Find out more about the following agencies which support Aotearoa New Zealand's border health.

Aviation Security Service (Avsec)

An operational unit within the Civil Aviation Authority (see below). Avsec’s work includes screening and searching passengers, crew, airport workers, baggage, aircraft, cargo, vehicles etc, undertaking security patrols, and supporting the Police and other agencies at the border. Aviation Security Officers are located at key New Zealand airports an provide frontline aviation security services. As part of the COVID-19 response Avsec staff also supported the operations at airports and manged isolation facilities.

Border Executive Board

A Board comprised of senior representatives from key government border agencies, formed to help deliver an integrated and effective border system. Its overall objective is the effective governance of the end-to-end border system. This includes directing and driving performance of a safe, smarter, and more coherent border.

An effective border system will protect New Zealand from current and future risks associated with incoming and outgoing people, goods, and craft. The Board is hosted by the New Zealand Customs Service. It is an Interdepartmental Executive Board established under the Public Service Act 2020. The Minister responsible for the Board is the Minister of Customs (as designated by the Prime Minister).


For more information, visit the Customs New Zealand website.

Border Working Group

A group of government agencies that meets to consider cross-agency border issues and supports the operationalisation of border controls. Members include New Zealand Customs, Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport, NZ Police and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

The government agency responsible for managing New Zealand’s civil aviation system through the delivery of regulatory, safety, and security services.

Department of Conservation (DOC)

The Department has an interest in pests or diseases that could harm indigenous flora and fauna or natural ecosystems because such organisms may impact on the conservation values (lands, species, resources).  It is, therefore, interested in the movement of new organisms, pests, and diseases across New Zealand’s border.

Health protection officers (HPOs)

Frontline statutory officers designated by the Director-General of Health to administer statutory functions in relation to public health – including relevant border control activities (for instance, granting pratique, inspecting vessels for quarantinable or infectious diseases, implementing the ship sanitation certification system, issuing cleansing orders). HPOs exercise their functions at the local level within their districts. They are employed by Te Whatu Ora and are part of the National Public Health Service. 

Immigration New Zealand (INZ)

The government agency that looks after New Zealand’s immigration rules and laws for people who want to visit, work, study, live, start a business, or invest in New Zealand. It works with other government agencies, international organisations, and industry partners to improve border security and make immigration easier. INZ is responsible for the movement of people through New Zealand’s border. INZ staff screen travellers before and when they arrive in New Zealand and works alongside other government agencies to control any risks, including public health risks, posed by travellers. INZ sits within the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

Local authorities

These include regional, district, and city councils. Collectively such agencies are responsible for harbour navigation and safety, oil spills, and other marine pollution, developing and implementing pest management plans and strategies, and developing regional policy statements and strategies. 

Regional councils employ harbourmasters who manage waterways of ports and harbours and make decisions regarding the manner and circumstances in which commercial vessels enter and leave their ports. 
Local authorities work alongside government agencies and public health units to monitor and manage risks to or from New Zealand’s border. 

Maritime New Zealand

The national regulatory compliance and response agency for the safety, security and environmental protection of coastal and inland waterways. Health officials often work with Maritime New Zealand on regulation and compliance activities or in maritime incidents and emergencies.

Medical officers of health

Officers designated by the Director-General of Health to administer statutory functions in relation to public health – including relevant border control activities.  Such officers are medical practitioners suitably qualified and experienced in public health medicine. They exercise their functions in their health districts. 

Medical Officers of Health can delegate/authorise Health Protection Officers or other persons to carry out specified delegated functions under the Health Act 1956. 

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

Advises the government on how to improve productivity and growth across the tourism sector. The Ministry collects, analyses and publishes local and international tourism data and supports communications with key sector stakeholders (eg, the hotel industry and cruise ship industry). Immigration New Zealand is part of the Ministry (see above).

Ministry of Health – Manatū Hauora

The Ministry of Health is the government’s principal advisor on health and disability policy.  It provides advice to government on all matters relating to human health, including border health, and working with other government all border agencies to manage border risk. Its regulatory responsibilities within the health and disability system include administering legislation and associated regulations. This includes legislation with border health controls such as the Health Act 1956 and supporting regulations. The Ministry of Health is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the International Health Regulations 2005, which seek to prevent and control the international spread of disease. The Director-General of the Ministry of Health designates public health statutory officers such as medical officers of health and health protection officers, who work in the National Public Health Service (part of Te Whatu Ora). 

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

The lead agency for biosecurity and provides policy advice, regulatory and operational services to deliver biosecurity outcomes, including primary production, marine, conservation and social, including health outcomes. MPI staff regularly meet craft arriving in New Zealand and check for biosecurity risks and delivers the national aircraft dissention programme. MPI authorises and audits New Zealand places of first arrival (designated ports and airports) and manages transitional facilities (where imported goods are checked and cleared). Such facilities can help protect against both biosecurity and public health risks (eg, exotic mosquitoes).

New Zealand Customs Service (Customs)

Customs is responsible for ensuring the security of New Zealand’s borders. It ensures that lawful travellers and goods can move across New Zealand’s borders as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Customs administers and enforces a range of border controls at the maritime and aviation borders. For example, Customs staff receive and process craft and passenger arrival documentation (which contains information needed by a range of agencies – including health status information regarding the people on board). Customs has a strong physical presence at international ports and airports and supports the delivery of public health measures.     

Public Health Services

Public health services implement border health measures and controls. They have staff who will monitor and respond to public health issues relating to biosecurity and quarantine purposes, including: 

  • Imported risk goods
  • Disease vector surveillance and control
  • Preparation and testing of contingency plans for emergency responses
  • Responding to reported sickness on board air/sea craft arriving in New Zealand
  • Ensuring designated airports and seaports are maintaining core public health capacities (for instance, sanitation, drinking water, access to health facilities)
  • Rodent and vector control
  • Liaison with Te Whatu ora, the Ministry of Health, local government and others
  • Participation in national, regional, and local emergency arrangements and responses, participating in and/or carrying out prompt, effective and efficient investigations of, and responses to, biosecurity and quarantine issues.

Find Public health service contact details

Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand

Established on 1 July 2022, Te Whatu Ora leads the day-to-day running of the health system across New Zealand, with functions delivered at local, district, regional and national levels. The National Public Health Service is part of Te Whatu Ora and includes staff working at national, regional, and local levels to improve public health outcomes. This work includes providing environmental and border health services in communities and at New Zealand’s seaports and airports. Te Whatu Ora and the Ministry of Health support the training of frontline statutory health officers who work on border  health issues such as medical officers of health and health protection officers. Local public health services check that New Zealand’s international airports and seaports meet the standards of public health preparedness expected by the international community.