An intricately carved statue of a woman made from ivory
Image: Kate Hamilton | DOC


New Zealand’s CITES requirements for the import and re-export of elephant ivory products.

What's protected

All Asian and some African elephants are protected under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This means that no commercial international trade is allowed in them or their products such as ivory. Under CITES, trade means to import or export.

Trade in personal items may be allowed if CITES permits or certificates are granted.

African elephant populations from Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed on CITES Appendix II. They are considered less threatened from trade. Some regulated trade of specific items made from the products of African elephants from these countries is allowed with CITES permits.

Examples of items with ivory

A diverse range of items can contain elephant products such as ivory. These can include piano keys, chess sets, cutlery, carvings, bagpipes, jewellery and furniture.

What you need to travel with an item made with ivory

To move any item made from elephant products across international borders, you need CITES permits before the trade occurs. The type of permits you need is dependant on how old the item is.

Check what permits you need and apply.

What happens if you don't have permit

Moving elephant products including ivory across international borders without valid CITES permits is illegal and will see items seized.

Once items have been seized, there is no way to have them returned to you, and you may face further enforcement action.

Back to top