Your belongings

Our qualified MPI Biosecurity inspectors may be the first New Zealand representatives you meet. You may also see our inspectors accompanied by one of our Ministry for Primary Industries Detector Dogs. They are trained to sniff out any risk goods that you may be carrying.

Your bags may go through an X-ray machine and may be searched to identify any biosecurity restricted goods on arrival into New Zealand. The X-ray units use a very low radiation level and are completely safe. They do not affect photographic film, medications, foodstuffs or people, including pregnant women.

Many items may be allowed into New Zealand after inspection or treatment. Some items require documentation to enter New Zealand. You may wish to consult our Import Health Standards for regulations regarding an item you wish to bring. In particular, if you wish to bring dairy products, eggs or meat for human consumption into New Zealand, the item will need to meet the requirements of the appropriate Import Health Standard.

Thoroughly clean all dirty sports gear, camping and outdoor equipment and footwear you wish to bring before packing. This is especially important if you have visited a foot and mouth disease infected area. For preparing fresh water equipment for travel to New Zealand, the appropriate methods described in the Didymo - Cleaning Methods section should be used.

To save yourself time on arrival, it's helpful if you pack any risk goods and required documentation at the top of your baggage. When you declare any items that are prohibited in New Zealand, you are likely to have five choices:

  • The items will be inspected and returned to you
  • The items will be held for you and returned when you leave the country (unless, for example, you arrive by air but are leaving on a cruise ship)
  • The items will be re-shipped at the owner's expense
  • The items will be destroyed at no cost to the owner.
  • The items will be treated at the owner's expense. The owner will need to make arrangements to collect the items once treated. Please be aware that some items cannot be treated.

It is your responsibility to pack your own bags to be sure that you comply with the law. Occasionally live pests (e.g. insects and animals) "hitchhike" into New Zealand inside bags and equipment. Be careful when unpacking, and if you notice any organisms that may have arrived accidentally, contact us at 0800 80 99 66.

Sending unaccompanied items, personal effects and household goods to New Zealand

If you are moving to New Zealand this brochure contains information on what you need to do. Moving to New Zealand: what you need to know Link to PDF document (621 KB).

The Containers and Cargo section explains in more detail what is required for shipping goods such as household and personal belongings, vehicles and other items by air or sea freight.

All personal effects including household goods and unaccompanied baggage require Ministry for Primary Industries inspection. All unaccompanied items sent by air or sea require an Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration (NZCS 218) (offsite link to www.customs.govt.nz). If there are more than three family members, you must also submit the Supplementary form NZCS218A/NQS QD1A (offsite link to www.customs.govt.nz).  It will be helpful to number your boxes or packages and make an itemised list of the what the packages contain.

Additional information about bringing or sending items to New Zealand, including vehicles, can be found in the Standards and Regulations, Importing. In that section you can also find out information about undertaking a commercial operation for Importing to New Zealand.

Information about sending goods via the Postal Service can be found in Your Mail.

Page last updated: 20 September 2013