Household goods and personal effects importing to NZ

If you are bringing or sending household goods and personal effects by air or sea into New Zealand, your items may be inspected at the border to identify any risk goods. You'll need to declare the contents of your household goods (or personal effects) to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and provide documentation. Find out what you should do to avoid border clearance problems.

Update – 19 July 2021

Proposed new import health standard (IHS) for personal consignments of products for human consumption and personal effects

From 19 July 2021 to 31 August 2021, MPI would like your feedback on the proposed new IHS for personal consignments of products for human consumption and personal effects.

The new requirements will consolidate existing standards and state on-arrival procedures. It will also clarify for passengers what and how much food products they can bring to New Zealand.

Find out more about the consultation

Relocating or returning to New Zealand

If you are moving to New Zealand for the first time, or you're a returning New Zealander, you'll need to know about how to ship your personal effects. MPI has a brochure available with information about what you need to know.

Download the "Moving to New Zealand" brochure [PDF, 1.8 MB]

Prepare an inventory

Shipments of personal items must be accompanied by a detailed inventory listing all of the items in the consignment, and you must declare any restricted items. A good tip is to number boxes or packages and make a list of the items inside. If you're using a household removal company, you can ask their staff to do this for you.

Complete declarations

For shipping personal items by sea or by air you'll need to complete an unaccompanied personal baggage declaration form (NZCS218) which you can download from the 'household items' section of the NZ Customs website.

If you're sending goods that may be a biosecurity risk, it's recommended you fill out a personal effects supplementary declaration. This voluntary declaration provides more information about specific items and could change the risk status of your consignment. Filling out the supplementary declaration may lead to reduced clearance costs and faster clearance times.

Download the personal effects supplementary declaration [PDF, 333 KB]

Once your completed documents have been presented, MPI staff will screen the declarations, along with the list of contents against any relevant import health standards to determine the risk status.

In most cases, no inspection of cargo is necessary – but inspection of sea containers is mandatory. This inspection is always carried out by MPI or an accredited person.

If inspection of goods is required, MPI Border Clearance Services will need to be notified of the location of the goods.

Inspections are carried out in MPI approved warehouses called transitional facilities. Check with your agent to find out where your goods will be inspected.

Full containers

If you are bringing in a shipping or sea container full of your own household goods and items you'll need to meet extra requirements, including completing a quarantine declaration.

Wood packaging requirements

If your goods are shipped to New Zealand in wooden crates or containers, or wood has been used as flooring or walls, you'll need to comply with requirements for importing wood packaging.

What happens when you declare items

If you have declared any items that are prohibited in New Zealand, you're likely to have 4 choices. The items will be:

  • inspected and returned to you
  • re-shipped
  • destroyed at an approved facility
  • treated at an approved facility . You'll need to make arrangements to collect the items once treated. Be aware that some items cannot be treated.

Fees and charges will apply.

Find out more

Visit the NZ Customs Service website

Items to declare

Importing overview

Who to contact

If you have questions about bringing household goods and personal effects to New Zealand, email

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