When packing to come to New Zealand, it is important to consider the following. New Zealand is a unique yet delicate country – a small island – and the introduction of a foreign biohazard, such as a disease or a pest, has the potential to cripple the economy and throw the ecosystem into chaos. This is why New Zealand has especially stringent customs laws, which could affect you when you enter the country. Aside from the obvious, like illegal drugs and weapons, you may be surprised at what you’re not allowed to bring in. Here is a list of the top 10 things you can’t bring into New Zealand:

  1. Food

    egg-157224_960_720Some packaged food is allowed if you declare it, but if you brought fruit to eat on the plane journey, for example, you’ll have to get rid of it upon arrival – the same with meat and cheese. My nana was hassled when she tried to enter New Zealand with a packet of Cadbury Creme Eggs,* but most chocolate is actually fine to bring in as long as you declare it. At the time, we joked that the X-ray machine must have thought that the Creme Eggs were grenades, but, thinking about it, it probably thought that they were real eggs – eggs are a big no-no.

  2. Honey and/or products containing honey

    Honey is also a big no-no, so check the ingredients of any natural beauty products you want to bring with you – if they contain honey, they’ll be confiscated.

  3. Tea and/or coffee

    This includes teabags, apparently.

  4. Plants

    Who’d bring flowers on a plane? You can buy them when you get there.

  5. Anything that used to be a plant

    Wooden items and woven straw bags or hats, for example, have to be disinfected, to your cost and inconvenience – and if you didn’t declare them, then you’re in trouble.


    Tip: Declare everything. Not sure about something? If in doubt, declare it. It’s far better to declare something unnecessarily than to not declare something and have it discovered… You get a rather nasty fine.

  6. Animals

    Make sure you don’t have any stowaway rats in your luggage!

  7. Anything that used to be an animal

    This includes items such as fur coats, feathers, bone souvenirs, things made with tortoiseshell and, a definite no-no, traditional Chinese ‘medicines’.

  8. Seeds

    Planting foreign seeds in New Zealand could be quite literally sowing the seeds of doom!

  9. Equipment used on animals

    You know, like a horse brush with horsehair still on it.

  10. Dirty shoes or camping gear

    trekking-147968_960_720Basically, any items you want to bring that have been in contact with nature, you need to clean first to make sure there aren’t any traces of soil, pollen, seeds, or anything like that.

    Jokingly, you can imagine entering New Zealand and having your bag checked, and the guy saying, “Oh, yeah, grenades, okay, she’ll be ’right, mate. An apple? Get down!”

    * This was the first time my nana visited us in New Zealand, back when she still believed that New Zealand was an uncivilised wasteland devoid of modern luxuries such as Christmas wrapping paper. Upon finally making it through Arrivals at Auckland International Airport, the first thing she saw in one of the airport’s newsagents was Cadbury Creme Eggs.
    List compiled by Abigail Simpson

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