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.
Declare or dispose video – 1'39"
MPI has developed a video explaining New Zealand's biosecurity requirements and how to declare or dispose at New Zealand airports.
[A title “Border Patrol” appears above a conveyor belt of suitcases, then changes to read Pawder Patrol. A computer-animated dog, dressed as a biosecurity officer, stands behind the conveyor belt. He fumbles with a microphone clipped to his collar then walks toward the camera.]
Officer Goodboy: "Is here fine? I’m a bit far away…should I come a little closer?"
[A hand appears from behind the camera indicating that he should stop.]
Cameraman: "No, stay there, stay, staaaaay."
[The hand disappears, and a title appears – Officer Goodboy, Biosecurity Officer.]
Officer Goodboy: "Uhh, well…I’ve been working as a biosecurity officer for about a year now. But sometimes it seems more like 7!
[The camera pulls out to show a conveyor belt in front of Officer Goodboy, which carries packages and a suitcase.]
"My job’s to sniff out the stuff people forget to declare or dispose of.
[Officer Goodboy’s nose starts twitching. He presses the button to stop the conveyor belt, opens the suitcase, sniffs around, and pulls out an apple with his mouth.]
[He spits the apple into his paw.]
"In my line of work, all fruit and veggies are considered rotten, since they could hide diseases and pests harmful to New Zealand’s clean and green environment.
[He tosses the apple into a bin labelled “Dispose here please”. He sniffs the bin, then dives in headfirst and starts pulling out different foods.]
"Eggs, meat, honey, cooking ingredients. Even herbs, seeds and spices need to be de…de…de…declared!
[He sneezes, which sends him flying out of the bin in a cloud of spice.]
"Gets me every time.
[A moving conveyor belt carries a dirty tramping pack and bedroll.]
"Used outdoor equipment does too.
[Officer Goodboy sniffs some dirty outdoor equipment then turns up his nose. He points at the backpack.]
"Brrr. I don’t know what that’s been in, but that is not allowed! If they haven’t been declared though, you’ll be fined $400. Which, as we say in the industry, is ruff.
[He waits, then comes closer to the camera.]
"Hey, hey, hey. Take a few tricks from an old fella like me. Save yourself a heap of trouble by throwing any risk items in the airport amnesty bins after landing.
[A bin labelled “Dispose here please” is shown. Officer Goodboy ducks down and grabs a form – a passenger arrival card – in his mouth.]
"And be sure to fill out one of these puppies.
[He pulls the form out of his mouth with his paw. The form is covered in slobber.]
"And if you’re not sure what to do, just ask an officer like me, or my handler, who probably won't expect a treat afterwards.
[A title appears that says 'Declare or dispose your items. Avoid a $400 fine'. Logos for the New Zealand government and MPI are also shown.]
[Officer Goodboy holds out the form then shakes it.]
"Sorry, you might want to wipe the slobber off that one."
[End of transcript]
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:
- sporting and camping equipment – or any used equipment
you should declare them on your passenger arrival card – or dispose of them in one of the bins provided at ports and airports.
Note, the sample passenger card cannot be used as an official document. You must complete the card that is given to you during your flight or voyage to New Zealand.
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
- Plant and plant products
- Live animals
- Animal products
- Salt and freshwater products and items associated with water
- Used equipment
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
- 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.
Find out more about bringing food to New Zealand
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
- 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 can be carriers of pests and diseases and you'll need the correct documentation when bringing them into New Zealand. Find out about:
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
- honey and honey products, including cosmetics, health supplements and medicines
- shells and clams
- turtle shell items
- 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.
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
- diving, swimming, and fishing equipment, including non-artificial material for fly-tying.
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, 323 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
- Download 'Check, Clean, Dry' instructions for trampers [PDF, 393 KB]
- Learn about the 'Check, Clean, Dry' campaign
- Read about didymo including cleaning methods
- Download hygiene measures for Kauri Dieback
- Visit the Keep Kauri Standing website .
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:
- turtle shell artefacts
- clam shells
- 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:
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 email@example.com.
For more information about New Zealand Customs Service and how to pay any Customs fines, visit the: