Welcome to Eden – Now you do know about the fruit - right?

Welcome to Eden – Now you do know about the fruit?

I was going to start this post with something silly, along the lines “Is that a banana in your pocket…..” and show an image of chimp with the offending item, but thought better of it:  stave off the hilarity this post is about biosecurity and how seriously we take it. This post may just save you a lot of time and a wad of cash.

Its fair to say that New Zealanders are perceived as easy going, friendly folk and for the most part that is true. However, for those who have entered New Zealand and experienced our frontline agency 'Biosecurity New Zealand', then they may have something different to say. Many an unsuspecting traveler has exited customs red faced, out of pocket after being detained for a good few hours. Sniffer dogs, super sized X-ray machines and a thorough luggage search is maybe what you would worry about entering larger international airports especially post 9/11. This no nonsense approach when crossing our international boarder is in place for a good reason as our island nation depends heavily on Agriculture and Forestry and contributes 12.2% to our GDP. Our Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF's) Biosecurity New Zealand is on constant alert as they protect ourselves from unwelcome diseases and pests that can destroy our delictely balanced ecosystems and damage our agricultural industry.

How to avoid fines, hold ups and  unnecessary embarrassment. On arrival, you will be given a Passenger Arrival Card that you will need to fill in before entering New Zealand. This is a legal document. If you break the law by giving false or incorrect declarations it may result in fines or imprisonment.

Failing to declare biosecurity risk goods can be fined up to $100,000 and/or face up to five years in prison. People failing to declare risk goods can receive an instant $400 fine.

Biosecurity risk goods that must be declared include:

  • Any food including cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried goods
  • Plant or plant products including fruit, vegetables, leaves, nuts, parts of flowers, seeds, bulbs, fungi,cane,bamboo, wood or straw.
  •  Animals, animal medicines or animal products including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shells, raw wood, skins, bones or insects.
  • Biological cultures, soil or water
  • Equipment used with animals, plants or water
  • Articles with soil attached, outdoor sport or hiking shoes, and tents

All food items brought into New Zealand, even the smallest amounts, need to be declared. Declare or Dispose. If in doubt, ask a bisosecurity inspector when you arrive at the airport. If you tick "YES" - you will be stopped. If you tick "NO" and you have these items - you will be in hot water. If you don't want any confrontation just chuck out the offending item out in one of the many bins provided before you get to customs. 

It just ain't worth it!!



Brent Narbey
Brent Narbey
: 15 May 2012 (Last updated: 13 Mar 2022)

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