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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  27 January 2021

Many people buy or are sent items from overseas to celebrate the Chinese New Year festival. DOC Team Lead Border Operations, Clinton Turner, says some items such as traditional medicines may contain threatened animal and plant species that are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and require permits before bringing them into New Zealand.

“Some common traditional medicine items that need CITES permits are Po Chai, Renshen Guipi Wan and American Ginseng.

“It can be a real disappointment for people to have special items stopped at the borders and that’s no way to celebrate New Year. We encourage people to check the rules on our website before buying traditional medicines online or having them sent from family overseas.”

Over 38,000 species are covered by CITES, which monitors and regulates trade in endangered species, or any product containing species, across borders.

People who bring in traditional medicines containing CITES protected species without the correct permits will have the produce confiscated and may be fined or prosecuted.

DOC is the CITES Management Authority in New Zealand, responsible for administering 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. 

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MIL OSI