The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
IntroductionCITES regulates and monitors trade in endangered animal and plant species to ensure it does not threaten their long-term survival in the wild.
Over 38,000 species are covered by CITES, with trade in these managed through a system of permits and certificates. Items containing CITES species are likely to need documentation to be able to travel between countries.
Items in your luggage or online shopping cart might contain CITES species without you realising. They could be clothing, shoes, medicines, souvenirs, plants, shells, furniture, or ornaments. You could be wearing a taonga made from whalebone or bringing home a hunting trophy – CITES regulations could apply to all of these.
Check ahead of time to make sure you won’t get delayed at the border or have your goods seized. Find out below if your goods fall within the CITES requirements and whether you need a permit. Apply well ahead of time for a permit if you need one.
Get a CITES permitImport or export endangered animal and plant species including parts and derivatives that are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Bringing wildlife and wildlife products into New ZealandEveryday items and activities often contain CITES protected plants or animals. See which ones apply to you.
Travelling with taongaWithout permits, there is a risk personal taonga made from, or with, animal parts such as feathers and bone or kākahu (cloaks) will be confiscated during your travel.
Traditional medicines and CITES
If you are travelling with traditional medicines to New Zealand, you may need a permit. Find out when you need one and how to apply. This page is available in English and Chinese.
International travel with hunting trophiesYou may need CITES documentation to enter or leave New Zealand with your hunting trophy.
CITES in New Zealand
The Department of Conservation is the Management Authority for CITES in New Zealand.
- CITES website
- How CITES works
- Trade in elephant ivory
- Travelling with elephant products and ivory
- Importing wildlife? What you need to know about CITES brochure (PDF, 1,773K)
- Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity
- NZ Customs Service
For further enquiries, contact DOC’s CITES team firstname.lastname@example.org