Explosives

Explosives must be approved for use before they can be imported or manufactured in New Zealand. Most explosives, including fireworks, need an Import Certificate before you can bring them into the country. Find out more here.

All explosives are hazardous substances, and their use in New Zealand is regulated jointly by us and WorkSafe New Zealand.

We manage the approvals for importing and manufacturing explosives, and set and enforce the rules for labelling, packaging and safety datasheets. You can find information below that outlines how to legally import explosives, including fireworks.

WorkSafe New Zealand look after the rules for handling and storing explosives, and also regulate outdoor firework displays.

Find out more about the rules for handling and storing explosives - WorkSafe NZ

See our guidance for importers and manufacturers of explosives (pdf 450KB)

Find out if an explosive is approved for use in New Zealand Plus

Explosives must be legally approved for use in New Zealand before they can be imported or manufactured. To find out if an explosive item is approved, check the legislation, and the list of approved hazardous substances in our Approved Hazardous Substances with Controls database.

If you are in doubt, contact us and discuss your explosive with one of our advisors.

Check the legislation: Hazardous Substances (Fireworks, Safety Ammunition, and Other Explosives Transfer) Regulations 2003

Search the Approved Hazardous Substances with Controls database

Check the appendices in our guidance about importing explosives (PDF 450KB)

Contact one of our Hazardous Substances Advisors:

If a substance is not already approved for import into or manufacture in New Zealand, you must first apply to us for an approval so we can assess the risks of the explosive and decide on any restrictions (or controls) for using it. This is called a ‘Release Approval’.

How to apply for a Release Approval to import or manufacture a hazardous substance

Importing explosives into New Zealand Plus

Most approved explosives need an import certificate for each consignment before they can be imported into New Zealand, including:

  • explosives that require a controlled substance licence under the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017, and
  • retail fireworks, available for sale to the public.

These explosives do not need an import certificate:

  • novelty fireworks, specified in regulation 4(2) of the Hazardous Substances (Fireworks) Regulations 2001, such as party poppers and Christmas crackers.

Novelty and retail fireworks do still require testing by an approved Fireworks Certifier. You will find a list of Fireworks Certifiers below, under ‘Retail fireworks’.

Apply for an Explosives Import Certificate

See the Hazardous Substances (Fireworks, Safety Ammunition, and Other Explosives Transfer) Regulations 2003

Read the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017

Retail fireworks Plus

There are rules for the import, storage, and sale of retail fireworks. If you’re importing retail fireworks, you need to obtain an import certificate from us for each consignment. A sample of each consignment must also be tested for safety by an approved Fireworks Certifier who will issue a certificate (see the register of fireworks certifiers at the end of this page).

Read our guidance on selling, storing and importing fireworks (pdf 343KB)

See the Code of Practice for Retail Fireworks (pdf 118KB)

Apply for an explosives import certificate

For queries about importing retail fireworks, please contact us:

By email: explosives@epa.govt.nz

For queries about testing retail fireworks, please contact us:

By email: fireworks@epa.govt.nz

Freephone (New Zealand only): 0800 429 7827 (0800 HAZSUBS)

Outdoor pyrotechnic displays are closely regulated and there are a number or rules you must follow if you are planning to hold a fireworks display. More information about these rules is available from WorkSafe.

For the rules about outdoor pyrotechnic displays, see the WorkSafe NZ website

Transhipments of explosives Plus

A transhipment is where a hazardous substance is imported into New Zealand and is exported again within 20 working days. This includes goods that remain on a vessel or craft (including aircraft) or that are put into storage during the transhipment period.

Some types of transhipment need to be approved in advance. If you need a transhipment approval for your shipment, you must apply at least one month before the substance is to be transhipped. If you are unsure whether you need a transhipment approval, please contact us.

Note that for transhipments of explosives, you may also need to apply for a permit from WorkSafe New Zealand.

Apply to us, the EPA, for approval for a transhipment

Find out if you need to apply for a permit from WorkSafe New Zealand

Ports suitable for handling explosives Plus

New Zealand ports that can accept shipments of explosives have recommended limits on the quantity of explosive materials they can handle. The quantity limits in the table at the bottom of the section are based on a report by Opus International Consultants Limited, updated in January 2010.

