Importing Giant Pumpkin Seeds into NZ

You want to get giant pumpkin seeds with great genetics? We all do. But the process isn’t as straight forward as having someone send them to you.

This page explains the history of getting giant pumpkin seeds from overseas into New Zealand and what the current status is of this process.

What it was Like Before December 1st 2014?

Most things to be sent to New Zealand came without any problems at the border. Giant pumpkins seeds, watermelon, tomatoes, miniature pumpkins etc. were all OK to receive.

MPI Changed the Rules for Giant Pumpkin Seed Imports

The Ministry for Primary Industries is helping to seize export opportunities for our primary industries, improve sector productivity, ensure the food we produce is safe, increase sustainable resource use, and protect New Zealand from biological risk.

Being a small island nation allows us to keep many pests and diseases out. These could cause major problems with our primary industries.

New regulations were brought forward for Cucurbitaceae seed ( including Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata and Cucurbita pepo) to protect New Zealand from the Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) and also Kyuri green mottle mosaic virus (KGMMV)

Read on to find out how we managed to get seeds into the country šŸ‘‡

What Did this Change Effect?

We now need a Phyto certificate for any seeds that come into the country.

Here are the rules for theĀ CucurbitaceaeĀ family from the MPI documentĀ Seeds for Sowing 155.02.05 21 February 2022

Cucurbitaceae Rules 21 Feb 2022 File MPI

What Happens if you Don’t Follow the Rules

  • Your seeds could be sent back, destroyed, or you will be asked to get them tested here in NZ.
  • You could expect a visit from MPI officials to explain what you are up to.
  • A fine or prison sentence could be on the cards in worst case scenarios.

If you think that 2nd point is a bit harsh. Well it happened.

A grower from a European country not understanding the importance of the rules. Sent seeds to a NZ grower without his knowledge. The seeds were contained inside a book.

The senders reasoning was to protect the seeds in transit.

These were intercepted at the border by MPI. 2 interviews were undertaken with the NZ grower. And their counterpart in Europe spoke to the sender as well.

No action was taken. The seeds were destroyed. The NZ grower said it was a scary experience. Especially as they had no idea the seeds were sent.

How We Did it in the Past

In the past we were very lucky to have the help of a Canadian named Eddy. He helped get the phyto certifcate for the seeds. He organised shipping them to NZ. And covered all the costs.

The Risks

There are a lot of risks around getting seeds into the country. At any point it could all turn to custard. This is something I must stress to anyone that partakes in this process. Thanks to everyone that has trusted the process in the past and trusted myself with getting good seed genetics to them.

Trustworthy people
Most giant pumpkin growers are great to deal with. But there is a risk that they don’t follow through. Take too long or make a mistake somewhere in the process.

Testing Process
Just because you brought a seed from a reputable seller. This doesn’t mean it will pass the testing required for the phyto certificate. Seeds could be destroyed.

Here’s the costs breakdown.

  • Cost of the actual seeds – this would be covered by the individual purchaser
  • Cost of testing – split amongst people getting seeds
  • Cost of shipping – split amongst people getting seeds

The more people getting seeds from overseas helps spread out the costs of the testing and shipping.

Shipping Timeframes

There could be delays in shipping. Or a delay from testing to being ready to ship. This means getting seeds organised, tested and shipped as early as possible is key to making this work.

Where we are Currently

  • Covid caused problems with the lab doing testing. So there were no seeds into the country for the last 2 years.
  • People are super keen to get seeds. I created this page to help explain everything.
  • Eddy is out of the pumpkin growing game for at least the next 2 years.

This means I have to find a solution that works to achieve what we’ve done in the past.

I need to find the right person to help collect the seeds. Organise the testing and shipping. While working out the costs and making the required payments.

If you’re reading this and think you can help us here in New Zealand. Please get in touch.

To keep up with the latest developments around importing giant pumpkin seeds into New Zealand. Sign up for the GPNZ Crew newsletter. I will send out any updates when I have them to this email list.

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