Taking food out with you

​Many people like to take food with them when they leave New Zealand – particularly local delicacies and specialities.

As a general rule, there are few restrictions on what food you can take or send out of the country – with the exception of those food items which are subject to export controls such as toheroa, toothfish and New Zealand pāua (abalone), which is allowed out only in restricted quantities (see below).

You may take animal products such as meat, fish, dairy products and honey on the ship or aircraft in your personal baggage,

And there are no controls on sending foodstuffs such as manufactured or home-made goods like Christmas cakes, jams, preserves or sweets.

However, New Zealand Customs cannot advise you on the importation of foodstuffs into the country of destination, nor on any controls that might be in place there. It is suggested that you check with the authorities of that country first.

Pāua – a special category

Pāua – or New Zealand abalone – is in a special category, and only limited quantities may be taken out.

You may take – per person:

  • up to 20 whole pāua – or
  • 2.25kg chopped or minced pāua – or
  • 1.5kg dried, cooked or boiled pāua.

There are some exemptions to these restrictions on pāua.

The controls do not apply to:

  • Pāua that has been commercially purchased within NZ (this must be supported by documentation). 
  • Pāua that has been taken as customary catch (this must be supported by customary catch documentation).

This description was last updated on: Friday, 09 March 2012