Read the OPUS report on explosives handling at ports (pdf 221KB)

The quantities shown are recommended values. Some port companies have since conducted their own studies and determined their quantity limits separately. Contact the relevant port company to establish their requirements before arranging for the movement of explosives through that port.

Each port company wishing to accept vessels carrying explosives or handle consignments of explosives must determine how they achieve compliance with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017.

Read the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017

For specific enquiries about these Regulations, please contact WorkSafe New Zealand

The current recommended limits (net explosive quantity, (NEQ)) for cargos of explosives, at specified berths at each port, are listed in the table below. Please see Port websites for any updates to this information.

Please note:

  • you should consider the type of explosive and quantity (i.e. the hazard presented) and any exposed sites to determine the appropriate transfer zone distance
  • there is no limit on the amount of class 1.4 explosives that can be handled, provided a fire safety zone of at least 25 metres is maintained from all other goods
  • propellant powders in quantities greater than 500kg are classified as class 1.1C
  • quantity-distance limits do not apply to retail fireworks that are controlled by the Hazardous Substances (Fireworks) Regulations 2001 or to safety ammunition (including pre-primed cartridges and primers) with classification 1.4S.

Recommended maximum quantities (NEQ) for main ports in New Zealand

Port Berth Specified Point Max Recommended NEQ (kg) when packed in ISO containers
      Class 1.1/1.5 Class 1.2 Class 1.3
Auckland

Fergusson

Freyberg

Freyberg

Jellicoe

Jellicoe

Bledisloe

Bledisloe

Outer

West outer

East outer

West outer

East outer

West outer

East outer

36,000

4,500

4,500

20,000

5,000

12,000

16,000

4,000

90

90

1,400

100

550

900

170,000

22,000

22,000

95,000

24,000

55,000

75,000

Onehunga LOLO   1,500 12 7,000
Tauranga

S. Point

S. Point

Berth 11

Berth 24

Berth 23

 

55,000

55,000

6,000

9,000

9,000

160

200,000

200,000

28,000

Napier Kirk. No. 5 Outer 59,000 10,000 200,000
N. Plymouth Blyde Outer 7,000 200 34,000
Wellington     Refer to CentrePort for quantity limits
Lyttleton* Cashin Q   12,000 500 55,000
P Chalmers No 1   16,000 900 75,000
(as of January 2010)

*Shipments of class 1.1 of up to 48,000 kg may be accepted by Lyttelton Port Company, depending on berth availability and by a case-by-case consideration; contact Lyttelton Port Company for more information.

Register of certified firework testers Plus

All fireworks and novelty fireworks (fior example party poppers and Christmas crackers) require a Fireworks certificate from an approved fireworks certifier before they can be sold. This list below is alphabetical by surname.

Name and company

Aaron Donald: HazSubs Services Limited

Authorisations status

Active

Authorisations expiry

13/05/2021

Contact address

4D Target Court, Glenfield, Auckland 0627

Website

www.hazsubs.co.nz

Phone

09 443 3054

Mobile

021 511 291

Email

aaron@hazsubs.co.nz

Authorised to issue certificates for

All retail fireworks

 

Name and company

Peter Greenwood: Fiz Pop Compliance

Authorisations status

Active

Authorisations expiry

05/10/2019

Contact address

24 Kuku Street, Tangimoana

Mobile

027 537 5555

Email

fizpopcompliance@gmail.com

Authorised to issue certificates for

All retail fireworks

 

Name and company

Richard Gilkinson: HazSubs Services Limited

Authorisations status

Active

Authorisations expiry

13/05/2021

Contact address

4D Target Court, Glenfield, Auckland 0627

Website

www.hazsubs.co.nz

Phone

09 443 3054

Mobile

027 222 8095

Email

aaron@hazsubs.co.nz or Richard@hazsubs.co.nz

Authorised to issue certificates for

All retail fireworks

 

Name and company

Grant Tattley: HazTec 2018 Limited

Authorisations status

Active

Authorisations expiry

30/06/2021

Contact address

165 Kowhai Road, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 0630

Website

haztec.co.nz

Phone

09 426 5902

Mobile

021 504 664

Email

grant@haztec.co.nz

Authorised to issue certificates for

All retail fireworks