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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  27 January 2021

DOC is the CITES Management Authority in New Zealand, responsible for administering the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – the international agreement that regulates and monitors trade in animal and plant species to ensure it does not threaten their long-term survival in the wild. 

DOC’s Team Lead Border Operations, Clinton Turner, says some items such as traditional medicines may contain threatened animal and plant species that are protected by CITES and require permits before bringing them into New Zealand.

“Many people buy or send items from China to celebrate the festival. Some common traditional medicine items that need CITES permits are Po Chai, Renshen Guipi Wan, American Ginseng, and Dendrobium.

“It can be a real disappointment to have special items stopped at the borders. There may also be a fine or court action, which is no way to celebrate. We encourage people to check the rules on our website before buying traditional medicines online or having them sent to you from family overseas.”

Over 38,000 species are covered by CITES which monitors and regulates trade in endangered species through a system of permits and certificates. These documents are needed to cross borders with any CITES species or any product containing CITES species.

People who bring in traditional medicines containing CITES protected species without the correct permits can be issued an infringement fine of up to $800 or may be prosecuted.


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