Tomato seeds, concealed in tissue paper hidden between the flaps of a box, have been intercepted by New Zealand biosecurity officers at Auckland Airport.
The box belonged to a South Korean woman, who said she planned to plant the seeds in her daughter’s garden in Auckland.
“The offence involved a deliberate attempt to smuggle goods that could have contained diseases or pests devastating to New Zealand tomato growers," said Craig Hughes, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) manager North Passenger.
The woman was forced to return to South Korea on the next available flight, after MPI staff referred the matter to Immigration New Zealand.
“The decision is another reminder that MPI and Immigration New Zealand take a tough stance with travellers whose actions threaten our primary industries and natural environment,” a release from MPI said.