Prohibited and restricted items


You can’t bring any of these items into NZ:

  • objectionable material contained on items like videotapes, films, records, CD-ROMs and in publications
  • weapons like flick knives, butterfly knives, swordsticks, knuckle-dusters
  • any weapon which is disguised as something else
  • equipment for using cannabis or methamphetamine
  • anything which you’re planning to use in a crime.

You need a permit to import these items:

  • ivory in any form, including jewellery, and carvings
  • tortoise or sea turtle shell jewellery, and ornaments
  • meat or food derived from whales, dolphins, rare crane, and pheasants, or sea turtles
  • medicines containing musk, or rhinoceros or tiger derivatives such as ground horn or bone
  • carvings or other things made from whalebone or bone from other marine mammals
  • cat skins
  • trophies of  sea turtles, all big cats, rare reptiles, cranes, pheasants, bears, antelope, and deer
  • live species, including pet eagles, hawks, owls and parrots, many cacti, orchids, cycads, and cyclamens
  • carnivorous plants.

You may not be able to bring some medicines into NZ, especially controlled drugs. This includes medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

You might be able to bring in prescription medicines if you can show us a valid doctor’s prescription.

Agricultural items

Any pests or diseases that come in with your items could cause serious damage to New Zealand’s environment and economy.

You must declare any items that could be risky (Ministry for Primary Industries) on your passenger arrival card.

Risky items include:

  • food
  • fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, honey, ingredients used in cooking, and all dairy products
  • alive or dead plants and seeds
  • wooden items
  • alive or dead animals
  • alive or dead animal products
  • traditional/herbal medicines
  • any shoes, sports or outdoor equipment you’ve used.

If you don’t declare these items, MPI might:

  • fine you 
  • prosecute you.

Once MPI officers have inspected your items, they may return them to you. In some cases, they will need to treat your items first – you will have to pay for this service.

Endangered species

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is designed to prevent trade in endangered, threatened, or exploited species.

CITES covers alive or dead plants and animals, and any products made from them. This includes souvenirs.

You need a special permit (Department of Conservation) to bring these items into or out of NZ.

Animal and plant products

You may not be able to bring in some animal and plant products (Ministry for Primary Industries).

Human ashes

You can bring human ashes into NZ with you, but you must declare them. We recommend that you have a copy of the person’s death or cremation certificate with you.

If you send human ashes by post, you must declare on the postal declaration that the package contains human ashes. You must include a copy of the death or cremation certificate in the package.

Objectionable material

Material is objectionable (NZ Legislation) if it deals with matters in a way that is likely to harm to the public good. These matters could include sex, horror, crime, cruelty, or violence.

We don’t allow objectionable material to enter NZ, and will seize any we find.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • films
  • videos
  • computer games
  • DVDs 
  • CD-ROMs
  • books
  • posters 
  • music
  • magazines
  • photographs
  • paintings
  • t-shirts
  • computer files.

Firearms and weapons

You need an NZ Police permit to bring firearms (including airguns) into NZ. You must get the permit before you arrive here. 

Some weapons are prohibited items, and you won’t be able to bring them in. These include:

  • flick knives
  • butterfly knives
  • swordsticks
  • knuckle-dusters
  • any weapon disguised as something else.

Equipment for smoking or taking drugs

 You can’t bring methamphetamine and cannabis utensils and their parts, including any pipe with a heatproof bowl into NZ. This includes:

  • bongs and hash pipes
  • vapourisers and their parts
  • roach clips with a pincer or tweezer
  • any item for using methamphetamine.

Exception: Tobacco pipes aren’t included.

Radio transmitters and telecommunications equipment

Some transmitting devices interfere with radio or television broadcasts.

Before you bring in any of the following items, make sure they meet the NZ technical standards set by Radio Spectrum Management:

  • dog-tracking devices
  • radio transmitters
  • cordless phones
  • cellphones (mobile phones)
  • baby monitor,
  • similar equipment.

Prohibited and restricted exports

Some items are prohibited or restricted – you may not be able to take them out of NZ without a permit, or at all. These include:

  • pounamu (greenstone) in its natural state
  • paua
  • wildlife
  • antiquities
  • some works of art.

If you aren’t sure whether you can take something out of NZ, please contact us.