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Quarantine! : protecting New Zealand at the border

New Zealand may have one of the best protective moats in the world, but the seas surrounding us have not kept out exotic organisms from the kiore to Didymosphenia geminata (didymo, aka ‘rock snot’).

In the 1840s, officials were more worried about human health. If an immigrant ship arrived flying a yellow flag, the passengers and crew were quarantined.  But after some disastrous importations of stock diseases and farm pests, attention swung to animal and plant inspection and quarantine.

After the Second World War, aircraft upped the ante, ushering in the modern era of baggage inspection and passenger declaration cards. Today, approximately 1000 full and part-time MAF Biosecurity staff work to keep out, remove, or effectively manage the harm that pests or diseases can do to our economy, the environment and our health.

Historians Gavin McLean and Tim Shoebridge wrote this book published by Otago University Press.  It was released in September 2010 to coincide with 50th anniversary celebrations of the Port Agriculture Inspection Service.

Contact your local bookstore for assistance in purchasing a copy.

Updated on 23rd July 2015