How to package items

Follow our handy tips to help you package items so they arrive safely and securely.

When sending an item, it is your responsibility to ensure packaging is secure to prevent damage to the item, postal equipment or other mail, and injury to people handling it. Inadequate packaging could result in you being liable for damages.

By accepting your item, New Zealand Post does not acknowledge the packaging is adequate or the contents are acceptable. To check if your item is prohibited or hazardous, refer to Prohibited items.

Parcels sent internationally need a Customs Declaration and, depending on contents and value, may need other documentation. Find out more about Customs & declaration forms.

You can use your own materials to package your items or choose from our range of packaging materials.

The following information provides helpful hints when packaging certain items:

General items

  • Ensure internal cushioning is packed around all sides of your item and wrap enough times so you cannot feel the shape of the object.
  • Items packed together in one container should be individually wrapped and separated from each other with cushioning material.
  • Heavy items require internal cushioning to prevent movement during delivery as this may damage the outer packaging.
  • For external packaging, cardboard cartons are generally strong enough to ship items of average size and weight.
  • Wooden crates should be used for heavy items.

Recommended carton grades

It is important that you choose a carton that's strong enough for your item. The strength of a cardboard carton is usually printed on it.

Weight of contents Grade of carton
Average load High density load*
Up to 5kg 111B 212C
5kg-10kg 212B or 212C 313B
10kg-15kg 313B 313C
15kg-20kg 313C or 623B 2112CB (double wall)

* Items exceeding 250kg per cubic metre (250kg/m3), eg, hardware or auto parts.

Most cardboard cartons are single-walled and are available in varying strengths. Heavy, large or especially valuable items should be packed in heavy-duty double walled board for extra protection.

Sealing parcels

Seal your parcels with a strong, self-adhesive tape. Choose a tape that is at least 38mm wide. It's best to use parcel tape rather than a standard household or stationery adhesive tape as it is stronger.

Apply the tape along the length of the flaps and along the ends to seal the openings of the carton. Never use metal staples.

For large and/or heavy parcels we recommend you use plastic strapping or binding as well as tape. The strapping should be applied twice from end to end and twice from side to side. The binding should be tight enough to remain in position throughout delivery of the parcel, but should not cut into the edges of the carton. Strap your parcels individually, not together.

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Bicycles

Remove pedals, handlebars and front wheel and pack with the remaining parts in a carton like those used by bicycle manufacturers. These cartons are generally available at bicycle shops but must meet the maximum dimension criteria of the selected service.

Car parts & heavy hardware

  • Ensure grease, oil, batteries, hydraulic fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze and fuel are removed and that the item is not prohibited or hazardous.
  • Protect all surfaces from possible scratches by wrapping in paper or polyethylene.
  • Protruding parts should be wrapped well to prevent them from puncturing the carton.
  • Pack in a double walled cardboard carton sealed with heavy-duty packing tape and binding or in a wooden crate.
  • Use sufficient inner packaging to prevent movement.

Fragile items

For items such as china, glassware and crockery:

  • wrap individual objects with enough cushioning material so you cannot feel the shape of the object through the wrapping
  • items packed together in one container should be individually wrapped and separated with cushioning material
  • pack in strong, rigid outer cartons of cardboard, wood or metal
  • to help prevent movement of the items during delivery, ensure all gaps are filled.

Electrical equipment

For items such as radios, computers and games:

  • pack in a strong, rigid cardboard carton
  • keep parts well away from the side of the container by protecting them with adequate internal packaging
  • all computer parts must be packed in non-static internal packaging
  • all batteries must be removed before sending to prevent it from activating during delivery. Some batteries are dangerous and cannot be posted even when removed from the item.

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Long & thin-shaped items

For items such as fishing rods and umbrellas:

  • pack between two strong strips of wood or double walled cardboard slightly larger in length and width than the object
  • wrap securely
  • ensure the parcel does not exceed the maximum length dimension for the service being used.

