An attempt by an Australian airline passenger to bring two crates of fresh mangoes into New Zealand could have had dire consequences if the fruit reached our orchards, says border security.
The woman and her daughter shocked border staff when they flew into Auckland from Brisbane and declared the 28 fruits last week. It is one of the biggest fresh fruit hauls from a single passenger by border staff.
"It is common to see a passenger carry one or two fruit items, but two whole crates is really over the top," said Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Steve Gay.
"They're a favourite fruit for Queensland Fruit Fly - a pest that would have a devastating impact on New Zealand horticulture if it became established here," he said.
It was pleasing the woman declared the mangoes, which have been destroyed, and staff would be speaking to the airline involved to see if there was any confusion about biosecurity rules, Mr Gay said.
Anyone caught bringing fruit into New Zealand faces an instant fine and possible prosecution.
Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank was fined $200 in 2005 for failing to declare an apple in her handbag when she arrived at Auckland from Los Angeles.