Te Whatu Ora Tairāwhiti Public Health, Healthy Environments team is one of New Zealand's border agencies, making sure international craft entering New Zealand are free of serious public health risks posed by people and vectors such as mosquitoes and rats.
Ships arriving from overseas need to receive health clearance (pratique) from a Health Protection Officer before they can arrive. Ships also require a Ship Sanitation Certificate which must be renewed every six months. Health Protection Officers are responsible for issuing these certificates in New Zealand.
Border Health Risks
Some mosquitoes are capable of carrying and transmitting infectious diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Fortunately, the most capable vectors are not normally found in New Zealand. Our Health Protection Officers undertake mosquito surveillance at the border (Eastland Port). This is to prevent exotic mosquitoes from becoming established in New Zealand.
Rats pose a risk to public health for a number of reasons. Their fleas are capable of transmitting plague, and the rats themselves can spread diseases such as typhus, leptospirosis and many more through their urine, faeces and bites.
International commercial ships require a Ship Sanitation Certificate which must be renewed at an appropriate port somewhere in the world every six months. In New Zealand, this is conducted by Health Protection Officers. The renewal process includes an audit of the ship's health procedures including cleaning, waste management and medical facilities, and a physical inspection of certain parts of the vessel.