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Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Old Mar 10th 2016, 8:46 pm
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Default Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

I know they're strict on the bio-security over there but has anybody managed to bring any packets in (obviously declaring it on arrival) & I mean shop-bought fully sealed packets (I'm going to discard the opened ones)?

It's just that I have a large collection (don't ask!) of various annuals, perennials & veggies that I would be loathe to have to discard.
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Old Mar 10th 2016, 9:01 pm
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

https://mpi.govt.nz/importing/plants...-to-importing/

Have a good read then bin them!

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Old Mar 10th 2016, 9:29 pm
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Originally Posted by KOH2 View Post
I know they're strict on the bio-security over there but has anybody managed to bring any packets in (obviously declaring it on arrival) & I mean shop-bought fully sealed packets (I'm going to discard the opened ones)?

It's just that I have a large collection (don't ask!) of various annuals, perennials & veggies that I would be loathe to have to discard.
Don't discard them. Just leave them in the UK. NZ has enough issues with imported flora and fauna, no more required.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 5:26 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Don't bring them. You don't need to, you can buy seeds here and they will be suitable for the climate.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 5:40 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Bin them

We don't need any more diseases

The last kiwi fruit blight came from legally imported pollen (apparently)

Just because they are in a packet doesn't make them safe.
Has it not occurred to you that you can buy seeds here
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 6:06 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Find a keen gardener to give them to who will promise to cultivate them and send you pictures of the result that way you sort of get the satisfaction but don't bring any possible non native fauna or veggies or anything else into NZ. Packets might be sealed but end of day contents are never necessarily guaranteed to contain 100 percent what they say on the packet and history is dotted with incidents of 'innocent' looking seeds/plants having dire consequences over time.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 12:01 pm
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

I love gardening but I've given away all my seed packets to a friend with a massive garden and school gardening clubs. If you check online seed merchants in NZ you'll be able to see whether the species you love are available there, the specific variety may not be but every species I looked at was available and there are lots of gardening clubs around that I bet do seed swaps like in the UK.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 12:44 pm
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Surely whether you declare the seeds or not, when customs see them they'll destroy them? Just because you declare doesn't mean you get to keep the item. I think NZ is similar to Aus in that respect.
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

I would not even attempt to bring seeds, I declare my Yorkshire Tea bags and any food, sweets or drink even when wrapped and processed just to be on the safe side.
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 8:18 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Originally Posted by Justcol View Post

We don't need any more diseases

The last kiwi fruit blight came from legally imported pollen (apparently)
I am an amateur gardener and only got interested in it about 2 years ago. So I'm still learning a lot.


Originally Posted by Justcol View Post
Just because they are in a packet doesn't make them safe.
Well, I would have thought it does - after all aren't commercial products treated with chemicals to stop the spread of disese)? Obviously I'm wrong or MPI take a different view. I have no experience of travelling to a bio-secure country. Within Europe I've always been able to transport a lot of the stuff that the bio-secure countries seem to exclude. I have, however, been able to take packets of seeds across the pond, did of course declare them & they were let through. I guess there are various degrees of bio-security with the NZ one being the strictest.

Before posting my question I trawled the forum for answers and looked on the MPI site but also wanted to know people's personal experience.

For example, on my first trip to NZ I was quaking in my boots 'cause we were bringing in some plums in chocolate (a Polish speciality) and of course dried fruit are a no-no. We declared them & they were let through. Also asked the bio-security if I could bring packets of seasoning (yes, I am particularly attached to my Polish pre-mixed seasoning - just like some people like the taste of Marmite or other home food stuffs) and they said yes, so next trip I treated our NZ rellies to Polish style meals. So it pays to ask as really you can bring so much more in than what it initially looks like from the website.

Originally Posted by Justcol View Post
Has it not occurred to you that you can buy seeds here
Yes, and so - apparently - is tea & Cadbury's chocolate, but they don't taste the same

Last time I was in NZ gardening wasn't even on my radar & none of the NZ rellies do any gardening so thought the forum would be best place to ask.

