Steps to importing wood products
To import wood products, you need to meet the various treatment, packing, and plant health (phytosanitary) requirements outline in the import health standard (IHS) for your product. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.
Follow the steps
What you need to know
An overview of importing wood products from start to finish.
To import wood products you need to know about:
- the requirements listed in the import health standard (IHS) for your type of wood product
- having your product treated – if needed – no more than 21 days before export
- treatment methods, if applicable
- exemptions from inspections and treatment for specified low-risk products
- New Zealand Customs Service requirements.
Some fees and charges will apply.
Is your product in the 'low-risk' categories list?
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) introduced changes in October 2015 to import requirements for some wood products. One of the main changes is that products considered low-risk will not need inspection or treatment on arrival. Full details about the changes, and the list of products are in the notice to clients.
Are you using wood packaging?
If your consignment is using packaging made from wood (like wooden pallets or crates) you'll also need to make sure the packaging complies with requirements.
Check restrictions on importing some timber products
The import of many endangered plant species is restricted by the Convention on International Trade with Endangered Species (CITES). Visit the Department of Conservation website to check whether your wood products are restricted.
What you need to do
The tasks you need to complete.
Consider using a customs broker, agent or freight forwarder
A customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered customs brokers.
Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers but if you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.
Check the import health standard (IHS) for your wood product
An import health standard (IHS) describes the conditions you must meet so you can import your product. Most wood products have to meet the requirements set out in the IHS for woodware (but there are exceptions).
Download the IHS for Woodware from All Countries [PDF, 671 KB]
Wood products regulated by another IHS
For bark that is not lacquered or otherwise covered in a permanent coating, refer to the IHS for bark.
IHS for Bark from All Countries [PDF, 741 KB]
For panels made from processed wood like plywood, particleboard, oriented strand board, fibreboard, veneer, and chipboard, refer to the IHS for wooden panels.
IHS for Wooden Panels from All Countries [PDF, 629 KB]
For products made from bamboo, cane, willow, or rattan, refer to the IHS for bamboo, willow, cane, and rattan.
Comply with phytosanitary requirements
Before your wood product leaves its country of export for New Zealand, it should meet the phytosanitary requirements detailed in the IHS. You may need to follow specific treatment, cleanliness, and certification requirements.
Apply for a phytosanitary certificate, if needed
If you are using a phytosanitary certificate, you need to get one from the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in the country of export. To apply for a certificate, either arrange for your customs broker to apply on your behalf, or contact the NPPO yourself.
A phytosanitary certificate is issued when the NPPO is satisfied that:
- it can certify the identity of the wood products
- the wood products have been appropriately treated
- any declarations about the treatment can be made on the treatment certificate.
A copy of the certificate must be included with your consignment.
Arrange treatments, if needed
The IHS for your wood product will tell you whether it needs to be treated in the country of export. If you need to arrange treatment, contact the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in the country of export to find out about treatment providers.
Make sure you get certification after treatment
Treated wood products should be accompanied by a treatment certificate. The certificate needs to be issued by an approved authority, like the NPPO in the country of export. Check your IHS for the treatment certificate requirements.
Comply with on-arrival inspections
When your consignment arrives in New Zealand your documentation will be checked and the consignment may be inspected by an MPI inspector to make sure it complies with the IHS. The inspection includes checks for:
- signs of pests or contaminants (bark, soil, twigs, leaves)
- appropriate wood packaging, if needed
- correct documentation.
If your wood product does not comply
If your wood product doesn't comply with IHS requirements or is seriously contaminated (such as with live organisms) when it arrives in New Zealand, you'll need to do one of the following:
- treat the wood product (for example by fumigation)
- identify the organism (and treat if a restricted pest)
- ship the product to another destination
- destroy the product.
All treatments have to be done by an approved provider at a transitional facility. You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance or contamination.
Download a list of approved treatment providers [PDF, 188 KB]
Getting your import documents
How you know you've met MPI requirements.
Your wood products can be imported into New Zealand when the requirements of the IHS for your wood product are met.
You'll also need to check with other agencies, like the New Zealand Customs Service, whether there is anything else you need to do to import your wood products.
Types of wood product for import
Wood products for import include manufactured wooden products like furniture and ornaments, and barrels made from wood, plywood, or particleboard.
If you're importing wood products made from mostly raw or unmanufactured wood, you should follow the process for importing timber.
Who to contact
For queries about offshore treatment or phytosanitary certificates, contact the exporting country's National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) or your customs broker.
For other questions about importing wood products, email firstname.lastname@example.org.