Existing approvals you could use

In some cases you may not need to apply for an 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.

Development approvals may only be used by the approval-holder.

When you can use an existing approval

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.

You can use an existing approval if:

  • 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.

You can find a list of all existing approvals at the bottom of this page.

Deemed organism approvals

Organisms that were legally held and were subject to regulation in New Zealand before 29 July 1998, were subsequently "deemed approved" under the HSNO Act.

Approval to release a new organism

Organisms with approval to be held in containment (including approvals for field tests) are classed as a new organisms and cannot be used beyond the scope of the approval. If you want to release a new organism that currently has containment approval, you need additional approval from us.

Release controls

Approval to release a new organism can be given with or without controls. An approval has controls if there are risks that need to be managed, such as 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.

Existing approvals for vaccines

A vaccine that contains or is a live new organism 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).

Zoo animals approved in New Zealand

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

Deemed zoo animals

These 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, conservation or research purposes (pdf, 360 KB)


Existing approvals you can use Plus


Application No.      Purpose
Approval to import new organisms (not genetically modified)
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)
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
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
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
Approval to import microorganisms*
APP202089 To import and release Listeria phage P100 in the product LISTEX™, for use as a processing aid to eradicate or decrease Listeria monocytogenes in food products  
APP201519 To release of Neotyphodium siegelii as a beneficial grass endophyte
To release 45 strains of Neotyphodium spp. 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.
ERMA200907 To import three nitrogen-fixing bacteria for release
ERMA200833 To release from containment the anaerobic microorganism Clostridium magnum
GMR07001 To release genetically modified vaccines (Proteqflu and Proteqflu Te) to protect horses against Equine Influenza
NOQ07001 To release FluAvert ® I.N., an intranasal vaccine to be used to prevent or combat an outbreak or in vaccination programmes against equine influenza
*this list does not include new microorganisms that have been approved for use in containment facilities such as research laboratories