Daisy, an energetic pointer, is among eight new detector dog teams beginning their jobs in Auckland this week as the international travel season kicks off.

The dogs and handlers finished their training last week and have begun their duties.

Outbreaks of fruit fly cases in Australia and the Pacific have the Ministry for Primary Industry concerned and the new dogs and handlers extend the surveillance of arrivals.

Border clearance services director for MPI Steve Gilbert said Daisy the dog was sourced from a Tokoroa dairy farm and is the first pointer trained for biosecurity work in three years.


"She has high-energy and likes to keep busy. These are qualities we look for in a detector dog," Mr Gilbert said.

"Pointers were once used as active dogs in the international mail centre to scratch and bite when they detected risk items. We now use mostly labradors and beagles in a passive role to sit when they sniff an item. That way they can used with both passengers and mail."

MPI plans to introduce 24 new detector dog teams around New Zealand as part of a wider programme to strengthen biosecurity for arriving passengers at airports and cruise ship terminals.

"Detector dogs are a very effective biosecurity tool. They can pick up seeds and plants that can be hard to detect by x-ray," Mr Gilbert said.

"They also screen people faster than x-ray, and their visual presence sends a message to arriving passengers about how seriously New Zealand takes biosecurity."