The New Zealand Customs Service says that with many people heading overseas for the long Easter holiday break, it is
timely to remind intending travellers what can and can’t be brought back into the country.
The recent discovery of the Varroa bee mite also emphasises the fact that we all have a part to play in protecting New
Zealand borders and complying with declaration requirements.
Intending travellers need to be wary of ‘unofficial’ travel tips from family and friends. No matter how well meaning
they are, it is important to get the correct advice from the official channels.
Customs strongly advises against carrying back goods for other people and says that knowing what can and cannot be
brought into New Zealand will help people end their holiday on a happy note. Instead of having to hand over a prohibited
souvenir or pay unexpected duties, travellers should check before they leave what the re-entry requirements are. That
way time spent attending to Customs formalities will be minimised.
Customs says travellers can assist their clearance by adopting the following course of action which includes:
placing all food, animal and plant items in the quarantine and amnesty bins;
having passports and completed passenger arrival card ready;
having all documentation for commercial goods or business samples ready;
having permits for protected wildlife products ready;
in any cases of doubt declaring the goods involved to a Customs or Agriculture Quarantine Officer.
The Customs Service produces a brochure to assist intending travellers with necessary Customs information, which is
available at all travel agents and Customs Service locations. Travellers can also get up-to-date information on what
must be declared on departure or entry to New Zealand, by calling the Customs National Call Centre 24 hour freephone on
The Call Centre can also provide details on duty free allowances, rates of duty and GST, documents required for Customs
clearance or the clearance process.
Customs recommends adoption of a simple rule of thumb when travelling - “If in doubt - declare it.”