Existing approvals that you could use

In some cases, you may not need to apply for approval to import a new organism because one already exists.

There are two basic types of new organism approvals:

  • approval to hold the new organisms in an approved indoor or outdoor containment facility (such as  laboratories, glasshouses, zoos or field test sites)
  • approval to release the new organism into the environment

An organism that has approval to be held in containment is still classed as a new organism and cannot be used beyond the scope of the approval. This includes approvals for field tests. If you want to release a new organism that currently has containment approval, you need additional approval from us.

Approval to release a new organism can be given with or without controls. An approval has controls if there are potential risks that need managing, eg. requiring an organism to be sourced from a specific location.

Any organism approved for release with controls is still classed as a new organism and can only be used in the manner specified in the approval.

Any organism that is approved for release without controls is no longer classed as a new organism and does not need any further approvals from us.

A vaccine that contains or is a live new organism also needs approval from us to be used in New Zealand. These approvals usually have controls and the new organism can only be used for the purpose specified in the application, ie. as a vaccine. Occasionally, a vaccine containing a live new organism may be approved without controls. In this case, the organism is no longer classed as a new organism and is no longer regulated under the HSNO Act (but the vaccine may still be regulated under other legislation, eg. the Medicines Act).

Even if your organism is not new or not viable, you may still need approval from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) before you can import.  

MPI - Overview of Importing to New Zealand

Existing approvals that you could use Plus

Most new organism approvals can only be used by the applicant listed in the approval. However, there are some existing approvals to import new organisms that can be used by people other than the applicant.

Check the tables below to see whether your proposed importation of a new organism falls under one of these existing import approvals. To do this, search the Application Register using the application number to look at the application and decision documents.

Search the Application Register

You will need to check that:

  • The purpose of your activity is captured by the purpose described in the approval.
  • The new organism you are working with is included in the description of the new organisms approved to be imported.
  • Your containment facility is approved and operated to the Containment Standard and PC level specified in the approval and all the controls will be complied with.

If you meet the above criteria, you can use the approval but we recommend that you confirm this with us first.

Some of the approvals require that you notify us and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) when your organisation wants to use the approval. To do this, please email us on neworganisms@epa.govt.nz or phone us on (04) 474 5591. We can also direct you the appropriate person at MPI to contact if required.

Approvals to import new organisms (not genetically modified)
Application numberPurpose
​APP201857 ​To import into containment new unmodified low-risk organisms for research and teaching purposes.
​APP201737 To import and hold in containment Risk Group 1 and 2 microorganisms (including bacteria, archaea, protozoa, fungi, bacteriophages, viruses) as cultures or within samples derived from animals (excluding humans), plants and the environment, for laboratory based research.
​ERMA200432 ​To import and hold in containment Risk Group 2 bacteria for laboratory based research and teaching purposes in order to develop and use diagnostic methods for diseases.
​NOC08011 ​To import into containment, for research and diagnostic purposes, marine microalgae from the Pacific region.
​NOC07009 To import and hold exotic plant pathogenic and saprobic bacteria and fungi in containment, in order to develop diagnostic methods and for laboratory-based research.
​NOC07002 To import into containment microorganisms and other small (<30mm) marine organisms from marine water and sediment samples; and marine invertebrates (<120mm) from the NZ EEZ, Southern Ocean and Antarctica waters for scientific research.
​NOC06002 To import into containment risk group 1 species belonging to the taxonomic groups currently known as bacteriophages and Bacteria, Archaea and yeasts of the Order Saccharomycetales.
​NOC05006 To import into containment for research purposes including taxonomy, ecology, biodiversity and biotechnology studies, of groups of non-pathogenic extremophilic microorganism
​NOC04018 To import into containment dried herbarium specimens of Kingdoms Plantae, Mycetae, Protista and Cyanobacteria, including seeds, pollen and spores, as reference material to study and improve understanding of the New Zealand flora.
​NOC04016 ​To import into containment samples of Antarctic water (both fresh and marine in all states) and soil, sediments and rocks containing unidentified micro-organisms for identification and long term culture.  Prokaryotic (primarily bacteria, archaea, cyanobacteria) and eukaryotic microorganisms (algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton, protozoa, and micro-invertebrates) present in water, soils/sediments, rock and microbial mat samples taken from Antarctic marine and freshwater environments.
​NOC04013 ​To import into containment sediments and fluids that may contain unidentified and potentially novel microorganisms from hydrothermal marine vents and adjacent areas, for the purpose of biodiversity, ecology and biotechnology studies.
​NOC01004 To import into containment plant viruses and viroids capable of mechanical transmission (in an 'inactive' state) for disease diagnostic tests on plant quarantine and surveillance samples
Approvals to import new animals (not genetically modified)
Application numberPurpose
APP201857 ​To import into containment new unmodified low-risk organisms for research and teaching purposes.
​NOC08010 To import into containment 27 specified new mammal species into containment at New Zealand zoos to aid conservation through sustainable display, captive breeding and/ or the conservation of genetic material. Includes Primates, Carnivores, Artiodactlya (Hippo and Chevrotain), and Australian mammals (Tasmanian devil, echidna, western grey kangaroo, koala, wombat, potoroo and feather tailed glider).
​ERMA200600 ​To import 53 species of tropical butterflies into New Zealand for public display.
​NOC03002 ​To import into containment named species of tropical butterflies for public display and breeding.
Approvals to import genetically modified microorganisms
Application number​Purpose
APP201858 ​To import into containment low-risk microorganisms and cell lines, vertebrate laboratory animals, and invertebrates for research and teaching purposes.
​GMC04015 ​To import GM non-pathogenic Escherichia coli, bacteriophage, and yeast strains, and insect and mammalian cell lines for storage and use in research or diagnostics.
​GMC00012 To import into containment Escherichia coli K12 and B derivatives containing fragments of DNA that have been cloned from other species.
​NOC99007 ​To import into containment genetically modified Escherichia coli strains K12 and and their derivatives containing DNA from various species for use in research.
​NOC99011 To import into containment, for research purposes, genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae laboratory strains that contain fragments of DNA cloned from other species.
Approvals to import genetically modified animals and cell lines
Application numberPurpose
APP201858 To import into containment low-risk microorganisms and cell lines, vertebrate laboratory animals, and invertebrates for research and teaching purposes.
​GMC01008 To import into containment a range of genetically modified cell lines to study biochemical and cellular events underlying physiological processes in plants and animals.
​GMC03001 To import laboratory mice with specific genetic modifications to be used in a range of studies of gene or cell function and as models for human diseases.
​NOC99008 To import into containment genetically modified mouse cell lines for use in research into the biochemical and cellular events underlying mammalian physiological processes. Results of this research may be applied to improving human/animal health.
​GMC01002 ​To import into containment genetically modified Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus) cell lines for use in research into the biochemical and cellular events underlying mammalian physiological processes
Deemed approvals Plus