Liquids

For items such as body lotions, wine or beer (less than 5 litres and less than 70% alcohol by volume):

  • wrap bottles individually
  • surround with resilient cushioning material and place in a well sealed polyethylene bag
  • pack in a strong cardboard carton with sufficient absorbent material such as newspaper or wood-shavings to soak up any possible spillage.

Live organisms

Live leeches, silkworms and harmless insects must be enclosed in strong, protective containers which allow the contents to be easily viewed and allow sufficient air to circulate.

Restrictions apply to the sending of these items when sending within New Zealand and internationally.

Sending bees within New Zealand

When packaged correctly; live bees can be delivered domestically by NZ Post's extensive delivery network. We strongly recommend using our Courier Upgrade service for next working day delivery. Any parcels sent on Friday should be upgraded for Saturday Delivery subject to Saturday delivery availability to the receiving address.

Please ensure that you check if the receiving address is Rural, as these addresses may take longer to deliver to.

Check out our parcel sending range, available from all Post Shops or here on our website; alternatively contact CourierPost on 0800 268 743 to discuss your specific needs.

Packaging guidelines

Live bees should be enclosed in suitable packaging to remove all risk of injury to anyone in contact with the item. Ventilation should be robust and ensure all contents are contained within the parcel, but provide adequate circulation.

Where food supply is necessary, it should be of “hard candy” type substitute, such that it will not leak from the parcel.

Each item must be clearly marked “Live bees” (or similar) so that it can be easily identified; and please ensure the Post Shop staff or Courier are aware of the contents when the parcel is lodged or collected.

It is acceptable to send bees domestically using the NZ Post packaging range (including upgraded Postage Included Bags) provided the bees are contained within the appropriate ‘cages’ (or similar) with small holes punched in the bag for ventilation.

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Millinery (hats)

  • Pack in a strong cardboard carton.
  • Surround the articles with internal cushioning to prevent movement.

Musical instruments

  • Cases supplied with many musical instruments are not designed for protection during delivery. The existing case should be packed in double walled cardboard carton or a wooden case.
  • Inner packaging must be used to stop movement of the instrument in its case and of the case within the outer carton.
  • The bridges of stringed instruments should be removed and packed separately.

Pictures in frames

  • Completely cover the glass with adhesive tape that can be easily removed. This will help to prevent the picture from being scratched, should the glass break.
  • Wrap the frame at least twice in bubble wrap or polystyrene foam sheeting, taking care to use sufficient padding to protect the edges.
  • Protective cardboard corners should be placed over the bubble wrap or foam.
  • Place the picture between two sheets of solid cardboard or heavy-weight corrugated cardboard and wrap in strong paper. Alternatively, pack in a strong cardboard box with sufficient inner packaging to prevent movement.

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Powders

  • Enclose dry powders in an airtight plastic container or tin and seal in a polyethylene bag.
  • Pack in a strong cardboard carton with sufficient inner packaging to prevent movement.
  • Ensure powders are not prohibited or hazardous.

Sharp objects

To pack items such as knives and scissors:

  • place a protective covering or guard over the edges or points to prevent them causing damage to other articles, or injuring anyone handling the parcel
  • pack in a strong cardboard carton with sufficient inner packaging to prevent movement.

Cover for loss or damage

Ensure your item is safe to send by checking our prohibited and restricted items information.

Prohibited & restricted items

Find out if you’ll be compensated if your item goes missing or gets damaged.

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Terms and conditions

The standard terms and conditions of the products and services offered by New Zealand Post Limited, including information on the extent of our liability, are set out in the Public Contract and the Postal Users' Guide. They are also available for reference at PostShop stores and selected New Zealand Post retail outlets.

Delivery targets

Delivery targets are a guide only and we do not guarantee your item will reach its destination within the delivery target. Delivery to and from rural or remote areas may take longer.

Required postage

The required postage is the value of postage required for New Zealand Post to carry the item. Actual price paid may vary instore. The required postage and specifications are subject to change.

Cover for loss or damage, prohibited & restricted items

Before sending mail items, make sure your item is safe to send and will be covered if it goes missing or is damaged. Make sure you read about cover for loss or damage and prohibited & restricted items.