Toi Te Ora Public Health is one of New Zealand's border agencies, making sure international craft entering New Zealand are free of serious public health risks posed by people and vectors such as mosquitoes and rats.

Ships arriving from overseas need to receive health clearance (pratique) from a Health Protection Officer before they can arrive. Ships also require a Ship Sanitation Certificate which must be renewed every six months. Health Protection Officers are responsible for issuing these certificates in New Zealand.

Most commercial flights arriving in New Zealand are deemed to automatically have health clearance, but the captain must alert a Health Protection Officer if there is an infectious disease risk on board. 

Pilots of unscheduled flights need to declare infectious diseases at the top of descent.

Read the rules around private jets arriving in New Zealand from the New Zealand Customs Service.

Border health risks

Exotic mosquitoes

Some mosquitoes are capable of carrying and transmitting infectious diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Fortunately, the most capable vectors are not normally found in New Zealand. Our Health Protection Officers undertake mosquito surveillance at the border (Port of Tauranga). This is to prevent exotic mosquitoes from becoming established in New Zealand.

Sick Passengers

The most common infectious illness coming into New Zealand by ships and aircraft is gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting). While it is not often serious in people who are healthy, gastroenteritis can cause complications in the young, elderly, and others with poor immune systems. Cruise ships usually have medical staff capable of dealing with outbreaks of illness, but from time-to-time Toi Te Ora Public Health may be required to assist. 

When the Health Protection Officers are notified of an illness on a craft, they can decide what action is necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and the other passengers and crew. Crews of ships and planes must be able to deal with contamination to prevent further spread of the disease.

A cruise ship cannot be denied entry to New Zealand just because of an outbreak of gastroenteritis.


Rats pose a risk to public health for a number of reasons.  Their fleas are capable of transmitting plague, and the rats themselves can spread diseases such as typhus, leptospirosis and many more through their urine, faeces and bites.


Ship sanitation

International commercial ships require a Ship Sanitation Certificate which must be renewed at an appropriate port somewhere in the world every six months.  In New Zealand this is conducted by Health Protection Officers. The renewal process includes an audit of the ship's health procedures including cleaning, waste management and medical facilities, and a physical inspection of certain parts of the vessel.




Contact us

Contact us if you have any questions about biosecurity or if you think you have found an exotic mosquito phone 0800 MOZZIE.