New Zealand biosecurity and customs

New Zealand has very strict biosecurity procedures to protect our beautiful land

One thing that strikes first time travellers to New Zealand is how strict our rules are when arriving in New Zealand. This is due to the fact that we have a rich endemic flora and fauna which we are protecting very closely. A rogue seed or bug in your suitcase could have dramatic consequences for the survival of certain species but also on our agricultural industry.

Bringing food, wooden items, or plants is very strictly regulated and everything must be declared on arrival if you want to avoid a hefty fine.

Can I bring my personal items when I migrate to New Zealand?

Yes of course, but be aware that your household goods and personal items will be inspected closely at the border to identify any biosecurity risk. Pests and diseases can be brought unintentionally in personal and household effects and risk items will be inspected, and either cleared, treated (heat or fumigation), reshipped, or destroyed. The government agency responsible for this is our Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI is responsible for protecting the natural resources, plants, animals and people of New Zealand from the introduction of pests and diseases.

See the Ministry of Primary Industries' brochure on importing goods

Items that you must declare on arrival include:

  • Fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, mushrooms or fungi.
  • Any meat, fish, shellfish or poultry.
  • Ingredients used in cooking, all milk products, cheese, eggs or
  • Egg products, and milk based baby foods.
  • Hunting trophies or stuffed animals.
  • Traditional or herbal medicines or remedies, health supplements and homeopathic remedies that include animal or plant products.
  • Dried flower arrangements or Christmas decorations made from plant material.
  • Items made from wood.
  • Items stuffed with seeds or straw.
  • Items made of from bamboo, cane, coconut or straw.
  • Items containing hair, fur, unprocessed wool, skin, feathers or bone
  • Outdoor, camping, sports equipment, hiking boots
  • Animal grooming and veterinary equipment
  • Beekeeping equipment
  • Saddles, bridles, bird cages and pet beds.
  • Gardening equipment
  • Outdoor furniture.

What about my car and other machinery?

If you hold a valid visa valid for at least 12 months, you should not have to pay any customs duty on your baggage and effects, including ships, aircraft, motor vehicles, and household effects.

  • You must have owned and used the goods before coming to New Zealand
  • They must be for your own personal use and not intended for gift or sales

These items are not eligible for concession either:

  • new and unused items
  • cars (unless you are a returning resident or intend to reside in New Zealand permanently and legal authority to do so)
  • scooters, motorbikes
  • boats
  • aircraft
  • commercial items
  • Other types of motor vehicle or craft

Clearing your items with NZ Customs