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Moving to NZ


MAF or Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is New Zealand's quarantine department. Below is some general information about how they operate, and tips on what is allowable within New Zealand. For more detailed information please visit their website at

Generally speaking, your baggage will require a MAF examination if you answer yes to any of the questions on the MAF forms you need to fill in when your goods arrive in New Zealand. This will guide you in what you should and should not bring in. Below is also a list of prohibited items to help you.

Quarantine Charges

In New Zealand the Quarantine Department institutes a user pays system regarding required inspections. Within Auckland charges vary between $150.00 and $450.00+ per consignment depending on what requires inspection. If an additional service is required, such as steam cleaning or fumigation, extra charges will apply.


Motor vehicles and motor bikes will always require a MAF examination and it is advantageous to have your vehicle steam cleaned before you ship it back. This can help prevent steam cleaning and transportation costs of between $150 and $250 dollars, upon arrival.

Soil Related

With gardening equipment and pushbikes it is advantageous to have these steam cleaned before shipping. If you have certificates to prove this then a MAF inspection may not be required.

MAF Tips

If you have a vacuum cleaner with a bag, empty the bag and clean it before shipping. If it does not have a bag, still clean the dust compartment. Check your Christmas decorations and make sure these are all artificial. Clean anything that has had contact with soil, preferably with soap and a scrubbing brush. With cane items, if these are sealed with paint or varnish, then generally these are okay and may not require MAF inspection.

Prohibited Items

  • eggs & egg products
  • leis & lei materials
  • live animals
  • freshwater fish
  • plants
  • biological cultures
  • honeystraw & straw handcrafts
  • clam shells & coral
  • meat & meat products
  • ivory
  • popcorn
  • turtle & tortoise shells
  • endangered species

Entry may be granted if appropriate certification is obtained prior to export from an overseas country (e.g. CITES certification, International Phytosanitary Cert).


You will be required to fill out Customs forms for entry of your personal effects. These forms will be sent out to you and we will answer any questions you have.

Below are a few helpful hints, otherwise for more details please go to the Customs website at

New Immigrant

If you are a new immigrant to New Zealand, and do not yet have permanent residence, you can still bring in your personal effects. However, Customs will require you to pay a bond, this bond is fully refundable and is placed in an interest bearing account for six months. After this time the bond is still recoverable, however it will no longer be gaining interest. Once you have got your permanent residence, then you can take your receipt to Customs with your passport and retrieve your bond.

Returning New Zealander

If you are a returning New Zealander and have been away for less than 21 months, then you may be charged GST on your goods coming back. However, if you have initially shipped them out of New Zealand, then these items that are returning will be GST free. You will need to prove this by showing a bill of lading and inventory of previous shipment, obtainable from the shipping company that you used when you originally shipped your goods from New Zealand.

Not Present in Country

If you are sending your personal effects back to New Zealand without being in the country, just ask whomever is receiving these for you to ring us so we can advise them on what documents to fill out on your behalf.

New Items

GST and duty are payable on new or unused items. These must be declared on the Customs form so that Customs can assess duty and GST.

Guns or Weapons

Before importation of guns upon your arrival in New Zealand, you have to obtain permits from the Police Department. There are two permits: one for importation and one for ownership.

If you do not have these permits, the guns will be seized by Customs until the permits are obtained.

Certain knives and weapons are prohibited. Please check with Customs or our office for clarification.

Motor Vehicles

If you are a returning New Zealander then you will have to pay GST on the cost of your car plus the value of the freight and insurance (CIF value) to ship it to NZ.

There is, however, a depreciation allowance on your car before GST is calculated. Please contact our office or NZ Customs for further information.

If you are an immigrant and have owned the car for more than 1 year, then it is duty and GST free as long as the car is kept for more than two years in New Zealand. If the car is sold sooner than two years, then Customs will work out the comparable amount of GST, the whole amount is not payable.

Documentation Required

Documentation required by Customs is either registration papers, or deregistration papers depending on the country of origin. This will need to show proof of ownership and proof of purchase price.

If you do not have this then a written valuation by a New Zealand car dealer is allowable. Also required is a bill of lading, your passport and, if a first time immigrant, a copy of your drivers licence.

Extra Information

In Auckland the person whose name is on the registration papers has to present themselves to Customs, to sign various forms. Other cities may vary from this requirement. If you have paid for Customs clearance then a company representative will accompany you to Customs, to help and guide you through the procedure.


All cars have to be registered in New Zealand to be driven on New Zealand roads, Australian registrations are not legal. There are a number of steps to be taken for Registration and Warrant of Fitness.

For information call Land Transport Safety Authority:

0800 699 000 (if in New Zealand) OR
+64 4 494 8600

+64 4 494-8601




In respect of compliance requirements for motor vehicles, it is essential that all clients considering the importation of motor vehicles contact the Land Transport Safety Authority.