All mail sent to New Zealand must comply with the Biosecurity Act 1993. Incoming mail is screened using the required declaration, x-rays and Detector Dogs to detect mail that may contain restricted goods. Mail that may contain risk goods e.g. food, souvenirs, equipment or seeds, will be opened and examined and may be detained at the border to ensure compliance with the Biosecurity Act 1993 and other legislation e.g. the CITES Act (1989) or the Argricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997.
If you intend to mail something to New Zealand, it is advisable to first check What You Must Declare. Ensure you do not use packaging containing prohibited items. This includes:
- Plants, plant materials, and seeds
- Animal products
- Straw and rattan items
- Wooden items and products
- Live animals
- Endangered species
Parcels and other articles being sent to New Zealand from overseas require a declaration sticker. This is issued by the corresponding postal service and usually contains the content's description, weight and value.
The declaration is used as a guideline by border staff, who will often inspect the mail to ensure the description is correct. No declaration is required for letters.
When Your Mail Arrives
MPI Clearance Officers check every item of international mail sent to New Zealand. There are regular interceptions of risk goods. To help them check for prohibited and restricted goods, Inspectors use Detector Dogs and X-ray machines.
All prohibited items are removed from mail items and kept or destroyed by the MPI Clearance Service. Recipients of restricted items are given the option of having goods treated and returned to them at their expense. Remaining parcel contents are sent to the mail recipient with a notice telling them what has been seized and why. If inspection shows that treatment is necessary the parcel recipient is notified. If the recipient decides to proceed with treatment, a small fee is involved.
Generally, you cannot send anything in the post which is illegal, explosive, dangerous, destructive, inadequately packaged or contains cash. For more detailed information please reference the NZ Post website .
If you declare articles, your goods will be inspected, treated if necessary and returned if considered safe. Prohibited fruit and vegetables, meat, animal products, seeds and plants may be returned or destroyed.
Page last updated: 30 April 2012