Page load in progress

Non-drug interceptions

The information on this page was obtained from Customs database.


While the information is considered correct at the date it was extracted on 7 August 2019, it may be amended or reviewed at any time. The page contains information on the types of items intercepted at locations in New Zealand.

The data excludes items that are detained supplementary to an interception being made eg enclosures and packaging.

When Customs finds prohibited goods or goods that have been, undeclared,  mis-declared or undervalued for revenue evasion purposes at the border, it's referred to as an ‘interception’. From there Customs takes custody of goods, at which point they are ‘detained’. Goods that are ‘detained’ can be either released back to the importer (usually when conditions/requirements have been met e.g. duty and GST paid, doctor’s prescription/permit produced etc) or formally ‘seized’. Seizure is a specific legal action that alters the legal status of the goods and instigates a sequence of legal requirements.

Goods which cross the border are either legitimate or prohibited (conditional or absolute). Prohibited goods include controlled drugs and prescription medicines, drug paraphernalia, objectionable material, weapons, copyright/trade mark goods (IPR), items containing endangered species (CITES), and items covered by the Customs Import Prohibition Order (CIPO).

If goods are intercepted or detained it is usually because:

  • a person failed to declare them
  • a person made an incorrect declaration or produced false or incorrect documents
  • they are prohibited or restricted
  • a person attempted to evade duty.

Customs also detains goods which are abandoned, for example cigarettes and alcohol left at the airport.

Customs detains offensive weapons such as flick knives, knuckledusters and concealed weapons under the Customs and Excise Act 2018. Customs also detains restricted weapons such as firearms, parts of firearms and disabling sprays under the Arms Act 1983.