Exporting indigenous timber & timber products

The Forests Amendment Act 1993 places restrictions on the types of timber and timber products that may be exported, and under what circumstances. Find out more about exporting indigenous timber.

Exports subject to strict rules

Export of indigenous timber and timber products is largely prohibited.

Export is permitted in limited circumstances – when the timber is:

  • unfinished, provided it meets certain requirements in the Act
  • classified as a 'finished and manufactured' timber product
  • a personal effect.

Exporting indigenous timber in contravention of the Forests Amendment Act is a serious offence. Penalties include fines of up to $200,000 on conviction.

Supreme Court decision relating to exports 

On 9 November 2018, the Supreme Court of New Zealand released a judgment that included interpretation of what a finished or manufactured indigenous timber product is (under section 2(1) of the Forests Act 1949) relating to exports (under section 67C(1)(b)).

This may affect some swamp kauri exports and other exports of indigenous products. It does not change the requirements for exporting personal effects or salvaged stump or root timber.

We have reviewed and updated existing documents:

We've also released the following internal documents used by MPI staff and contractors:

Names, photos, images or likenesses contained within this report are published with the irrevocable express written consent of the persons concerned:

Clearance numbers needed from 1 August

From 1 August 2017, exporters of indigenous timber will need to have a single use clearance (or permit) number to clear their export entries through the Customs' system. The non-transferable permit number will be provided by MPI on the completed approved Intention to export (ITE) form. There is no change to the requirements which exporters must meet to get the required approval to export. This process change will facilitate the clearance of appropriately approved, lawful exports.

Exporting approved timber or timber products

If your export is covered under one of these categories, you may begin the export process.

Ensure you complete any additional documentation required as specified in the categories above.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email indigenous.forestry@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: