk goods into New Zealand as long as you declare them.

When you declare items, your goods may be inspected. They may be treated and returned if considered safe. If not considered safe, they may be confiscated or destroyed.

Items that require treatment are sent to private independent companies. You can collect items sent for treatment at a later date. Alternatively, if you're arriving and departing from the same airport, MPI can store your risk goods until you leave the country.

Download the Declare or Dispose guide [PDF, 1.2 MB]

On arrival at a New Zealand port or airport, you may see MPI biosecurity detector dogs that are specially trained to sniff out risk goods. Your bags may also go through an x-ray machine. If any items of interest are found, inspectors may open your bags for a closer look.

Make sure you declare or dispose of any risk items, or any items you are unsure about – before the biosecurity process. Amnesty bins are located throughout ports and airports.

What to declare

Food

All food items brought into New Zealand, even the smallest amounts and ingredients for cooking, need to be declared. Food items include:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • meat
  • eggs
  • seafood
  • dairy products
  • dried mushrooms and fungi
  • honey and honey products
  • seeds for human consumption and for processing into food
  • nuts, spices, herbs, and un-popped popcorn
  • dried, cooked, or preserved fruit and vegetables.

If you're importing large quantities of food items for commercial use, you'll need to follow the rules and regulations for importing those products.

Plants and plant products

All plant material must be declared. Items may need treatment or an import permit, and some products are prohibited. Examples of plants and plant products that must be declared include:

  • dried and fresh flowers
  • seeds
  • plant cuttings
  • items made of bamboo, cane, rattan, coconut, straw
  • items made of wood, for example, drums, carvings, masks, weapons, or tools
  • pine cones
  • any souvenirs made from plant material, for example corn and straw, including items stuffed with seeds and straw
  • herbal medicines, health supplements, and homeopathic remedies
  • religious offerings.

If you bring wood products, fruit, vegetables, other plant products, micro-organisms or laboratory specimens into New Zealand, you must comply with the requirements for importing those items.

For more information refer to the steps to importing:

Live animals

Live animals can be carriers of pests and diseases and you'll need the correct documentation when bringing them into New Zealand. Find out about:

Animal products


All animal products brought into New Zealand need to be inspected and may need treatment or permits. Some items will not be allowed into New Zealand.

Animal products include:

  • oriental or Chinese medicine
  • feathers
  • eggs
  • meat
  • honey and honey products
  • shells and clams
  • ivory
  • turtle shell items
  • coral
  • products made from snakeskin or whalebone.

Novelty items, souvenirs, and ornaments should be declared if they have any parts made from:

  • animal fibres or feathers
  • animals hides and skins.

Biological products of animal origin, micro-organisms, and cell cultures must also be declared. These products can contain animal dung and plant materials that may carry pests and diseases.

If you are carrying any of these types of items, make sure you declare them or you can be fined.

Salt and freshwater products and items associated with water

When you enter New Zealand, you'll need to declare all salt and freshwater products and equipment. This includes:

  • sea shells
  • any fish and shellfish
  • seaweed, algae, aquarium plants, and seeds
  • micro-organisms
  • diving, swimming, and fishing equipment, including non-artificial material for fly-tying.

Used equipment

Used equipment, like sporting and recreational equipment, must be declared on your passenger arrival card.

This type of equipment can transfer soil and plant material from other countries into New Zealand that may carry pests, diseases, and seeds – all of which can pose a threat to our environment and wildlife.

Equipment might be inspected on arrival so it should be easy to reach in your luggage.

If you are unsure about whether or not your equipment needs inspecting – declare it.

Used equipment includes:

  • all hiking and sporting footwear, including gaiters for tramping – or any footwear used outside of urban areas – which should be cleaned prior to arrival and be free of soil
  • tents and any camping equipment
  • all camping foods
  • hunting gear, including clothing and backpacks
  • any equipment used with animals such as:
    • farm footwear
    • vet supplies
    • horse riding equipment, saddles, and bridle gear
    • animal shearing equipment, including clothing used while shearing animals
  • gardening equipment
  • all equipment – like clothing, footwear and tools – used for work in industries such as horticulture, viticulture (wine production), apiculture (beekeeping), aquaculture (fish farming), and forestry.

Fishing and water activity equipment including but not limited to:

  • waders, fishing rods, lines, hooks, flies
    • fishing flies are permitted entry but all non-artificial material for fly-tying must meet the conditions in the Import Health Standard for Fibres
    • felt-soled waders are not permitted for fresh water fishing in New Zealand
  • diving equipment and wetsuits

Download the Import Health Standard for Fibres [PDF, 319 KB]

How you can help protect our environment

Refer to 'Check, Clean, Dry' information for instructions on cleaning sporting and camping equipment before coming to New Zealand.
Once in New Zealand – you can continue to protect our environment and wildlife by cleaning, checking, and drying your equipment when you move from location to location. This can help stop pests, like didymo, affecting our rivers and slow the spread of the disease that is killing our giant Kauri trees.

Find out more

Non-biological items and other products

There are other items imported into New Zealand that could introduce pests, diseases, or unwanted organisms. These items must comply with a relevant import health standard.

Non-biological items include:

  • containers and cargo
  • vehicles and machinery.

For more information read about:

Endangered species restrictions

Many endangered species are needlessly destroyed to make souvenirs for travellers. By supporting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreement and deciding not to buy goods made from endangered species, you can help save these rare plants and animals from extinction.

New Zealand is party to the CITES agreement. It covers items like:

  • ivory
  • turtle shell artefacts
  • clam shells
  • coral
  • products made from snakeskin
  • products made from whalebone
  • Chinese medicines.

Any plant, animal, or product covered by the CITES agreement is not allowed into New Zealand, except with a special permit issued by the Department of Conservation.

Find out more about endangered species by visiting the:

Fines

People failing to declare biosecurity risk goods can be fined $400 instantly.
Anyone caught smuggling a prohibited or risk item could:

  • be fined up to $100,000
  • face up to 5 years in prison
  • be deported.

Make sure you declare or dispose or any risk goods. If in doubt, ask a quarantine inspector when you arrive at the airport.

Who to contact

If you have questions about what to declare, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

For more information about New Zealand Customs Service and how to pay any Customs fines, visit the:

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