Also, since I've already spent time & money buying MY seeds I was wondering if it would be viable to bring them, as everybody is saying how there's less choice over there. I do apologise for my ignorance.
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 10:45 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

There is a risk of introducing unexpected strains - not all the seeds I have bought have grown exactly as I expected (e.g. yellow courgettes turning out to be green) and I don't expect that commercial seeds in Europe are treated to remove all pathogens which are common throughout.

Apart from seeds, there have been various instances of tree disease spreading across Europe through intensive nursery farming of saplings (especially in the Netherlands) so I can't really blame NZ for being extra cautious.

It is a shame though, it would be nice to bring unusual or heritage items over.
However better safe than sorry.

I would expect new strains from elsewhere to be imported to a bio-secure area, grown and tested there, and the offspring of certified plants then released to nurseries for commercial production. Don't know if this is how it works but it sounds a sensible option.

Thinking about bringing in seeds, you would need to surrender the packets, then have Immigration check the sealed foil packets with the printed on codes against the details from the seed supplier. Even then there is a reasonable chance of forgery because printing on foil then heat sealing isn't high technology.

Then again there seems to be a supply route for AK47s and ammunition which makes a few seeds seem trivial.

Last edited by LittleGreyCat; Mar 12th 2016 at 10:50 am.
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 10:59 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
There is a risk of introducing unexpected strains - not all the seeds I have bought have grown exactly as I expected (e.g. yellow courgettes turning out to be green) and I don't expect that commercial seeds in Europe are treated to remove all pathogens which are common throughout.
Thank you LittleGreyCat for the explanation

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
Apart from seeds, there have been various instances of tree disease spreading across Europe through intensive nursery farming of saplings (especially in the Netherlands) so I can't really blame NZ for being extra cautious.
Oh, I am aware of that. My Dad worked in the Forestry Commission all his life (in Poland) and I've heard all the horror stories of tiny caterpillars chomping through great swathes of wood.

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
It is a shame though, it would be nice to bring unusual or heritage items over.
However better safe than sorry.
Oh, well - there are nice community gardening projects in our local area so I guess I'll be making a donation shortly. I made the usual novice gardener's mistake of stocking up on loads of lovely varieties (we'd been planning to move within the UK initially, but the current situation in Europe has made us realise that NZ will be a much safer place for our family).

Look forward to growing the tried & tested local strains then
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Originally Posted by snaps View Post
I would not even attempt to bring seeds, I declare my Yorkshire Tea bags and any food, sweets or drink even when wrapped and processed just to be on the safe side.
Thank you snaps - I guess out of all the countries I've travelled to (Europe/North America/NZ) - NZ seems to have the most stringet rules for bio-security. When you haven't experienced anything on that scale before it really is a little bit difficult to gauge what's allowed & what not.

We usually bring chocolates, tea & biscuits from the UK as gifts for the rellies but on one visit I wanted to cook some Polish style dishes so they could get the taste of it & found out from the bio-security people that pre-mixed packets of seasoning were also allowed.

Hence I had to clarify the seed situation. Point taken & I now will be distributing my collection to local community gardening projects.
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Originally Posted by Hazelnut View Post
I love gardening but I've given away all my seed packets to a friend with a massive garden and school gardening clubs. If you check online seed merchants in NZ you'll be able to see whether the species you love are available there, the specific variety may not be but every species I looked at was available and there are lots of gardening clubs around that I bet do seed swaps like in the UK.
Thank you Hazelnut - it's good to talk to a like-minded soul

I've followed your suggestion & am getting myself acquainted with what's available locally.

On a different note, is it you who's planning to bring some wicker stuff to NZ? I've got a few wicker baskets + plant display stands & was wondering whether they're going to be a problem. I also have a lovely cane shelving unit for displaying my indoor plants & I hope I'll be able to bring that in too.
Any advice would be greatly recommended
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 11:24 am
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Default Re: Has anybody brought in seeds to NZ?

Originally Posted by moneypenny20 View Post
Surely whether you declare the seeds or not, when customs see them they'll destroy them? Just because you declare doesn't mean you get to keep the item. I think NZ is similar to Aus in that respect.
Thank you moneypenny20 - point taken.

It's always best to check just in case IMHO - I've learnt so much from reading this forum. It really is an invaluable resource of information.

Thank you everyone for contributing
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