5 min read

How to Move and Ship Goods to New Zealand

New Zealand has strict custom rules when compared to many other countries.
By · July 12, 2022
How to Move and Ship Goods to New Zealand

New Zealand has strict custom rules when compared to many other countries. Pests, seeds, and foreign materials can disrupt the country's precious biodiversity. New Zealand has tight custom borders and restricts many items from importation.

How to ship your items to New Zealand

To ship personal items by sea or air to New Zealand, you’ll need to complete some forms supplied by MPI - the agency responsible for primary industries. Make sure to fill out an unaccompanied personal baggage form from the New Zealand Customs website. Many providers will supply the documents you need to get your items into the country if you use a shipping or air freight company.

Make sure you know what’s in your luggage. You’ll have to supply a packing list of items you are transporting into New Zealand. Create your list as you are packing your boxes or bags.

Your shipping forwarder will contact you when your items arrive in New Zealand. You will still have to email customs with:

The company that has transported your items will contact you when your items arrive in NZ. Once your items have arrived, you can then email customs with a copy of your:

  • Customs form
  • Photo ID
  • Packing List
  • Shipping document
  • Confirmation that your items are in the country
  • Biosecurity Declaration

What is a biosecurity form, and why do I need one?

New Zealand has strict import rules due to its unique flora and fauna. There are around 70,000 endemic species in the country. Household items that contain foreign plants, woods, or materials could carry harmful diseases, seeds, pests, or hidden viruses that can disrupt New Zealand’s delicate ecosystem.

A biosecurity declaration form isn’t mandatory. Nonetheless, it helps customs inspect and approve your items more easily. Non-completion may result in an inspection that could cost you money.  

Take care when packing any equipment containing food or natural materials or items used for camping, gardening or outdoor recreation. Customs will dispose of any dirty equipment.

You can bring items in with you in your checked baggage. Make sure you declare any equipment, materials, or articles on your arrival card. You’ll need to get them inspected by customs on your arrival.

What items can’t I bring into New Zealand?

Whether you’re flying with your packages or shipping them over, some items are prohibited by customs. These include:

  • Weapons and firearms
  • Objectionable material on videotapes, or other publications
  • Items that are made using animal products, including coral, snakeskin, whalebone, shell, or fur. Check out which items are restricted by CITES.
  • Medicines the use ingredients such as musk, horn, or bone

You will need to declare any packages that include any natural foods, plant materials, animal materials (including hunting trophies), dried flowers, wood, seeds, straw, bamboo, and any items containing unprocessed wool or feathers. For a complete list of items, check out MPI’s list here.

How do I prepare items for shipping into New Zealand?

Ensure all your camping, gardening, outdoor or recreational equipment is clean and free of dirt, seeds, sand or other foreign materials. If an item requires treatment before customs can let it into the country, you will have to pay for this service. Any goods that you cannot import will be destroyed or reshipped back to you.

Think carefully about whether it’s worth shipping your items to New Zealand. Camping equipment is generally expensive in New Zealand, and it’s always a good idea to bring quality items in with you. However, items made from foreign materials may get stopped at the border, and you may end up paying for the expense of having them inspected.

Watch out for seemingly harmless items like pet accessories, saddles and riding equipment or vacuum cleaners. These items are in contact with animals and animal dander and need to be declared.

How can I move my pet to New Zealand?

To bring your cat or dog to New Zealand they must meet specific health standards. These differ depending on what country you and your pet are travelling from. Importing a pet from another country is expensive and can take a long time. Make sure you do your homework and leave enough time to get your paperwork done.

New Zealand has three classifications for importing cats and dogs:

  • Category 1: Importing from Australia. This is the easiest category to get your pet into New Zealand. An import permit is not required, nor is a quarantine for your pet. However, your pet will be inspected on arrival.
  • Category 2: Importing from rabies-free countries. New Zealand does not have any active cases of rabies. You can import countries from rabies-free countries as listed by MPI. This includes many island countries and nations in the South Pacific. An import permit is required. Your pet will also have to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. A post-arrival inspection of your pet is also required.
  • Category 3: Importing from rabies-controlled countries. If your country is not mentioned in Category 2 or 3, your pet is not eligible for direct import into New Zealand. Rabies-controlled countries include the UK and the United States. You will need an import permit for your pet. Your pet will need to quarantine for 10 days on arrival and pass a post-arrival inspection.

Full details of how to import your pet from overseas are listed on the MPI website.

How do I transport my goods once they arrive in New Zealand?

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