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  • Katie

New Zealand

If you've made it to the section on New Zealand, you've probably already jumped through some hoops and over hurdles. However, the price tag on this was really takes the cake!

Through extensive research and too many emails to count between Bio security New Zealand (MPI) and Australia, I discovered you could import your pet into New Zealand with a 10 day minimum quarantine. If successfully imported to New Zealand we would be able to import Logan to Australia without quarantine as long as we check out with an approved MPI veterinarian 5 days or less prior to departure, stay in the country for for 180 days (plus quarantine) and have a Leishmania test done in New Zealand 21 days (or more) after arrival... more on that in the Australia section.


Importing cats into New Zealand is a bit easier due to the fact that they don’t require time sensitive blood tests that must be sent to the United States. If your pet is not successfully imported into Fiji, technically the Fiji biosecurity vets (BAF) cannot fill out an export certificate, which means the pet would have to stay in quarantine for a longer period. We worked around this by contacting BAF directly and requesting they sign off on the blood tests. The biggest hurdle if you want to reduce the amount of time in the Quarantine facility is you need to time the tests perfectly with your planned departure. There are three blood tests you must send off to the United States for testing. These tests must be done 16 and 30 days before departure interestingly, it takes about 20-25 days to get the test back…. Yeah you see where I’m going with this. Our originally “planned” day of departure turned out to be a horrible weather window to transit to New Zealand, so our blood tests “expired” and we had to re do the tests.


On a positive note, when applying for the import permit, there are a few equivalences offered to cruisers—this is why it is imperative to have contact with someone in MPI. I worked with an amazing employee at MPI who is probably sick of me, but she helped a ton through the process.

Here are the equivalences to ask for:

o CTO Direction 2016 057 allows for cats and dogs travelling on yachts to have the six month residency in category 2 approved countries to be counted from the day after departure from the last unapproved country when the following documentation can be provided

o Passing rabies titre test result (blood sample taken 3 to 24 months before import); and

o Rabies vaccinations as per category 3 requirements

** You must attach your exit zarpe from Panama (or Mexico, etc—basically whenever you entered S. Pacific) as well so they know when you left Panama for the 6 months to apply. Since he had the test done there and meets requirements, the 6 month period starts when you left Panama.

o CTO Direction 2013 060 gives equivalence for cats and dogs arriving on vessels or exported from Pacific Islands that do not have access to veterinary resources to complete test and treatment requirements, other than rabies requirements, in post-arrival quarantine. This may extend the quarantine period, as animals cannot be released until results are received, and incur additional cost to the importer.

** the problem I had with this was the amount of time added to quarantine. you may be able to get a better answer for the cat. There are some weird dog diseases I had to do blood tests for which would have extended his stay a few weeks.

o We can add an equivalence to the import permit to allow tests and treatments to be done in post-arrival quarantine. Please note that if Biosecurity Fiji will not certify your dog for export from Fiji (usually the case when animals are bonded on board yachts and not imported into Fiji), we cannot accept the heartworm or internal/external parasite treatments because they will not be endorsed by Biosecurity Fiji. We will accept tests if


If you want to sail to New Zealand with your pet, you MUST clear in Opua, but your pet can only quarantine in Auckland…. So you must pay for a very expensive taxi ride down to Auckland. Getting your pet into New Zealand is not cheap. Here is the breakdown of expenses:

o Import Application: $140USD

o Blood tests and health check in Fiji: $500USD (We had to repeat this due to weather)

o Auckland Quarantine for 10 days, plus ride from Opua to Auckland: $2,200 USD

o Total: $2840USD (minimum)


We ended up having to send out two sets of blood tests because our weather window to depart Fiji closed. Which was expensive, but we were grateful for Animals Fiji for being extremely accommodating and bringing a vet and tech out to the boat (for a fee of course).

Once in New Zealand, the process was pretty straight forward. After being checked in with Customs and Immigration, we had to anchor out to wait for transport to come for Logan the next day. This was pretty comical as they brought a huge crate on a small dinghy and Bio security took him directly from our boat.


The only Quarantine facility you can use is Auckland Quarantine. They are very professional, but they are just a quarantine facility--the are NOT MPI, so make sure you are talking regularly with MPI so that they can confirm you have all the right tests. Auckland Quarantine has a Facebook page which updates with a picture of your animal everyday. I also found their front desk

to be super friendly and helpful. I had a few questions about pick up and they were eager to tell me how much fun Logan was having. Obviously not all animals will enjoy their stay in the kennel, but as someone who has worked in kennels my entire career, these are super plush. My biggest suggestion would be if you are concerned about your animal gaining weight, make sure to tell the facility you would like them to be fed a certain amount. In 10 days, Logan gained 12lbs. The people who work there LOVED him... maybe a little too much! But I'd much rather him get a little fat than be sad and not eat. When he was ready to be picked up, we rented a car and drove down to Auckland to pick him up.


Dog Access in New Zealand

We ended up buying a car in New Zealand since we knew we would be there for over 6 months. Cars are relatively inexpensive to buy, and you can then sell them for a little less or the same as you bought them (our car was stolen... another story... so get insurance and a wheel lock).

New Zealand is attempting to become "Predator Free" by 2050. This is an ambitious goal, but good on 'em. That being said, many of the famous trail and tramps are off limits to dogs. Some areas require a Kiwi Aversion Training certificate. I love to hike. so I went to Coromandel and got the certificate. I wasn't a huge fan of the process: take a bunch of dogs, slap an electric collar on them and then shock the shit out of them when they walk by a stuffed Kiwi. I can see it working for some dogs, but I wasn't a huge fan. Anyway--many tramps also require a permit to hike with your dog from the DOC. The DOC has a great website to help you better understand the rules and regulations:

I applied for 4 or 5 different permits and was never turned down. some take a week, others a few hours--so do your homework.


1080 Pellets

As stated above, New Zealanders are serious about their birds. That being said, they actually drop toxic pellets from helicopters in designated hiking areas. This has led to some pet deaths as well as child deaths. The pellets are small and green--but most dogs will die from eating or picking up a dead animal who has ingested the pellet. We decided to be extra precautious and get a basket muzzle for Logan (I really like Baskerville Muzzles-- Logan is a size 4: https://amzn.to/3qVEfHG). The training was easy because he was used to wearing a Gentle Leader head halter.


Loose Dogs

If you are cruising around the world, you have probably met many loose dogs. However, New Zealand was the first country where Logan was viciously attacked and I thought my story may be of some help to others.


We had been walking a track in Opua for several months. We were actually looking to depart in about a week. I was walking alone with Logan along the Paihia Track by English Bay Road. We were by the water at a roundabout when a 100lb bull mastiff mix came charging at us from about 300 yards away. I immediately pulled Logan closer to me and started to walk back on the track, not trying to look scared. The dog stopped about 10 feet from us. As I slowly turned away he lunged at us. I have been privy to A LOT of dog fights in my career and this was as unprovoked as they come. We were no where near this dogs home and he was out to seriously harm. The Mastiff got hold of Logans back legs but I was able to get him loose and pull Logan up to my chest. At this point, the Mastiff started to climb me and go after me. Luckily there were two fisherman by the water who rushed to my aid and had to beat the mastiff back with a huge log. I honestly don't know what I would've done if those men weren't there. They said this dog has been a problem for a while and they called the police to report it. Logan ended up having a hole in his tongue and 5 punctures. I only sustained a few scratches. I do not think this is the norm, but it is a reminder to always be vigilant.

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