The Chatham Islands is a beautiful part of the world and it is important that pests do not endanger our islands’ unique flora and fauna

Environment Canterbury(external link) is contracted to deliver biosecurity services on the Chatham Islands. Pest management is carried out in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 1993(external link) and national and regional pest management strategies.

Pests are most likely to arrive in vehicles, small boats, timber and machinery, especially agricultural and construction equipment — and with imported livestock, plants and general freight. Even commercial foods, fertilisers, grains and potting mix can contain pests.

We have prepared several fact sheets relating to pest management on the Chatham Islands, i.e. what to do if you are importing animals, plants or vehicles to the islands. You’ll find these factsheets at the end of this page.

Chatham Islands Pest Management Strategy and Pest Management Plan

In May 2021, the Chatham Islands Council adopted a new Strategy and Plan which provide a new framework for our biosecurity work.

The framework guides our pest management programme, which aims to control existing pests and prevent new pests arriving.

The Chatham Islands Pest Management Plan was developed in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 1993 and National Policy Direction for Pest Management 2015. You can view the relevant documents from this process below:


Remember to check, clean and dry all your gear when travelling.

‘No Pests Please’

Keep our islands unique. No pests please. Chatham Islands Council. No Pests Please is a border control programme for the Chatham Islands, developed in conjunction with SPS Biosecurity(external link).

It was developed in recognition of the fact that a variety of pests have already arrived on the Chatham Islands and caused significant damage, both to the islands’ ecology and economy.

It is essential that pests currently on the Chatham Islands such as possums, rats and hedgehog don’t spread to Pitt Island and other outer islands.

The impact on agriculture, the marine industry and the environment would be disastrous.

If you have seen a pest and are unsure what to do, please contact us.

What you can do

Everyone travelling to or from the Chatham Islands is responsible for ensuring they do not bring pests with them.

You must:

  • thoroughly clean vehicles, camping gear, freight containers and machinery before arriving in the Chathams
  • make sure luggage and camping gear, etc. is free of stowaway pests; even boots, socks and clothing can carry unwanted seeds
  • do not bring plants onto the island without checking with the Chatham Islands Council whether they are pests
  • check supplies and equipment for signs of pests before travelling to the Chatham Islands
  • if you suspect that pests are being moved about or have established themselves, contact us
  • if possible, destroy or contain the pests immediately and then contact us
  • if you are moving within the Chatham Islands or travelling out of an area with a known pest problem, make sure vehicles, equipment and other material are clean.

Chilean Needle Grass

Chilean Needle Grass (CNG) is an invasive pest weed that poses a major threat to primary production and the biodiversity of dry grasslands.

Once established, CNG is very difficult to eliminate. It is avoided by stock and develops a lasting seed bank. The seeds are a sharp, corkscrew shape, which catch on animal hides, clothing and machinery.

CNG seeds can hitchhike on agricultural equipment, machinery, stock, feed, motorbikes and vehicles including recreational 4WDs. Vehicles and machinery are often sourced from the Hawke's Bay which is an area with quite a large distribution of CNG. Therefore, we all need to be vigilant as we don’t want to see this pest become established on the Chatham Islands. Try to minimise the movement of stock to reduce the likelihood of contamination and spread of any seeds.

Please keep an eye out for CNG on your property, around stock/sale yards or on roadsides.

Chilean needle grass close up

If you suspect that you have found it, please do not try to pull it out. Instead, take a photo and send it to with details of the location or call 03 305 0033 for assistance. If you think you have seen it, report it!

For more information about CNG, including tips on how to identify this grass, please visit the Facebook page, Chilean Needle Grass – stopping its spread in NZ(external link).

Also, see Environment Canterbury’s FAQs on Farm biosecurity and machinery hygiene [PDF, 299 KB], and Chilean needle grass [PDF, 298 KB].

Marine pests

Marine pests are most likely to arrive on boat hulls, in ballast water or in water intake systems such as sea chests.

They can also arrive as a result of fishing and harvesting activities or with marine equipment.

Marine pests include:

  • Asian clam and Asian date mussel
  • Chinese mitten and European shore crabs
  • Mediterranean fan worm
  • North Pacific sea star
  • caulerpa (a green seaweed)
  • undaria/Wakame (a Japanese seaweed).

For more information on what you can do to help prevent the spread, go to our Marine Pests page.

Biosecurity factsheets