These are organisms that were legally held (ie, were subject to regulation) in New Zealand before 29 July 1998 and were subsequently "deemed approved" under the HSNO Act.  For example exotic animals held under the Zoological Gardens Regulations 1977 were deemed approved (as new organisms) to be held in zoos in New Zealand.

New microorganisms in New Zealand Plus

You need approval to import new microbial species to use in the New Zealand environment (e.g. release). Below is a list of the new microbial species that we have approved to be released in the New Zealand (this list does not include new microorganisms that have been approved for use in containment facilities such as research laboratories). 

If you want to import new species of microorganism (for example, in products used for waste treatment) you need approval from us and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). We look at whether the microorganism itself may cause harm to New Zealand while MPI assesses the potential biosecurity risks.

Please contact us (phone (04) 474 5591 or email neworganisms@epa.govt.nz) to discuss your options if you want to import new microorganisms.

To talk to MPI about importing new microorganisms, contact the Animal Imports team at animalimports@mpi.govt.nz

This list is of microorganisms that are not biocontrol agents.

Listeria phage P100

The release with controls of Listeria phage P100 (within product Listex™) was approved in April 2014 for use as a processing aid to eradicate or decrease Listeria monocytogenes on various ready to eat food products for human consumption.

Release of endophyte Neotyphodium

The endophyte Neotyphodium siegelii was approved to be released in June 2013. This endophytic fungus that is safe to animals and the environment, and contributes to ryegrass and fescue persistence, protecting the plants from invertebrate pests and drought.

45 strains of Neotyphodium  spp. were approved to be released in April 2014. These strains were released to improve the resistance of rye corn and other annual cereal crops to pests and diseases, reducing pesticide and fungicide use and improving farm productivity.

Release of three species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria

Three species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Azoarcus indigens, Azorhizobium caulinodans and Azospirillum brasilense) were approved to be released in June 2012.

Clostridium magnum

The anaerobic bacterium Clostridium magnum was approved for release in May 2012.

Genetically modified canarypox contained in equine influenza vaccines

The release of the genetically modified canarypox viruses contained within the vaccines Proteqflu and Proteqflu Te was approved in November 2008. These vaccines are used to protect horses against equine influenza. Controls have been imposed on the use of these organisms.

Release of the weakened equine influenza virus contained within the FluAvert® I.N. vaccine

The weakened equine influenza virus contained within the FluAvert® I.N. vaccine was approved in December 2007. This vaccine is used to protect horses against equine influenza. Controls have been imposed on the use of this organism.

Zoo animals approved in New Zealand Plus

​If you want to import and hold a “new” species of animal for public display, conservation and research purposes you need approval from us and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). We look at whether the animal itself may cause harm to New Zealand while MPI assesses the potential biosecurity risks from the pests and diseases the imported animal may carry.

There are some animals that are not allowed in New Zealand at all—even in a zoo. These include beavers and prairie dogs, all venomous reptiles, venomous fish or venomous invertebrates

See what other animals are prohibited in New Zealand

Below is a list of animals that are already approved for public display, conservation or research purposes in New Zealand zoos.

"Deemed zoo animals" are species of zoo animals that, prior to July 1998, were regulated under the Zoological Gardens Regulations 1977 and were subsequently deemed to be approved under the HSNO Act.

Read a list of all animals approved for public display in zoos or for conservation purposes (pdf 360 KB)

In July 2013 we set new rules for keeping animals (not including butterflies, fish and marine invertebrates) in zoos. The change means that a standard set of rules applies to all animals approved for containment in zoos. The new controls will come into force in mid 2014.

The rules applying to animals in containment in zoos

The new rules are outcome-based, which means the focus is on making sure zoos contain their animals properly, rather than providing prescriptive rules about how they contain them. Industry guidance for containing zoo animals can be found below:

Containment guidance from the Zoo and Aquarium Association of New Zealand (730 KB)

 

Some animals approved for public display in New Zealand
 
Tiger at rest

Tiger

 
Rhino standing

White rhino

Snow leopard

Snow leopard

 
red panda in a tree

Red panda

 

Blue butterfly on leaf (Photograph by Stephen Jaquiery)

Morpho peleides

 
Hippo in river

Hippopotamus

 
grey kangaroo on grass

Grey kangaroo

Baby gorilla in forest

Gorilla