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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




The purpose of plant quarantine is to protect disease-free agricultural areas by local restrictions on the movement of goods to prevent the introduction of plant pests and diseases. The underlying assumption is that the occasional inconvenience and expense of excluding a pest is better than its subsequent prolonged control.

In 1884 the Government, which was concerned at the danger of introducing pests and diseases to the colony, passed the Codling Moth Act of 1884, followed by the Orchard and Garden Pests Act of 1896. In 1897 it prohibited by Proclamation the importation of plants and fruits affected by any scale insects or by Queensland Fruit Fly, of vine cuttings affected by Phylloxera, and fruit attacked by codling moth. The Department of Agriculture administered the 1896 Act and, for the first time, inspected fruit and plants arriving in New Zealand at the principal ports of Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton, and Dunedin.

Fumigation vaults were built at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin and remained in use until 1949. By 1904 it became necessary to replace the 1896 Act with the Orchard and Garden Pests Act, which was later to become the Orchard and Garden Diseases Act of 1908. Two inspectors were appointed for the North Island and one for the South Island. The Orchard and Garden Diseases Act, passed in 1928, repealed the 1908 Act, and further amendments became necessary in 1940 and 1950 because of changes mainly brought about by speedy air travel between one country and another. Surface travel had also speeded up. Thus the protection in time and distance which New Zealand had formerly enjoyed was broken down. It was now possible for adults of pests separated from their hosts to travel as stowaways in aircraft arriving from overseas.


Gordon Arthur Henry Helson, M.SC., Chief Advisory Officer (Entomology), Department of Agriculture, Wellington.

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